Hannah Y: Best Places to Travel to on Massachusetts Public Transport

Best Places to Travel to on Massachusetts Public Transport 

I grew up in a place notoriously devoid of efficient public transportation (thanks for that, Southern California) — so you’ll imagine my amazement when I first learned about the vast reaches of the MBTA. 

Silly as it sounds, I couldn’t believe how many different places in the Greater Boston area I could easily take Massachusetts public transit to. Many Charlie Card refills and Commuter Rail weekend passes later, I still haven’t stopped exploring what Massachusetts public transport has to offer. 

With that said, here are a few of my favorite places to take MBTA to: 

Fresh Pond (Cambridge) 

At the far end of the northbound red line is Fresh Pond, a hidden gem of a park just 10 minutes away from the Alewife T stop. The park is oriented around a giant reservoir, with a 2.25 mile walking loop surrounding the water. Dog enthusiasts can spot pups of all shapes, sizes and colors at the pond’s dog beach and grassy lawns. There’s also a golf course adjacent to the water if you’re looking for a local spot to tee off. 


There are few places more beautiful than Ipswich’s Crane Estate and Crane Beach along the North Shore, which are located a short bus ride from the Ipswich Commuter Rail station. The highlight of the estate is the 56,881-acre mansion on the property’s hill that overlooks the ocean. Visitors can take a tour of the house, peruse the estate’s rose gardens and lawns, and end the day with a trip down to Crane Beach at the far edge of the property.   

Natick Mall

The Natick Mall isn’t quite as scenic as some of the other locations on the list, but hear me out — the retail behemoth is a sight to behold for anyone unfamiliar with the area. The mall offers a wide array of shopping and dining options, including all-time mall classic California Pizza Kitchen, a personal favorite. The mall’s lineup of entertainment options isn’t lacking either, with Level99, a challenge-based recreation center, and Dave & Buster’s on the list.  

Cleveland Circle 

Cleveland Circle is the final stop on the C leg of the green line, leading riders right to the base of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. The Reservoir itself is a great place for a power walk alone or with friends, and the nearby Cafe Landwer and Eagle’s Deli are two solid spots to refuel afterward. The best part? If you head down the C line to Cleveland Circle in the fall, you’ll be treated to scenic views of colored leaves and old-timey apartment buildings for much of the ride.


Hannah: Improv? More like IMPROVE! (How Improv Teaches Business & Life Skills)

Six hours a week I spend my time playing pretend. I am a member of BU’s premier Improv comedy troupe, Liquid Fun, and I often think what we do is the silliest thing in the world. It’s a bunch of adults taking imaginary props and weird voices seriously. 







You’ll kick booty at listening
While performing an improv scene, you want to make sure the dialogue is consistent so it makes sense to the audience. Because of that, performers have to listen to every single word their partner says. I used to find myself planning what I was going to say next in a conversation. This caused me to tune out the other person. Improv has taught me to drop that bad habit and have more meaningful conversations. 

2. You’ll be a bravery champion
Improv involves zero preparation. Because of this, you dare to trust yourself and not overthink your actions. After performing on stage without any preparation, you feel invincible!

3. You’ll be a teamwork pro
Improv is all about working together. If your fellow teammates feel supported, they will do the same for you. The best improv ideas are usually collaborative. In the business world, you will most likely work with a team. Rather than trying to think of a better idea or silently competing, improv has taught me to trust that the synergy of a bunch of brains together can create something amazing.

4. You’ll roll with your failures
Sometimes in improv I say unbelievably stupid things! When this happens, I have to justify what I said and go with it. There’s no re-do or apologies. I can bring this into real life. When I make a mistake, rather than beat myself up about it, instead I can build off of it. 

5. You’ll become a great decision maker
Improv forces you to think fast. There’s no time to second guess yourself. You learn to make quick decisions and follow them. In the real world, I often find myself dwelling over decisions for a long time. Improv has taught me is that there is rarely a wrong decision. It’s important to go with your gut rather than torturing yourself with doubts. 

