Alex: How to Cope with Mediocre Internships

I went back home to California this summer after a stellar semester abroad excited to start my new internship. My internship abroad had been everything I could have dreamed of—a cool office, supportive supervisors and fellow employees, meaningful tasks that taught me a lot, interesting and noteworthy clients, Friday Happy Hours (hey, if we’re being honest). After completing an amazing internship, I was positive that my summer internship would be just as fun, educational and welcoming. Unfortunately, my expectations were a bit too high. To make a long story short, my summer internship was not the experience I was hoping for, but I know I’m not the only one who has dealt with an underwhelming internship.

So how do you make a mediocre internship better? Sometimes things can be out of your control, but here are some tips on how to at least stay positive during those tough temporary months in the office.

  1. Keep a smile on your face: You’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now and saying, “Yeah right, Alex, you’re crazy if you think I can even smile for two seconds at this place.” It might be hard, but it’s important to be respectful of the people in your office and not come across as the grumpy intern in the corner who would rather be anywhere else. A positive attitude can really show through in the office and it will make a good impression on your supervisor and coworkers (and maybe a future recommendation?).
  2. Find positives in your work location: This might sound dumb, but sometimes finding a favorite lunch joint around the corner or making the park down the block your go-to lunch spot can give you something to look forward to throughout the day. At my internship this summer, I didn’t have a go-to lunch spot but even acknowledging the fact that my internship was in one of (very, very, very) few L.A. areas with decent free parking was enough to brighten my day.
  3. Make a perfect work playlist: If your supervisor doesn’t mind if you use headphones, make a fun playlist of your favorite songs to work to or new music that you’ve been meaning to check out. Crunching out a press release or online article can be a lot more enjoyable when your favorite tunes are on.
  4. Schedule meetings with your supervisors: If you’re feeling like you’re learning nothing new, schedule a meeting with your boss (or the CEO if available) to discuss the industry. You can’t always control the tasks your supervisors will give you, but talking to them about their experience in the field and any advice they have will at least give some meaning to your internship and help you feel like you’ve learned something. Don’t be afraid to set these meetings up, even if your office is really busy! If a company offers internships, it’s their responsibility to teach the interns and a quick meeting every once in a while will not ruin your supervisor’s busy schedule.
  5. Always bored? Catch up on reading: If you feel like you’re constantly asking your supervisor for tasks to no avail and twiddling your thumbs behind the computer, find some good articles and news to catch up on. BU offers The New York Times and the Boston Globe to students for free so utilize those resources! One of my favorite e-mail newsletters to catch up on news is The Lunch Read, a collection of the best online and viral articles sent to you every Wednesday. Catching up on news and pop culture throughout the day can make you feel like you’re at least learning  and doing something—whether or not it’s related to your internship.

Alex: Last Semester Bucket List

Before I left for my spring semester abroad last year, I thought it would be a good idea to be a proactive student and make sure I was on track to graduate on time. Instead, I found out that I would be able to graduate an entire semester early-- NOT what I expected at all. After hundreds of frantic texts to my parents and friends, I decided that the pros of graduating early outweighed the cons in my situation. Though I would risk missing out on some of of my favorite Boston spring events (Marathon Monday and a 22nd birthday with my friends won't be the same at home!), the amount of money I would save and the extra time to figure out post-grad plans significantly appealed to me. I sent in my graduation application a few days later and began to mentally prepare myself that I was officially a senior.

Fast-forward a few months-- I'm back in Boston and finally hitting the realization that I have 15 weeks left in Boston (but who's counting?????) and realizing that there are so many more things that I have to fit in before graduation. So naturally, as the compulsive planner that I am, I've decided the best way to live out my last undergraduate semester with no regrets is to create a last-semester Bucket List. Whether you're also a January 2018 graduate or a freshman looking to discover new things in the city, here's a list of my must-do's in Boston.

1.Go to an After Midnight screening at Coolidge Corner Theater

2. Eat one final BU Platter from Warren's Late Night Kitchen

3. Walk along the entire Charles River Esplanade

4. Spend an entire afternoon in the Boston Common with no school distractions

5. Visit the JFK Library and Museum (this one's for you, mom)

6. Eat a Lobster Roll (I know, I'm embarrassed too that this hasn't happen yet)

7. Watch a Red Sox game from The Bleacher Bar

8. Eat a pretzel from Harpoon Brewery

9. Visit Salem for Halloween

10. Watch a show at Improv Boston

11. Have a beach day at Revere Beach

12. Make a homemade Italian meal with ingredients from Eataly.


13. Eat from every vendor at Quincy Market

14. Finish an entire mozzarella stick pizza from T. Anthony's

15. Take a Boston Duck Tour with no shame (the most difficult in my opinion)

While I'm excited to start a **real, adult, professional life** after graduation, I'm sad to leave the city that I've called a second home for the past three years. I can't wait to make the most of this semester and make it the best yet!

