Anna: Senior’s guide to the best classes at BU

As I reflect on my experiences at BU, I think back to the classes that had the greatest impact on my BU career. Here’s my list of the “best” classes I’ve taken at BU and what I got from each class (in no particular order):

My favorite COM Classes:
  1. Design and Interactive Experiences (CM523)
  • This changed my outlook on websites, the web development process, research, prototypes, and more! In this class, I went through the design process and created a website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It was phenomenal—I felt like I was learning a new program or platform every week!
  1. Design Strategy and Software (CM501)
  • Are you a newbie to the Adobe Suite? This class is a great introduction to Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The programs may be intimidating at first but my favorite part was having someone walk with you as you learn tricks and shortcuts! With every project draft, there’s a critique—that was my favorite part because you got to hear what other people thought about your design.
  1. Non-Profit Public Relations (CM345)
  • This class taught me the fundamentals of what went behind operating a non-profit. I learned the efforts it took to fundraise, find volunteers, and lead a non-profit.The summer after taking this class, I started a non-profit project, @RyannaShirts! 
  1. Media Strategies and Management (CM441)
  • From pitching, pretending to be a spokesperson, to speaking 1:1 with a real journalist, this class taught me so much. I looked forward to attending and learning about the ways PR practitioners play a role in everyday news and corporations.
  1. Writing for COM (CM331)     
  • If there’s one word to describe this class, it’s “brevity.” I learned the foundation of writing cover letters, press releases, and summaries. Most importantly, this class taught me to be an active newsreader!
  1. Media Business Entrepreneurship (FT591)
  • If you have a passion project or idea, this class will help you chase it! There’s no better way to learn about how startups work than to read case studies about disruptors, fast-followers, and failed ventures. At the end of the class, we also got to pitch and work on our own passion projects.
  1. Communication Research methods (CM321)
  • They say data is what will drive the future of the world… and it’s true! This class ignited a new interest in me for data and research. It taught me what it was like to delve into survey results and analyze them using SPSS. We learned to capture, describe, and predict variation. Whether you’re pursuing the communications industry or not, this class will give you a fundamental understanding of analytics and research, which is helpful in the “real world!”
My favorite “Around BU” Classes:

Your education is not complete without other classes beyond just COM. Here are my top classes I’ve taken outside of COM throughout my time at BU:

  1. Philosophy of Happiness (CAS PH485)
  • This class changed my life and gave me a refreshing perspective on happiness, friendship, and love! It is a discussion-focused class meaning you’d read several pieces then spend the class discussing it and how it plays in your life. It taught me to be a better communicator and more introspective on my life’s journey.
  1. Positive Psychology (SED ED212)
  • If you’re looking for ways to be a more “positive” person or learn about what it takes to be positive, this is the class to take! My biggest takeaway from this class was the weekly meditation challenges and learning about what my strengths were as an individual and leader. It’s a very self-reflective class.
  1. Improvisation Dance (PDP DA138)
  • This is the most rejuvenating and stress-relieving class I ever took at BU. Whether you’re a dancer or not, this class is perfect for you. This class is the definition of “dance like no one’s watching.” You’ll learn techniques for individual and group improvisation. 
  1. Ice Skating (PDP SK)
  • I felt like this was the most “BU class” I could ever take. I ended up taking this class for two semesters because I loved it so much (I’m not a pro ice skater now). If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you, this ice skating class might be it!
  1. Healthy Cooking on a Budget (PDP NT104)
  • Want to learn how to eat out less, set better portion controls, or stop setting your kitchen on fire? Follow along with cooking demos and learn some life skills such as dieting, budgeting, and nutrition labels! This class changed the way I look at food and how I prep my meals. 
  1. Intro to Adulting (CAS SY101)
  • I’m sure you’ve learned parents say “they should’ve taught you that in school.” Well, this is that class. In this class, you’ll learn about finances, career development, retirement, finding an apartment, and how to “Splash and Marciano’s” post-grad. Note: this class is only open to seniors.
  1. Not a class, but study abroad if you can!
  • I recommend the Madrid Study Abroad Program. I learned so much from my time there and still keep in touch with my host-family to this day!

