Jason: Madrid Retrospective

Yesterday, December 5th 2012, I officially finished my classes and my internship here in Madrid and I have 8 days left until I return to the states.

As I’m sure you will here from every person who has studied abroad this has been by far the best experience I have had in my life. I have learned so much at my internship; not only technical skills but also many aspects of the cinema industry in Spain, the United States, and around the world. All of the three classes I took here (Spain and the European Union, The History of Spain through documentaries, and Advance Spanish Language) are all on my list of favorite classes. These professors are some of the best in their field and I have never learned so much in a class before.

Madrid and the entire country–the food, the people, the culture,–are incredible. Above all, the opportunity to live with a family (There is no question I had the best family of the entire program) hanging out with my host brother and his friends, and watching my Spanish improve every day… it just could not have been better.

I’m extremely exited to get back to the states though to see my friends, family, and SNOW! (I’m going through skiing withdrawal) And I’m very excited for my classes next semester! I’ll be taking my first creative television producing, understanding of film, production 2, and advance french language (yup that’s 2 foreign languages for this kid)

Anyway, good luck with all of your exams, papers, etc., happy holidays, and go abroad!!

If you have any questions about the Madrid program, going abroad, etc. please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!!!

 

Alexa: The Registration Process

Registration is one of the most magical and yet one of the most terrifying things a student will go through every semester. Here’s why:

1.There are so many classes to choose from.

Should I take Psychology of Sport or should I take Philosophy of Sport? What level of history should I take? Should I take Nutrition or Astrology? BU is a big school so there are so many different classes to choose from, which of course is a blessing but also a little bit of a curse.

2. You can’t go to sleep because you are terrified that you will miss your registration time.

This is more important than waking up at 7 AM on Christmas morning, or your birthday. There are many situations where you can over sleep, apologize and it will all be fine. This is not one of those times. To prepare for registration I like to strategically set 7 alarms on my phone in 10-minute intervals. I figure one HAS to trigger my brain to wake up.

3. You wake up in a state of panic during the middle of the night because you think you overslept and missed your registration time.

This happens about three times the night before registration. I quickly wake up at 3 AM thinking that the journalism class I have sought after and stared at through my computer screen is going to have zero seats left and I’m going to have to explain to my parents why I am a failure.

4. It is your registration time, and the page won’t refresh.

I wish I could accurately explain to you the minute before your registration time. For example, I registered at 11 this year and at 10:55 I was fine. I was cool, calm and collected but then at 10:59 my heartbeat started to accelerate. This is the moment before the race starts, the moment before you figure out if you won’t have class on Fridays, or if you’re going to have to start mentally preparing yourself for an 8 AM. I would most like to refer to this moment as the Hunger Games moment. The moment before the twelve tributes are allowed to step off of their circle and into the realm where only one will be victorious. Do you understand the picture I am trying to draw? Yes? Good. But then, the page is taking to slow to refresh and you think to yourself…oh my goodness I am being sabotaged! Then finally, the page refreshes and you go to your planner and try clicking on the classes you want so fast that your hand is shaking. You click, click, click, click and then press submit. Here it is the moment of truth…

5. You get the classes you wanted.

This is the moment of disbelief. The moment where Taylor Swift stands up on stage staring out at her audience in utter disbelief that they all came to hear her perform. You realize you are registered for 16 credits and that class you thought would fill up before you got a chance had 3 seats left, and you were able to grab one of them. This, my friend, is the state of grace, the perfect moment.

The look on your face when you get the class you want

Disclaimer: While sometimes you aren’t able to get the certain section you wanted, or the certain teacher you wanted, rest assured that you won’t have a problem getting a full schedule. One of the great things about BU is that although they are one of the bigger universities, students aren’t left trying to fill their schedule. Go BU!

Happy thanksgiving!

Lauren: ADventures in COM!

Hi everyone!  As an advertising major here at COM, I’ve had the opportunity to get hands-on copywriting and design experience inside the classroom!  It’s amazing to know that my professors are working to prepare me for life in the advertising industry!  I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to take such exciting classes.

