A Floridian takes Boston

Yesterday morning I woke up to snow falling outside of my window. Coming from the Sunshine State, this was one of the moments I had been anxiously awaiting ever since the leaves started changing in October. With the snow came a realization: I’ve been living in Boston for four months. Where did the time go?

As any COM student by now knows, time flies by when you’re having fun. It may be hard to imagine that there is much time between going to class, reading for class, and sleeping, to do anything else for a grad student. But COM has helped me keep a balance between school work and a social life.

So far in this semester, COM has hosted six events for grad students. From dancing at the ritzy Hyatt in Cambridge, to cheering on the Red Sox, and exploring the Freedom Trail, COM has made sure to plan fun events that have helped me take a break from the books, get to know this amazing city, and make new friends.

COM has also helped me get more involved on campus, too.

As a teaching assistant for COM 101, I’ve been given the opportunity to help BU’s undergrads on their journey toward an exciting degree at COM. This class is the introductory course to a degree in communication at BU and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my semester working with the students in my discussion section.

Though this responsibility comes with a lot of hard work with planning discussion sections and grading assignments, it has also come with instantaneous friends and fun among the group of 23 teaching assistants.

Coming to Boston without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but COM has made the transition fun and exciting for this Floridian.

COM in a Day #myCOM

This past Friday, COM took part in something new: COM in a Day. It was a chance for everyone at the College of Communication to show what happens over the course of a day. From 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. we asked COM students to use Twitter, Instagram, Vine and whatever else they could think of to show pictures, videos, etc. of what they were doing.

The response we got was amazing.

Students were told to use #myCOM so that we could keep track of all the posts. On Twitter alone, there were almost 1,500 uses of #myCOM over the 24 hour span. It was trending in Boston along with “Red Sox” and “World Series”, which are kind of popular at the moment.

What was also great about it was that we were able to document it. Using our Storify page, we were able to show what people were doing as it happened. We were also able to create a page dedicated solely to COM in a Day, which we can use as yet another tool to help show those interested in COM just what we are all about.

But my favorite part about it was the fact that so many people involved with COM (undergrads, grad students, faculty, staff, alumni) participated. It was awesome to see us issue a challenge to the student body and to have them respond the way they did. Of course, competitions with prizes and potential extra credit helped to play a role in getting the word out, but once the entries started coming in, they kept flowing. So thanks to everyone who participated, and if you would like to get a sense of what COM has to offer in just one day, check it out.

My Summer Internship

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.

Check out the COMGrad Podcast

Here at COM Grad we have been looking for new and different ways to get information to potential students. In an effort to continue this, we recently started the BU COM Grad Podcast. Fellow COM student (and good friend) Andy and I are joining forces to spread the knowledge of COM to the ears of anyone who wants to learn more about our programs and application process (or hear our witty banter).

Luckily, we will not be delivering the information alone. We will be joined by members of the COM faculty to answer questions ranging from the application process to financial aid to specific looks into different programs. From the episodes we have done, I have already learned information that would have been very useful to know during my application process.

But most importantly, we want to help you. We want to answer the questions that real-life perspective students have about anything COM. So send us your questions, and we will find the answer and bring it up on the podcast. Don’t be shy, because odds are if you have a question, someone else is wondering the same thing.
So send us your questions. You can email us at comgrad@bu.edu (use “Podcast” in the subject header) or via twitter @bucomgrad (use #COMpodcast). And to catch up, here are the episodes we have completed thus far.

Hitting the Road

Throughout the fall the College of Communication will be hitting the road, and making stops in a number of cities around the country to meet with prospective students. The schedule is as follows, and I can speak from experience when I say it is worth your while to try to attend…

Sunday, September 29 – Chicago (Bar Event)

Tuesday, October 1 – University of Toronto (Graduate Fair)

Saturday, October 12 – London (Graduate Fair)

Tuesday, October 15 – Milan (Graduate Fair)

Tuesday, October 22 – UNC Chapel Hill (Graduate Fair)

Thursday, October 24 – University of Florida (Graduate Fair)

Thursday, October 24 – Gainsville, FL (Bar Event)

Tuesday, October 29 – Boston (Bar Event)

Monday, November 4 – Denver (Bar Event)

Tuesday, November 5 – Los Angeles (Bar Event)

Thursday, November 7 – San Francisco (Bar Event)

Sunday, November 10 – Seattle (Bar Event)

When I was a prospective student, it was one of these very “meet and greets” that helped me finalize my decision to attend BU. I sat down with Dean Sabovik and a handful of graduate assistants for dinner in San Francisco, and peppered them with all of the questions that I had. The meeting was more of a therapy session than a graduate school information session, because I was downright terrified to move all the way across the country to attend BU. I had lived in Seattle for my entire life. My family, friends, job…everything I knew was in Seattle. And the idea of traveling 3000 miles away from home to attend grad school was freaking me out. But in meeting with the crew of BU folks, I was not only able to learn a lot about the program that I was interested in, but I was able to find out more about what life is like for students. Basically, my stress level was drastically reduced. I knew I was interested in the school, it was just very reassuring to hear from current students about what exactly I was getting myself into.

As a graduate assistant, I am lucky enough to be a part of these trips as a representative of the College of Communication. It really is the best part of my job. Deciding which school to attend can be a daunting process, and incredibly stressful. For me to be a part of that process, and offer advice and personal experience is a really rewarding feeling. I especially enjoy being on this side of the process, because I was on the other side just over a year ago.

I hope to see you this fall. Be sure to RSVP to the event in your area, and you can do that right here.