Anna Pham_Balloons

As my time at BU comes to an end, I realized that it’s the classes and amazing people that have made the greatest impact on my education. Remember to pick your classes and spend your time wisely (but don’t fret about it if things don’t go your way)… everything happens for a reason! My undergraduate experience was truly a rollercoaster ride but in hindsight, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it! 

 Once a terrier, always a terrier,

Anna Pham (

Major: Public Relations | Minors: Philosophy and Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Anna: A Senior’s Guide to Staying Motivated This Semester

The fall 2020 semester has revolutionized the way universities run and how students learn. I’ve been hearing from a lot of my friends how difficult it is to stay motivated during these times.

Here are some tips from me, a fellow COM senior, on how you can maximize your time and center your priorities for the rest of the school year!

Set a good weekly routine (and try your best to stick to it)


Whether you use Google Calendar, a notes app, or a physical planner, my tip is always to set a good routine. Every Sunday evening, run through your schedule and make sure you have everything ordered for that week.

Remember not to overbook yourself, and make sure to schedule in time for three meals a day and relaxation time at night! It may help to work through your calendar on a 24-hour time grid, which the ERC has a template for.

Connect with old friends


Several weeks ago, I texted my friends at my previous university, letting them know how thankful I was that I met them--not only did it make their day, but it also rekindled our relationship!

In times like these, we’re all looking for connections. It’s easy to send a text saying “Hello, I’m thinking of you and hope you are well”--don’t be afraid if you haven't talked to them in a while! Be happy that you have the chance to make someone’s day! 

Have something to look forward to


The title speaks for itself! The thing you’re looking forward to doesn’t have to be something huge. It can be as small as looking forward to treating yourself to a sweet treat once you finish an assignment or exam at the end of the week. We all look forward to the weekend but adding that dash of excitement gives us something more!

Remember to make the thing you’re looking forward to tangible and something you can see in the near future.

Write in a gratitude journal


Studies show that those who write in a gratitude journal have lowered stress levels and improved mental health! Every night before going to sleep, I write in my gratitude journal. The prompt is the same--what am I thankful for that day? Who made my life a little better just by the little encounters or conversations? It can be the beautiful weather, the walk you took, or something that made you smile.

Doing this small act has allowed me to get a better night’s sleep and has shifted my perspective from the negatives of what’s happening in the world to a more grateful mindset. Even the worst of days, there’s at least one thing you can be thankful for. 



Prior to this semester, I’d never meditated before -- but let me tell you, it works! I recommend taking a look at this website and filtering through to see if there’s a meditation that works for you!

A couple of weeks ago, I tried the body scan meditation and I had much more vivid dreams and recollections of them. I felt rejuvenated when I woke up. This meditation took roughly 15 minutes of my time, but some meditations are shorter or longer! 

This semester has undoubtedly had its ups and downs, but hopefully these tips help you to stay motivated if you need a boost!

Anna – Post-Spring Break (Online) Tips


When I packed my luggage for an abroad spring break adventure and said goodbye to my apartment at BU, little did I know that it’d be a while until I would see my friends and BU again. In the midst of this world-wide pandemic, Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has impacted everyone in one way or another.

With that being said, below are four tips to help with this unique time: 

  1. It is possible to make new friends online

(Many of us are Generation Z after all…) Students are already connected on various social media but now is the time to connect even more. With social distancing, it is hard to receive that human connection we all crave. As a result, don’t be afraid to reach out to your classmates — whether that be connecting with a classmate on Zoom, making new friends on Facebook, or joining an online community. Staying connected (especially as a COM student) is important! 

  1. Call your loved ones

Whether you are away from home or at home, remember to call those that you love! Social media has made it very easy to send a heart emoji or see a loved one’s face, but a phone call or video chat goes a long way 🙂

  1. Stay up-to-date with news

Beware of fake news and double-check your sources! BU COM gives students access to the Boston Globe and NYTimes for FREE! Click the links below to subscribe digitally:

Boston GlobeNew York Times

  1. Take a deep breath and remember everything will be okay

One thing for sure is that this pandemic was unexpected. No one expected that we’d be where we are today. 

This might be your first semester at BU or this may be your last... but whatever happens, remember to take a deep breath, wash your hands, and get adequate sleep. Stressing out will do you no good. Take this as an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. You may even be a little bored (and that’s okay!). 

