I'll spare you the cliché colloquial greeting used by ever-the abroad student, and just start off this post by channeling one of my childhood icons with an ole GOOOOOOOD MORNING, BOSTOOONNNN...ston, ston, ston...
When I first got to BU, I had no intention of getting involved with Greek life. My older brother had been in a fraternity and for years had recommended that I “at least try it” when my time as an undergrad rolled around. Despite his persistent recommendations, I just didn’t see myself having that kind of college experience. My plan was instead to become as active as I could on campus mainly by pursuing communication-related extracurriculars, so that my free time could be spent in ways that were both enjoyable and advantageous to my professional soul searching. I certainly didn't foresee finding myself on the brink of hypothermia on the coldest night of Fall 2017, wholeheartedly committed to ensuring a flag football tournament benefitting a childhood cancer nonprofit would go on.
But first let me retrace my steps a bit. By the end of freshman year, I had followed my initial plan quite nicely. I was in just about everything COM, from BUTV10 to WTBU, and had still gotten to try my hand at a few just-for-fun activities as well, like BU On Broadway. I was never bored (if anything, much too tired.) I’d met a lot of great people along the way. And I felt more than acclimated to my new environment. Nonetheless, something was missing and I just wasn’t completely satisfied.
Throughout my childhood and well into my high school years, I had done a lot of community service. Philanthropy was a value my parents had instilled in my siblings and me from an early age and eventually grew to be something I loved to do without any sort of urging. I had always planned to stay committed to service during college and even began my BU career with FYSOP, but I’d be kidding myself if I said it remained a top priority of mine for the rest of that year. It wasn’t until I returned to campus as a sophomore that I really realized how much I had missed it.
Around the same time, I made another important self-realization, if not confession. I had many things in common with the friends I had become closest to, but they had just one commonality amongst each other that I did not share: all of them had gone through recruitment. More importantly, they each ended up in a sorority where they truly felt at home. At first, I didn’t regret my decision to remain anti-Greek life. I was happy for my friends, and they never made me feel like an outsider. On the contrary, they tried to include me in their new community as much as possible. As time went on, however, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had really missed out on (translation: I couldn’t help but feel the occasional FOMO.) If several people that I related to were in Greek life, was it really as antonymous to my interests as I had always assumed?
That spring was my chance to get an answer once and for all. And sure enough, it was as pleasantly surprising as I had secretly hoped it would be. I went through recruitment with an open mind and found my way to a sorority I am now incredibly grateful to be a part of because, in doing so, I also found that piece of my college puzzle that had been missing. I can definitely only speak to my own experience here at BU, but Greek life has proven to surpass all of the stereotypical expectations I once held for it. I know longer believe there is a "sorority type" or that Greek organizations are purely about socializing. Philanthropy is a large portion of what this community stands for and by far my favorite part of being a member of it. In just two semesters, I have been able to participate in a variety of events supporting important causes like an end to juvenile diabetes and breast cancer research. Above all, I’ve gained a newfound commitment to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the focus of my own sorority’s efforts, that I aim to maintain beyond my undergraduate career. From volunteering at a local RM house to serving as Event Chair for our annual Friday Night Lights fundraiser, it’s been truly rewarding to be able to contribute to this organization’s immense impact in my own small way.
A couple of weeks before I returned to campus for the fall semester, I was in the Midwest for the first time in my life. My younger sister was getting ready to begin her first year at Washington University in St. Louis, and I tagged along to assist with the oh so fun move-in process (a trip to a new city with great food wasn't a bad incentive...) Amidst the shopping, unpacking, and exploring, I couldn't help but feel a pang of nostalgia. I thought back to my own freshman move-in and relived the unfaltering excitement of being in a brand new place with so many new friendships, experiences, and lessons to come. I then thought of all the hard work my sister and I had endured to get to the universities we now love to call home. Without the slightest of doubts, I knew that either of us would be willing to work twice as hard if we had to do it again.
Life being its unpredictable self, I also received quite the unexpected email while sitting at the St. Louis airport. The BU Admissions office had reached out to me to see if I was interested in interviewing to be a student representative. If selected, I would get to share my Terrier story in four Florida cities. About a month later, I sat in yet another airport, waiting to fly to my hometown of Fort Lauderdale. My "rockstar tour," as my friends have endearingly come to call it, would begin in Miami that Sunday morning.
From there, I would travel to Boca Raton, Orlando, and Tampa with a team of Assistant Directors of Undergraduate Admissions. At each location, we hosted a one-hour reception for high school students interested in applying to or just learning more about BU. My role was to be the undergraduate voice, which more specifically entailed a ten-minute speech on my academic and extracurricular achievements thus far. Ever the optimist, I couldn't help but also throw in a conclusion with the basic underlying message of "follow your dreams, kids!"