Alex: Your Token CA Abroad Blog Post

Hello from across the pond!!

So I know the abroad blog post is definitely not a new concept. But after trying for an hour to come up with any topic other than study abroad, I realized it’s the inevitable subject for Abroad CA’s for a reason—because BU’s study abroad programs really are that great! I’ve only been in London for about a month, but I’ve already found that choosing to study abroad was the best decision I could have ever made.

Before I left for London in January, I found myself in a really weird emotional rut. I wasn’t enjoying Boston like I had in past semesters and found it hard to appreciate the city I used to love so much. I think I had only felt homesick once in my first two years at BU, and even then that only lasted for, like, 20 minutes so I knew that something was up. Because I was feeling so funky in my post-sophomore slump, I started to get really nervous that moving to an entirely different continent would be a bad move.

Thankfully, I was so, so wrong.

The BU dorms are located in South Kensington, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods I have ever set foot in. Seriously, the housing here can even put Brookline to shame. I live in Sorbonne House and have the most incredible view of the Natural History Museum right outside my dorm window! There are so many cute cafes and coffee shops in the area too that make South Ken so easy and fun to explore. I’ll be honest-- the first couple of days were a little overwhelming but soon enough I was taking the tube and wandering the city with complete ease.

(These apartments are just across the street from my dorm!)

The classes in the London Program have been unlike most of my classes back in Boston. The classes run for four hours twice a week, which was a little terrifying at first since I can barely get through a three-hour class in Boston. I’ve actually looked forward to going to my classes in London though! I’ve been on weekly field trips to museums throughout London for my art history class and even got to visit Cadbury World for my PR class (We got free chocolate bars!). The professors here have been so invested in our learning and make sure that we take as much as we can out of the class.

(The Wallace Collection, one of the museums I visited for my art history class)

One of my favorite parts of being abroad is how easy it is to travel. In the UK, I’ve visited Bath and Windsor Castle, which were absolutely beautiful. I just got back from a trip to Portugal this past weekend and fell in love with the beautiful architecture and friendly Portuguese people. I’ve already booked trips to Italy, Iceland, and Dublin and I can’t wait to visit so many other places and learn from these different cultures.

(Sintra in Portugal is hands down one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited!)

I’ve been able to do so much during my month abroad and I still have so much time left! Even though I was so nervous about leaving for London, I am so happy that I did. If you’re still deciding whether or not to apply to or accept a Study Abroad program, I highly recommend that you do! A massive location change may seem intimidating, but sometimes it can be the perfect remedy to finding out more about yourself and the world around us.

Alex: My Trader Joe’s Must-Haves

If there is one thing I can make time for out of my day, it’s a trip to Trader Joe’s. I’ll admit, my roommates sometimes make fun of me from time to time for making the “trek” to Trader Joe’s each week when Star Market is so close to us. But the extra T ride from the Brookline store or the crazy lines at the Boylston location is always worth it for me if it means getting my favorite TJ snacks. Whether you’re still in the dorms or have your own off-campus apartment, these Trader Joe’s snacks are staples for any college student

  1. Roasted Plantain Chips
    I’m a huge fan of salty chips but I have a hard time justifying buying a bag of potato chips when I know I could eat them in one sitting. I love Trader Joe’s plantain chips because they’re a healthier option but I still get the savory taste and crunch that I crave!

2.      Caramelized Onion Dip
Okay, so sometimes I have to cave and get potato chips but when I do, I make sure to really splurge and get some dip to go with it. This is my favorite late-night snack when I’m looking to treat myself to a trashy snack after a long day of classes or work.

3.      Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai
When I’m running late for class, I love grabbing one of these for a quick snack. The spiced chai drink is filled with protein that keeps me full but is still so refreshing and delicious! It’s also a non-dairy drink for all of my vegan friends out there!

4.      Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil
A handful of this popcorn is the perfect study snack. The olive oil adds an unexpected twist to your normal popcorn snack but it tastes so good!

5.      Mini Pumpkin Pies
You guys. This is hands down my favorite fall snack right now at Trader Joe’s. I’m embarrassed to say there’s been multiple times where my roommates have had to step in and stop me from eating the entire box. You can heat up these mini pies in the oven if you have your own kitchen, or just eat them thawed if you’re in your dorm room!It’s only here for the fall season so stock up now, seriously!!

Alex: The 5 Lessons I’ve Learned (So Far) From Moving Off-Campus

 It has only been  three weeks since I’ve moved into my off-campus apartment in Allston, but I feel that I’ve learned enough in this short time to have lived there for months! Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m so glad I made the choice to move off-campus! It’s been so awesome having my own kitchen, my own room (with enough space for a bed bigger than a twin XL!!!), and a clear separation between school and home. But there are definitely some differences with living off-campus that can require more effort.

