Which is totally fine! But if you had told Freshman Josee that I would be in this situation, I think she would have a conniption.
In my first year, I thought I had things figured out to a T. I would get my dual-degree in journalism and political science. According to my ten-year plan, I would intern at places like the Boston Globe, CNN, and the New York Times while still working on my pre-law concentration. Of course, my first-year mind was realistic. There was no way I would go straight into law school after BU, I had to get my masters (of course!) and have 3-5 years of practical experience.
Now, I don’t regret having those aspirations and dreams. They helped push me to work hard and keep going. They gave me a chance to work towards something.
What I didn’t recognize, what I couldn’t recognize, from the outset, was how much things would change. Now, I still had high aspirations all of college, but I wasn’t used to evolving those passions and dreams and letting go of ones that I grew out of.
I had my heart set on becoming an international correspondent for the BBC. I even took on an extra IR bachelors so that I could get “deep background” for my dream job. I was in this for the long haul.
But, after taking IR courses, joining clubs, and interning abroad, I realized that I had other passions and skills I could hone in on. It was the hardest identity crisis of my college career when I realized that I didn’t have to be a journalist.
It took a lot of time, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of self-reflection to “give up” my old dream for a new perspective. But I’m so glad I did.
Now, I’m just a senior with no clue where she will end up - but with the self-assurance that it will be an adventure nonetheless.
When I entered COM as a freshman, I wanted to live, breathe, and die on the journalism hill. With my sights set on international correspondence, I wanted to become a digital journalist covering the world’s stories. I had a passion rushing through my veins and a plan set in my heart.
After my experiences with The Daily Free Press, BUTV10, and WBUR, I found so many amazing mentors and upperclassmen who were driven, talented, and inspiring. If you want to study journalism, COM is definitely the place to be. I fell in love with covering stories around Boston.
Writing for the Freep, I felt like a professional from day one, running around with a notebook and a lot to learn. With BUTV10, I started producing the daily news show The Wire in my spring semester, and it all started to become real.
There’s a certain energy in COM. Sure, many of us run on little sleep and lots of coffee, but there’s a passion within the community. There’s this unsaid energy that is shared within your peers and your mentors. It’s something you can’t describe until you’re there.
At the end of freshman year, with international correspondence in mind, I started planning my dual-degree in international relations. With an IR degree, I had the chance to experience the sort of deep background I wanted to bring to the news desk. In all my classes, I looked at the course objectives through the lens of a journalist. Remaining impartial but observant - thinking about how social sciences and communications can interact.
Over the course of three years, including a semester in London and a summer in DC, I realized an evolution in my interests. At first it was hard letting go of my love for journalism. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. But, through my internship experiences and international relations courses, I noticed that there were other avenues I had not discovered yet.
As I continued to grow through my time at BU, as a person, as a student, and into a semi-adult, I realized that I had to come to terms with the fact that my dreams and aspirations evolved as well. Now, I would love to merge my two interests in IR and journalism.
With the technical toolkit from COM and the academic background from Pardee, I want to use the power of narrative and storytelling to build bridges across borders. I’m not quite sure where it will lead me, but I definitely am excited.
Back in elementary school, everyone dreaded the thought of summer school. So, obviously, when the opportunity came up to stay at BU over the summer, I jumped up at the idea.
From May to September, I assumed the role of Student Advisor (otherwise known as the very loud people in red shirts with terrible jokes). Hey, I already had terrible jokes and am pretty loud, so what a perfect fit.
The COM SAs of 2018!
After meeting thousands of freshmen and their families, memories rushed in from my orientation session. My hair was a foot shorter, my eyes were wide with excitement, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I remember meeting my Student Advisor (s/o to former CA Rachel McLean) who I remembered from my April Open House. She mentioned how she spent all of her money on grapes by accident and I felt like I related on a spiritual level.
Rachel, the OG
I also remember feeling elated. My mind couldn’t stop racing at the immeasurable possibilities before me and all the new people I met. This isn’t suburban New Jersey anymore, it’s the big league.
With the constant programming and new faces, there were moments of uncertainty about this new chapter. Did I make the right decision? Do I really belong here? Can I keep up?
Looking back, those fears seem so trivial now. But I remember how much of a big deal they were to me and it grounds me amid the fears that arise two years in.
I’m not worried anymore about getting lost on campus or being afraid to talk to people. Now, it’s more: Will I get a job after graduation? Am I ready to become a leader now that I’m an upperclassman? Am I going to have frozen pizza for dinner again? There will always be questions and uncertainty, it’s just about whether you’ll do something about them.