In one of my classes, Creative Development, our professor assigns us a specific client each week, like Weight Watchers, Boston Public Health Commission or Happy Tot Baby Foods, and asks us to create the concept for a billboard ad, print ad or direct mailing piece for the brand or organization.  The class is generally split between copywriters and art directors, so two students work together on the project.  It really has helped us learn about what it takes to work successfully in a group setting.  We also have to present our ideas in front of the class, which gives us great public speaking experience.  Presentation skills are definitely useful, especially in the advertising industry.  This class is one of my favorites because it keeps my creative juices flowing and lets me experiment and present some wild ideas!

In another one of my classes, Design and New Media I, one of our assignments was to create the concept for our own, made-up company!  We’re spending the semester designing a website and promotional material for this organization!  It’s so much fun to execute some wacky ideas.  The sky’s the limit.  Along the way, we’re learning how to use the Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver and other design software.  It’s amazing to take your ideas and be able to execute them right on the screen!

In my Advertising Management class, I’m learning all about the business side of the advertising industry.  It takes a special set of skills to manage an account and deal with a client, and this class is teaching me all about it!  We’re learning about branding, writing creative strategies, holding client meetings and other essential responsibilities of an account management position.   It’s great to have a great understanding of both the creative side and business side of the industry.  And a lot of the work I’m producing for my classes can be used in my portfolio too.

It’s incredible that I’m able to get such a great head start into the field! I feel like one of the “Mad (Wo)Men” already, and I haven’t even graduated yet!  I hope you’re all enjoying your classes as much as I’m enjoying mine!

 

Dany: Do You Have Your Study Buddy?

I don’t know about you guys, but it’s getting to be that time of year again for me. Midterms. When all those times spent procrastinating on Tumblr and Netflix and barely skimming long, dense readings come back to haunt you. Well, here are some pro-tips for getting through the battle.

1. Take breaks.

Believe me, nothing productive will come from a 15-hour cram session. Your brain needs to relax. Focus on what you need to do but when you start to read the same sentence eight times and the room gets blurry, it’s time to stop. Walk around, stretch your legs, get something to eat. Smoothies help me concentrate and they always perk me back up when I’m starting to lose focus.

2. Know your study pattern.

My notes always look like Office Depot threw up on them. Everything is color-coded by highlighters and sharpie pens with the appropriate post-its where I jot down questions I have while studying. It helps me stay organized and during exams, I can visualize my notebook and remember the answer. That’s how I work. Everyone learns differently, so my point here is find your routine. Establish your study method and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works.

3. Plan ahead.

This one is the hardest one for me because my schedule tends to be packed to the minute. But I know that if I make little sacrifices and set guidelines for what to study, I’ll be much better off. Usually about a week or so before an exam, I’ll take a look at the syllabus and see what’s going to be on it. Then I just divide it up into sections and study a little bit everyday, leaving the day before the exam as a review. This keeps me from not getting stressed and if I have any questions, I have plenty of time to stop by my professor’s office hours and ask.

4. Find your study buddy.

One of the first things I do when I walk into a class for the first time is look for someone I know or make friends. It’s always helpful to know at least one person in each class to compare notes with, quiz each other, and just talk about the material. When you’re really struggling to understand something, simply having a conversation about it with someone else and speaking in layman’s terms can help put you on the right track. Two heads are better than one!

That said, it’s back to the Mugar Marathon for me! Good luck everyone!

Richie: Finding the Right Professor

Summer’s nearing its end and soon you’ll all be in Boston, enjoying the company of new friends and starting an incredible four year long adventure. The start of college is no doubt, exciting. Yet, I know some of you might have your small fears or may be even experiencing minor panic attacks. I promise you it’s a lot easier to adapt to than you think.

Starting off new classes was one of my personal fears. First off, its definitely wise to look up what building your class will be in before the first day. The majority of your classes your first semester are general education requirements, and for that reason, will be very spread out across the campus. Get familiar with the names and acronyms of the different buildings. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for directions.

Having a good sense of where your classes are located will also help you better understand where you’ll be able to stop for lunch in between your classes. Will you have time to make it to this dining hall, or even go back to your dorm for a bit?

It’s also good to know that all professors always go through the syllabus on the first day of classes. A break down of the grade percentage, tests, upcoming projects, will be will be explained to you right away. That way you’ll have a good sense of what’s expected of you and you won’t have to worry about being thrown to the wolves. If you realize the class you signed up for wasn’t exactly what you thought it was, don’t hesitate to talk to an academic advisor to switch out of a class.

