Sarah K: Where to Study When You…

Where to Study When You…

Do you ever get stuck trying to decide where to go to get work done? Not
anymore! Here is a guide for picking the best spot on campus to hang out at. I’ve spent months culminating a list of the best places on campus to hunker down at,
depending on my current desire: social, productive, or hungry.

Where to Study When You…

Want to be Social:

1. BU Central – 8/10
The pros:
1. Usually pretty empty
2. Quiet and removed from the busy campus
3. Non-school vibes allows you to escape
The cons:
1. No windows

2. COM Lawn – 7/10*
*Weather dependent
The pros:
1. There are tables which are nice for doing work
2. There are different food trucks everyday!
The cons:
1. It can be tricky finding an open spot
2. It can be hard to use a computer in the sunlight

3. BU Beach – 6/10*
*Weather dependent
The pros:
1. Very spacious
2. Fresh air!
3. Lots of people around
4. By the river
The cons:
1. Very few tables
2. In nice weather, it’s pretty packed
3. It can be hard to use a computer in the sunlight
4. It’s less of a study vibe, and more of a hangout vibe (aka you might get
hit in the head with a frisbee or a soccer ball or both)

4. GSU – 3/10
The pros:
1. Several food options
2. Very social
3. Large, open room aka no claustrophobia!
The cons:
1. Packed
2. Loud

Want to Focus:

1. Howard Thurman Center (HTC/808 Gallery) – 9/10
The pros:
1. Comfy seating
2. Productive energy
3. Lots of natural light coming in from the floor to ceiling windows
The cons:
1. Can be busy with COVID testing going on

2. Yawkey – 9/10
The pros:
1. Always empty
2. Comfy seating
3. Productive vibes
4. View of the city
5. Lots of natural light from the several windows
The cons:
1. A little far from most classes

3. Law Library – 9/10
The pros:
1. Nice view of the river
2. Comfy seating
3. Productive energy
4. Good sandwich shop
5. Lots of seating
6. Good natural light from the floor to ceiling windows
The cons:
1. Mostly law students, so may feel out of place as an undergrad

4. COM Lounge – 4/10
The pros:
1. Convenient location
2. Several seating options: bar, large round tables, armchairs
The cons:
1. It can be tricky finding a seat
2. The vibes are inconsistent – sometimes it is very quiet and focused,
other times it is very loud and social

Want to Eat:

1. Cafe Nero – 7/10
The pros:
1. Lots of windows
2. Cozy vibes
3. Productive energy
The cons:
1. Hard to get a seat

2. Questrom Starbucks – 7/10
The pros:
1. Lots of seating
2. Very open
The cons:
1. Can sometimes be loud

3. Einstein’s – 4/10
The pros:
1. Convenient location
2. Hidden and slightly removed from the busy campus
The cons:
1. No windows
2. Not a lot of seating
3. A little dark and claustrophobic

4. West Starbucks – 3/10
The pros:
1. Convenient location for those in West Campus
2. Good natural light
3. Quiet and more reserved
The cons:
1. Very little seating
2. Claustrophobic

5. Pavement – 2/10
The pros:
1. Cozy study vibes
The cons:
1. Usually packed and hard to get a seat
2. No windows by the tables
3. Very busy and bustling

