Carly: An Ode to Home

I hate California. I want to go to the east coast. I want to go where culture is, like New York, or Connecticut or New Hampshire.” – Lady Bird” – Carly Berke

Although I am not from Sacramento, Lady Bird’s residence of origin, nor am I even from Northern California itself, I could not have written a better line to encapsulate my senior year experience. I had pledged to flee Southern California at the beginning of my freshman year of high school. I was convinced that I wanted to travel as far away from California as possible and immerse myself in “East Coast culture” (i.e. seasons, snowfall, preppy elitists). So I left. I came to Boston, Massachusetts, one of the furthest possible locations from Los Angeles I could have chosen, save Vermont or Maine.

I was convinced that leaving home would “save me”, and I would blossom into the New Englander (or, alternatively, New Yorker) that I was born to be.

Truthfully, I was really only under the impression (as so many angsty teenagers are) that my family was the bane of my existence, and I felt stifled. In hindsight, a lot of my adolescent experience was tainted by mental illness, which is a story for another time. But nonetheless, my relationship with my family was challenging, and as a result I was eager to send a message by moving so far away. Moreover, the relentless heat in Los Angeles irked me. I was growing increasingly appalled by the Youtube/Vine/Social Media Influencer community that was growing in the city, and I convinced myself that I would never fit in anywhere (disclaimer: this is B.S. There is a place in L.A. for everyone).

Thus when college came, I tried to start over on the other side of the country. At first, I loved it. I loved meeting kids who had grown up in Mass and Jersey and Connecticut and New York, and I loved watching the seasons change. I loved engaging in a “Dunkin vs. Starbucks” debate and I loved wearing heavy winter clothing. I liked that Boston was so incredibly detached from my life at home. I liked that I felt like I was living a double life, with my old life growing increasingly faint.

But then it started to get harder. During my second year, the cold weather affected me more than it had the year prior. I was having trouble connecting with some people and felt more lost than I had on the first day of freshman year. I had a career crisis and was forced to contemplate the fact that a career I thought I wanted my entire life was no longer a path I wanted to follow. This discomfort, loneliness, and unease manifested itself in a general resentment toward Boston and the East Coast, at least for a short period of time.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Boston, and I love the relative ease with which you can travel along the East Coast. I will be looking for jobs in New York and D.C. after graduation, and my heart still very much belongs out here.

But starting my sophomore year, every time I returned home to visit, it became increasingly harder to leave. I’ve grown much closer with my family, no doubt because of the proper treatment I’ve finally sought out for my mental health. But I learned to start appreciating little niches of home – like Malibu canyon, the miles of canyon road that I spent hours exploring in high school, or East Los Angeles, where I worked this summer and got to experience a diverse melting pot of Angeleno culture that I hadn’t been exposed to before. I developed a new appreciation for the community in which I had grown up, one I had previously scorned for its wealth and privilege.

Returning home for breaks and vacations quickly turned into what felt like an illustrious love affair, with me falling a little bit more in love each time I visited. Boston enabled me to finally hang up my tough-chick-home-rebel act and find comfort and solace in my family and my home community.

Two weeks ago, an ex-marine opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, killing 11. Borderline is about 15 minutes away from my house. I grew up playing softball in Thousand Oaks for my entire life. My brother performed in several shows at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center.

But before the implications of the shooting began to truly register, intense wildfires erupted across Northern and Southern California. Within hours, the fire was nearing my home and incinerating the neighborhoods of my friends and family. My parents lost power, and I was out of touch with them for four and a half hours. I didn’t know where they were or if they had evacuated.

Those ~48  hours are hazy. I crossed campus unaware of my surroundings and unable to be present in the moment. All I wanted was to be at home with my family and friends, even if my home was completely devastated. I longed for the company of someone from my community, anyone who could even remotely relate to what I was experiencing.

This past weekend, I visited my my brother in Baltimore to see him perform in the National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof, the show he first performed in as a kid that introduced him to theater and what would ultimately become his entire career. About a month and a half ago, we lost our Bubbie, who had been fighting a vicious battle against Alzheimer’s in the 3-4 years prior to her passing. We had grown up with her living right down the street, and she played an integral role in my childhood. She always fostered my brother’s love for theater and performing, and she supported us in every single endeavor. I felt her at the show with me.

Between the mass shooting, the fire, my grandmother’s passing, and my brother’s performance, I left Baltimore completely awash in intense emotion. I missed home more than I ever had before, and I was filled with an intense longing to return. I wanted to hold my parents tightly and take a walk through my neighborhood at twilight and drive along the coastline (which unfortunately will be incinerated when I return). For one of the first times since coming to college, I was truly, completely homesick.