6. You’ll be fierce at being flexible
Sometimes an improviser will start a scene with a certain idea and another improviser will take it in a whole new direction. When this happens, the original improviser can’t be like “um hey, no actually I wanted to do something different.” Instead, they adapt to the new scene and find positive things to add to it. Improv has taught me to work with the unexpected like a boss. 



7. You’ll always say YES AND
The improv golden rule is to always say, “YES!” This is also a great rule for life. Whenever a challenge comes your way, it’s important to agree to it and then find a way to play with it and create something beautiful, creative and hilarious. Improv will make you a positivity professional. 







Interested in trying improv? Liquid Fun, BU’s premier improv comedy troupe, has open practices every Sunday from 7-9 PM in CAS B36. No experience necessary!



Hannah: An Oscar Speech of Thanks to BU

It’s with a heavy heart I’m writing my last blog post as a Com Ambassador, but I guess I should count myself lucky since that just means my heart is really, really full. Senior year came all too quickly. When people tell you college went by too fast – they’re not kidding. I guess the jokes on me this time! Four years ago, I can honestly say I had no idea what Boston University and the College of Communication would do for me.

Here’s one last monologue about some pretty gosh darn amazing people, places and experiences that made BU home and are now making it oh so hard to say goodbye to this second home of mine. And I look forward to see how these remarkable things will change somebody else’s life when they fill my shoes. Consider this my Oscar speech (in case I’m a few years out from actually making it onto that stage).

1.        COM Undergraduate Affairs – Every tour that comes through COM is told what an asset these guys are (trust me I know since I’m one of the people giving them) and it’s no lie. We are lucky to have one of the most phenomenal staff of advisors. From minor ‘stupid’ questions to figuring out how to add a second major mid junior year – not one of these guys has ever left one of my questions unanswered. Talk about some miracle workers!

2.       My Internships – The work experience and insight I gained from the hands-on intern environments at both Red Bull Boston and Allied Integrated Marketing gave me the enthusiasm and confidence it takes to enter the job force. Both companies worked to make me an appreciated and integral part of their office life and I know that’s not the case at every place so I must have hit the jackpot. On top of that I met a whole host of characters who encouraged me and pushed me to succeed at Boston University and beyond.

3.       The Professors – We all hear about our COM professor’s impressive backgrounds, but I don’t think we hear about their compassion and genuine interest in their students enough. Coming to a big University like BU can be intimidating, especially when you hear that COM101 is a class of 300+ people. I never thought I would make such meaningful connections with my professors (even in classes that size). From offers to proofread scripts, go over interview prep-work, or even just to touch base and make sure I’m feeling okay after a sick day – not all professors go out of their way to make sure they connect with their students, but BU’s definitely do. The college dean knows me by first name. I talk to my department chairs on a daily basis, and all of them sincerely care about my wellbeing and my future. That just doesn’t happen at every school.

4.       The Amenities – Huge shout out to the computer labs I’ve spent all-nighters in, the gear from FPS that made me look legit on film shoots and the studios for acting as a perfect backdrop to my college experience. Along with that – I owe a big shout out to Jamie Companeschi and Jose! Talk about some serious lifesavers in terms of technical difficulties. They’ve saved more than a few of my projects for me.

5.       The Extracuriculars – I’d be wrong if I didn’t mention things like WTBU, my sorority, the COM Ambassador Program, the National Student Advertising Competition, AdLab, book club, HerCampus and all the other out of this world programs COM offers it’s students outside of the classroom. There were always plenty of options and ways for me to make friends and meet people with similar interests.

On that note – the Oscar music is definitely playing to let me know that I’ve rambled on way to long, but I leave you with these few words. I hope that when it’s all of your turns to walk across that graduation stage that BU and the College of Communication have become just as much of a home to all of as it has become to me.