Everyone's a little lost, confused, or even scared right now; it has brought uncertainty and some fear. However, for the first time in a while, our world is connected, trying to combat this virus, together. We’re each trying to pitch in, wash our hands, and uplift each other in whatever way we can.

Anna: Staying Present This Stressful Season

As the days get darker and our workload piles up, it almost seems impossible to stay present. The holidays are near and the season lights flicker, but alas, we have the “dreaded finals” to finish before winter break. Rather than just trying to “get through” finals, we should embrace every moment of this season by staying present! 

Get off your phone and share a smile!

A smile goes a long way. (Some would even say it’s the universal language of kindness!) Next time you’re walking down Comm Ave, look up from your phone and share a smile. You’ll realize that our community is so diverse and that everyone has a unique story to share. Maybe you’ll even run into someone you know. Rememberthis season is not a to-do list, but rather, an opportunity to also uplift others and spread that holiday cheer!

Take time to share your story

I often find students asking “how are you doing?” but a part of me wonders if this person cares how I’m doing. Chances are, they do! Take this moment to connect with others. Rather than just saying “okay,” tell them more about your day! Sharing more of yourself allows you to better connect with others and live in the present with the presence of someone else! 

Approach this season with an attitude of gratitude

An attitude starts with some introspection! Think about this: you’re here at Boston University out of all the places in the world. You survived even the hardest of your days and the days where you didn’t think you’d survive, you made it. That’s pretty amazing. What if you’re exactly where you’re meant to be? Stop thinking about where you could be or what will be of the future, but start living in the present and embracing every moment that your time at BU has to offer. Be thankful for where you are, what you’ve done, and who you are because this is right where you’re supposed to be! 

Anna: A New Approach to The School Year

“This summer, I studied abroad in Madrid and it was an experience like no other...” 

…but studying abroad didn’t exactly “change” my life, it just brought to light a different side of me that was always there. My time in Madrid still impacts me to this day and is why I’m going about this school year with a whole new perspective! These are my biggest takeaways from this summer:

Becoming more aware of time

Studying abroad pushed me to be more aware of the time that I have (and as college students, we have very, very limited time!). My abroad program was only 6.5 weeks long--and while that sounds like a lot, it really isn’t. Coming back to BU, this realization of time pushed me to get involved with only the things I truly wanted to do and be with the people I wanted to be around. 

Doing things with confidence

I became more confident in who I am after this trip. Being in a country where no one knows you and you don’t have to fear that you look “weird” is a pretty great feeling. And studying abroad pushed me to be that person even in Boston. I became more grounded in my decisions and less afraid to speak up for the things I believe in. Once I started doing that, I not only became more confident but also happier!

Seeking adventures

A lot of my friends say I have the travel bug now because while my study abroad adventures ended when the program ended, the desire to explore the world continued. The northeast is a pretty great place to live, and as students, we have access to so many states and cities! Since coming back, I’ve grasped a new beauty for meeting new people and discovering new places. (It’s important to get out of the BU bubble too!)

Studying abroad was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It pushed me in ways I could’ve never imagined both mentally and physically. The breakdowns I had made me stronger. The friendships I made, I know, are lifelong. Most importantly, studying abroad has given me a new sense of purpose for the rest of my college career at BU, pushing me to do the things that bring me joy!

Anna: The Howard Thurman Center

Anna ImageLet me first join my fellow COM Ambassadors in saying congratulations to all the admitted students of the class of 2016! I hope I get or already got the chance to meet you all at one of our open houses.

If there is anything I hope you guys will gain once you come to college in the coming months, it’s the capacity to challenge your brain. I know it sounds simple and super cheesy, but expanding your mind is really what college is all about.

Thankfully, here at BU, you can think big even outside the classroom.

The Howard Thurman Center (HTC), Boston University’s amazing place for all things culture, is always offering a way to think beyond your usual thoughts about what to have for dinner tonight or which free app to download.

For example, every week, our Dean of Students hosts a Coffee and Conversation in the HTC. Basically, you get delicious free coffee and baked goods and you get to discuss ideas surrounding topics that range from the meaning of love to the impact of terrorism. I’ve never left a coffee and convo without learning something new about both someone else and myself, and I challenge you to do the same when you get to campus in the Fall.

