This time last year I was still settling into Boston. Classes started in September and I finally felt like I was getting into the groove of grad school. And had you asked me what I was planning to do over the summer – my answer undoubtedly would’ve been BU’s London program.
But that all changed, thanks in large part to one of my professors. As the spring semester came upon us, I applied for both the London program as well as a variety of public relations agency internships for backup. When I received an interview opportunity for Weber Shandwick, one of the leading global PR agencies, I found myself between two very appealing choices. Do I go to London, an experience of a lifetime, where I’m guaranteed an internship? Or – do I risk it for a potential paid agency internship that could likely set me up with the connections I’d need for a job? As appealing as London was (and still is), I knew New York was the smarter option. Agency experience is key in working in public relations – and I had yet to have the chance to work in one.
After I took the trip back home to New York and interviewed, I contacted one of my professors, knowing he had a lot of connections in the field. He reached out to the agency and put my name out there. I was hopeful. So, I waited and waited and waited…and waited (so forth) to hear back from Weber. Finally nearly a month and a half later I heard back. I got the internship! My professor really put himself out there to push for me to get the spot, so if there’s one thing I can tell you about BU it is: take advantage of the faculty and resources you have here. We all know communication often involves not only what you know but also who you know. Career services and your own professors can be a huge help in that regard.
Do I regret not going to London? Yes and no. Yes because, well…it’s London – that chance doesn’t come around too often. No, because a) I’ve been there before and b) I was able to meet and interact with vice presidents, account executives and group supervisors at the agency. I gained that agency experience that I knew I needed, I worked on a launch campaign and I was able to set myself up as a strong candidate for a future job. My summer in New York was a success and as I continue to make connections, I know I will put up a good fight in the job search after graduating. And who knows – maybe I’ll be lucky enough to live and work in London in the future.
Is it here yet?
So you’re newly accepted and anxiously waiting for September to start your adventure as a BU COM grad right? I thought so. You just want to skip right over summer and be here already. We know the feeling.
You may be wondering what classes you need to take and how to go about figuring that out. Well, step one -go to our website and click on your program. Then click under degree requirements. This is usually a great place to start. It tells you all your required classes and then some. I recommend getting all of your required classes out of the way first, especially if you’re like me and planning on going to London for your third semester!
Step two – speak to your department head. He/she will be very helpful in telling you exactly what classes you need. For example, for PR, CM 700 is only offered in the Fall. I emailed the head of the department, Professor Wright, and he essentially told me exactly which classes to take my first two semesters in order to ensure I’ll be on track for London. Because I’m in Public Relations, let me give you a preview of what your first and second semesters will look like to get the requirements out of the way.
- CM700 – Financial and Strategic Management
- CM 701 – Contemporary Public Relations
- CM 722 – Communication Research
- CM 707 (or) 705 – Writing for Media Professionals/International Students
- CM 710 – Communication Theory
- CM 742 – Media Relations
- CM 709 or 715 – Corporate or Nonprofit
But that’s just an example for those in Public Relations. And if that’s your track, don’t take my word for it (I’m probably/and usually right), but I would definitely double check.
Step three: You’ll have an adviser assigned to you – usually a professor. He or she could be a big help also! And finally, step four: firstname.lastname@example.org is always a huge help. After all, that’s what we’re here for.
I pretty much knew I was going to BU the moment I got the acceptance email. As someone who is interested in public relations, it was difficult to find many programs that actually offered it as a course of study. Boston University was among the few – and the only one I applied to that actually called it what it is: public relations (not strategic communication).
But what really stood out to me? When I came to visit, I could tell the professors actually cared. They wanted to instill knowledge in you and help you succeed. Furthermore, I knew that if I went to BU, I would have a greater chance of coming out on top with a stronger competitive edge in the job market. The community of alumni was stressed as being one of the best, and I knew that being in Boston would give me many more internship opportunities than the other colleges I applied to.
Practical Experience... and supportive, high-fiving professors
But my number one reason for applying to BU in the first place? Being able to have the opportunity to build my portfolio. The emphasis on applied work was important to me when I have had zero public relations experience. PRLab, the oldest student-run PR agency in America, would give me a chance to work with an actual client and build a media kit. Because I’m in PR I can speak wonders of the program, but I’ll also note that it’s not the only program which is applied. From the friends I’ve made in other programs, I know none of them regret coming here. And I know they’ll all come out with work they can show off to their future employers.
So…it’s pretty cold out guys. Like wind whipping you in the face you just want to be a turtle sort of cold. But as a long time North Easterner(ite?) I’m here to provide you with a few tips to stay warm this winter.
- Layers. Seriously…this is key. I see you walking around in your fancy skirt with your fancy tights…but I know you’re secretly thinking “Why did I wear this today?” While you’re in your skirt, I’m wearing two pairs of pants and pretty much two coats. Plus if you get hot in your class, layers are easy to shed. First the jacket, then the sweatshirt, then the long sleeve…then your thermal…you get the deal
- Warm socks. Have you ever heard that your head and your feet conduct the most heat? Well you’ll probably find me wearing grandma’s knitted socks underneath my boots until temperatures hit the mid 30s/40s (and yes after this week, that’ll probably feel like spring).
- Hats/earmuffs (on the note of conducting heat). I’ve decided that when winter rolls along I give up on looking put together. I know my hair is doomed and my makeup smudged, but at least my ears don’t feel like they’re about to fall off.
- Gloves. These are key if you want to be able to do things with your hands…especially while your frozen fingers are fiddling around for your Charlie Card. My favorite investment is a pair of gloves that I can actually keep on while trying to use my iPhone.
- Warm drinks. I love hot chocolate and usually feel a little guilty when I drink it, but the brutal cold makes a great excuse to embrace my inner chocoholic.
- Body warmth? I mean the crazy packed T has to be good for something right?
- Hibernate. Use the cold as an excuse to sit in your apartment, save some money and throw back a few beers that don’t cost $6 a pop. Or a $10 bottle of wine. Once spring comes along you really don’t have much of an excuse to be a hermit!
Hey guys…I mean it’ll be 36 on Monday. After this past week I think we can pretty much make it through anything.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?