Hannah H: A Note on Intro Courses

My name is Hannah and for those of you who don’t know I’m a current senior double majoring in COM and like most seniors – I did exactly what every advisor, teacher and alum tells you not to do – I saved the vast majority of my intro courses for senior year. The only difference is I saved the vast majority of my intro courses for both Film/TV and Advertising.

Now after experiencing it first hand, I’m siding with those wise, wise people who told me not to, but probably not for the reason most people think. It’s not because I already know everything from the intro courses or because the courses don’t relate to my career path. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve learned so much in the courses that my brain has been on overload for the past month and a half trying to take it all in.

Intro courses are actually inundated with information – so it’s really nice to have time that you can dedicate to understanding and mastering the concepts. As you work your way up the class chain – there’s a lot more work outside of the classroom. It can be really difficult to take the time necessary to focus on intro courses when you feel pressured to get work done for your other upper level classes. If you don’t take the time to learn the concepts from intro courses then it really won’t benefit you though. Even if you think you know everything the course is going to teach you – I guarantee you you’re wrong. I find it’s best to go into these types of classes with an open mind and some open time.

Technical classes can seem daunting if you’re an advertising major like me who’s never even spent time in photoshop (who knew there was a whole suite of similar applications? Not me). Whereas I was comfortable in my film/TV technical world – I was more than happy to hop on Production I and get a camera in my hands – it was the opposite with digital and creative classes which was totally absurd on my part. If anything – I enjoy my design class now more than my production one.

Another common misconception is that studies courses are boring, lengthy classes with not a lot of applicable information. Not the case at all. In Mass Com Research I created one of the most thorough projects I’ve ever done in my time at BU, which I now use in my book. Let me tell you, future employers are all about those fancy graphs and Questrom level numbers. Also as it turns out, you learn some really interesting and transferable concepts in film studies classes so I really wish I took that intro class sophomore year rather than my last semester of senior now.

Long story short, I don’t think I’ll be changing my focus to design or film studies anytime soon, but I do wish I was aware of the potential sooner, because it most definitely plays more of a part in copywriting or filmmaking than I ever thought it would. Don’t write off the intros right off the bat.

Hannah H: A Few Favorites About New England’s Fall

I’m either obsessed with alliterations or feeling a little too nostalgic about being a senior, but no matter the case, it has me loving on fall. Don’t get me wrong - I love summer as much as the next person and I can appreciate a good couple of snow days in the winter, but Fall has really become the unsung hero of my time spent here in Boston. Not only is the weather awesome - there’s so much going on on-campus and around the area.

Looking back here’s few things I’m excited to enjoy one last time in New England before shipping out after graduation:

1. Back to Classes

Yes. I said it. I like going back to classes. There’s something reassuring about the fresh start and consistency that the fall brings. You’re excited about new classes and you’re back to a normal schedule. If you have a crazy professor or a class that’s going to become a thorn in your side - you probably don’t know it yet. You get to pretend to be organized for a few weeks even though you know you’ll have lost your agenda halfway through the semester. All these reasons and more are one major reason that come next fall - I’ll really miss going back to classes.

2. The Nature Fix

Boston and its surrounding areas have awesome outdoor landscapes. Sure it’s not like you're walking through Yellowstone everyday, but it’s also not a concrete jungle. You can watch the leaves fall in Boston Commons. Take a few extra long runs on the esplanade before the air gets too cold and watch Head of the Charles on the river. Day trips to Natick for Apple Picking each fall have become a fall-staple for me to get off-campus and take a break from the chaos of midterms. There’s always a 5k or charity walk that gets you out and about exploring the city. Trust me when I say there are plenty of ways to get your nature fix in Boston and Fall is the perfect time to do it.

