Tag Archives: Boston

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.

Summer in Boston

This is my first summer as a Bostonian, and the final season in my first year here in town. I moved here last fall, I braved the winter and its blizzards, and I sneezed my way through the spring with the help of lots of Claritin. But now it’s summertime, and Boston is a very different place this time of year.

A big part of the difference is that Boston is chock-full of students for 9 months of the year. With over 30 colleges, there are 150,000 students living in the city.  This is what makes living here so much fun during the school year. With so many people of similar age, there is something fun going on 7 nights a week.  But when school lets out at the end of May, the mass exodus turns Beantown into a much quieter city…which is great!! Without actually going anywhere, I feel like I am getting a summer vacation right here at home. There are no lines to get into bars, I never have to wait for a table at restaurants, and the train is so empty I feel like I paid for a first class ticket. What is really great about the smaller crowds, is now that classes are out I actually have time to enjoy all the fun sites the city has to offer. We have been to Charlestown to see Bunker Hill. We have gone to Fenway to see the Red Sox. We went to Maine for a weekend where we saw a moose.  There is so much to see and do in the city and the surrounding area that it’s great to have the summer to explore.

There is work to be done, however. That’s what we are here for after all.

Plenty of BU COM Grad students stay here in the summer for internships. My buddy/classmate Greg works for the Red Sox television broadcast. My friend, and PR student, Emily is interning with a local PR firm. My friend, and Journalism student, Loren is working for a travel blog as their social media guru. I was lucky enough to convince the general manager of the campus radio station, WTBU, to let me do a daily sports radio show for the summer. Two of my fellow broadcast journalism classmates and I do a show Monday-Friday from 3-5 PM. The experience has been invaluable, as I don’t know many students who are getting the opportunity to do a live radio show every day. Between the hours of practice, the interviews we are doing, and the technical skills we are learning, we are getting a crash course in how to do live radio.

I have really enjoyed my first year in Boston, and each season has shown me something that I’ve never seen before. Fall was filled with new experiences, since I was just moving here and starting classes. Winter taught me what it really means to be cold, and that college hockey is amazing. In the spring the Red Sox got off to a hot start and showed me what it’s like to live in a great baseball city. And now it’s summer, and while the heat is giving me a true appreciation for air conditioning, Boston is proving to be a great place to live year round.

 

Finding Your New Home: Boston Housing

As an incoming graduate student at Boston University, one of the major steps that you will take will be finding a place to live. There are a number of options in terms of neighborhood, housing type, cost, roommates, etc. that will play a factor in your decision, but the best thing you can do is to start thinking about housing and working on finding a place as soon as you can.

As a student who just finished up my first year at BU, I will share with you a handful of things that I wish I had known when I was moving here.

Neighborhoods

Brownstone Apartments
BU South Campus

South Campus- is exactly what it sounds like, a portion of the BU campus, located just south of the College of Communication. The housing units are made up of BU owned brownstone apartments (studios and 1 bedroom units) that are about a 5 minute walk from school. The proximity to campus, and the fact that BU owns and operates the buildings are huge pluses. The only down side is that the cost is slightly higher than you will find in other neighborhoods.

Brookline- a very nice neighborhood south of campus. There are bars, restaurants, parks, good access to the C-Line of the Green Train, which runs right near campus, and it’s the birthplace of Conan O’Brien. The area is made up of some students, but mostly young adults and families, and has less of a college feel than other areas close to BU. Brookline is truly a great option for BU graduate students, but is also more expensive than other neighborhoods. If you are interested in Brookline I would suggest seeking a roommate to help split the cost.

Brighton- a couple miles west of campus, and is easily accessible via the B-Line of the Green Train. This area is mostly students, although there are some young

South Street

Quiet Brighton Street

professionals and families as well. Brighton is about halfway between BU and Boston College, so it is a good mix of students from both schools. The prices in Brighton are less than those in Brookline, and there are plenty of grocery stores and restaurants to amuse. Full disclosure, I live in Brighton and I really like it. The only downside is that it’s slightly further from campus than other neighborhoods where students live. My commute is about 25-30 minutes on the train each morning. If you don’t mind taking a little longer to get to school each day, then Brighton is a very nice option.

