Monthly Archives: December 2012

Your Finals Week Playlist

Every six months, writing students bang their heads against the walls for hours on end, repeatedly asking themselves why they waited until the end of the semester to do all of their rewrites and revisions. You can trust me on this. I’ve been doing it for years. So, as the only person who will ever give you sage advice ever, I’m here, once more, to help in the form of your finals week playlist.

Six songs to get you through finals week. Ready? Go.

1. Tyga – Rack City Now, you’re listening to this song because your undergraduate roommates are listening to it and they’re already partying. How do I know this? Because you’re already in the wrong place for studying and writing. Don’t study in your room. Find a nice park or coffee shop and get to work (see my blog on the best places to work in the area.) You’re not going to get any work done if you’re sitting in your room, because that’s where you sleep, and eventually, you’re going to crawl into bed.

2. Rufus Wainright – Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk This one’s important. Every time the song comes on your playlist, I want you to stand up and take a cigarette break. Not an actual cigarette break, but five or ten minutes every hour of work. Get your legs moving, you jerk. If you’re sitting in front of Avid or Final Draft for three hours at a time, you’re really just going to fry your brain. Don’t do that. This is directly adverse to the completion of finals. Also, don’t smoke. That’s unhealthy.

3. Five Iron Frenzy – The End is Here Yes. The entire two-disc album. Keep thinking positively. Just three more tests and four more full-length feature films and you’ll be done. Remember: you’re going to do great. You’re an excellent student, and everybody loves you. Finals are one thousand times worse if you think about how bad they are. You’ve done this before, and until you’ve got your degree, you’re going to do it again. Also, you kind of did this to yourself. So there’s that. But really. It’s almost over. You can do it.

4. Freddy Figglehorn – The Babysitter’s a Vampire Chances are, you started taking a break during Rufus Wainright and StumbleUpon’d all the way through Five Iron Frenzy. Don’t be ashamed. I know. Ska can do that to you. Look. Stay vigilant. Be your own Batman. The only way you’re going to get through this alive is by staying off Reddit and not spending twelve hours picking your perfect playlist on Songza. You’re not going to get any work done if you’re not getting any work done.

5. Aerosmith – I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing This one’s for the writers at the party. I know that the first thing you’re going to do when you get done is go submit your document and go sleep. Don’t do that, you fool. Take fifteen, thirty minutes, maybe an hour and go back over what you’ve written. It pays off in the end. Think of how many times you’ve lost points on an exam because you didn’t check your answers. This is like that, but worse, and it comes back to bite you in the rear when you absentmindedly submit whatever you’ve written as part of a portfolio.

6. Sea Wolf – Middle Distance Runner This is the most important advice I’ll ever give you. For the love of Sufjan, pace yourself. Don’t leave all of your work for the last minute. Break it up into doable chunks. To use a real life example, don’t try to write thirty pages a day to finish your feature film in a weekend.

That’s all you’re getting for now. Maybe I’ll do more pseudo-playlists in the future. For now, here’s the link. I’m off to write thirty pages a day to finish my feature film in a weekend.

Finals Week

It’s finals week at Boston University, and the stress level is pretty high. The fact is that everyone knows deep down that when the last final paper or project is due that we will have it taken care of, but there is such a feeling of doubt leading up to the deadline that it’s hard to believe that it could possibly get done. The thing that separates this week from the typical undergraduate finals week is this: first, the exams, papers or projects are all in subjects that we truly care about, and second, many of the projects are self selected so there is added pressure to perform. For example, I have a final paper due in my journalism principals and techniques class that is on baseball gloves. I love baseball, more than almost anything. So not only is there the pressure of the final paper, but there is the pressure to live up the standard that I would expect as a baseball fan. It’s a gift and curse.

This is a fun part about graduate school. Everyone who is here is here because they want to be. You have to not only have a bachelors degree, but also have had the initiative to apply and get accepted to the program. It is similar to college in that the people here are smart and want to learn, but it is different in that all the subjects are specific to your hopeful career and everyone even more motivated. It’s really exciting to get to choose topics that directly relate to your field of interest. This is probably the best part about BU. You are here to make tangible progress toward your future job. Hopefully someday I will get paid to write feature articles about baseball mitts. Here’s hoping.

The Nomad

I’ve moved six times in seven years. That’s not a fun way to live.

But by far the most challenging move what the one I made from Los Angeles to Boston just about a year and a half ago. There are several obvious reasons for that.

1) Distance — Pull out your nearest map. Now draw your finger from LA to Boston. That’s 3,000 miles. Well, I should be accurate. I went over to Google Maps and looked up the driving distance. 2,997 miles. Not counting rest stops and fast food runs. Great. Here are some directions for those of you interested in driving. (I flew.)

2) Convenience — Look around you. See that lovely desk you’ve had since grade school? That nice office chair? Not coming with you. What about your wonderful mattress, or the towels you love, or that easy chair, that giant beanbag, the posters and pictures of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the snow globes, that Nerf hoop or that great shoe holder? Also staying. If you decide to fly here, which I strongly encourage, you may be able to take two suitcases worth of stuff with you. Be thrifty. Remember, you need clothes. You can always buy stuff here in Boston.