3. Moving

It’s widely known and (partially) accepted that everyone moves during the same week every year (August 27th - September 2). That is often mine and most people’s least favorite week of the year. For the record, that week also falls in the summer not the fall. But, by the time fall hits you are all moved in, be it a fancy new suite in Stuvi, an awesome off-campus apartment or an upgraded brownstone double. No matter the case - once you’re all moved in and settled it always feels like an upgrade. And the icing on the cake - fall means no more A/C dreaming, because you don’t need air-conditioning in the fall and I promise you won’t miss all that Boston summer humidity.

On that note - I leave you. I’m off to enjoy a day of boots and a temperature under 75 degrees. Fall is here, Boston. Get ready.

Hannah: Open House FAQs

Open House is one of the most exciting days of the year for us CAs, but also all of our newly accepted students. It’s a chance for you all to find out the necessary answers to the questions that will help you decide where or whether BU is the best fit for you. Each year there are a few of the same questions that everyone seems to have – so here’s some quick answers for those of you who can’t make an Open House or didn’t have a chance to get these questions answered for you while you were on campus.

Q: Where do most people live on campus?

A: The vast majority of freshmen live in one of our dorms – primarily Warren Towers or Claflin, Rich or Sleeper in West. The short version: West has more of a campus feel, but its about a 15 minute walk from COM. Warren is the center of campus right next to COM, but also a 15 minutes walk from the athletic fields and fitrec.

Q: Is the winter actually that bad?

A: Yes, as you all probably know we had a bad winter. It was cold. It was ugly. We had a whole bunch of fabulous snow days. I’m not new to snow, but I was definitely new to BOSnow this year, because this was my first bad winter in Boston. If only one out of my three years in Boston is a real winter then I think I’ll be just fine and so will you. Just make sure you grab a good winter coat and some snow boots. Worst comes to worst – you have a good excuse to stay in bed all day and drink hot chocolate.

Q: What COM classes am I taking as a freshman?

A: COM101 and COM201. COM101 is a large lecture with your whole freshmen class. It covers the communication field and introduces you to some distinguished panels of communication professionals so you’re learning the basics from the pros. COM201 is writing for communication in small classes of about 12 students. You’ll write press releases, a screenplay, a journalism profile and some snappy copy too.

Q: Do I have to go orientation?

A: Yes! At orientation you will dive into all the fun that is Boston University. We have a great group of Student Advisors that will help you get your feet wet while planning your schedule, making new friends and spending time in one of our dorms at BU. That being said – there’s a bunch of different orientation dates that are flexible with your own schedule so sign up for the date that works for you today!

Q: Where can I find COM and the COM Ambassadors on social media?

A:         Twitter:          @COM_Ambassadors


Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/BUcomugrad

Instagram:      @comugrad

Snapchat:       comsnaps

P.S. If I didn’t answer one of your FAQs from Open House – shoot me an email at hannaheh@bu.edu and I’ll be sure to get an answer for you.

Hannah H: The Boston Bucket List

Over the past few weeks I’ve received some great news that is really going to impact my time at BU next year. My best friend (and sometimes my greatest nemesis) is moving to Boston this summer. My older sister, Madison, is graduating from college this June and then she’ll be headed my way to take on Boston with me.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from her impending arrival, it’s how much I still have to do here in Boston. She’s constantly rattling off ‘we should try this’ or ‘let’s do that when I get there.’ It’s like she’s more familiar with the city than I am lately. For this reason, I’m really making an effort to get out into the city this semester, take the time to familiarize myself with the areas I don’t spend as much time in, and branch out.

An aide to this exploration is actually my Production 1 class. All Film and TV students have 4 required courses: Production 1, Understanding TV, Understanding Film and Screenwriting. Production 1 familiarizes students with different equipment and editing software. Another aspect of the class is filming 3 different ‘short film’ projects over the semester. While it’s a lot of work outside the classroom, it’s also a great excuse to get off campus and into Boston. I’m only three weeks in and I’ve already had so much fun going into the north end and over to the financial district to scout locations for my projects. It’s also helping me find a few things I’m excited to try with Maddie when she arrives too.