Getting on stage was somewhat nerve-wrecking each time, but it was ultimately so worth it to be able to answer questions and offer advice to the students and parents who approached me afterwards. I actually think my three days "on the road" are among the most rewarding I've ever had because of those post-reception conversations. I definitely didn't expect that teaching others about what BU has to offer would result in learning some new insights about myself, but it absolutely did. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways:
1. BU has exposed me to some cool stuff. - When I first sat down to write my reception speech, I thought it was going to be insanely difficult. I worried that I wouldn't know what to talk about for a whole 10 minutes, but I quickly came to realize that 10 minutes wasn't enough time at all. The greater concern was what I wouldn't get the chance to talk about. Summarizing two years at a university like BU, let alone in a city like Boston, is pretty challenging, especially if your mantra has been to seize every opportunity available. I somehow narrowed down my list of highlights, which ranged from being able to create a thirty minute podcast for my WR150 final project to holding a leadership position in an organization as an underclassman and (rather randomly) taking Tai Chi as my first PDP.
2. I've (thankfully) come a long way since senior year of high school. - As I interacted with reception attendees each night, I thought back to when I was in their exact same position three years/a lifetime ago. When I was seventeen, I knew that I wanted to live in a city and study something communication-related. That was about it. It took a lot of self-reflection and forcing myself out of my comfort zone to get to the assurance I feel today. Do I still encounter self-doubt? Absolutely. But being at BU, constantly surrounded my incredibly driven and passionate people, has propelled me to maintain a standard of confidence in myself that I definitely lacked in the past.
3. I'm too proud to be BU. - Knowing that I'm a COM Ambassador is already a pretty big indicator that I enjoy gushing over this school. Getting to share my Terrier love beyond this campus was a whole other experience, though. I was given the chance to really think about all BU's done for me and now I'm a bit obsessed with ensuring it can do as much for future students. So just a fair warning for all: I'm prone to overly spirited rants these days.
You know those people who say they hate breakfast? Yeah, I don't trust them either.
For as long as I can recall, I, Angeli S. Rodriguez, have been a breakfast food fiend. I could eat a bagel once a day for a decade and never get tired of them. I don't discriminate against microwavable oatmeal compared to the homemade stuff. Discovering a new muffin flavor or way to make eggs is what I consider a life-changing experience. And don't even get me started on the obstacles I would be willing to endure for a stack of my mom's specialty pancakes right now.
Breakfast items are like my children; I love them all the same for what they are, but I also can't resist the urge to have a favorite. The one that has consistently been there for me. In good times and bad. At any hour of the day. None other than cereal.
My appreciation for cereal is a deeply rooted one that goes back to my first ever bite of Special K (I was a miniature adult as a child...) Since then, it has been a staple component of my diet. I am a firm believer that no meal is the "right" meal for cereal. Heck, college has taught me that it can even be a dessert.
Ah yes, college. That's where I was going with this. The end of my sophomore year is rapidly approaching, and I can't help but get all sappy and self-reflective. I'M HALFWAY DONE PEOPLE !!? I really don't know where time has gone, but I can also confidently say a large portion of it has been spent stupendously. I've grown in more ways than one since moving into my double in Warren Towers two years ago. I've enjoyed new experiences, met (and continue to meet) the most interesting of new people, and tried a plethora of new foods.
And through all of this change, I've found comfort in things that remind of my roots, of what's familiar. I thus feel it's time to express some gratitude.
Thank you, Cereal, for always being by my side/in my stomach. Thank you old pal for keeping me full and focused (I'm a fan of Mini Wheats) during late night study sessions, before internship interviews, and following those tough 8 AM lectures. Thank you for always being readily available and understanding when other dining hall menu options just aren't cutting it. And even on those days when I mix you with Sargent Choice Oatmeal, know that you're forever my #1.
P.S. CA Angeli's top cereal picks of all time:
1. Special K Chocolatey Delight
2. Honey Bunches of Oats Almond
3. Frosted Flakes
What's tall, trendy, and ridden with coffee cups all over? You guessed it: BU's own Questrom School of Business (formerly known as SMG but don't make that mistake!)
Questrom has recently become another home of mine. Before you gasp at my betrayal of sweet sweet COM, know that ole' 640 Comm Ave is still the green apple with peanut butter of my eye. I'm an advertising kid at my core, but as of this school year, I'm also...a business minor.
Yep. I'm truly, willfully taking courses involving *gulp* mathematics. How did I get here? Who have I become? What's for dinner at Bay State tonight? I wish I had the answer to any and all of those questions, friends. If you read my blog posts back when I was a wee freshman (err last year), you know I've dealt with some identity crises in the past regarding my academic pursuits. While my long journey towards declaring a major came to end a few weeks ago–which, by the way, involved very anti-climatically turning in a piece of paper–I had both the curiosity and spare credits to go after another degree. It's been some time since numbers and I were pals, but I figured what the hay? In all honesty, it has not been torturous! Business is actually muy interesante, and I now feel obliged to dispel some rumors and quell some qualms, my fellow COMmunicators might have about it.
