Lauren F: 10 ways to spend your free time effectively

This semester, I’m working for Boston.com — the regional news and information website of the Boston Globe — as a full-time co-op. As daunting as a 9-5 might seem, it’s actually pretty surprising how much free time I end up with at the end of the day.

No assignments, no studying, no papers; I leave all the work at the office to complete the next day when my shift begins. I think I can confidently say that I’ve mastered the art of spending your free time effectively. (NOTE: I reiterate effectively, as the following may not necessarily be the most productive. Word choice is key here.)

If you ever find yourself in a lull between classes and homework, it can be aggravating to remember how you used to spend your free time all those weeks ago during winter break. Here are a few recommendations so you don’t spend all your free time simply figuring out what to do:

  1. Binge a Netflix/Hulu show

This brings me back to my original point on how this post is meant to teach you how to spend your free time effectively, not productively. I’m sure this is already an option that comes most readily to us busy college students, but it’s hard to search for a good show to watch amid the vast collection that these streaming services offer. So far, I recommend New Girl for some light-hearted humor, but some other classic comedic shows to binge include Friends, Parks and Recreation and The Office. In terms of more dramatic options, I would recommend Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Shameless and Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, none of these options are particularly hidden gems, but I’ll add in my two cents to attest to the quality of these shows.

  1. Start a blog

Blogging is not just for the Insta-famous or technologically-ept! I can claim that as I, myself, actually maintain a travel blog. It began as a way to show my family back home what I’m up to here and it’s still rather new as I only have one post on there (shameless plug: check it out at farawayfrias.wordpress.com), but I hope to add more to it once I study abroad. Your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be travel-related like mine, but it can revolve around anything! Food, music or even just a compilation of your thoughts — anything is a good enough theme. Even if you don’t want to start your own website, go to medium.com to get a taste of that blogging life without jumping all in.

  1. Try bullet-journaling

This might be a very niche frustration, but something that I’ve always struggled with at the beginning of every new school year is finding a planner. If you’re anything like me, my planner is my lifeline; I write everything in it — to-do lists, grocery lists, reminders, assignments, recipes, future plans, even book and TV show recommendations. I have a very specific idea of the organization that my planner needs, and nine times out of ten, the planner I end up doesn’t meet all of my needs. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands and try bullet-journaling. It’s a hassle, yes, but the amount of creative freedom that comes with bullet-journaling makes it worth.

  1. Learn how to cook

I’m not entirely sure how much this will pertain to most students, but I live in an off-campus apartment this year, which means cooking is a very large part of my life now. Previous to this experience, my culinary expertise spanned no further than instant ramen and scrambled eggs. I think it’s safe to say that so far all of my recipes are no more than glorified versions of basic foods — I use fancier spices now alongside salt and pepper — but all you need is a pan, a hot surface, and a determination to be self-sufficient and you’re well on your way to making a gourmet meal.

 

  1. Go to the gym

Again not entirely sure how much this will pertain to most students, but I have recently gotten back on my health kick, probably thanks to the new year. But truth be told, it’s really not as bad as society makes it seem. Sure, there are health nuts and fitness gurus surrounding me while I struggle to pick up a four-pound weight, but don’t let them phase you. You’re there to achieve your own goals, no matter how big or small they are. My goal is pretty small — being able to climb the three flights of stairs to the Globe office without getting entirely winded — but it’s enough to keep me going back. And you’d be surprised how fast those two hours at the gym can fly by when you’re

  1. Do arts and crafts

Arts and crafts can cover a wide variety of projects, but it’s still a nice way to spend your time without being glued to technology. Most of my crafting efforts have been put towards decorating my apartment with painted glass bottles and pressed flower canvases, but to get more inspiration, get yourself a Pinterest board of ideas today.

  1. Search for work on BU’s Quickie Jobs page

Something that I think a lot of BU students might not be aware of is the Quickie Jobs page under the Work tab on Student Link. We’re college students, so obviously we like to make money where we can. Well, this page can help you with that, offering quick odd jobs to help you make a fast dollar. There are various opportunities posted, from babysitting gigs to research studies. If you have a free moment to spare, it doesn’t hurt to make a bit of cash on the side.

