Tag Archives: grad life

From a banana slug to a Boston terrier

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

“Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell, brand new shoes, walking blues, climb the fence, books and pens, I can tell that we are gonna be friends.”

I couldn’t help but think this White Stripes’ song was the perfect soundtrack to play on my iPod for the first day of school, while scrambling and hustling to get onto the Green Line.

Ah, yes, the anxiously awaited, first week of classes is finally done. After making a cross-country move from California to Boston, feverishly looking up reputation ratings on RateMyProfessor (sorry, it’s been a longtime tradition of mine since freshman year of college soon as I register for courses), worrying about whether or not my books would be delivered on time (thanks, Amazon!) and almost getting killed on the T, I have to say, it’s been quite an eventful week. I’ve definitely learned a lot about Boston in the three short weeks since I’ve arrived.

For example, I’ve learned there’s no shortage of students in Boston– at least 3/4 of the city’s population is made up of students. It makes sense…you’ve got your major institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston College, UMass, Berklee, Emerson and then the smaller colleges that I, (as a Californian), have never heard of. You get the picture…Boston is the Disneyland of all things education.

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After living in the suburbs my entire life, being in a large city is definitely a paradigm shift,  but I like it. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Even my condo isn’t bad, for a building that looks so old on the outside. At least it’s by three different T stations, convenience stores, restaurants and bars… ah yes, bars. There’s nothing quite like laying in your bed trying to get some shut eye when the sounds of city traffic and party goers trying to find their way home in a drunken stupor fill the night. It hits the sentimentality button so hard that you finally have to reach over to your nightstand and grab your earplugs. Ah, the memories of being 21. It truly is a nostalgic feeling.

I’ve already received quite a few looks and questions from people wondering why on earth would I leave California to endure the desolate winters of Boston. “Ooh, you’re going to be in for a TREAT this winter,” they’d cackle at me. I know, I know. You don’t need to rub it in. I probably purchased enough North Face/Patagonia products for people to think I’m moving to the Arctic.

But hey, extreme weather aside, living in a brand new city across the country in a brand new graduate program in a brand new field where you don’t know a soul is something we all need to experience in our 20s. It’s a chance of a lifetime, especially when you’re still so young and there’s still so much room to grow as an individual.

Not to mention, the reputation and prestige of Boston University’s COM program definitely helped make my decision to come to this chaotic city much easier.

And so far, I have not been disappointed.

It’s been a year since I’ve been out of school, so it’s been tough transitioning back into the student mindset and schedule. But as we all know, everything takes some time getting used to. I remember a year ago when I got hired at my first office job as a writer for an Orange County-based business magazine, I started to actually long for the days when I was a student. Starting at COM this week reminded me of what I enjoy most about school. It starts with the people you meet in your classes. Meeting people from all over the world with different educational backgrounds has always been my favorite part of beginning a new semester. It is a helpful reminder that as stressed out, worried, or homesick you might get at times, we are all in this together. We’re all worried about the same issues, have the same anxieties and stress over the same things. This helps ease my apprehensions, maybe not all, but just enough.

During my first week at COM, I was introduced to the courses and professors I know will help re-ignite that spark in my desire to learn. I won’t lie, I have found some of the course materials in my classes a bit daunting. Taking a bunch of classes in a field I have no academic background in, is definitely a challenge, but it isn’t something I can’t and won’t overcome.

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Since I opened this post with a quote, I think it makes sense that I end with a quote from this cheaply painted cork-board wall poster thingy that I bought for dirt cheap at Walmart. Although it’s stamped with cheesy clichés, I can’t help but notice how the message behind the commercialism is relevant to my life right now:

“Life is not worth anything unless you find something to live for. Let your heart be your guide. Discover your passion and pursue it. Be true to who you are. Make every moment count. Your life is now, seize it and MAKE IT AMAZING.”

Only in grad school do you have class on the weekends

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

My first week of grad school is officially done. I am the third one in my family to even go to grad school, so my mother was bombarding me with texts saying how happy she was and proud of me; she has always been my biggest fan. My best friends from home were all wishing me an amazing first day. It felt like everyone was excited for me, except for myself. I was nervous. I barely knew my way around this huge city, and I was going to have to get back into the mindset of school after being in pure work mode for two years. I didn’t know anyone besides my roommates and few people from a chat group that we created on Facebook (but lets be real how often do you actually meet any of those people and become friends with them). Making friends isn’t my number one priority at BU, but it is something that I know I am going to need to do in order to keep my sanity…and that scares me a lot.

For my first week, I only had three classes. During my first, the T.A. told us that our professor was tough and made him sound like it was going to be next to impossible to get a good grade. Twenty minutes later, the professor came in and immediately started poking fun at everyone, myself included for my tattoos. However, this helped me start to feel a little better about things because I soon realized that someone who I thought was going to be “so scary”, actually was comical.