My main bit of advice is on professors though. I know I was worried about trying to build connections with my professors.  I left high school with a lot of friends in the faculty. Recommendations and help from teachers were easy to come by, and I worried it might not be the same in college. In your smaller classes you’ll be able to stand apart and establish a good relationship by just speaking up, but your larger classes will require a bit more of you.

I’d definitely recommend finding out a professor’s office hours and making an effort to show up. They’ll admire your desire to receive extra help and will also appreciate the company. Trust me, this will be very helpful later on if you need a recommendation later on in an extracurricular, and, for many COM professors, it’ll be very helpful when your looking for that internship during the summer.

BU really has some incredible professors and I really do suggest you shape your classes around them. I always schedule my classes according to recommendations from other students, and sometimes even the website ratemyprofessor. Obviously, the reviews on the site have to be taken with a grain of salt since most people writing reviews are going to be either irrationally angry at the professor, or madly in love with them. Either way, it does help a bit. A great professor really does make all the difference in your experience at college. Not just one that will give you an easy grade, but will engage you, interest you, challenge you, and then be able to help you in after you leave their class.

Ask upperclassmen (and obviously your COM Ambassadors!) what professors they must absolutely recommend and I’m sure they’ll give you a huge list.  I definitely know the film professors that are top in my head.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and get excited for Boston. I’m already excited and it’s not even my freshman year.

Julianna: A BU Style Guide for any Occasion

Julianna ImageWhat to wear to your first day of classes as a college student:

It’s like the first day of pre-k all over again, minus the Power Rangers backpack. You’re a whole lot of nervous, but also really determined to have the best day EVER. Hold on a sec, and put down that curling iron and brand new fall cardigan. No need to glam yourself up on the most important day in September. Why? Because Boston is as hot as the Sahara Desert. I hate to be the bearer of bad news ladies, but you won’t be breaking out that new fall wardrobe until the middle of October, the earliest. So if you want to appear all calm, cool, and collected on your first day of school, then dress the part (emphasis on the cool). Wear a pleated chiffon maxi skirt with a tucked-in loose cotton tank. Belt it at the waist and strap on a pair of leather gladiator sandals. If a floor-grazing skirt is not your thing, then wear a white tunic button-down in a light-weight fabric over a printed sundress. A pair of classic Sperry Top-Siders is perfect for this look. For the guys, you know that you actually care about how you look today. I mean, come on it’s the first day! So remember to shave and put on a pair of chino shorts with a v-neck tee. Your shoe  of choice this semester will also be the Sperry Top-Sider.

What to wear to a normal day of classes:

So it’s past the middle of the semester. You are now a certified pro at this thing called “college life,” and your new best friend is the Venti coffee. Get dressed, wash up, and be in lecture in T-minus 10 minutes? Psssh. No problem. Here’s how to roll out of bed and look decent on a time crunch. Comb that wild Ke$ha bed-hair and slip on an embellished headband. If all else fails, hide your rats nest under a knit beanie. You have no time to fidget with pesky buttons, so throw on a boatneck jersey top, skinny jeans, and velour loafers. Stay warm and get some insta-glamour with a black faux fur vest fur. Guys, layer a half-zip sweater over a thermal top with jeans and a pair of Converse. Oh yeah, don’t forget to get that morning gunk out of your eyes. Ew.

What to wear to your part-time job/internship:

Time to network and make that résumé golden, so dress to impress! A navy or black blazer is your business wear must-have. Wear it over a stretchy wool dress, and cinch it at the waist with a thin bright-colored belt. Try a suede pump or a ballet flat. Why not try a fashion risk by color-blocking an outfit? Skip the boring black trouser, and get a pair in mustard color with a skinny cropped leg. Wear a royal blue button-down shirt , nude flats, and a statement necklace. Boys, style that classic oxford shirt and black trouser with a gingham print tie. The next day reverse the look: wear a gingham print button-down with a solid-colored tie.

