Sarah: A Story of Love

Sarah ImageAs the last traces of Valentine’s Day linger in the air, I seize this moment to reflect on one of my own relationships – one that has become very important to me over the past six months. What began as a mere fling has blossomed into a lasting and unbreakable bond. It’s thrilling. It’s passionate. It’s real. Now, you might be thinking this is not the most appropriate outlet for an expression of the sort, but this kind of affair is not one to be silenced. I write to you today, fellow and future terriers, because I’ve fallen madly, truly and deeply in love with American Sign Language.

Rewind to freshman year. After actively avoiding a certain part of the COM curriculum for over a year, I began receiving concerned emails about my unfulfilled language requirement. Unwilling to spend two semesters learning a language, I looked high and low for possible loopholes. Option 1: test out of Latin, a language I hadn’t studied in four years. Option 2: take an eight-week intensive course in Russian. Option 3: pray for COM to drop the language requirement. When none of these choices proved feasible, I broke down and began looking at fall language courses. On a whim, I registered for ASL 1.

The summer came and went without a second thought about the dreaded language requirement. On the fist day of classes, my apathy became panic. To my (shamefully oblivious) surprise, a Deaf man – Professor Jason Norman, showed up to teach the on the first day of class. How does a Deaf professor teach a class full of hearing students with no experience in ASL? It would be futile for me to try to articulate exactly how he teaches the class because it’s a mystery even to me. All I can say is that last semester, Professor Norman played matchmaker – he introduced me to the rich and expressive language I would come to love.

I learned more in one semester of ASL than I ever thought possible. For three hours a week, I found myself engaged, focused and dedicated to mastering this new language. While I sometimes shied away from participating in other classes, I found myself eager to ask questions, give examples and sign in front of the class. By the end of the semester, I was confident and competent enough to hold conversations in ASL, even with native signers.

Now, don’t be fooled. ASL and I are a match made in heaven, but like any relationship, there have been a few bumps in the road. Learning ASL is fun, but not easy. The switch from aural to visual communication is a dramatic one that requires a certain level of commitment and training. Also, to master fingerspelling at normal pace takes years of practice. The language gap between Professor Norman and I was the biggest hardship last semester. There were times that I held back questions and comments simply because I didn’t know how to sign them. These issues work themselves out with both patience and practice.

I now take ASL 2, but sadly, ASL and I might have to take a break after this semester. The year I once thought I would waste learning a language is coming to an end – but I’m not ready to call it quits. However, with hopes of internships and studying abroad, ASL classes might not fit into my schedule. But, fear not – I’m confident this love story will have a happy ending. The things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met through ASL and Deaf culture studies will surely transcend into other aspects of my life. Maybe I’ll even make a film about it some day.

College is such a short part of life, yet so packed full of opportunities. When else will you have the chance to study Buddhism in America? Or zooarchaeology? So, I dare you – I triple dog dare you – to take a class that you know will challenge you. A class you know nothing about. A class you might not be eager to take. You never know when you might uncover a hidden passion; you never know when you might fall in love.

Richie: PDPs: Schedule a Bit of Time For Fun!


Now, we all know Boston University’s College of Communication is a top-notch school with the best in terms of academic classes, but we seldom hear about the other classes available to us as BU students.  It’s true, while completing our general requirements, we’ll likely be exposed to a wide variety of classes in the many colleges throughout our university.  We’ll probably take an incredible philosophy course or a foreign language course we’ll fall in love with.  But what I’m talking about are PDPs.

“What’s a PDP?” you may be asking yourself (along with the question, “Does BU purposefully abbreviate everything to confuse new students”).  I’ll be honest, don’t ask me what “PDP” exactly stands for, but I do know they’re BU’s Physical Education Credit Classes.  Offering an insanely huge amount of diversity, students can sign up from anything to rock climbing, yoga, or even scuba diving with a PDP course!  You can check out over a hundred different classes in categories like court sports, dance, mind and body, aquatics, and more!

Courses are usually somewhere in between 0.5 and 2.0 credits, and since our regular academic classes usually only take up 16 credits, why not fill up the remaining two credits available to you with a class like cardio-jazz funk?! Or if you have the GPA requirement for it, you could go crazy and literally overload with PDPs! (Yes, I am overloading with Hip-Hop, Tango, Springboard Diving, and Intermediate Sailing, but don’t judge me).  If your still hesitant to sign up for one (not sure why you would be after you read “rock climbing”) just think about all the added benefits.

