Nick: 10 Things I Wish I Knew as a BU Freshman

I only have a little more than two months left on Comm. Ave. as a student, and as exciting as that may seem, it’s also pretty daunting. No less daunting, though, than first arriving on campus as a freshman. The feelings I’m having now as I look for my first job are the same ones I felt in the fall of 2014 – anxious, scared, uneasy, unsure. But not to worry. If you’re new to BU, I’ve got some tips for you. Below are 10 quick tips I’ve picked up along the way that I think would be useful for any BU freshman, or any BU student for that matter. 

1. Get a semester T Pass

You may think, “Oh, Comm. Ave. is walkable, I’ll never need to take the T.” Wrong. As unreliable as the MBTA is, it’s indispensable for any BU student. Especially now that I live in West campus, taking the T to COM on a time crunch is the way to go. It’s cheaper than buying a pass every month, and if you plan on doing a lot of traveling around the city, it pays for itself quickly. Be on the lookout early, though. I’ve missed the deadline a few times because it’s just before the semester starts.

2. The “freshman dorms” are your friends

I was unsure about Warren Towers and West campus when I first arrived at BU, but I shouldn’t have been. I spent my first year in a brownstone on Bay State Road, and while I loved that space for its peace and quiet during study time, I made my best friends at Warren and spent a great chunk of my free time there. Being on a floor with so many of your classmates is super valuable – make the most of it. Keep your door open and don’t be afraid to make new friends.

3. Join BU On Broadway

One of my only regrets about my college career is that I didn’t join BU On Broadway sooner. It’s an amazing group with amazing people, and the perfect outlet for any theater geek to continue their high school passion in college. Semesters only get busier when you become an upperclassman, so make the most of your free time as a freshman and get onstage.

I joined BU On Broadway sophomore year, but would do anything for more time performing in Tsai.
I joined BU On Broadway sophomore year, but would do anything for more time performing in Tsai.

  1. COM swipe access is a major key

    Though COM students now have access to the entire Adobe Suite, if you’re like me, you prefer to do your editing in COM. I bet you’re thinking, “But I thought COM closes at nine, Nick…” And while that’s technically true, with swipe access you’ll be able to get into COM later and finish any work. Just get a professor’s sign-off and go see the tech-guru himself, Brad Fernandes in room 102. You’ll thank me later.

  2. Don’t be afraid to take classes in other colleges

    With the BU Hub on its way, taking classes across colleges at BU has never been more attractive for COM students. I only took the necessary classes outside of COM to fulfill my major and minor, but I know there are a few classes in CFA I would have loved to explore. Don’t make the same mistake. And thanks to BU’s pass/fail policy, you really have no excuse not to take that music theory course you’ve been eyeing.

    6. 26th floor of Stuvi2 & 6th floor of Mugar are ideal study spots

    This one took me awhile to perfect, and while I’m ashamed to admit it, I hadn’t studied in Stuvi2 until junior year. The views of the Charles River and downtown Boston from the 26th floor are truly the best in the entire city. And the sixth floor of Mugar is one of the only places in the library that isn’t constantly packed. I don’t mind the view from up there, either. Hey, it beats studying in your dorm.

The views atop Stuvi2 are stunning, and the location also makes for an ideal study spot.
The views atop Stuvi2 are stunning, and the location also makes for an ideal study spot.

 

  1. Take advantage of all the great events BU has to offer

    In just the past month, I’ve seen Obama’s White House photographer and took part in a discussion about media in the age of Trump featuring the executive producer of POLITICO podcasts. This is just a sampling of some of the events going on around campus that interest me, and things are happening every day. During my freshman year I generally kept my head down and studied, and while there’s a time for that, be careful not to miss some of the extraordinary opportunities here through COM, the Howard Thurman Center and BU at large.

    8. Don’t miss the Power of Narrative Conference

Journalism majors and anyone who loves a good story – this is a must. Every march BU hosts this unique conference featuring some of the finest narrative journalists in the world. It’s an opportunity to meet industry leaders and strengthen your storytelling skills. This year’s guests include ESPN’s Don Van Natta (BU alum), Emily Steel of the New York Times and longtime NYT feature writer Sonny Kleinfield.

9. U-Grill is a Hidden Gem

Though it’s only about a three-minute walk from COM, it took me until sophomore year to discover University Grill & Pizza. It’s one of the best places on campus for a quick bite. The chicken parm is my go-to, but their menu is full of cheap and tasty opstions. The service is fast, the food is always hot and the folks working there are super friendly – always willing to talk some Boston sports. (Sadly, no convenience points accepted.)

10. Apply to be a COM ambassador

The COM ambassador program has been one of my best experiences at BU. It has introduced me to so many incredible people, and I’ve even mentored some incoming freshmen through the program that have become great friends. Being involved with open houses, giving tours to prospective families and writing these blogs has given me a whole new appreciation for my school. APPLY APPLY APPLY! You’ll be glad you did.

The senior COM ambassadors - smiling because in this picture we still had a year left in COM.
The senior COM ambassadors – smiling because in this picture we still had a year left in COM.