6. Warren Starbucks – 2/10
The pros:
1. Cozy fireplace
The cons:
1. Terrible seating options
2. Usually pretty packed

Sarah: How to de-stress as a college student

25 Ways to Destress for Broke College Students Who Barely Have 5 Minutes
  1. Puzzle. Try and distract your brain from everything else it has to keep track of
  2. Coloring
  3. Origami (be careful, this activity can sometimes bring added frustration!)
  4. Get outside! Go for a walk, run, or just stand and breathe in the fresh air.
  5. Hug a tree! It’s good for you, I promise! If you don’t believe me, check out this site! 
  6. Swing (The motion is soothing and releases adrenaline which helps ease stress (you also feel fantastic and free)
  7. Remember these things?? WELL, they are extremely relaxing when you submerge your hands into them and immensely satisfying to squeeze until they break (particularly after an annoying class or receiving a not-so-great grade). 
  8. Go pick some flowers, grab a lemon, cucumber, fruit or whatever your heart desires and sniff them up real good for some destressing aromatherapy!
  9. Listen to relaxing sounds
  10. Sip your favorite warm drink while watching your favorite childhood shows or movies
  11. Write down everything that’s stressing you out to clear your head
  12. Bee breathing. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale through your nose, make a humming sound. Focus on the vibration you are creating and how it drowns out your worries. For a more intense experience, cover both of your ears while you hum. Here’s a more in-depth look at this powerful tool:
  13. Exercise
  14. Sing/dance. Remember how distressed Elsa was when she ran away? Remember what made her calm down and find peace? That’s right, she sang and danced! So, take it from her, LET IT GOOOOOOO (your stress, that is)
  15. Buy something recently? Go to town on the bubble wrap! *Not advised if you have an easily annoyed roommate
  16. Hula hoop! *Also not advised if you have an easily annoyed roommate
  17. Stretch
  18. Progressive muscle relaxation (stress balls also accomplish this!)
  19. Watch satisfying art videos
  20. Daydream. You can be anything you want, anywhere you want, doing anything you want, escape your worries and have fun with it.
  21. Self-hypnosis or guided meditation
  22. Keep a gratitude journal or any type of journal
  23. Put different textures against your skin, like a soft blanket or your spiral notebook coil, and focus on the way it feels
  24. Organize/rearrange your room and watch how you become a whole new person
  25. Think and Reflect. Take a minute to really think about how important it is to be stressed right now. Is it something that will matter in the long run? It’s okay to be stressed, but sometimes we obsess over things that are out of our control. If you received a bad grade, for example, it’s okay. Turn around and focus on studying differently for the next assignment. Don’t let things drag you down for too long.

The most important thing is to just free your mind from your stressors. So even if nothing on this list sounded interesting, hopefully, at least reading through it provided you with a few moments of peace.

Sarah: California Dreaming

Hey, guys! I hope you are all enjoying a lovely northeast fall and lots of Dunkin’ pumpkin spice lattes (two things I’m really missing at the moment). After spending last spring in London, I’m currently tackling my second semester abroad – this time with a lot less tea and a lot more sunshine. I’m spending the semester – and hopefully many years to come – in Los Angeles with the BU in LA Program. The program is not technically an abroad program, but to anyone not from the area, LA certainly seems like foreign territory. Moving out here has been an adjustment, but one I am glad to have made.

For all of you interested in the LA program, know that it is an invaluable opportunity, but also know that it is no joke. While I spent most of my time in London at a pub or jet setting all over Europe, I spend the vast majority of my time in LA at internships, in class and learning as much as possible about the industry. I’ve been fortunate to find two fantastic and distinct internships that I’ve learned worlds from in just the past few weeks – one at the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and one in the writers’ office at Mad Men. These internships are my sixth and seventh (and hopefully last!) internships, and both of them have helped reaffirm a few key pieces of advice I’ve been hearing from the beginning:

Networking is a lot like making friends.

In fact, they are often the same thing. Everyone in the professional world puts so much emphasis on networking, and there is no denying its importance; however, it doesn’t have to be as scary as you think! Networking shouldn’t feel fake, insincere or like someone is being taken advantage of. Networking can be as simple as asking someone about their weekend or commenting on the cute dog on their desktop background. Successful networking starts with finding something in common and fostering a relationship based on it. Just be yourself and find some people you can connect with!

Be interesting.

You don’t necessarily have to be a tightrope artist to be interesting (although that is pretty cool). Simply knowing about the industry you’re in, especially topical news, will interest other people. What’s going on in the entertainment industry is relevant to everyone in it – and often times, it is pretty fascinating. Keeping up with news is a sure way to impress those you work with. Bonus points are awarded for knowing the history of your field.

A Positive Attitude Goes a Long Way

No task is too small for an intern. I can’t tell you how many copies I’ve made or how many dishes I’ve cleaned during internships over the past few years. It comes with the job, and I think most of us come to expect it. No matter how menial the task, do everything with a smile. Someone is always watching – the people around you will notice a positive attitude. That being said…

Respect yourself!

I work with an intern who constantly says, “We’re just the interns.” We may be on the bottom rung, but we are certainly more than just interns. The climate of unpaid internships is changing, and it is more important than ever to understand your roll. Use judgment – don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t feel comfortable with. And don’t hesitate to bring issues to an advisor! They are there to help.