What to wear while out and about in Boston:

Whether you’re hitting up the Pru or exploring the South End, dress with comfort (and style) in mind. Boston has some bi-polar temps, so everyone should master the art of LAYERING. Girls, try a bright long-sleeved top under a faded chambray shirt. Wear ultra skinny black jeans or an a-line skirt with opaque tights. Try an olive green utility jacket, a chunky scarf, and a cross-body bag. Invest in a pair of black combat boots, such as Dr. Martens. I basically live in my combat boots, and I’ve learned that they go with almost anything. Guys, why don’t you get yourself a chambray too? Yay, chambray shirts for everyone! Get it unisex clothing! Charcoal colored chinos rolled at the ankles, canvas sneakers, and a neutral-colored utility jacket completes your look.

What to wear to Sunday brunch:

Respect the Sunday brunch. It will instantly become your favorite meal of the week. Whether you and your crew keep it economical by choosing to go to the dining hall or pretend that your lives are The Hills and go to some mildly “classy,” yuppie-filled cafe, just know that it’s totally okay to bum it out. So ladies and gents, bust out your beloved flannel button-down, 1,000 times worn-in jeans, and the band tee that makes all your friends super jealous. Girlitas, throw on something knit, such as a cute ear-warmer or circle scarf. Just don’t get too comfy in your brunch attire by staying in your fuzzy slipppers. Lace up those beat-up Chucks, and go off and nom on some bacon!

Jason: New Semester

JasonHey guys,

Well, here’s my first blog entry of the semester. Classes just started so I figured it’d be appropriate to talk about how my first couple went. I’ve only had my liberal arts classes so far, my film classes are tomorrow (although by the time you read this I will have had them) but for now I’ll just talk about my first day back.

First of all, I was skiing in Park City, Utah the week before I got back to Boston and it’s warmer there than it is at school; so that was a bit of a shock. Anyway, if you end up living in West Campus make sure you get to the bus pretty early through out the winter because EVERYONE will be waiting for the bus and they can’t all fit. I ended up taking the T took my first class because the bus was too crowded.

My first class was sociology of law and society. I’m taking this class because A) it’s applicable to the topic areas I want to cover in my documentaries and B) it fills a requirement. The professor is hilarious and we’re going to have the opportunity to sit on a criminal court case. After watching religiously watching every episode of SVU, that’s been a dream of mine for some time now.

The class immediately after is Spanish. Last year I switched from French so I can participate in the Madrid Film Studies and Documentary Video Production Program in the fall. Right I’m now at the 5th semester level so I’ll be all set to go next year. I can’t really say much because apparently the professor who taught the entire class yesterday was subbing for our real professor. Should be good though.

That’s about it on that front. It’s good to be back and I’m pumped for a great semester.

Joe: Meeting Stephen Colbert…for Class

Joe Kain
Joe Kain

Hey Everyone!

I hope you’re all having an awesome end to your school year, I know I did. And congratulations to those of you that have already graduated.

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to see a live taping of The Colbert Report in New York City. As some of you may know, when you’re here at BU you will probably be taking a WR 150 class. These writing classes all test the same skills, but just have different topics. Some topics include The Devil, Environmentalism, Documentary Films, and even Stephen Colbert!

I was lucky enough to get into the class entitled “The Colbert Report: American Satire.” The class, with Professor Michael Rodriguez, studies Colbert’s unique brand of satire and how he is not only revolutionizing previously utilized styles of satire, but also creating his own unique style. It is a super fun class and I urge anyone interested in this type of thing to try and take this class, because it is NOT going to be easy to get in.

Anyways, we all got to skip out on class to take a trip to NYC. The Colbert Report interestingly films in a really random part of New York, so we didn’t have a lot of time to wander around the city before the filming. But, it didn’t really matter because we were all so amazed that we were about to see Stephen Colbert in person! For school!

The taping was everything I thought it was going to be. It was absolutely hysterical to see him in person. But, as a film and TV student, it was even more impressive to see how much goes into just one episode of the show. His team of writers comes up to him to give him a pep-talk between every commercial break, and the show’s runner is all over the place, queuing Colbert as to which camera he should be looking at.

After the taping, as a special treat for our class, Colbert stayed back and answered questions out of character. Not many people get to see Colbert out of his character, so to hear him speak so eloquently and with such intelligence as a satirist was amazing. I also felt like I had a greater understanding of the show after taking the WR 150 class.

So the lesson is take classes that you’re interested in! Never settle for any “boring” classes or classes that your friends are taking. Branch out and explore all your options here at BU. You won’t regret it.