Leah H: One of the Most Impactful Courses I’ve Taken at BU – CM211 Professional Presentation

If you’re interested in developing your presentation skills in class, keep reading below!

This is (sadly) my last semester at BU. Looking back on all of the amazing courses I’ve taken over the years, one stands out as a true favorite: CM211 Professional Presentations with Professor Dodge.​ The class is designed to help students with presentation skills, preparation, audience analysis, and more. Throughout the semester, we did presentations and public speaking assignments ranging from TED Talks to elevator pitches, interview questions, and podcasts. I enjoyed the range of projects and the work that went into presenting them. Every week we recorded ourselves giving the speech, and every few weeks, a handful of students presented live in class. At first, recording myself was embarrassing and awkward, and analyzing and reflecting on it was unbearable. But each week, I gained confidence and comfort watching myself on camera. My public speaking skills have drastically improved!

Another reason why I enjoyed CM211 so much is because of the awesome professor. Professor Dodge is a very down-to-earth, genuine person who really cares about his students. He always shared life stories as examples for whatever assignment we had coming up next. On top of that, he explained each element of the presentation from delivery tactics to the end goal. Professor Dodge also gave the most in-depth and personal feedback of any professor I’ve ever had. Not only did he take the time to provide feedback about good things I did and the places where I could improve, but he also wrote down the exact times in my video for the feedback so I could go back and watch from his point of view.

In my final semester, I can say that I’m more confident in both my speaking and writing skills. I learned that pauses are normal and necessary, it’s okay to slow down, and I have to be the expert at whatever I’m talking about. It’s especially important to have good speaking skills going into the workforce and I’m glad I learned them before I graduated. I took CM211 as an elective course for major credit and I’m really happy I did. I recommend it to anyone who needs another class for a future semester, and you should definitely take it with Professor Dodge!

Leah H: Things to do in Boston in the Spring

Things to do in Boston in the Spring

Ever feeling bored in a city with plenty of things to do? As the weather warms up, try some of these ideas for your next weekend adventure!

  1. Make a pizza!

Boy, do I love pizza. At home, my family makes pizza on the grill in the summer. While I don't have a grill at school, I try to get around to making homemade pizza at least once a month in the oven. It’s cheap, easy, and I usually have leftovers for lunch. Buying fresh dough is the key to making it really shine. I usually buy mine from Trader Joe’s but want to try the dough from Clear Flour Bakery and Eataly. Going out to find the ingredients makes up some of the fun in cooking. If cooking isn’t your thing, I’ve found the best pizza places in Boston that for sure won’t disappoint: Stoked in Brookline and Locale in the North End!

  1. Paint – Indoors, outdoors, or at a studio!

After a never ending winter, I can’t wait to do things outside. Painting with friends is a great way to try something new and creative. You can bring paint and canvases to a park (like Amory or Boston Common) or stay inside if it’s a rainy day. Plus, making your painting outing into a picnic is always a good idea. Another fun idea is to head to a studio and paint pottery! The Clay Room in Brookline is a good place to explore a new area and express your creativity.

  1. Museums!

Not enough people take advantage of the free museum admission BU students get! Over the last year I’ve been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Museum of Fine Art, and Institute of Contemporary Art. Even if you aren’t a huge art buff like me, it’s a good (and FREE) way to spend a few hours! Some museums also offer special exhibits depending on the day or season. I definitely recommend the Isabella Stewart Gardner for its beautiful scenery, history, and art.

  1. Explore a new part of the city!

Boston has so many vibrant and different neighborhoods. Try going somewhere you’ve never been before and make a day out of it. Eat at the restaurants the locals go to and see where people hang out. You never know where your new favorite spot may be! I recently went to Beacon Hill and really enjoyed going into the little quaint shops. I ate at Cobblestones and it was delicious.


Leah H: Favorite Coffee Shops Around BU

For your next study Session

Whether you go for hot or iced, one of these cafes will have everything you’re looking for in a coffee shop and study spot! Plus, great food too? Make sure to stop by one of these adorable places to get your caffeine fix. 