While she still doesn’t understand that an apartment in the north end isn’t in walking distance to my classes on campus or that the t is our public transportation system not just a letter in the alphabet, she’s still teaching me a lesson or two. It’s going to be hard to sacrifice some of my binge-TV time (which I’m sure she indulges in just as much as I do) but I’m excited to dive into our little, (or not so little) Boston Bucket List together.

Hannah: How to Survive Student Health

With flu season in full swing, no one is safe and one of the scariest things for a new college student is facing the doctor’s office alone. Luckily, BU’s health services tries to make the experience as painless as possible. Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to tackle the doctor’s without mom.

First, you have two options on how to schedule an appointment, online or by phone. If your calling in advance, they might be booked for that date, but every day they also open same-day appointments you can schedule the day of. The appointments are first come, first serve so be sure to call earlier in the day if you want an immediate appointment. You can call starting at 8 a.m.

For a preregistered appointment, you check in at the computers with your student ID. Don’t forget the basics like identification and your medical card. Also make sure you are on time for your appointments, because it’s usually pretty busy.

If you need a prescription filled, there’s a CVS right across the street. Most of the medications prescribed are fully covered by the Student Health Insurance plan. If you are interested in getting a flu shot, also keep an eye out for one of their clinics throughout October.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor this flu season.


Hannah: Summer Spins

If you’re anything like me your ‘relaxing final summer’ is more of a whirlwind of packing, goodbyes, family vacations, and more packing. Orientation just became one of the added stressors of last summer, so here’s a few things that will hopefully help put you at ease.

First off, you don’t have to meet your best friends at orientation and figure out every single person you’re going to speak to for the next four years. If you do congrats, if you don’t, you’re not alone. Orientation is so jam packed with information and just getting your feet wet at BU that it can be a lot to take in. Don’t get me wrong, play the ice breakers, be social, and make some connections, but also use it as a time to get familiar with your surroundings and answer some of the bigger questions you still have. There will be plenty of time to make all kinds of friends when you get there this fall.

It also doesn’t hurt to do a little research on the Boston University website so you have some idea of what classes you’ll want to take first semester. Before you get too stressed out, there’s going to be tons of expert counselors to walk you through it as well. Be ready for your language placement tests if you’re hoping to skip through some of the beginner courses as well. It doesn’t hurt to take a quick review of some of your old high school notes from Spanish, German, or etc.

I realize this can sound a bit overwhelming, but trust me, it all works out. For my own orientation, I spiked a fever the morning I arrived at the dorms, which followed me through the next forty-eight hours spent on campus. I still arranged a pretty clutch schedule, answered a few last minute questions, and got an idea of what the upcoming fall would feel like. I was feeling less than social and I probably didn’t look like the most approachable person either, but even I managed to meet a few people that really helped me get my footing at school in the fall. Even if you don’t have a ton in common, it’s just nice to know someone who’s in your same shoes. If I survived, so will you and in the mean time just try to enjoy some nice weather with family and friends.

As for myself, coming home for the summer seemed like a really great idea when I left for college last fall, but after having spent two semesters at Boston, coming home then sounded a little less than appealing. I would much rather relocate my family and friends to Boston than relocate myself--and a years worth of clothes back-- home. Yet here I am, one month later, home at last.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, my hometown, is a suburban soccer mom’s paradise, which also means it’s a college kids nightmare. After racing through my summer to do list (gathering furniture for my apartment next year, making job plans for next fall since I’m also a broke college kid, finally setting up a LinkedIn profile and all that important nonsense that feels more like busy work than actual work) I am finally shipping out of Lancaster. Long story short, my roommate and I were both in the same boat for this summer and miraculously pieced together a summer trip throughout Europe that wouldn’t make us too much broker than we already were and would still offer us an escape from our hometowns before we were too burnt out on summer.  So in two weeks I’m shipping out to Madrid and that’s my plan for the next couple of weeks till I have to come home in August and repack everything I just finished unpacking.