Coming up in the next couple weeks, though, the HTC is hosting an even bigger event about ideas!! BU Inspire: Rethinking the End is happening on April 29 at 2 pm in the Tsai Performance Center.

Modeled after the incredibly popular TEDx talks, BU Inspire aims to get together a group of different minded people to discuss the same topic. This year, the event will revolve around different ideas about how the world as we know it might end. With students, alumni, faculty, and community members on the panel, the discussion should be a lively event that will get you thinking about the apocalypse! Woo!

Each year the HTC puts on a different BU Inspire, so don’t worry if you aren’t around for this one. You can always catch next year’s, or maybe even be one of the students on the panel yourself.

Anna: The Best Spots in Boston

Anna Image

As I come to the end of my time here in Boston, all of my friends from high school/home seem to be making last minute attempts to come see me and the city. Obviously, I have been trying to get them all to visit for the past 3.5 years, but you know how it is. No one ever has money or time or (fill in your friends’ favorite excuses here).  Nonetheless, my best friend since the age of 10 is coming to see me next month, so in the spirit of having a visitor (YAY!), I figured I’d share some of my favorite things to do around the city with out-of-towners. Full Disclosure: There really are only so many times you can walk the Freedom Trail, so get creative with your guests for your own sake!

Institute of Contemporary Art:

The ICA is located on the waterfront near the courthouse, but it’s worth the short trek. Pretty much everyone (your parents) wants to see a museum when they come into town, so you might as well take them to a cool one. The ICA has all sorts of awesome exhibits. For example, this past summer they had a really extensive display of some of the best music album art.

La Famiglia Giorgio:

Going to the North End is a must for every visitor, so save some money and go to my favorite spot La Famiglia. The portions are huge. Honestly, they are ginormous. I have never seen anyone be able to finish a plate of pasta there, and yet, my friends still claim that they can. There is also a secret 20% student discount, so anyone with a college ID can spend less for leftovers for days.

Brattle Book Shop:
For any of your friends interested in antiquing or vintage anything, the Brattle Book Shop is the place to take them. There is a ton of really cool used books and an amazing selection of first edition books.  Even if you aren’t into books like I am (I know it’s weird), I promise you and any visitor will love it here. It’s also a really cool place to pick up a unique gift or souvenir since a good section of the books are about New England and Boston.

SOWA Open Market:

This South End market is only open on Sundays, but contrary to popular belief, the fun lasts all year ‘round. In the summer, you can bring your friends and family to the outdoor market that features a lot of art and clothing stands and all of Boston’s best food trucks. In the winter, though, it transforms into more of an indoor farmers market. Still, it’s a cool place to visit. Plus since you’re already in the South End on Sunday, you can stop at one of the neighborhood’s many amazing restaurants or cafes for brunch.

Anna: Good Music is Right Around the Corner

Anna ImageWith Coachella fast approaching and the Lollapalooza lineup leaked this week, I’ve been feeling some serious music envy lately.  Really, though, to all of you flying out to California for Coachella in April, stop telling me about your plans. I’m too jealous. If you’re like me and are struggling to find a couple of dollars for your Starbucks order each morning, you probably won’t be headed out to any major festival this spring or summer. Have no fear though! There are some great acts coming to Boston in the coming months. Best of all, these shows are relatively cheap.

As I did with my very first blog post last year, here are my recommendations for five worthwhile concerts coming to a venue near you throughout the spring semester:



Brighton Music Hall


Known mostly for being featured in endless commercials, Oberhofer is still working on gaining popularity outside of the advertising world. Led by Brad Oberhofer, the band has an upbeat sound that will keep you dancing and happy throughout the show. Check out the songs “Away From You” and “Gold” for a solid sample of the group.

Gotye with Kimbra


House of Blues


I can’t go a day without a new cover of Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” being posted on facebook. The original song, which features New Zealand artist Kimbra, was a huge hit this past summer in Gotye’s native Australia and is slowly becoming popular here in the U.S. Both artists have amazing voices and should put on solid performances separately and together.

Of Montreal 4/1

Paradise Rock Club


Even though they’ve been around and popular since the ‘90s, ticket prices for Of Montreal are still shockingly low. With their eleventh album released earlier in the month, the band is continuing their signature psychedelic-pop sound with great results. I wouldn’t hesitate to check out any of their new songs but make sure to listen to some old stuff too. They tend to go retro during their lives performances.