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  • Location: 736 Commonwealth Ave 
  • Go-to order: iced almond milk latte with simple syrup and a rosemary salt bagel with plain cream cheese 

Pavement is a BU classic. It’s always packed in between class sessions and on the weekends, but sometimes it’s hard to find a spot to sit down and enjoy your food. The coffee is one of my favorites and is always great quality. As a New Jersey native, I’m picky about my bagels and have found Pavement’s to be some of the best in the area. Pro tip: order on the app if you’re in a rush… that line can be a killer! 

Cafe Landwer 

  • Location: 900 Beacon Street 
  • Go-to order: iced almond milk latte with simple syrup and an almond croissant 

Cafe Landwer, just known as Landwer by my friends, is the perfect place to sit down and study for hours (we would go there multiple times a week last year). You can reserve a table which is especially helpful during the lunch and dinner rushes. Also, the scannable menu and online payment system mean no extra human interaction is needed if you’re on the study grind. Landwer offers a lot of Mediterranean-inspired dishes if you’re looking to expand your palate, and the coffee and pastries are some of my favorite in the area. 


  • Location: 1003 Beacon Street
  • Go-to order: iced almond milk latte with simple syrup (can you tell I like these?) and a pastry (depends on the day!) 

Another campus favorite is Tatte, an Israeli-French bakery and cafe. Tatte has the best selection of pastries and baked goods, like morning buns and chocolate mousse cakes. Their coffee is top-notch but is a little bit on the pricier side. The multiple locations around Boston mean you’ll get the same great things no matter where you go, but I typically go to the Fenway or Brookline cafes. The aesthetic inside is also PERFECT for those morning brunch dates. 


  • Location: 96 Peterborough Street 
  • Go-to order: Phin Sữa Dừa (vegan Vietnamese coffee latte) and a crepe 


If you’re out adventuring in Fenway, stop by Phinista, a Vietnamese crepe cafe! All of the baristas are so friendly and the decor inside is adorable. Phinista’s coffees are strong and rich if you’re in the mood for some quality caffeination. The location is about a 15-minute walk from campus if you need a little break from the bustling Comm Ave. It’s a great little spot to grab a coffee and go, sit down and study, or catch up with friends! Also, who doesn’t love a good crepe for breakfast?


Leah: Surviving the non-stop semester

Surviving the Non-Stop Semester 

Not having a spring break this year has made the semester feel like a never-ending drag. The wellness days might not help much when midterms and projects have impending due dates. Through the craziness of the past year, I’ve developed some good skills and habits that have kept me, my mental health, schoolwork, extracurriculars, and more in check.

Find effective study spots

I cannot do work in the same place that I eat, sleep, and hang out. When I go to a public space like a cafe, library, or the GSU, I’m much more productive because I like to be surrounded by other people who are also doing work. Some of my favorite spots around campus to work in are Cafe Landwer, the law cafe, Questrom, and Hillel.

Be in tune with your mind

Prioritizing and taking care of your mental health is always important, but especially now more than ever. It’s hard not seeing friends and family like we used to and not having normal routines. Remember to listen to what your body tells you and take a break when you need it. It’s okay to say “no” if you need a night in and it’s okay to treat yourself (I’m a believer that every day is a “treat yourself” day). Reach out to your friends and family to talk things out or go to a professional. I like journaling and recently bought this journal with prompts that I love!

Get some fresh air

Even if it’s just for a five-minute walk outside, get some fresh air! Being outside instantly makes me feel better. Sometimes I like to walk with a friend or go on an adventure by myself. Pop in a good playlist (you can never make too many) or listen to a podcast (maybe even start your own?) and enjoy the outdoors. There are so many places to walk around campus. Sometimes my route will take me from east to west, around Brookline, or on the Esplanade. Switch things up but make sure to enjoy your alone time!

Leave the BU Bubble

As a freshman last year, I found it difficult to escape the BU Bubble. I saw the same people, went to the same places, and did what seemed to feel like the same thing every day. Now that I have some more free time in my schedule and the weather is getting warmer, I try to go out and explore (safely!) as much as possible. We live in this awesome city and it’s important to take advantage of it. Here are some of my favorite spots to find new restaurants with my friends:

  • The North End
  • Seaport
  • Brookline
  • Fenway
  • Cambridge

Remember, there’s no formula for taking care of yourself because every day and everyone is different. Explore time with yourself and find the things that make you feel happy and accomplished. It’s never selfish to put yourself first. Take care of yourselves!