How foolish I was to have scorned California. No one comes from a perfect home, nor a perfect childhood nor a perfect family, but I had found enough love at home to satisfy me for a lifetime. And it was only driving through Baltimore at twilight, the sky tinged with pink as night descended over the city, Ravens’ fans flooding the streets after a Sunday football victory, did I realize how immature I was to insist on leaving with such forcefulness. I might not live there anymore, and I might not be on a path that leads me back to Los Angeles, but I know I will always hold my home and my family very close to my heart. And for that, I am thankful.

Casey: Boston is Not the Midwest

Seeing as this is college decision time for high school seniors, I thought I might share my experience.

I went to school and spent most of my time in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. Noblesville (and all of Indiana, really) is a lot like Sacramento is described in Lady Bird. It was a great place to grow up, I made some of my closest friends, and I learned a lot. But for much of my life, it also felt like a cage and left me feeling like I was missing out on the world and life, while many of my classmates were completely settled on the idea of staying there their whole lives.

But luckily, I found a way out early on. My mom was a BU grad, and told me a lot of her experience going to school here, of all the people she met, great things she learned and did that she could never have in the small city outside of St. Louis she grew up in. From the first time I heard of it, I knew BU was where I wanted to be. So as trapped as I felt, I always had a way out in sight.

About a year and a half ago, as I began to decide which schools to apply to, I only visited two colleges: BU, and DePaul in Chicago. To comfort my parents and guidance counselor, I applied to a couple other schools, of course, but anyone who knew me knew where I wanted to be.

Now, I arrive at the present. My gamble paid off, and I now have nearly a year under my belt at the school I’ve wanted to go to since I was 4. BU has been all I hoped it would be. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people from all over (the best ones being in COM, obviously), experienced great things, and learned a lot about myself.

Looking back, this entire story and experience that occurred across 15 years of my life taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned and will be invaluable to me as I continue my college career.

First, trust your heart. It knows what you want and where you want to go, even when you don’t. I just knew deep down in my gut that BU was the right place for me, and would get me where I wanted to go in life. My heart knew it, so I never questioned it. College involves making a lot of decisions, and it can be extremely stressful trying to figure everything out, and it can be difficult to see what you truly want. But even if you don’t know, your heart does. Try listening.

Second, remember where you came from. I know I just spent this article ripping apart my home state, but its true. As I said, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people this year at BU from all over the world, and have learned a lot from them. But that’s what you have to remember, just as you learn a lot by meeting all these great people, they also have a lot to learn from you. Where you come from shaped you and made you who you are. Embrace it. In the end, where you came from and how you grew from there is what will set you apart in college, and later, the world.

Richie: Thankful after Sandy

Most of us see Thanksgiving break as a quick break from school. It’s seen as a time to fill-up on turkey, watch some football, bump into old friends, and go Black Friday shopping. It’s a great time to be with family, but unfortunately most of us don’t actually stop and take time to give thanks. I know I’m guilty of it. This past weekend was the first time I went back to Lindenhurst in the past few months and I quickly found I had a lot to actually be grateful for.

Lindenhurst, being a town on the south shore of Long Island was very affected by Hurricane Sandy. For weeks I had seen friends posting pictures on facebook of their homes flooded, property destroyed, home-made signs threatening looters, and even photos of the National Guard who had set-up checkpoints. My home was just a few blocks north from most of the destruction so my family had luckily only suffered a power outage for a little over a week. But I had many close friends who lost a lot of property, had basements and first floors flooded, and some who weren’t even able to live in their homes anymore.

A friend who came back from college for Thanksgiving Break actually ended up staying with me every night. All the storage he kept below his home and in the garage had to be moved into his home and there was physically nowhere he could actually sleep. He’d spend the days with his family at a relative’s house and the nights at my place. He had always been a close friend so it was great having “sleepovers” like we used to when we were younger, but obviously we wished it could’ve been under better circumstances.

I drove around some of the areas that saw the most destruction and was taken back. Most of it had been cleaned up, but debris still lay around in many places, some roofs torn off homes, and a close friend’s house I saw was completely blocked off with caution tape.

It was a very surreal but a very sobering experience. It helped me be thankful for what I had. I enjoyed thanksgiving with my family and we even began decorating for Christmas around the house a bit early. My girlfriend even came out to visit a close family friend who lives a few minutes from me and she got to meet my family for the first time. It was a great break and seeing my family was very much needed. I hope that my friends and any other victims of the storm, on Long Island or anywhere else, will soon find help in rebuilding and recovering. I know I’m waiting to get back for Christmas break and hopefully see things better worked out around my town.

