Jonathan M: My Three(Unconventional) Boston Must Haves

Hey there Terriers!

As a Boston native, I know firsthand the essentials you need to survive as a student in this city. From the unpredictable weather to the surprising(but necessary!) abundance of Dunkin’ Donuts locations, a few items are crucial for any Boston-based student. Here are some of my favorites that you might nice always think of:

1. Sports Gear and some Sports Pride- Boston is a sports town, and as a college student here, you’ll want to represent these teams. Not only is it an easy way to make friends, but having good sports teams in the city helps us forget about the harsh winter weather. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018, the entire city felt wrapped up in a warm blanket…until it snowed the following week. So, make sure you have some sports gear to show off your Boston pride, and who knows, your team will win a championship while you’re here. (Go BU, by the way!!)

2. A Nice Pen – I love pens; while it may seem old-fashioned, having a nice pen can make all the difference when taking notes or signing important documents(or drawing stick figures during class).  Plus, you’ll never have to ask to borrow a pen in class again. Just make sure to keep it in a secure place, or else you’ll end up like me, searching for your favorite pen in your backpack’s bottomless pit.

3. A Sense of Humor – Boston is known for its sarcastic and dry humor, and as a college student here, you’ll need to have a good sense of humor to survive. From the T delays to the crowded streets, there will be plenty of moments where you’ll need to laugh it off. So, don’t forget to pack your sense of humor in your backpack along with your textbooks.

If you’re a college student in Boston, have some sports gear to show off your Boston pride, a nice pen, and a good sense of humor to survive the city. And always remember, as a Bostonian, it’s always “wicked awesome” to be prepared.

Jonathan M: The Most Important Thing in College: GUM

The Most Important Thing in College: GUM

After living for 20 years, I have realized something essential for everyone: Gum is the most important thing you can have in college. Yes, you heard that right, gum, more specifically a pack of gum, is the most important thing you can have. Whether you place it in your backpack, pocket, or bottom of the shoe(not recommended) here are three reasons why:


It's a great way to make friends.

Carry around some gum on your first day of classes, and BOOM, instant friends are made. Here is roughly how it goes, "want some gum?" "Yes, let's be friends"... ok, maybe that's not how it goes, but it really is a great conversation starter. You can give someone a piece and ask if they like it, ask what their favorite kind of gum is, and of course, the centuries-old debate of Wintergreen and Spearmint (wintergreen, ftw btw). Gum is also cheap enough where it's ok for someone to accept it without feeling guilty, and since it doesn't make a tri-dent in your wallet, you feel ok giving it out. Finding friends in college is hard enough, and the small 2 dollar pack of gum will make it a lot easier.  


It's good for the environment.

Listen, I have no idea if it's actually good for the environment, but I know it is recyclable. Here is the situation, you just got back from seeing BTS at Agganis Arena and have an awesome new tour poster itching to get on the wall. You open your desk drawer, and OH NO…the tape has run out. Now, do you wait until the morning and buy new tape at CVS, or do you want to slap that wad gum, you’ve been chewing on for the past three hours, on the wall and enjoy your new poster… Gum is reusable in senses you could never imagine; have a nail in your bike tire? Stuff it in the whole the nail left, fixed! Do you have an enemy running after you? Throw it on the ground, and they'll be stuck there for hours. 


It's a low price for some fun.

Not everything that is fun needs to be expensive. And if you want a cheap 15-minute fix that will help you get through your (always entertaining!!) lecture, it is worth it.

Frankly, I might be overdoing it. Gum has its downsides: it's sticky, it's sugary. Also, chewing gum can potentially cause mercury to be released from mercury amalgam fillings…I just copied that from the internet. But there is something to be said about having little things in life and college that make your day better. Whether it's to make new friends, hang a poster, or just to help you get through your day, buy some gum.


Jonathan: Revisiting my passion & rocky history with books

Happy February! It’s almost been a year since quarantine began. That’s...scary to think about. So, to pivot from that horrifying realization, let’s focus on what would’ve been a great distraction from reality for me: reading. Now first, let’s run through my relationship with this activity across the years. 

I remember my elementary school days, where each Tuesday, my mom and I would go to the library. Those visits were the absolute best parts of the week. Everytime I’d walk out with a stack of new books while returning last week’s books. At my reading prime, I’d read multiple books a day, which to be honest wasn’t too impressive given my childhood self didn’t have any friends nor anything else better to do. Yes, it was a lonely childhood. 

Now as a college sophomore, I look at that version of me in awe. If you observed me in my daily life, there’d be no way to tell whether I was literate or not. You will never catch me reading a book or news publication of any sort. I think the last time I read a book in full was my junior year of highschool—and that was only because my english teacher Mr. Dury had both me and my fellow classmates charmed into doing any assignment for him. And before that, the last full book I had read was a poem anthology, which I’m almost not sure counts. All my news is from reddit headlines, youtube video titles (not even the videos themselves), instagram stories, and most importantly, podcasts. Thank goodness for podcasts. I go through those like BU students buying Chick-fil-a nuggets sold by a random business club at the GSU link tables on a pre-COVID BU Monday. NPR can take all my money and then some.

Anyway, I decided during our quarantine summer to try to rekindle my youthful reading passion. This attempt did not go well. I started off with a very intellectual book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone but in French. I figured it’d be difficult to dive right into an adult book, given it had been so long since my last fully completed book. My thought was that I should start with something familiar and achievable. But just to add a little challenge, it was the French translation. After reading 15 pages across 3 days, I quickly switched to the French audiobook, then the English book, and then the English audio book. By the end of summer, I had listened to all of the Harry Potter series in audiobook form. But, if anybody asked, I’d say I read them cover to cover—coming out of it even with a few papercuts from all the page turning I did.

So, I guess the lesson from all this is that I’m just more of a podcast/audiobook guy. I think it’s also just very indicative of how short my attention span has become. On the bright side, it’s very easy to impress me; if you tell me you read, I will give you the utmost respect. Maybe I’ll try reading again next summer.