3) Sun — There is more of it in California. Don’t be fooled: the weather here in Boston isn’t always as bad as people think it is. Look, I love the sun and the beach, but there is something to be said for cold weather. First of all, it makes hot chocolate way more effective. It’s also fun to see your own breath. Snow is pretty for at least three hours. Rain is good for the Earth and stuff. Cold weather makes football more awesome. Who doesn’t enjoy a good pair of mittens? But there are times when I really miss wearing sandals and shorts every day — in December.

4) New City, New Culture — People here are different from the ones back home. They’re more up-front, and it can come off as brash. But they’re honest, mostly polite and won’t bite you if you ask for directions. The streets here are laid out like they were planned by a mouse with its tail on fire. Intersections can be very dangerous, so make sure you are always being cautious. Find the nearest grocery store (that was a challenge). Everyone jaywalks, and no one seems to mind, but that doesn’t mean it is a smart thing to do.

5) Friends and family — You may not be able to go home for Thanksgiving, and Christmas might also be a problem. Remember, you will be a long way from home and your usual crowd. But this can be a big positive as well. Meet friends and make new connections. It’s a great chance to experience something completely different and see what the other side of the country has to offer. Boston is a wonderful city and you should take advantage of that.

Trust me. The move may be difficult, but once you get here and settle down, you’re going to love it here. Most people do. There’s so much to see and do here and most of it is a short train ride away. Take the leap.

Just remember those bag fees.

Meet Alina Rubezhova

I’m a die-hard New York sports fan, so you could probably imagine my dilemma in moving to Boston – land of the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics. But in my time here, I’ve realized it’s so much more.

Boston University sits at the center of all the action – Fenway Park is walking distance and near-by Kenmore Station can take you anywhere you heart desires (well…in Boston). And aside from sports, there’s so much more to do. When you’re not in class, you have the opportunity to explore a city that has a lot to offer: book festivals, shopping, eating…and of course, the occasional drink to take your mind away from school work (hey, no one said graduate school was easy). Since you are looking into Boston University, I thought I’d help sway your decision a little by listing a few of my favorite things to do in the city thus far.

  1. Newbury Street. Just a train ride away from all the shopping your heart desires. American Apparel, Forever 21 and Madewell are some of the few stores you’ll find along with some higher end fashion stores like Burberry. You can find anything you’re looking for from local, fun boutiques to well-known brands…and if you get hungry just stop by some of the many little restaurants. One of my favorites thus far has been Snappy Sushi. All their rolls are made with brown rice and it is very affordable.
  2. Boston Commons. If you’re looking for a place to hang out on a gorgeous fall day this is the go-to. I’ve explored a few parts, but most recently I was near the Park Street Green Line stop. When you’re surrounded by colorful trees and leaves on the ground, you forget about everything else you have to do. You could just get lost in the beauty.
  3. North End. How could anyone forget about this? It’s the perfect “Little Italy.” Yes, it’s a little expensive to eat there…but it is very well worth it. And everyone raves about Mike’s Pastry. When I had gone the line was far out the door, but after talking to a local, he said Modern Pastry was the “local’s secret.” Venturing there, I did not regret it one little bit.
  4. Faneuil Hall. I love this place for the ambiance. There’s always something going on. There’s the man on stilts performing crazy stunts and there’s vendors, shopping, food and even nightlife.
  5. Fenway Area. Okay, so I mentioned I hate the Red Sox right? Well, I did get the chance to go to a Yankees vs. Red Sox game and I do admit the area is a lot of fun. The bars get packed (and there are many of them). Plus, those Boston fans do a great job filling up the streets. It’s definitely something to explore.
  6. BU Pub. This one, I had to include. It is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect place to meet with friends after class and have some food and/or drinks (and even get some studying done if you want to feel productive). The building is right by The Castle, which is an incredible looking building to begin with. It’s a fun atmosphere and they also do trivia on some nights of the week.

So, come explore! I promise, you’ll never get bored.

And as for the education you’ll get when you’re not exploring? You’ll meet some of the smartest professors with real-world experience, as well as scholars who really enjoy teaching. As a Public Relations first-semester student, I have already taken in a lot of knowledge – from my Communication Research course to my Contemporary Public Relations course. Everything you do gives you not only textbook experience, but applied knowledge as well. It maybe sounds a little lame…but I actually enjoy going to class.

Great friends, a solid education and a fun city…what more can you ask of from your university?

The Bell OUT of Hand

Hey Com Grad students!!! I realize that you are all buried in a seemingly endless pile of end of semester work, but I have good news. Not only are we only 7 days away from the end of classes, but we are 7 days away from the final Com Grad Event of 2012. And this is one that you are not going to want to miss.

Come celebrate all of your hard work this semester at the Bell OUT of Hand today. The party starts at 8 and goes until 11 at the oldest bar in America, the Bell in Hand. The bar is located at 45 Union St Boston, MA 02108, which is the Government Center stop on the Green Line. Tickets are only $20 and that includes 2 drinks, appetizers and a bar full of your relieved classmates.

So seriously, I know this week seems like it will never end, but when it finally does make sure to celebrate all of your fall semester success at the Bell OUT of Hand.