M83 5/9

House of Blues


This French electronica band is insanely catchy. The highly addictive single Midnight City has honestly had me dancing by myself for the past couple of months.  Similar in sound to a lower-key MGMT, the group has an eclectic mix of songs that range from slow and sad to fast and fun. They also tend to do spontaneous remixes on stage, so they never disappoint live.

Dom 5/11

Brighton Music Hall


I saw this band last summer when they opened for the WFNX Clambake, and even though I had no expectations for them, they wound up being fantastic. Hailing from nearby Worcester, their local flavor makes their shows a ton of fun. Maybe it’s because I first saw them in June, but Dom’s sound definitely has a carefree summer-like feel for me. Check out one of their first singles “Living In America,” though, and see for yourself.

Anna: It’s not too early to think about summer!

AnnaHey everyone! I hope you all had an awesome winter break.

I can’t believe it’s January and I’m already getting started on my last semester at BU. Really though, every time I look at a calendar and see that it’s 2012, I get a little confused. Time really does fly by!

I recently decided to finish up my time at BU by going back to work at a place that has had a huge impact on me throughout the past four years. I’m talking of course about Boston University Orientation! I first started working there as a Program Advisor the summer after my freshman year and had an absolutely amazing time. Since then, I’ve worked in the office as an academic year Program Advisor and now I’m back as a Coordinator of Programs.

Not only have I met a ton of cool people through Orientation, but I’ve also learned a lot more about BU and what it has to offer… all while getting paid. (For everyone dreading finding an unpaid internship this summer, listen up!)

Each spring, Orientation and the Community Service Center (CSC) hire Program Advisors, Student Advisors, Community Advisors, FYSOP Coordinators, and CSC Program Assistants to work all summer long. As a Program Advisor in the summer of 2009, my main responsibilities were to help the parents of incoming freshman and transfer students learn about BU’s academic and social programs and also to introduce them to the city the Boston.

Whether you want to help parents (like I did) or you want to welcome new students to BU through Orientation or FYSOP, there is an opportunity for you at Orientation or the CSC.  Check out our website for more info on specific jobs!

Now, I know you may be thinking, ‘Shouldn’t I be getting COM related internship this summer?’ Sure, you totally can. I’ve had three great journalism internships since being in college, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but I will tell you that working for Orientation was an equally rewarding experience. I gained incredibly valuable communication and public speaking skills, networked with BU administrators and parents, and developed as a leader.

Also, working for Orientation or the CSC is just simply fun. You get to hang out with people from all over campus that you may have never otherwise met, and you get to stay in Boston for the summer (for free…housing is paid for)!

We are now currently accepting applications for Summer 2012 Leadership positions, so again totally check out or for more information about some of the best summer jobs on campus. The application deadline is on Wednesday January 25th, though, so if you’re interested, get going!

Anna: More Music, Please!

More music, please!

Anna McKeon

Boston may still be looking a little bleak this time of year, but don’t let the snow stop you from warming up with some fantastic music. I recently saw the incredible Joshua Radin at the House of Blues, and made a vow to take advantage of as many upcoming shows as I can….and you should too!

Luckily because prices are always cheaper in the winter and the majority of concerts in Boston are 18+, there are always a ton of amazing and often ignored music options for BU students this time of year. No matter if it’s dubstep, classical, pop, or anything in between, there are a ton of great acts heading this direction in the next couple months.

Here are a few of the shows I’m looking forward to the most, but don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of the venue sites at the bottom of this post and go see your favorite band…or even better someone brand new.

Cut Copy

House of Blues: April 4, 2011

Tickets start at $20.00

A fantastic electro-pop Australian band. Be ready to feel like you’re in the 80’s though…

Iron and Wine

House of Blues: April 19,2011

Tickets start at $25.00

Good folk music and an even better beard. Do you need anything else?

Naked and Famous

Paradise Rock Club: May 2, 2011

Tickets start at $16.50

Awesome New Zealand band who were recently the US iTunes download of the week!

Make sure to check out these links to find a local show you’re into. Summer lineups are even posted now!

House of Blues Boston-

Paradise Rock Club-

Citi Performing Arts Center-

The Middle East Restaurant and Night Club-

Boston Symphony Orchestra-

TT the Bear’s Place-