Lauren: ADventures in COM!

Hi everyone!  As an advertising major here at COM, I’ve had the opportunity to get hands-on copywriting and design experience inside the classroom!  It’s amazing to know that my professors are working to prepare me for life in the advertising industry!  I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to take such exciting classes.

In one of my classes, Creative Development, our professor assigns us a specific client each week, like Weight Watchers, Boston Public Health Commission or Happy Tot Baby Foods, and asks us to create the concept for a billboard ad, print ad or direct mailing piece for the brand or organization.  The class is generally split between copywriters and art directors, so two students work together on the project.  It really has helped us learn about what it takes to work successfully in a group setting.  We also have to present our ideas in front of the class, which gives us great public speaking experience.  Presentation skills are definitely useful, especially in the advertising industry.  This class is one of my favorites because it keeps my creative juices flowing and lets me experiment and present some wild ideas!

In another one of my classes, Design and New Media I, one of our assignments was to create the concept for our own, made-up company!  We’re spending the semester designing a website and promotional material for this organization!  It’s so much fun to execute some wacky ideas.  The sky’s the limit.  Along the way, we’re learning how to use the Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver and other design software.  It’s amazing to take your ideas and be able to execute them right on the screen!

In my Advertising Management class, I’m learning all about the business side of the advertising industry.  It takes a special set of skills to manage an account and deal with a client, and this class is teaching me all about it!  We’re learning about branding, writing creative strategies, holding client meetings and other essential responsibilities of an account management position.   It’s great to have a great understanding of both the creative side and business side of the industry.  And a lot of the work I’m producing for my classes can be used in my portfolio too.

It’s incredible that I’m able to get such a great head start into the field! I feel like one of the “Mad (Wo)Men” already, and I haven’t even graduated yet!  I hope you’re all enjoying your classes as much as I’m enjoying mine!


Tom: Falling in Love with Your Minor

Hey all! Hope your semester is off to a great start. It's become that time of year around campus - the leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler, students are breaking out the sweaters, and midterms are right around the corner.

This semester has been awesome thus far. I've been busy directing All Shook Up through BU On Broadway, and just found out that I will be headed to London next semester through BU's London Internship Program. A ton of great blogs ahead about both!

But for this blog, I wanted to focus on how you can incorporate a minor into your schedule and how you can fall in love with this minor, as much as your major.

First - COM's Curriculum makes it manageable to incorporate a liberal arts minor.

Since COM is focused on its liberal arts curriculum in addition to its COM classes, there is plenty of flexibility to take a minor within the College of Arts and Sciences. Through meeting with an academic adviser in COM, I realized I could make sociology my minor with only one additional class. Obviously, I took this opportunity and ran with it.

Second - Taking on a Minor gives you a break from your COM Classes.

I love COM Classes to death (hence why I'm an Advertising major). But there's only so many advertising classes you can take in one semester without feeling like you're going insane. That's one of the greatest things about being able to minor. You get to change up what you are focusing on and try out some new things. Sometimes a break is exactly what you need to do your best work.

Third - You get to try other things you are interested in.

This semester I am taking Sociology 240: Sex and The Social Life, which is hands down one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken in my time at BU. While normally, I would not get a chance to take this class, having the opportunity to minor allows me to take the class and have it count for my requirements.


In short - take advantage of minoring while in COM. While most students come in and focus only on their major, sometimes a minor can go a long way.

Dany: Do You Have Your Study Buddy?

I don’t know about you guys, but it’s getting to be that time of year again for me. Midterms. When all those times spent procrastinating on Tumblr and Netflix and barely skimming long, dense readings come back to haunt you. Well, here are some pro-tips for getting through the battle.

1. Take breaks.

Believe me, nothing productive will come from a 15-hour cram session. Your brain needs to relax. Focus on what you need to do but when you start to read the same sentence eight times and the room gets blurry, it’s time to stop. Walk around, stretch your legs, get something to eat. Smoothies help me concentrate and they always perk me back up when I’m starting to lose focus.

2. Know your study pattern.

My notes always look like Office Depot threw up on them. Everything is color-coded by highlighters and sharpie pens with the appropriate post-its where I jot down questions I have while studying. It helps me stay organized and during exams, I can visualize my notebook and remember the answer. That’s how I work. Everyone learns differently, so my point here is find your routine. Establish your study method and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works.

3. Plan ahead.

This one is the hardest one for me because my schedule tends to be packed to the minute. But I know that if I make little sacrifices and set guidelines for what to study, I’ll be much better off. Usually about a week or so before an exam, I’ll take a look at the syllabus and see what’s going to be on it. Then I just divide it up into sections and study a little bit everyday, leaving the day before the exam as a review. This keeps me from not getting stressed and if I have any questions, I have plenty of time to stop by my professor’s office hours and ask.