I chose not to go to the first graduate event at the Hyatt (a cocktail meet and greet for students and professors); however, when I picked up my roommate from the event, I quickly regretted it. But while everyone else was recovering the next morning, my roommate included, I went to a new journalism “boot camp” class all day Saturday and Sunday.

I had already had such anxiety about the class because it was about photojournalism and how to take pictures on a fancy camera, which I knew nothing about. After the professor took attendance I realized that everyone knew each other, which I found odd. It’s a small program, so most of us are in a lot of the same classes, but we hadn’t even had class yet. As I quietly sat at my seat, one of the kids behind me started talking about the Hyatt event and how I wasn’t at there. At this point, I thought I had missed my opportunity to make any friends.

I was wrong because that changed quickly. As annoying as it was having class all day my first weekend at school, it forced us all to get to know each other and become friends. I never thought I would actually enjoy learning how to focus a camera and set the aperture and shutter speed. But by Sunday, it felt like I was hanging out with my friends just taking silly photos of each other. Meeting the people in my boot camp class, and hanging out with them all weekend long made walking into other classes or even around campus a million times easier.

I had fully expected the worst when I was entering my first week at BU, not because the school work seemed so daunting, but because I was five hours away from anything and everything I knew. It’s a scary thought to embark upon a new journey where I could potentially fail. But, that ended up being the best part of entering my first week here at BU. You expect for the worst but hope for the best, and that’s just what happened.

Thankfully, the faculty has been nothing but helpful and understanding of a few unfortunate situations; such as, coming to class late because you went to the wrong building, not having the right book for class because you weren’t sure if you actually needed it (FYI: you do in fact need every book that a professor asks you to get prior to class), and even messing up your first assignment because you were completely clueless. The students here at BU are just as nice as the faculty, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this week, it’s that we’re all in this together. We all want to make friends and succeed. So don’t forget, even though everyone in your classes is your competition, they are also your support group.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

By Michelle Marino 
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

As another cherished New England summer draws to a close, the school year is back in full swing at BU’s College of Communication (COM). As I reflect on my summer interning as an Internal Communications Writer for Baker Hughes in Houston, Texas, I come to the stark realization that while I was still warm this summer, I skipped over my most beloved season in the Northeast. Alas, here we are, and the change of the seasons lingers in the air.

Since I’ve lived in Boston for the past six years post undergrad, I didn’t endure the normal trials and tribulations that most did come move-in day. I have been, however, experiencing probably the same amount of trepidation that comes with a new program and a new academic year. Recently, I left my career in technology consulting to pursue a more fulfilling and challenging path. I have always wanted to be a journalist, but I will admit I didn’t always have the guts to do it. So far, it’s been the most liberating and positive life choice I’ve ever made.

My true yearning has always been to write, and so I finally followed my heart. As my specific area of interest is culinary journalism, I have been trying to immerse myself in food events, reviewing restaurants, and experimenting with my own cooking at every opportunity. Much to my excitement, I was recently assigned the “food” beat in a Feature Writing class with Prof. Shell.

My overall impression of BU’s Journalism school thus far is that it is a top rate program run by people with serious credentials. It’s been made clear, in order to make it in a precarious industry, it’s necessary that you be even more dedicated to the craft and to marketing yourself. A swift wake-up call was the writing of obituaries in Prof. Klarfeld’s class (who knew that an obituary is the foundation of all good journalism)? If you did, then you are ahead of where I was a week ago.

Along with Journalism Principles & Techniques, Feature Writing, and a Graduate Journalism Seminar, I am currently immersed in a two-weekend Photojournalism class that covers the basics of camera usage, video and audio production, and photo and video editing using Lightroom and Final Cut Pro X software.

This class is as relevant as it is intense – a must for any journalism student. As it was just added to the list of required courses this year in a spearhead effort by Prof. Smith, the kinks are still in the process of being worked out. Despite the tight logistics, I have a feeling this class will be around for some time to follow.

 Lastly, a Media Law & Ethics class delves into the role of the journalist and responsibility to the audience, as well as the ethical and legal implications at hand. I was interested to find out that Prof. Lehr (who teaches the class), recently wrote a book called Black Mass, detailing the dark existence of organized crime mobster Whitey Bulger. Hollywood is in the process of filming a movie starring Johnny Depp based on the book as well, and Lehr himself makes a brief appearance as a diner at a restaurant.

It’s going to be a hectic semester, but I know it will be both rewarding and invaluable. I hope that I have enough time to cultivate all of the incredible resources that BU has to offer, as well as priceless relationships with the professors available to us. Take advantage of everything your tuition pays for!

 

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.