 

  1. Read a book

To some, this must come as an easy option, but to the more technologically-inclined, it’s an outlet to give your eyes a rest from all that blue light. Currently, I’m reading a book by BU’s very own Professor Mitch Zuckoff, 13 Hours. And you’d be surprised how many other professors have interesting published books. You can rent books from Mugar Library with your BU ID, but if nothing there suits your fancy, it’s easy and free to register for a library card at the Boston Public Library right outside the Copley train stop. So really, you don’t have much of an excuse not to read.

  1. Volunteer

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in this bustling city, from local animal shelters, retirement homes, and even right on campus. It always feels good to give back, and it’s just a quick Google search away to find opportunities. If you’re looking for a more accessible option, check out the Community Service Center for some on-campus volunteer work.

  1. Relax!

And, most importantly of all, the best way to spend your free time is to just relax. Light some candles, draw yourself a bath, and settle in with a good book. And if you’re not a bath person, I recommend getting some string lights and snuggling into a big blanket to watch a good movie. Any way that you can take a moment for yourself, do it, before the grind catches up with you and you have to return to reality.

Emily: My Boston Bookstore Bucket List

This year, I made a resolution to read for pleasure more. It may have something to do with all of my professors telling me to be a “consumer of culture”, but really I just love reading and bookstores. And, as the first month of 2018 comes to a close, I’ve had the terrible realization that I’ve only read one book (It’s Commonwealth by Ann Patchett)!! So, to inspire myself (and hopefully you), I’ve compiled my Boston Bookstore Bucket List (because the idea of cozying up with a coffee and a good book sounds way better than doing homework).

 

  1. MIT Press Bookstore

Okay, so I’ve technically already been here but I cannot recommend this bookstore enough. The MIT Press Bookstore, as the name suggests, features works from the MIT Press. They have an extensive selection of design, art, and science books (and a pretty nice music section). But what makes this store stand out from the others (Aside from the selection of coffeeshops surrounding the location) is the book designs themselves. I have never been more inspired by book covers before. If you’re into graphic design or art, this would be at the top of my list.

  1. Trident Booksellers and Cafe

Brunch in a bookstore? Trident says yes! So, I’ve also been here a few times, but I always want to go back! Trident has great food (I recommend the tofu scramble for my veggie friends) and an even better atmosphere. I could seriously spend all day here – and not just because of the free wifi. If you’re looking for good books or good gifts, or a good place to take a friend, this is the place to go!

  1. Brattle Book Shop

This is at the very top of my bucket list… look how cool it is!! Brattle Book Shop offers a vast  selection of used books, plus their outdoor bookshelves would make for a great Instagram (amiright ladies)?

4) Brookline Booksmith

Located in the always-cool Coolidge Corner, Brookline Booksmith is one of the most recommended bookstores in Boston! For aesthetics alone, this is at the top of my list (look at the fairy lights, it’s a Tumblr dream!) Brookline Booksmith has a huge variety, a used book cellar, and also sells audiobooks.

Hopefully this inspired you to hit your reading goals this year! Happy Reading!

 

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.

Carlee: Which COM club should you join this semester?!

Take this quiz to find out which club is best for you! Whether you are looking for a new club to join or simply want to see which COM club suits you best, answer these 10 questions for a result!

1. You have an hour to kill in between classes, what do you do with your time

a. Grab a bite at the dining hall or the GSU to meet up with friends!

b. Watch an episode of the series I am currently binging

c. Catch up on some school work or check my social media accounts to see what’s going on

d. Call my parents because I love talking to them!

 

2. How concerned are you with the way you dress?

a. Very concerned

b. Only a little concerned

c. I dress to impress when I find it necessary

d. I don’t care how I look as long as I feel good

 

3. Most of your friends in COM are studying…

a. Public Relations/Advertising

b. Film & TV

c. Journalism

d. Mass Communications

 

4. You have a WHOLE day to yourself (unusual, I know); how do you spend your day?

a. Taking the T to Newbury for some good food and shopping

b. Going to the movies to see those two Academy Award-nominated films I’ve been dying to see

c. Visiting some or the historic, fun locations around Boston (like The Boston Public Library, the Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, etc.)

d. Anything that my friends are down to do with me!