First, to lay some groundwork: Questrom only offers one minor degree in Business Administration, which is a nice culmination of the various departments the college has to offer. The program entails eight courses varying in topic from organizational behavior to accounting. One of the prime business concentrations not part of the minor, however, is marketing. This was a major (haha get it?) bummer for me at first because I was hoping for some marketing knowledge to compliment what I'm learning in ad. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because I feel like I'm broadening my horizons in other advantageous subjects.
Last semester, I got to take microeconomics which made me realize that the economy works in not so mysterious but rather pretty clear-cut ways. Now, I'm taking Finance 101 and getting a pretty handy comprehension of ca$h flow$ (no seriously that's a financial term!), but my current favorite course is Business, Society and Ethics, better known as SM 131. This class doesn't have the greatest reputation on campus due to a five days-a-week schedule and hefty reading load, but it's far from as bad as it sounds. I actually think a lot of my COMrades would really like it, since a good portion of the course involves, well, talking. We have discussion three of the five days about readings and assignments, which not only come from textbooks but also news publications and videos. A lot of current events are therefore woven into the course (shoutout to my journalism homies) and topics usually center around decisions made by companies (@PRmajors). A major portion of your grade is also public speaking due to two group presentations. Above all, developing your own understanding of ethical decision-making is valuable no matter what field you're pursuing. At least, I think so!
I still have four more business courses to go that are much more math-based, so who knows how long this pro-biz attitude will last. For now, I get the guilty pleasure of walking into a beautiful institution each day that makes me feel a different level of special for some reason–possibly because there's a Starbucks and BREAD WINNERS *see my last blog post* on the second floor. Or maybe I think I'm cool because I live a not-so secret double life. Judge me!
I know what you're thinking. "Has someone other than Zach Schiffman had the audacity to write a food-related post?"..."Should I even read it?"..."Wait now I'm hungry. What should I eat for lunch?"
First, don't hate me, Zach fans. While I definitely won't promise that this post will be as entertaining as one of his, I really needed to steal his beat for a sec. I've had something on my chest for a while now that I just need to set free in the blogosphere. And then give you ideas for what to eat for lunch, of course.
So here's MY question, people. Why oh WHY are Rize and Bread Winners so underrated???!!!!??! I like to think I'm a pretty forgiving person, but I have trouble looking past the shade constantly thrown at two of BU's finest gems. I actually take personal offense when people tell me they don't spend a good amount of dining points at either of those places. For my emotional well-being's sake, I won't dare comment on people who have never eaten at either. The bottomline is I think a majority of my peers are not living their Terrier lives to the fullest, and I really want to save your souls before it's too late and you're holding a diploma with no knowledge of Rize's assortment of smoothies.
Let's start with the basics. For all of you who don't even recognize the names I've given you *sheds single tear*, Rize is BU's own adorable little café/bakery located in the basement of Yawkey Center. That's right, Marciano Commons isn't the only thing putting the bae in Baestate. And no, it is not the same as Late Night Kitchen (which I also highly recommend but doesn't need me vouching for it.) Rize is only open from 7 am to 5 pm on weekdays. Its menu therefore ranges from staple breakfast foods like bagels and muffins to signature salads and sandwiches that hit the spot come lunchtime. Not to mention, their international coffee is always a delicious pick-me-up. What truly makes a trip to Rize worthwhile, though, is the plethora of fresh baked pastries available each day, along with special stuffed breads called RiZers. I wish I could describe to you how I felt the first time I ate one of those things. Maybe one day I'll have the right words, but until then here are my Rize recommendations:
Best smoothie: Mango Mantra (Just trust me.)
Best RiZer: Italian (Three words: pesto, chicken, cheese. Oh and pure happiness.)
Best pastry: Nutella banana pop-tart (In the words of the ever-wise Lizzie McGuire, THIS is what dreams are made of.)
Now that I have your attention and appetite, let's discuss Bread Winners, another tragically unappreciated BU Dining option. Any business student, or anyone (me) who pretends to be every time she/he goes to Questrom for coffee, has surely seen the little corner shop next to Starbs on the second floor. Skeptical of a name you are unfamiliar with, however, you routinely join the mile-long line between you and a Pumpkin Spice. And I am physically shaking my head right now at the mere thought, people! If just one of these mornings you instead decided to give Bread Winners a shot, you would discover that a) their line is far shorter, if not inexistent most days, 2) they have some mighty tasty breakfast options, and their STARBUCKS brand coffee and Tazo teas are CHEAPER. I'd also like to throw out there that the two women who work at Bread Winners on Tuesday and Thursday mornings put a smile on my face every visit. If less expensive yet high quality coffee and kind human beings are not pleasing enough, though, here's are my best tips for being a Bread Winner:
1) If you ever take advantage of the oatmeal bar, which you should, add chocolate chips or you're doing it all wrong.