 

 

 

Ethan: Parting Advice

As I finish out my time at BU with the Los Angeles Program, I’ve taken some time to look back on my experience and the ups and downs of the last three and a half years. I’ve obviously learned a lot and grown as a person, but the main thing I believe to be true is that it’s all been worth it.

College can be a scary place. It’s daunting before you get here, and it’s pretty intimidating even after spending a little time here. The mindset I adopted right away was to push through my insecurities with all of it and try to expose myself to as much as possible. The least I could do with my last blog post is offer some advice on my way out.

1. Sign up for everything. I’ve written more about this in another post, but I’ll sum it up by saying this: Try everything. Give out your email to every club that sounds remotely interesting. Remember you can always unsubscribe from their email lists. It’s pretty easy.

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2. Meet people. Everybody is in the same or a similar place friend and network-wise in college. Even if you’re a couple years in, the people around you tend to be on the same level. It’s important to be open to not necessarily making friends but meeting people. You never know who you might end up spending a lot of time with.

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3. Use your resources. Go to Undergraduate Affairs and schedule an appointment. Go to the Writing Center and have someone look over your paper. Go to FPS and use the equipment (for FREE (seriously I’ve been without this for under a month, and I’m already feeling it)). Just go make things or do things with what you have. It’ll help you in the long run – even if you’re no good at it right now.

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4. This one is split into two for two (vague) types of people. Ask your friends if you’re not sure which one you are.

   a. If you’re the person that spends a lot of time partying and not worrying about school at all, maybe take a break. Partying can be as exhausting as doing actual work, and it’s important to balance your energy with both of them. It’s too easy to procrastinate and brush off due dates (and even some assignments), but you have to remember that it’s important not to waste your education. Also go to class. Only skip if it’s REALLY worth it.

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   b. If you’re the person that spends a lot of time on homework and at internships, make sure you have fun. College is obviously for learning in a higher education environment, but you’re not supposed to feel like you have a full time job (unless you also happen to have a full time job). Work gets stressful. You’ll have the rest of your life to worry about that. There will likely not be another time after graduation when you live so close to so many of your friends, so please take advantage of that.

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Anyway, this is the gist of what I can offer in my old age. Enjoy college, and find your place.

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Love, Ethan

Claudia: My Boston Bucket List

The semester has started and school is back in session, which means… I’m a second semester senior. As I’m writing this, there are 104 days 16 hours and 13 minutes (give or take) until I am a Boston University graduate. Crazy, right? BU (COM especially) has been my home over the past three and a half years and it’s weird to think in a little over 4 months, I could be in a completely different city. So here it is (a classic senior move), my Boston Bucket List, BUT with a twist. Here are some of my favorite things of the past three and a half years that I hope will make it on your Boston Bucket List!

The Boston Classics:

Go to the movies at Coolidge Corner Theatre: The Coolidge Corner Theatre may be my favorite place in all of Boston. I’ve seen some pretty great movies in this beautiful picture house, but the Midnight Movie series is a highlight of my college experience. I rang in my 19th birthday at a screening of Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion.

Mike’s Vs. Modern Cannoli Taste Test:  My personal favorite – Modern Pastry

Have a picnic on the Commons: My sophomore year roommates surprised me with a beautiful picnic on the Boston Commons for my 20th birthday.

Cheer on the Red Sox: No BU Bucket List is complete without going to a Red Sox game.

Eat a delicious pasta dinner in the North End 

Go to the Cape: You can take the express Cape Cod Flyer from South Station to Hyannis!

Eat plenty of lobster rolls: The Barking Crab is a personal favorite

Go to Salem on Halloween: SPOOPY!

Go to Boston Calling: LORDE. CHILDISH GAMBINO. BLEACHERS, ALT-J. HOZIER. WALK THE MOON. Enough said. 

My BU Favorites:

 Broadcast Live on 89.3 FM: WTBU Radio has been a wonderful community and will forever hold a special place in my heart

 Attend EVERY Lobster Night: And in Warren Towers, of course…

 Write and produce your own TV pilot: My sophomore year I co-wrote and produced a 40-minute TV pilot (you can check it out at vimeo.com/entidaled)

 Learn what it means to be a BU Boss Lady: I was lucky enough to join the HotHouse team last fall and travel to LA to film BU Boss Lady. I left the trip inspired by these boss BU alumni and eager to start the next chapter of my life

 Shut Down Warren Dining: There have been plenty of nights my friends and I have been the last people in the dining hall

 Lose your voice at the Beanpot: During my Freshman year, the Polar Vortex delayed the Beanpot, but that didn’t stop us from cheering on our winning team

 See a show at CFA: My best friend Hannah is an acting major and all I have to say is WOW.

 Study Abroad: My semester with the BU London Internship Program was life changing. Check out my adventures here

 Work with your best friends: The COM Ambassador program was not only a great platform for sharing how much I love COM, but it also strengthened the bond between me and some of my best friends.

 Staying up late in Warren Dining might not seem like a favorite moment at first, but I’ve laughed so hard in those red vinyl chairs that there’s no way my BU experience would be the same without it. All in all, enjoy your time at BU and make every second count.