4. Find your study buddy.

One of the first things I do when I walk into a class for the first time is look for someone I know or make friends. It’s always helpful to know at least one person in each class to compare notes with, quiz each other, and just talk about the material. When you’re really struggling to understand something, simply having a conversation about it with someone else and speaking in layman’s terms can help put you on the right track. Two heads are better than one!

That said, it’s back to the Mugar Marathon for me! Good luck everyone!

Sarah: The Best Non-COM Classes I’ve Taken

In my experience, if there is one thing freshman want to know going into their first and second semesters here at BU, it is what classes to take. We hear a lot about all of the great COM classes to take, and there are plenty, but there are tons of hidden gems throughout all of BU. Here are a few of my recommendations.

SED-DE570 & DE571 American Sign Language 1&2

Jason Norman & Kelly Kim

I could dedicate an entire blog post to my love for ASL. In fact, I have (check out my post from last February). If there was one requirement I dreaded, it was the language requirement. I avoided it altogether freshman year, hoping COM would magically drop it and I would be free. When I couldn’t put if off any longer, I registered for ASL; it was the perfect choice for me. I loved learning about Deaf culture and discovering an entirely new way to communicate. And, the class was just fun! We learned by playing games, role-playing and creating vlogs. If you like very active and hands-on (no pun intended) learning, this class is for you!

CAS-PH266 Mind, Brain, and Self

Walter Hopp

The dreaded philosophy requirement does NOT have to be so bad. This class came highly recommended to me, so I feel compelled to pay it forward. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the class is difficult. It took me half the semester to just train my brain to think philosophically. But, if you put in the effort, you will be fulfilled (and feel whackid smaht!). Professor Hopp really makes the class what it is. He is incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject, and it shows. He is also one of the funniest professors I’ve had (one of my friends in the class kept a list of priceless Hopp quotes). And, he is all about helping his students do well. I would send him page-long emails of jumbled thoughts and he would respond with two page-long emails of brilliant feedback.

PDP-DA 150 Cardio Jazz Funk

Jossie Coleman

This class is just as fun as it sounds. If you can commit to them, PDP classes are a great way to de-stress from a hectic week. I always looked forward to starting my day off with a little bit of dancing. Jossie is a wonderful teacher, and is accommodating of all levels of experience. She has crazy amounts of energy that will get you fired up and moving. She demands the same kind of energy and pushes everyone just a little bit outside of their comfort zone. I also loved the variety of people in the class. Some people had years of experience; some people had never taken a dance class before. But, everyone had a blast!

CAS-AR100 Great Discoveries in Archaeology

William Saturno

I took this class the first semester of freshman year, and I still miss it to this day. The work was reasonable and discussion sections were always fun. The material can be a bit dry at times, but Professor Saturno is the best lecturer ever! I feel like he should be hosting his own show in Vegas instead of teaching an archaeology course. But, he is certainly well-qualified to do so. Professor Saturno has gone on expeditions all over South America, and has a million and one stories from all of them. One of them involves a very territorial bonobo ape, but that’s all you’re getting out of me. He has also made some incredible contributions to the field – he recently discovered the oldest known Mayan murals in Guatemala. How cool is that!?

Steph: COM- Truly Interdisciplinary

COM: Truly Interdisciplinary

Hey guys! For you new Terriers out there, I hope all of you have had a great first week of school! I know I have. So far, one of my favorite things about my classes is that they all seem to overlap—the things that I’m learning in one class inform the things I’m learning in another. For me, that’s awesome. One of the best things about COM is that everything is related, which shows what a truly well rounded education it provides.

For example, I’m currently taking a history class called American Pop Culture, which spans the Victorian Era to the present day, or in other words, Vaudeville to “Jersey Shore.” Right now we’re talking about the early 1900’s, and how the Industrial Revolution created the concept of leisure time. One thing that people in the 1920s and 30s would do for leisure is listen to the radio. Approximately 4 hours later, I’m sitting in my Understanding Television class, learning all about the birth of the radio and how it served to unify the nation in times of hardship. We also learn about how at a certain point, advertising agencies really dominated radio by creating product-sponsored shows. The next morning at 8 am, I listen to my professor talk about the early days of product integration in my Intro to Advertising class.

And then there’s my wildcard class, called Magic, Science, and Religion. Our last lecture we talked about ancient Egyptian spells. I’m still waiting to see how it will connect to my other classes. 😉

Hope all of you guys are enjoying your classes as much as I am!

Richie: Finding the Right Professor

Summer’s nearing its end and soon you’ll all be in Boston, enjoying the company of new friends and starting an incredible four year long adventure. The start of college is no doubt, exciting. Yet, I know some of you might have your small fears or may be even experiencing minor panic attacks. I promise you it’s a lot easier to adapt to than you think.