            I’m sure I have plenty more lessons to learn on the way, but for now, here are the five things I’ve realized from ~~Allston livin’.

1.      Be friendly with your neighbors!

You definitely don’t have to be BFFs, but it’s good to at least have a friendly relationship with your neighbors so that you can trust them, help each other out with favors, or just rant about your landlord together. There’s no RAs when you’re off-campus so if you get locked out of your apartment, it’s nice to be friendly enough with your neighbors that you can ask to wait at their apartment until your roommates get home.

2.      The Semester T-Pass is a need, not a want.

Okay, so I’m probably exaggerating that it’s a need but the Semester T-Pass been my absolute saving grace in the short time I’ve been off campus. If I’m running a little bit late to class or if I’ve just had a long day and not feeling the 30-minute walk home, I can usually count on the T or the 57 bus to be there in five minutes or so. I also love using this pass on the way home from Trader Joe’s runs so that way I don’t have to feel guilty about being too lazy to lug my groceries home.

3.      Set aside an hour each week (at least) for groceries

If you’re in a rush to buy your groceries, you’re more likely to spend unnecessary amounts and not really pay attention to what you’re buying. I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s because their food is so inexpensive but still good quality, but it can be a bit of a trek for some people. Take the time instead to look through the coupons for Star Market so that you can shop close by and still save a good amount of money!

4.      Make sure you have your own checkbook.

I’ve had my own for years but only written three checks at most so I’m excited to finally make a dent in my checkbook. Rent might get a little bit more difficult to pay when you don’t have checks to write out to your landlord (and by difficult, I mean not possible). You can also print out online checks too if you’re able to pay your rent that way!

When your roommates tell you not to name the mouse living in your kitchen, listen to them. You will get attached.

Speaking from personal experience. RIP Tiger the Mouse <333

Alex: My Favorite Teen Movies

In just two weeks, I’ll be turning 20 years old and I have to say, it’s making me much more upset than I was anticipating. Turning 20 seems like the end of an era for me. I’ve been a teenager for 7 years now and it makes adult life seem that much more real.

These past few weeks of being 19 have made me reflect back on all the teen movies that have made me appreciate the past couple of years so much. Here are my favorite teen movies that everyone should revisit, regardless of age:

1.      Sixteen Candles
John Hughes is a teen movie wizard. All of his movies are so genuine and hilarious, but my personal favorite is Sixteen Candles.  Nothing makes me cringe and laugh more than the party scene at Jake Ryan’s!

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2.      Clueless
This movie is one of my absolute favorites of all time! The wardrobe, script, and casting are so iconic and the entire film is so quote-worthy. I idolized Cher in high school and though I will never come close to being as cool as she is, I’ll still definitely try.

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3.      American Pie
American Pie is one of those movies that can make me laugh hysterically on any day. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love the movie’s soundtrack and all the blink-182 tracks on it.

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4.      Mean Girls
Some people say that Mean Girls has become overrated and overdone, but I think that’s impossible.  This movie will never not be funny.

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5.      Palo Alto
Though this movie is on the newer side, it’s probably my favorite teen movie ever. The dialogue is so genuine and it reminds me so much of my time in high school in California. The movie is based on James Franco’s high school in Palo Alto which makes the movie even more interesting and intriguing.

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Alex: A Californian’s Guide to Winter

As someone who had always lived in sunny Southern California and had never experienced a winter that dropped below 50 degrees during the day, my first winter in Boston last year definitely came as a shock. As I reflect back on my freshman year winter, I think of some of the many mistakes I made the first time around and how to beat winter this year.

Here are the 5 things I wish I had known for my first real winter:

  1. Your toes don’t have to be/should not feel frozen
    I wish I had known that while you MIGHT be able to survive winter with just Hunter rain boots and a couple pairs of thin socks, it doesn’t mean you should! Snow boots aren’t always necessary but some thicker socks would have definitely decreased my worries of losing toes to hypothermia.
  2. Don’t be afraid to dress like the little brother from A Christmas Story
    If you’re like me and have a low tolerance for cold temperatures, it’s better to look like a giant marshmallow than to be miserable and freezing. If layers upon layers makes for an easier walk to class than I’m all for it!

3.      Watch your step.
This is a direct reference to the slippery metal death traps on the BU Bridge.

4.      Fleece-lined _____.
Fleece-lined tights, fleece-lined gloves, fleece-lined hats, fleece-lined flannels….the possibilities are endless! These are real game changers.

5.      Don’t spend your entire semester indoors.
Some spots in Boston look the best with a layer of snow. You go to school in one of the most beautiful cities in the world so bundle up and go explore it.