Tag Archives: places to go

Relax and Lose Yourself

It’s over. The deadline has come and gone. You’re done. You have handed in everything they have asked for. Now you can finally sit back and relax. Or can you?

I remember how I felt the day I finally handed in all my application materials. There was a sigh of relief and a fleeting feeling of accomplishment immediately followed by nail biting anxiety… now I have to wait?! It was complete torture thinking about the 1-2 months I had to endure before hearing a decision that would affect the course of my life.

I had a terrible image of myself months later – twitchy, disheveled, one stenciled on eyebrow because I had nervously pulled it out, maybe carrying a plastic duck and making quacking noises under my breath as I stare fixedly at my mailbox. After considering if I could turn the one eyebrow thing into a new fashion trend, I realized dwelling on the committee’s future decision was unhealthy. I had done everything I could, given them everything they had asked for and put my best effort into the essays. I no longer had any influence over the process. So, rather than sit around waiting for the ax or congratulation balloons to fall, I decided to make myself busy.

I was fortunate enough to be in Spain at the time, so I bid tearful farewell to my ESL students, grabbed my backpack, and took off across the country.

Posing - see how much fun I'm having?! Wooo!

It was an amazing experience and, better yet, I hardly thought about graduate school at all. OK, that’s a lie, but at least I wasn’t obsessing over it (for which my eyebrows thank me). However, this might be a bit impractical for the rest of you so I have put together a brief list of suggestions.

  1. Grab an Internship – If you don’t already have one, now is the perfect time to get one. It will only help you by preparing you for your future academic adventure and introducing you to the field you are striving to enter.
  2. Start a Hobby – Get into rock collecting (a lot more exciting than it sounds) or finally start that band you have been talking about since high school. Studies are showing that interviewers are looking for more from candidates than work experience, they want to be able to connect with you. Therefore, if you have an interesting hobby/interest you will have a lot more to discuss, laugh, bond over.
  3. Write a Novel – “”How you uh, how you comin’ on that novel you’re working on? Huh? … Your big novel you’ve been working on for 3 years?” We’ve all wanted to at some point before talking ourselves out of it because no one will want to read about a lone gun slinging space captain who is unwillingly drawn into an intergalactic war and must fight her way to the truth all the while fighting with her need to stay independent…. Erm. Anyways, start one and, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, you’ll have a story to tell about the experience.
  4. Travel – Pack up your bags and hit the road, friend, you’re not meant for this small town crap *spits* (I need to stop watching TV). Plan some trips. They don’t have to be extravagant, just go somewhere you have never been. Who knows, it might turn into one hell of an adventure, or it might not.
  5. Volunteer – Go, improve your moral fiber. Give of yourself unto your community. This is good for several reasons: it distracts you, looks good on your resume, and you’ll be helping someone in need.

These were just a couple suggestions to get you thinking about how to fill up your time. If you have any suggestions or experiences you’d like to share feel free to leave them in the comments. I am all about vicarious living.

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?

Don’t Judge Me, Stranger

As a graduate student, I find a pretty consistent need to get myself out of my own element.  Put simply: I can’t work at home.  There’re too many distractions.  Why in the world would I ever write a script when I could just as easily go a few days on Minecraft or catch up on my Hulu queue?  Who could say no to a couple of episodes of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 when you should be working on the next great feature-length revisionist male melodrama?  Don’t answer that.

As a screenwriter, one of the best solutions I’ve found for beating distraction is locking myself into a booth at a coffee shop.  If people can see me not working, they’ll be suspicious that I’m wasting my life away, and I just can’t have strangers thinking that about me.  My roommates, my parents, my professors?  Fine.  But not you, guy who’s read every David Foster Wallace book cover to cover and had three reviews well-rated on Goodreads.  Not you. So, for you, Mr. Well-Read, I’ve compiled my three favorite places to be guilted by passersby into getting my work done.

Trident Cafe and Booksellers

Oh my God.  Talk about environment.  We’re looking here at a not-meager sized collection of books and blank journals packed right next to the best poutine and Monte Cristo I’ve ever had in my entire life (and I’ve eaten a lot of Canadian junk food.)  Plus, if you order food, and you definitely will, attractive people will bring you free refills of coffee.  The great thing about this place, though, is that everyone else there is working just as hard as you, and it’s not just college students, which is refreshing.  In all honesty, I find myself even rating this place to my bitter enemies.  They should pay me in free banana-stuffed french toast.

Oh, and they’re open until midnight.  Not a hard sell.

Espresso Royale

This place isn’t as obscure as Trident, but if you can manage to get a seat, you’re good to go.  This place even smells great, and they’ve put just enough work into the decor to not feel so hip and trendy that it’s alienating.  Now, like I said, they hardly ever have a seat open, and on top of that, the electrical sockets are few and far between, but this place has its picture on Wikipedia right next to “coffee shops conducive to a positive work environment.”  I’ve had countless meetings here with mentors and writing partners, and when I don’t feel like straying too far from campus, this is the place I’ll wander into.

Refuge Cafe

Live in Allston?  This place is right on the corner of Brighton and Harvard waiting for you.  Cushy chairs, sensual hipster-folk, bay windows, and art for sale on the walls.  They make a mean breakfast burrito (I have an eating problem, go away) and pour a decent cup of coffee.  Plus, they almost always have a seat open, and there’s just enough of a buzz of conversation in the air to keep you suitably distracted, but also remind you that your peers are definitely judging you for browsing DogShaming.com.

Now, children, the forty-fifth remake of Dickens’s The Christmas Carol beckons you from the snowy white of the untouched Final Draft document you’ve had open on your laptop for the last four days.  Get yourself to one of these great Boston locales.  The attractive waitstaff patiently holds a table for you!