Starting off new classes was one of my personal fears. First off, its definitely wise to look up what building your class will be in before the first day. The majority of your classes your first semester are general education requirements, and for that reason, will be very spread out across the campus. Get familiar with the names and acronyms of the different buildings. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for directions.

Having a good sense of where your classes are located will also help you better understand where you’ll be able to stop for lunch in between your classes. Will you have time to make it to this dining hall, or even go back to your dorm for a bit?

It’s also good to know that all professors always go through the syllabus on the first day of classes. A break down of the grade percentage, tests, upcoming projects, will be will be explained to you right away. That way you’ll have a good sense of what’s expected of you and you won’t have to worry about being thrown to the wolves. If you realize the class you signed up for wasn’t exactly what you thought it was, don’t hesitate to talk to an academic advisor to switch out of a class.

My main bit of advice is on professors though. I know I was worried about trying to build connections with my professors.  I left high school with a lot of friends in the faculty. Recommendations and help from teachers were easy to come by, and I worried it might not be the same in college. In your smaller classes you’ll be able to stand apart and establish a good relationship by just speaking up, but your larger classes will require a bit more of you.

I’d definitely recommend finding out a professor’s office hours and making an effort to show up. They’ll admire your desire to receive extra help and will also appreciate the company. Trust me, this will be very helpful later on if you need a recommendation later on in an extracurricular, and, for many COM professors, it’ll be very helpful when your looking for that internship during the summer.

BU really has some incredible professors and I really do suggest you shape your classes around them. I always schedule my classes according to recommendations from other students, and sometimes even the website ratemyprofessor. Obviously, the reviews on the site have to be taken with a grain of salt since most people writing reviews are going to be either irrationally angry at the professor, or madly in love with them. Either way, it does help a bit. A great professor really does make all the difference in your experience at college. Not just one that will give you an easy grade, but will engage you, interest you, challenge you, and then be able to help you in after you leave their class.

Ask upperclassmen (and obviously your COM Ambassadors!) what professors they must absolutely recommend and I’m sure they’ll give you a huge list.  I definitely know the film professors that are top in my head.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and get excited for Boston. I’m already excited and it’s not even my freshman year.

Taylor: Professors, COM’s Greatest Resource

Taylor ImageWhen forming my perception of a college professor before entry I pictured an archaic individual who found comfort in solely beckoning his or her hand towards a chalkboard. My childhood vision was, fogged and….WRONG. From the moment that I set foot into my first lecture on campus, which happened to be COM 101- taught by associate Dean Tammy Vigil- I immediately noticed how down to earth and personable the professors and faculty members at BU are.

Prior to entry, I would have never thought that an early morning lecture would be enjoyable but again college changes your perception. From watching and discussing short clips of animated films like Pixar’s “Up” to analyzing the marketing strategies embedded within pop culture shows like Modern Family the college classroom is the definition of engagement. These exampled encounters extend to the entirety of the BU community. For instance the history department sponsored a bus trip to view the Gilded Age mansions in Newport Rhode Island. I have tagged along with my friends assigned scavenger hunts within the Museum of Fine Arts and at historical sites.COm101

One bit of advice, GO TO OFFICE HOURS. At the beginning of every semester a syllabus is personally distributed, emailed, and posted online. On the top corner of those detailed course bibles are posted hours of teacher availability. VISIT. Trips to professor office hours create an increased opportunity for students to mold a better relationship with faculty as well as clear up questions of confusion. Teacher LOVE to see the presence of a student, it shows that you’ve taken the time to discuss the material even more depth. Every professor has office hours along with teaching assistants; BU is swarming with an abundance of resources and conversations.

Just the other day I attended a panel discussion about pop culture. This discussion was put together by all of the RA’s on the COM floors (see previous blog post for more info). The panel consisting of professors within COM offered a great conversation about the impact of pop culture to society, social media, and the media at large. The event was held later in the night, yet professors sacrificed their time and energy to be with students to share their passion for communication. The amount of commitment that I’ve noticed professors and faculty members uphold motivates as a student. I realize more and more, by the day, how this is truly one united Terrier Nation.

Taylor W.

Brittany: Stuff Journalists Like — #17 Breaking News

Brittany ImageStuff Journalists Like -- #17 Breaking News

My first experience with breaking news came during the fall semester of my sophomore year. I was in my COM Newswriting and Reporting class when all of a sudden we heard sirens coming from right outside the building. We all ran to the window and saw police cars up on the sidewalk and people running down Comm Ave. None of us knew what was happening, but my professor immediately dropped the lesson plan to give us a chance to cover a real life breaking news situation.

Some of the photojournalists in the class had their cameras with them, and went to shoot stills of the action. When they came back, we learned that there had been a bank robbery and the police had chased down and caught the suspect—so we combined the stills and wrote a report on the story.