Allston- the area just west of campus. It is very convenient in terms of location to the school and there are many restaurant and shopping options. Prices are also pretty reasonable. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of your neighborhood Allston might be right for you. We do find however, that some graduate students don’t prefer Allston due to the high volume of undergraduate students and bars. I don’t want to discourage anyone from checking out Allston, or even living there, but for me as a graduate student it didn’t seem like a good fit. I wanted an area that is slightly quieter, which is why I picked Brighton.

Harvard Square

City of Cambridge

Cambridge/Somerville- These two area offer reasonable prices and lots of restaurants and shopping. The downside is that they are pretty far away from BU. You would have to plan for a much longer commute if you decided to live here, but it might be worth it in terms of apartment value.

Now how about roommates

As far as finding roommates there are a number of options. We offer a roommate sign up list in the College of Communication which can be found here.

Some students have found roommates through mutual friends, and others have used craigslist. But we suggest adding your name to the sign up list if you are interested in living with another person.

The process of searching

Once you decide which neighborhood you like, and if you want to live with a roommate, it is time to actually find a place. There are a handful of different ways to go about this. One way is to simply take to craigslist and try to find listings yourself. We have a number of students who have had success finding housing this way, but it can be tough due to the fact that most apartment complexes are run by management groups. What I did to find my apartment was contact a realty company. I used SCS Realty in Brookline, but I am sure other companies are similarly good. These companies work with the management groups to help find renters. The realty company will schedule a handful of apartment viewings for you in your chosen neighborhood and in your specified price range. While they do charge a fee for their services, using a realty company is an effective way to find a place.

We also offer help finding housing through the office of rental property management, which you can find here.

Also, if you can’t make the trip to Boston to search for housing and you are going through this process from another part of the country, we are happy to help. Sometimes realty companies won’t allow you to sign the lease without seeing the unit, and we are happy to go see it for you. We can text pictures and videos of the place to you, as well as offer our opinion of the value.

Hopefully this was helpful. There are a lot of great places to live near BU, now that you are armed with all of this info that I wish I had last year, you should have no problem finding a nice place to live.

 

A Boston Spring

Spring is here! You can smell it in the air as flowers bloom and grills are finally uncovered. Boston’s springs are just as good as its falls in terms of atmosphere, things to do, and beauty. Like bears, we awake from our winter nap (or, more accurately, grumpy slump) to eat, play and relax in the sun.

Charles River

Some must-do’s are:

Boat around Boston

As the weather warms you begin to see more and more boats on the water alongside the straining college crews. The Charles River is a great place for casual boating adventures and, if you’re inclined, sailing lessons (we even offer some through BU). I like to pretend I’m a pirate.

See the seasonal blooms at the Isabella Stewart museum

This art museum has an amazing courtyard which, though beautiful in the summer and fall, is a sight to see in the spring. The courtyard features vibrant blue and white Hydeangea macrophylla along with other flowers with complicated names. A great place to sit and contemplate contemplating.

Cheer on the Red Sox

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy going to a game at Fenway. The fan culture is just as exciting as the game itself, sometimes more so. There is no better way to spend a spring afternoon than eating hotdogs, drinking beer, and cheering with friends. Everyone is going to be there anyways.

Take a trip on the commuter rail

As amazing as Boston is, sometimes you just have to get out of the city. The MBTA commuter rail can take you to some great towns both north and south of the city. Stroll around and shop in quaint towns like Gloucester or Newburyport. Head south to see the historic city of Plymouth. There are some nice beaches if you are looking for a quiet picnic and national parks and forests if you’re looking to stretch your legs.

Relax on patio bars

As the weather warms, restaurants begin opening up their patios back up for drinking and dining. Sitting in the sun and watching the city pass you by while you feast on various dishes is a great way to relax after a day of shopping. Favorites include: Charlie’s Kitchen, Noir, and Marliave.

Attend a festival

Spring is the beginning of festival season in Boston. From now until the end of fall you can pretty much attend one every weekend. We have everything from beer, wine and food festivals to film, art and science festivals. Right now we have Boston’s annual Independent Film Festival (where one of our professors is showing off her recent documentary).

These are just a few of the many things you can do during Boston’s spring. For more suggestions check out these lists:

So whether you’re visiting Boston, have recently found an apartment, or have already been here a semester or two take some time to experience everything it has to offer.

 

Boston winters sure are fun!

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.