Bringing that back to this summer, I realized truly how impactful personal growth is here at BU. Getting to know the freshmen and hearing about what inspired or scared them created these parallels. I wish with all my heart I could tell them exactly how amazing their time here would be and how they would grow into people their freshmen selves would be proud of.
It’s going to be ok freshman Josee
Mind you, this progress doesn’t come from a perfect college career free from blemishes or trouble. Rather, it stems from falling down and finding the motivations and support to pick yourself back up and get better every day. Keep truckin’ on my dudes, you’ll thank yourself later.
So, it’s been a pretty cool summer. Talk to you guys soon.
In a sprawling urban environment filled with bustling trains, erratic car horns, and the overlapping voices of hundreds of thousands of people, it can be scary to think that you could still feel alone.
In this case, I’m not talking about the moments of precious solitude where you take time for yourself. Instead, it’s more like that loneliness when things are persistently overwhelming and all you feel is lost.
As many other college students can attest, these are the periods where you need an extra hand to help pick you up: that’s where mentorship comes in.
The word “mentor” doesn’t seem to do justice to the people who bring a sense of guidance and support into your life. Mentors come in all shapes, sizes, and from the most unexpected places. They could be long-term or only appear over five shared minutes, but they indubitably leave an impact that lasts.
So far, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible mentors that have helped me navigate the crazy world that is college. They've been there for the big things and for the small things - and they have made sure I'm not going through this alone.
I urge you to connect with everyone you meet, each person has something you can learn from and you never know when someone might become that elusive mentor.
My freshman year, I was nervous as all hell but I knew how badly I wanted to be a journalist. After joining BUTV10's The Wire, I made a connection with a junior who understood when I was stressed, who believed in me when I didn't myself, and most importantly sent me gifs of Ansel Elgort when I was feeling down.
Since, then Nebe's been my rock and reminds me how thankful I am for the COM community. COM's a vertical situation. The super intimidating seniors with fancy resumes and incredible confidence are there to help you. They get it most, because they were in your shoes just a few years ago.
Mentorship in COM also comes in the form of professors. Yet another analogy: COM's faculty/student relationships are like elevators. You have professors with Pulitzers, Emmy's, and stories that you can only dream of. They've got accolades, praise, and use awards as their bookends. But they're also here for a reason, to come back down from these heights and bring students up there with them.
Although I liked Prof. Zuckoff's JO250 Fundamentals of Journalism class, I knew that I had found a mentor that "got me" when we bonded over some weird medical diagnosis we had in common. Bonding over health issues, am I right?
But since then, it's a very comforting feeling knowing that no matter how lost I get in the pursuit of my journalism dreams, I have someone who seems to get it and can bring me back on the right track.
Exhibit A (an email from me)
Exhibit B (an email I received)
All in all, mentorship rocks. Don't be afraid to ask questions, meet new people, and build these relationships that transform you college career and beyond. I promise you won't regret it. (Also know you can always reach out to your CAs! We're here for you!)
Peace and love,
When I was three or four, I wore full Red Sox gear to a game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. My high-pitched preschooler voice sent cheers for the Sox into the ballpark buzz. Donning a tee, a cap, and red sunglasses, I was the poster child for the perfect fan. Only problem was, the Red Sox weren't even playing that night.
Boston is a sports town. Home to the Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Pats, and even the Revolution, one thing you notice is how much the community loves their teams. While the grandeur of parades and victory has its own pulses of energy, it's really about how sports bring us all together, both in loving our teams and hating the Yankees.
Boston Red Sox
How did a girl from South Jersey become a Red Sox fan? Guess you could say it's in my blood. My uncle hails from Watertown, Mass and my aunt is a BU alum. When I was younger, I would run up and down the stairs reporting to them the latest stats from the game on the T.V. downstairs.
Since Fenway Park is basically on BU's campus, making your way over for $9 tickets couldn't be easier. Just so you know, it's basically a graduation requirement to visit the oldest ballpark and sing "Sweet Caroline" at the top of your lungs. Honorable Mention to Fever Pitch (2005) for being the greatest movie of all time.
If you have any free time on your hands, one of the best experiences I've had here at BU has been working with the Jimmy Fund. It allowed me to meet some incredible everyday heroes and support their work for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, a cause that hits close to home.