That day was only my first time covering breaking news—since then, I’ve had a hand in a few other instances as well. This past fall, news of Joe Paterno’s resignation came during my Newsroom class on the day I happened to be the live reporter. Myself and another student in the class took to the streets at about 8:30 a.m., and had a package shot and edited by 12 p.m. It was an exciting story to cover, and you can check out the final product here:

Then this semester, a project that I was working on fell through, and I found myself starting from scratch at 11 a.m. for a 3 o’clock show. This was the same day as the second day of the Supreme Court “Obamacare” hearings, so I packed up some equipment at Field Production Services and headed down to the State House to get reaction and film a quick report:

Although it’s tough to turn a package on a deadline, those two pieces are some of my best work. As a journalist, I was forced to tighten up my reporting; as a broadcaster, the adrenaline that comes with a looming deadline ups my on-camera performance: it’s do or die at that point, and not turning in a package isn’t an option. My COM education has placed me in real-life situations, and I know I’m prepared to cover a breaking news situation when I finally arrive at my first job.

Richie: Final Projects over Final Exams at COM!

Richie ImageCongratulations to all you accepted into the Class of 2016 here at BU! At this point in your senior year you may be bombarded with a lot of work. College decisions, prom preparations, senior events, AP exams, and even final exams coming around the corner may have you begging for summer. Trust me though, despite some last minute hard work on your part, these last weeks of high school will be incredibly fun and memorable. Before you know it you’ll be going to orientation, making new friends from around the country, and enjoying everything Boston has to offer!

Now, you may experience some of the same feelings in college nearing the end of your semester. With final exams and final papers, it’s no secret that college students also get stressed out.

However, one of my favorite things about majoring in COM is the absolute lack of final exams! Don’t get me wrong, for the year or two you’ll be mostly taking general education requirements, you will absolutely have final exams in some of your classes like any other student in the country. But, as a junior majoring in Film and Television, I can confidently say my specialized courses seem to always ask for final projects instead of final exams! (This also rings true for most other majors in COM). Think about it, you can’t really give a student a written test about how to carefully craft a film or construct a successful ad campaign?

As seniors in high school, you may not see the benefit in final projects over final exams just yet. (I, for one, was actually a great test taker and usually did better on my finals). But, trust me, you’ll learn to love it. Last year I only had one final during final week, and both semesters of this year I’ve had a grand total of ZERO finals!

When you’re planning to head back home for the holidays or planning a summer trip, that extra week and a half really comes in handy! This semester I’ll be finished with classes on May 2nd and heading over to France on May 8th!

Once you get into your advanced classes in COM, you’ll be the envy of all your other friends on campus! For now though, enjoy your senior year!

Jon: Surviving Midterms

Jon ImageMidterms. That dreaded word that causes students everywhere to quake upon hearing it. What’s scarier than the thought of the first big cumulative exam of the semester? The tell-all test when you reveal if you’ve been actively learning all semester or if you’ve been sliding down into your lecture hall seat and grabbing an hour or two of beauty rest every day. Get ready, cause it’s show time.

As spring break begins next week, professors tend to be loading on projects and exams left and right, in an attempt to get that one last evaluation in before students flee to sunshine and warm beaches. However, if you can keep your head among all this craziness, it’s more than possible to manage your time and successfully conquer your midterms. Here’s a handy list of tips to how you can survive “hell week”.

1)      SLEEP - This comes first on the list because it is by far the most important preparatory tool and is also the easiest to sacrifice when things get crazy. Make sure first and foremost that you get your 9 ½ hours every night, because once you start to slip on that, you’ll fall into a vicious cycle of working inefficiently and therefore sacrificing more sleep as tasks take longer to complete. Also, research shows you will be happier, healthier, and better academically if your brain has the rest it needs.

2)      Drink lots of water – It’s easy to fall prey to the tantalizing lures of coffee and energy drinks, which promise to give you those extra hours of focus you need. However, if you’re not getting enough water in your day, these diuretics will make you jittery and irritable. Hydration is key to staying healthy, so try to limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages.

3)      Start studying early – What seems to be common sense to any impartial bystander is often ignored by frantic college students. The more of a head start you get on your studying, the more prepared you will be. I try to plan at least a week’s worth of course review, so that if gaping holes in my knowledge appear I have time to do something about them.

4)      On a similar note, DON’T study the night before an exam – This old adage that they told you in SAT prep classes applies to your college tests as well. Chances are you aren’t going to be retaining anything you’re trying to learn or review at this point. Watch a movie, play a video game, go to the gym, or just hang out with your friends. De-stressing and getting enough rest is the best preparation you can get the night before a test. I can’t emphasize this point enough – don’t fall prey to the “last-minute-all-nighter-double-header” study sessions your friends or floor mates might be engaging in, it’s not worth it.

These four tips may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget about them or rationalize not doing them.  Stand by this list, and make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health, and you’ll be well on your way to midterm success.
Stay frosty,