Steph: Thanksgiving Break On My Mind

Hey everyone! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the only thing on my mind is my flight home to beautiful Miami. I can’t wait to break out my shorts and tank tops for the holiday season!

For most of you, this will be the first time you go home since you’ve come to BU. Since you only have a few short days that will fly by, heres a list of things you should make sure to do while you’re at home!

1. Catch up on sleep. For me, the second I lay in my own bed is a moment of utter happiness and peace. There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep at home. After a 3/4 of a semester staying up late to do work, take advantage of this week to get back on a normal sleep routine. Your body will thank you.

2. Spend good time with friends and family. Because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, am I right? I remember last year, Thanksgiving break was so amazing because it was the first time my best friends and I reunited after each going off on the new adventure called college (cheesy, but so true.) I’m pretty sure my 4 best friends and I stayed up until 4am just talking non-stop about the last 3 months. That kind of goes against my #1 on my list, but for your friends and family, giving up sleep is worth it. 😉

3. Eat like it’s your only purpose in life. Now, I happen to think that I do this even when it isn’t Thanksgiving, but the holiday is a great excuse to gorge yourself on some of the best home-cooked meals you’ll have in a while. Even though the Thanksgiving dinner they served in Warren Towers last week was pretty incredible, nothing compares with eating amazing food in the comfort of your own home.

4. Do some schoolwork. I know, I know. Schoolwork is going to be the last thing you want to think about while you’re at home enjoying your free time. But, time after Thanksgiving break seems to move at hyperspeed. You get back, blink, and oh guess what, you have a final in 2 days! I personally have two 10-12 page research papers, an ad campaign, and a project due in early December (gross.) So, as much as I hate it, I’m going to try my best to carve out some time to get a bit of work done. Being a bit productive will make you feel better once you get back to school and see how much work you have due.

By the time this blog is posted, I’ll be soaking in the SoFlo sunshine. Wishing all of you a great Thanksgiving!! 🙂

Steph: Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

With crazy college life, it can get really hard to keep in touch with friends from home. With all the new people, new places, and of course loads of homework, finding time for an hour-long phone call to catch up can get complicated. Here are a few tips to help you guys stay in touch without the stress.

Make a Facebook Group

When we all went away to college last fall, my friends and I made a Facebook group so that we could all keep in touch. We post stories, updates, videos, and pictures to help keep each other informed on our lives. It’s a really easy way to stay updated on your friends, and its something to look forward to when you see that someone has posted in the group.

Snapchat

For all of you with an iPhone, Snapchat is a really fun, free app that you can share with your friends. The basic premise is to send selfies of yourself to your friends, who can only view it for a certain amount of seconds. Now, I know it sounds stupid. I thought it was at first too. But it’s actually really fun and silly, and it’s a nice way to show someone you’re thinking about them if you only have a few seconds to spare. You can also draw on yourself and add text!

Set Up Skype Dates

I’m a fan of planning things in advance. Most of the time, my friends and I end up playing phone tag because one of us is always busy. So, it can be helpful to set up Skype dates for later in the week to make sure that you and your friends can set aside time to catch up.

With busy college life, staying in touch can sometimes seem like a chore. But with a little bit of effort and these easy ways, you can make sure that you don’t lose touch with your good friends from home. I always feel better about everything after a nice Skype date, silly Snapchat, or Facebook post from my friends. I hope they help you, too!

 

Alexa: How to Not be Homesick

Hey everyone! Hope the semester is treating you all well!

I remember last year around this time I was beginning to transition from the excitement of being a freshman in college to missing my sweet chocolate lab. I was homesick. Luckily, I was able to figure out ways to cure my homesickness, (lets just pretend that’s a word), and I thought now would be a perfect time to share.

1. Skype:

Skype and Facetime are both great ways to stay in touch with your family and friends back home. There is something about seeing someone that is much better than just a five-minute phone call.

2. Realize You’re Not Alone

Seriously, everyone gets homesick. Especially coming to BU from California, I found it easier to admit that I missed home a little when my other friends from California did too. If you can talk about it, soon it won’t be as lonely.

3. Keep Mementos from your room

Keeping something from your room in your dorm room helps you adjust more to your new (but temporary) home!

4. Get Involved

I know it’s been drilled in enough, but getting involved is one of the best ways to forget about being homesick. If you are busy interning for a radio show, or shooting for BUTV, pretty soon you’re so busy you forget about wishing you were back at home.

Hope these tips help! Also good luck on your upcoming first COM test!