TD Garden comes alive when the C's hit the court. There isn't a bad seat in the house. Last year, I was lucky enough to watch the Celts in the playoffs (mind you, only for a few bucks. Thanks SAO!) and it was such an incredible experience. Whether you're coming to see Kyrie Irving, pay your respects to Robert Parish's 00 in the rafters, or just to see some really tall, talented people, hop on the Green line to see the magic.
New England Patriots
Boston loves Tom Brady so much that we made an ice sculpture for him before this past Super Bowl. Sure, this past month didn't go as we planned but please never forget that the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead. Pats tickets are a little harder to come by, but since heading to the Super Bowl is a annual thing now, you'll have more than enough chances to watch the GOAT.
Going back home for Thanksgiving this year will be a bit tense, with a split between the Eagles and the Pats, I guess we're all in for some wholesome conversations.
New England Revolution
If I'm being completely honest, I have never been to a Revs game but they seem nice.
The Bruins have my heart. If you're iffy about hockey, I strongly suggest you make your way to TD Garden, or even BU's Agganis Arena, to see what all the fuss is about. The energy is infectious, the game will have you at the edge of your seat, and when the goal horn sounds, you'll be up on your feet.
With a stacked team (featuring former Terriers Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk), the Bruins are looking for a strong playoff run this year. Wouldn't hurt to have another parade to go to.
All in all, sports are a way of life here in Boston. They're a way to bond with your community, share in the triumphs and the heartbreaks, and honestly, an invaluable way to escape the stresses of college life for a little while.
For me, they've been a way to get closer with so many people I love and are another reason why I call Boston my home.
If you need me, I'll be here in the City of Champions, waiting for another ring.
Peace and love,
Life comes at you fast. Too fast, even.
Let’s set the scene, it’s your freshman year at Boston University. The mid-semester crunch has hit you like a brick wall.
Your homework is scattered with coffee stains, you’ve slept about 8 hours in the past week, and you’re running around campus like a chicken with its head cut off trying to make all the classes, meetings, and obligations of the week.
I wish I could say that I remember most of my freshman year, but in all honesty, most of the time my mind couldn’t stop racing. All I could think about were the things that had to be done next. Not only did it take a toll on my mental health, but it left me exhausted and burnt out.
I was recently speaking to a COM professor about this strange sense of being. I told him about the daily existential crises I faced and the fact that 99% of the time, I felt like I was lost in some way or the other.
But then I also mentioned how I would find these moments, no matter how small, where things felt okay. The world seemed to slow down and my mind cleared up its fog. In those moments, I felt happy, confident, and the pits in my stomach unraveled. For a fleeting moment, things seemed clear.
These moments came about both planned and unexpected. These were the moments I truly cherished and worked tirelessly for. They made the toil and struggle worth it.
For example, this past month, I worked an event for my internship with WBUR at Faneuil Hall. Since the semester had started, I had been struggling with keeping up with deadlines and obligations. I often questioned whether all the work was even worth it.
But then, I took to the stage in a place where history was made. I stood in front of hundreds of people and watched an event knowing that I had a hand in it. I watched journalism at its finest unravel before my eyes. That night, I got the chance to witness a dialogue bloom, a dialogue that I’ve wanted to contribute to my entire life.
That night, I remembered why I wanted to be a journalist.
But it’s not only in the huge career moves or school accomplishments, it’s in the beautiful in everyday. Each day may not be incredible, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find something incredible between the time you wake up and the time you fall asleep.
That’s why I started a reverse bucket list for this semester. What I’ve been doing is writing down things I’m thankful for that happened in a day and placing them in a literal bucket. Then if things are rough, I can just pick up a few slips and remind myself of the times I’m most grateful for.
Some slips so far include petting precious dogs in Amory Park with my FYSOP co-staff, sharing cookie dough with my best friend, and wearing fuzzy socks while listening to smooth jazz on a rainy day.
So yes, life may move quickly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some quick snapshots of the ride.
As always, peace and love.
For your standard overachiever, attending Boston University feels like a kid in a candy store. Everywhere you turn, there’s another club that piques your interest or an event you want to go to. Each time you meet someone new, they do something really cool that you want to try. A friend’s social media post will present you with a new place that you need to explore.
Now, you’re living in Boston and there’s no shortage of things to see, people to talk to, and opportunities right on your doorstep.
But, just like when you ate all your Halloween candy in one night the stomache ache of consuming too much leaves you tired, uncomfortable, and a little bit sick to your stomach.
I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t put yourself out there and make the most of your time here at BU. Now’s your time to live your best life and make some wicked cool memories that will last a lifetime. Just make sure that you take the time to take care of yourself along the way.