2) If you ever know you have a busy a day ahead of you, stock up on snacks or snag one of the convenient, on-the-go lunch options. There are especially some great microwavable choices. Panera soup, anyone?!
3) If you ever find yourself painfully unsure of which kind of croissant to get (a dilemma we all must face at some point), I swear on my final project for Intro to Ad that spinach-feta is the way to go. There is no room for questions or debate.
Phew. It truly feels glorious putting my adoration for Rize and Bread Winners out in the open. I can only hope that from here I will inspire you masses to join my movement. These last few weeks of the semester can especially be rough, so at least nourish yourselves with all the delicacies dining points have to offer!
This semester, my inner Pitch Perfect-loving high school freshman self's dreams came true when WTBU granted me the privilege of having my own radio show.
Let me clarify. In the 2012 instant cult classic film, Anna Kendrick's character Beca works for her college radio station and life only goes up from there. And, for anyone who might not be aware, WTBU is *deep radio voice* "the beat of Boston University," or in other words, BU's own student-run station. Like Beca, radio was the first extracurricular I wanted to get involved with when I got to college, and joining last fall was probably one of the best decision I've ever made. After interning for two different shows my freshman year (shoutout to Pop Cultured and Shrug Emoji) and learning the station ropes from some welcoming upperclassmen-turned-good friends, I could not wait for the opportunity to have a DJ name and programming time slot of my own. I therefore did my very best victory dance when I received an email this summer saying my show application had been approved.
Now, every Sunday from 10 am to noon, you can catch me on the airwaves as host of On the Verge, the official music and talk show of Verge Campus BU. VCBU is another organization I got involved with last year that centers around an online college lifestyle publication. Our partner site/company, GoodMusicAllDay, focuses on publicizing up-and-coming artists. My show serves as an extension of these two brands, as we talk about everything from world news to everyday college experiences (often inspired by Verge Campus articles) and play the music of underground artists usually from GMAD.On the Verge has been on air for about two months now, and I could not be happier with how it's going so far. I'll be honest, every episode hasn't been flawless. That being said, though, I've been grateful for even my most cringe-worthy moments on FM/AM. Having a radio show has frankly taught me a lot about life. Here are some of those cheesy, cliche, painfully unoriginal lessons with a DJ's twist:
1) Teamwork makes the dream work. If it wasn't for my amazing co-host and team of interns, On the Verge would be no where near as interesting a show as I think/hope it's been. Not only do they all contribute to some great talk segments and OTV's social media presence, but they've also helped me find stories to report as well as artists and students to interview each week. We can proudly say we've had a guest on-air every episode so far, and I'm more than confident our episodes will only improve.
2) Hard work pays off. A lot of the artists I've interviewed on OTV have been college students, which has been really inspiring in more ways than one. I've mainly been so in awe of how individuals my same age and often with my same workload are still managing to pursue music careers and grow as artists. Whether they're dropping full EPs or shooting industry-caliber music videos, college kids are doing insanely impressive things, regardless of all the hours that may be involved. Sure enough, they're also getting the recognition on YouTube, SoundCloud, etc that they strive for. I think their successes are testament to the dynamic duo that is passion and persistence, whom other students should befriend, too!
3) Don't sweat the small stuff. For a third-semester WTBU member, I should really be embarrassed of the amount of times I've pressed the wrong button on the mixing board or, better yet, forgot to press one at all. Anything done involving technology just naturally entails the possibility of technological difficulties, and boy do I feel like I'm prone to those. After my second episode as a host, though, I decided that I couldn't be too hard on myself for my mistakes, especially when I have guests in the studio. I've actually become a fan of turning my incompetence into a punchline. Sometimes, laughing at yourself and getting others to do the same makes for great radio. Plus, you'll look like a confident and composed host (despite the fact that you might be crying on the inside...)
4) Don't forget where you came from. Or to whom you owe your existence. Basically just love your mom, everybody!!! I know, just when you thought this blog post couldn't get any sappier, I just had to throw that one in. Though my mom might just be OTV's biggest fan (hopefully not our only listener), where I was really going with this one was your family and friends will always be your biggest support system and never forget that. Mine have continually supported my radio endeavors and really helped spread the word about On the Verge. Nothing's worse than being incredibly proud of a project and having no one to share it with. Of course Facebook likes are always appreciated, too 🙂
Now, for a final plug: make sure to check out wtburadio.org to listen to and learn more about all of the fun shows fellow Terriers host each week!