 

5. What is your favorite media platform for storytelling?

a. Social media

b. Film

c. Print

d. Music

 

6. .What is the first TV show you flip to when you’re browsing through channels?

a. Gilmore Girls, Friends, Jane the Virgin, or the Bachelor!

b. Whatever is all the rage at the moment (Big Little Lies, How to Get Away with Murder, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, etc.)

c. The news for sure

d. The Office, Parks and Recreation, or any great comedy!

 

7. Your professor assigns you a paper to write and you can write about anything you’d like; what topic would you choose?

a. Lifestyle (travel, food, or anything else that I love)

b. The plot of one of my favorite movies; I have so much to say

c. Trump’s latest decision regarding immigration

d. I could see myself writing about anything, so whatever is on my mind this week!

 

8. What is your favorite app?

a. Twitter

b. Netflix

c. Facebook

d. Spotify

 

9. Which study-abroad location would you choose through COM?

a. London

b. Los Angeles

c. Dublin

d. Sydney

 

Your COM soulmate is…

a. Attractive, kind, and adventurous

b. Artsy and has a lot in common with myself

c. Woke!

d. Friendly and can talk about the meaning of life with me

Mostly A’s

Your talents would be very appreciated at the BU Buzz! This group of people is so fun to hang around with all while writing about the beautiful things in life. From campus to wellness, this magazine just about covers it all. They would love to have your spontaneous and positive attitude on their team. The mag’s content expands to various forms of multimedia also, producing year-round content on their website along with one printed version each semester. In their words, “The Buzz is more than a magazine; it’s a vehicle that embodies Boston University’s population by showcasing work that is completely student produced and student run.” Check them out at https://www.thebubuzz.com!

Mostly B’s

You should so join a BUTV10 show, or if you are already involved, partake in another! BUTV10 would appreciate your enthusiasm for the craft of storytelling as well as your openness to learn everything you need to know about tech equipment! You would have the time of your life getting to explore the endless possibilities through one of the shows on the network. Offering shows in news, drama, sports, comedy, and lifestyle, BUTV10 has something for everyone. Your talents and your passion could surely find a home here. Explore all that BUTV10 has to offer at http://www.butv10.com!

Mostly C’s

The Daily Free Press would surely welcome your skills with open arms. This independent student newspaper would put your talents to great use, with your keen eye for newsworthiness and outstanding creativity. “The Freep” covers news, sports, opinions, and other columns while establishing a professional atmosphere for its writers. Since the paper publishes digitally every day and in print every Thursday, you will also stay completely up to date on important events throughout Boston and internationally. The Daily Free Press would love your integrity. Read up on some of their stories at http://dailyfreepress.com!

Mostly D’s

WTBU radio would LOVE to have you. You are such a fun person to hang out with and any show on air would be lucky to have you. Broadcasting live 20 hours a day, this radio station will always give you something to talk about on air. Howard Stern himself worked as a DJ on the station in the ‘70s. Anything is possible with WTBU. From interviews, to live music, to discussions, to the news, there is always something to listen to and join in on in the WTBU station. Members make lifelong friends here, and your bright personality and enthusiasm would be a fabulous fit. Listen in at http://sites.bu.edu/wtbu/!

 

I created this quiz because I truly love all that COM has to offer, and what better way to highlight these amazing, fun, co-curricular activities than by creating a very Buzzfeed-like quiz? I know everyone can appreciate a Buzzfeed quiz from time to time. I often find myself taking random online quizzes instead of studying, because quizzes are clearly the more fun option; you can learn a lot about yourself through a simple Buzzfeed quiz and this is the truth. If you are not already involved in any of these COM-oriented clubs, I highly recommend it!! I have heard nothing but great things about each of these four clubs included in the results. If you are reading this and you are already involved in any of these clubs, I’m sure you cannot deny that you love it. Even if you are not a COM student, all of these clubs will welcome you. I hope you all have the time of your life this semester in your co-curriculars and beyond!

 

CA Disclaimer: This is only a small sampling of the great clubs COM has. Check them out here!