In my case, I’m like a shark. I always have to be moving and up to something. My google calendar looks like a rainbow threw up all over it and I absolutely love it. But it’s also important to schedule time for yourself to recuperate, reinvigorate, and reset for the next day.
Freshman year, I filled my schedule to the brim with activities, classes, and social upkeep. I thought i was burnt out in high school but didn’t realize exactly how much harder it is when you have to take care of yourself. I worked myself sick by the end of both semesters, ending up in the hospital, countless doctor’s offices and even missing a final each semester because I was run so ragged. That’s where self-care comes in.
Besides your resources within the school and your friend group, making time to treat yourself is a great way to take some time to breathe. Here are some tips for Self-Care success
So that’s my two cents for now. If you want specific suggestions, feel free to tweet me @JoseeMatela!
Peace and love,
We’ve all done it before. With a quick glance at the homework ahead of us, it’s pretty easy to shrug it off and say: “Nah, I’ll be fine.”
Transitioning into a college environment can be tricky for those new to the rigorous academic expectations that come along with a BU education. Studying can be boring, dry, and somewhat monotonous. So that’s why I thought I’d share a few ways to make your pursuit of higher knowledge a little less painful.
1. Grab a treat to fuel your working mind. Whether it’s a drink at starbucks, warm mac from Cheesology, or a few cookies stolen from the dining hall, having something to munch on can keep the monotony at bay.
2. Make a “rad” playlist. It’s up to you. Whether it’s classical standards or the hottest mixtape, when you’re listening to music you curated yourself, it can keep your mind from wandering as you finish up your statistics problem sets.
3. Pick somewhere new. Boston is full of really awesome spots to just plop down in study. The great room in the Boston Public Library is a great place to read your latest writing assignment while getting some aesthetically pleasing insta posts. Or, head to a new coffeeshop across town for a cuppa coffee and a place to finish your screenplay. A new environment can really motivate you to keep on keeping on.
4. Study with friends. While there’s definitely undeniable amounts of goofing off, having friends around to explain certain concepts or quiz you can really make the difference between knowing the material and really knowing the material. Grab some snacks, pull up some chairs, and suffer through it all together.
5. Use the resources here on campus. Whether it’s peer tutoring at the Educational Resource Center or your TA’s office hours, having an extra hand to understand the material can be really helpful when you just need a boost. People want you to succeed and are willing to make sure you’re where you want to be.
The term “studying” may not sound too exciting, but it becomes a requirement when you’re here. Nothing’s more satisfying than feeling like you walked out of a test and kicked it’s butt. Find what works for you and reap the benefits. Peace out.
Most freshman look back at FYSOP (First Year Student Outreach Project) with an air of nostalgia. From wistful memories of budding friendships to the invigorating excitement of service for one’s new community, FYSOP was a time of fast-paced acceleration into the world of college. Apparently for me, it was also a time for fast-paced acceleration into a wall.
To this day, I can still see the impression my head left on that fateful day in Tower A. I like to point it out to my friends as we pass by. With a beaming smile, I turn and tell them how it only took two days to leave my MARK on the school.
No one laughs.
Part of me wondered if that was my final encounter with the gods of physical imbalance but we all know that’s a thought too good to be true. So here’s my first piece of advice for freshman year, don’t run into walls. Harry Potter misled you. Platform 9 and ¾ is not on the other side, only a fateful trip to Student Health Services.
Another recommendation is to avoid the metal grates and metal plates that line the sidewalks on Comm. Ave. The little buggers are everywhere and if you aren’t paying enough attention on a rainy day, you may be out of luck and find your keister a bit damp.
Protip: Crutches can be your downfall, literally. Last semester, I hurt my foot and had crutches for a grand total of 26 hours until I slid on a metal plate. Although it seemed like a moment of woe, I pride myself for winning the award for most appropriate time to sing “And now I’m lying on the cold hard ground.” I’m still waiting on my trophy for that one.
My final piece of experiential wisdom goes out to those who like fancy footwear. Since your shoes are the only things keeping you from the ground, keep in mind that function may trump fashion. A good sturdy pair of snow boots will help keep you upright on those slippery days. And I speak from experience when I say that heels and cobblestone are absolute enemies.
Now I know you’re probably thinking, why is Josee telling us these tales of woe?
It’s because things happen. Things go wrong, walls get run into, and falling can become a common issue. What matters is whether you stay down and let the problem run its number on you or you get back up and keep moving on. Freshman year is full of challenges. Once you meet them, you learn not only how to handle them, but embrace them as snafus that helped shape who you are.