For one, it would definitely have you visit the gym more frequently.  I know many of you are familiar with our state-of-the-art fitness center, but probably  only familiar with it from afar.  I’ll be honest, I visited the gym here in my entire freshman year probably a total of two times and know plenty of students that did the same.  Perhaps a cooking class that meets for two hours a week would help you learn a little more about FitRec.  It could even give you the little extra push you need to actually start visiting our gym independently!

You’re also bound to meet some great friends.  Whether you’re taking a class in something you already have an interest in and find people with common interests, or find someone who is just as clueless as you are about the class; you’re bound to make some great friends!

Finally, I know things can get hectic as a college student. With a part-time job, school work, and classes; scheduling some fun can be extremely beneficial.  Step out of your comfort-zone a bit and sign up for that dance class you’ve always wanted to learn.  The Pass/Fail system of PDPs won’t give you the same amount of stress a regular class would (since passing is only graded on attendance) and you’ll come out of it with a new skill.

By the way, you still have time to sign up for a PDP on the student link! As for me, I can’t wait for the weather to clear up and sailing to begin!

Jason: New Semester

JasonHey guys,

Well, here’s my first blog entry of the semester. Classes just started so I figured it’d be appropriate to talk about how my first couple went. I’ve only had my liberal arts classes so far, my film classes are tomorrow (although by the time you read this I will have had them) but for now I’ll just talk about my first day back.

First of all, I was skiing in Park City, Utah the week before I got back to Boston and it’s warmer there than it is at school; so that was a bit of a shock. Anyway, if you end up living in West Campus make sure you get to the bus pretty early through out the winter because EVERYONE will be waiting for the bus and they can’t all fit. I ended up taking the T took my first class because the bus was too crowded.

My first class was sociology of law and society. I’m taking this class because A) it’s applicable to the topic areas I want to cover in my documentaries and B) it fills a requirement. The professor is hilarious and we’re going to have the opportunity to sit on a criminal court case. After watching religiously watching every episode of SVU, that’s been a dream of mine for some time now.

The class immediately after is Spanish. Last year I switched from French so I can participate in the Madrid Film Studies and Documentary Video Production Program in the fall. Right I’m now at the 5th semester level so I’ll be all set to go next year. I can’t really say much because apparently the professor who taught the entire class yesterday was subbing for our real professor. Should be good though.

That’s about it on that front. It’s good to be back and I’m pumped for a great semester.

Joe: Meeting Stephen Colbert…for Class

Joe Kain
Joe Kain

Hey Everyone!

I hope you’re all having an awesome end to your school year, I know I did. And congratulations to those of you that have already graduated.

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to see a live taping of The Colbert Report in New York City. As some of you may know, when you’re here at BU you will probably be taking a WR 150 class. These writing classes all test the same skills, but just have different topics. Some topics include The Devil, Environmentalism, Documentary Films, and even Stephen Colbert!

I was lucky enough to get into the class entitled “The Colbert Report: American Satire.” The class, with Professor Michael Rodriguez, studies Colbert’s unique brand of satire and how he is not only revolutionizing previously utilized styles of satire, but also creating his own unique style. It is a super fun class and I urge anyone interested in this type of thing to try and take this class, because it is NOT going to be easy to get in.

Anyways, we all got to skip out on class to take a trip to NYC. The Colbert Report interestingly films in a really random part of New York, so we didn’t have a lot of time to wander around the city before the filming. But, it didn’t really matter because we were all so amazed that we were about to see Stephen Colbert in person! For school!

The taping was everything I thought it was going to be. It was absolutely hysterical to see him in person. But, as a film and TV student, it was even more impressive to see how much goes into just one episode of the show. His team of writers comes up to him to give him a pep-talk between every commercial break, and the show’s runner is all over the place, queuing Colbert as to which camera he should be looking at.

After the taping, as a special treat for our class, Colbert stayed back and answered questions out of character. Not many people get to see Colbert out of his character, so to hear him speak so eloquently and with such intelligence as a satirist was amazing. I also felt like I had a greater understanding of the show after taking the WR 150 class.

So the lesson is take classes that you’re interested in! Never settle for any “boring” classes or classes that your friends are taking. Branch out and explore all your options here at BU. You won’t regret it.