Hannah: 7 Favorite Things About Boston & BU

Hi prospective students! As many of you know, the past week in Boston has been a whirlwind of emotions. The tragedies that took place in Boston on Marathon Monday have affected all of us within the Boston University community (which I’m sure all of you are more than aware of.) For my blog post this week, I wanted to highlight some of my all-time favorite things about BU and the city of Boston, because this one terrorizing act shouldn’t cast a shadow over all the wonderful things this beautiful place has to offer.

Here are my 7 favorite things about Boston and BU:

1. Boston Sports fans: Whether you’re walking through Fenway or making the trek out to Gillette stadium, the spirit of these vivacious fans is contagious. Just strolling past Fenway on the day of a game puts a smile on my face. Commonwealth Ave is always filled with Red Sox fans that storm the green monster just before the first pitch. Even after the Celtics’ shaky season, TD Garden maintained an atmosphere like nowhere else I have ever been. This extensive sports enthusiast family welcomes everyone with open arms. (Yes even you, you diehard Yankees fans…

2. BU’s student theater: Until four weeks ago, I had no idea that tucked between Agganis arena and FitRec there is BU’s student theater. This cute little hole in the wall is home to our very own stage troupe! Stage Troupe puts on a performance every few weeks ranging from classic to contemporary shows. Tickets are usually around $8 and are always well worth it! It’s a great way to break up a Thursday study night by catching a quick 8pm show. I highly recommend it.

3. Second Floor Elipticals: FitRec houses an extensive amount of workout equipment, but my favorites are the elipticals on the second floor. Looking out over the pools, the swimmers provide a great distraction from the fact that you’re working your butt off. Also there is a phenomenal view of the Cambridge Skyline if you time it right. Plus there is always a machine open on this level. You can cap off your workout with a smoothie from the first floor snack bar and suddenly working out doesn’t seem so painful.

4. The North End: Dare I say it … I had never had a cannoli until my roommate introduced me to Mike’s pastries. My love affair with Mike’s and the North End hasn’t ceased since that fateful October night. This cute little Boston neighborhood is home to some of the all time best Italian food you will ever taste. They also have every possible Italian dish under the sun. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Then to top it all off, nothing satisfies a sweet tooth like Mike’s chocolate chip cannolis.

5. The Boston Commons: Especially now as spring finally arrives in Boston, few things are as relaxing as a peaceful afternoon spent in Boston Commons. This giant park is a common ground for all of the residents of Boston. Sometimes you just need to escape the chaos of campus so grab a blanket, a good book, and head over to the park. It’s a great place even to just people watch (Sorry, I’m creepy.) Plus, there are more spectacular views and it’s centrally located so an afternoon starting in the commons can lead to any of the quaint Boston neighborhoods surrounding it.

6. Marciano Commons: In case you haven’t noticed, I really like food. Now we have basically any option under the sun thanks to our new dining facility on Bay State road here at BU. Marciano commons not only houses a huge dining hall, there is also Rize, a cute and delicious café, and late night, to satisfy any late night cravings, conveniently located in the basement.

7. The People: In the past week I have never felt so connected to a community. While tragedy came knocking on Boston’s door, rather than cowering in fear, this tight knit family came together. From police officers who fearlessly protected the citizens of our great city to the citizens who offered comforting shoulders for their neighbors to lean on. The people of Boston are unique, smart, strong, and above all else resilient. As we work to move past this dark hour in our history, I have no doubt that this community will bounce back stronger than ever. The people of Boston are people I am proud to call my neighbors, friends, and family and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

I hope this gave you a little taste of all the wonderful things that Boston and BU have to offer, and I hope I’ll someday be able to welcome more of you into this beautiful strong community. That’s all for now!