Sarah: Mastering the Skype Interview

Hey there, terriers! I hope you are all having a fabulous (and not too rainy) summer!

After spending the semester in London, I decided to spend my summer working, writing and relaxing at home before the big move out to LA. In preparation for my second semester “abroad,” I’ve had to face a particular challenge that plagues those of us living in remote locations – the dreaded Skype interview.

Skype interviews come with a number of concerns – What if the power goes out? What if my roommate decides to blast her music? What if the screen freezes on a horribly embarrassing face? But as with most things, video interviews have their perks. Here are a few tips to conquer your next long-distance interview with confidence.

1. Dress to impress

For me, one of the hardest parts of an interview is figuring out what to wear, so I am always tempted to forgo the headache for Skype interviews. However, I usually decide to suck it up and dress as if I were interviewing in-person (Although I did only iron the front of my blazer last time – shocking, I know). While your interviewer may only see from the shoulders up, dressing professionally from head to toe will help put you in the right frame of mind. Plus, there is that ever-so-slight chance you will have to leave your seat, revealing your SpongeBob pajama shorts to your potential employer.

2. Keep paper and a pen nearby

Use the medium to your advantage! Just like a regular interview, you can and should do research on the company. When you interview via Skype, it might not be a bad idea to jot down some notes on a piece of paper – company news, goals, questions, etc. – and keep it near by for reference. Be careful, though – you don’t want to write notes like it’s your Oscar acceptance speech. The interviewer will know if you’re reading from a set of cue cards. You should also be ready with a pen to take notes. It shows that you’re prepared.

3. Look into the camera

This is probably the most difficult video interview tactic to master. It’s only natural to look at the interviewer – at the computer screen – when you video chat. However, looking at the screen means that, to the interviewer, you are looking down. To add a personal touch, try looking at the camera instead. It will feel like you’re avoiding eye contact when, in fact, you are giving your interviewer the closest possible thing.

4. Think about the location

This is another difficult one. If you live alone, skip ahead to number 5 because you have it made. For those of us who live with roommates, parents, pets and little brothers, we know how precious and rare quiet can be. Do a bit of location scouting – find a quiet place where you’ll be free from distractions. Make sure your dog knows that you have an interview so he knows not to bark between 4 and 4:30 (this is always and issue for me). Also, be mindful of the background. You don’t necessarily want your dirty laundry or your One Direction poster on display. Or maybe you do.

5. Roll with the punches

There is a 99% chance you will experience some kind of technical issue. It could be something as simply as a fuzzy picture or something as troublesome as a broken microphone. Be prepared for any complications that may arise. Always keep calm and do your best to troubleshoot it. Also, make sure your computer is fully changed!

6. Don’t yell!

My parents always seem to think that I can’t possibly hear them on Skype unless they are shouting at the computer screen. Your interviewer may be on the other side of the country, but your mic is inches from your face. Speak in a confidant and professional, yet normal voice. If they cannot hear you on the other end, they will turn up the volume.

Smile through those video interviews – they’re not all that bad! And if anyone has figured out the secret to a successful phone interview, please let me know!


Sarah: Things I’ve Learned Abroad

Hey there, terriers! Long time no see!

To those of you recently accepted to Boston University – congratulations! You are among the best and brightest in your class, and your reward will be the best four years of your life!

At exactly this time three years ago, I was about to turn 18, had just been accepted to BU and was already planning my semester abroad in London. An application, a few semesters and a long plane ride later, here I am writing to you from foggy ol’ London Town. For those of you considering studying abroad, I have one piece of advice – do it. Just do it. Forget your reservations, pack your bags and get away for the semester. If you give it a decent shot, you won’t regret it.

For those of you who know you want to study abroad – or for those of you who might be getting ready to jet off – here are a few things I’ve learned about being a student in a foreign city.

It is OK to be American. Or Chinese. Or Italian. Or Tanzanian. Or whatever else you may be. One of the best ways to understand and appreciate your own culture is to remove yourself from it. After about a month in London, I realized that I was trying too hard to be British instead of fully embracing the experience of being an American in Britain. It is a wonderful thing to be immersed in another culture. I now know how to navigate the Tube and make a proper cup of tea. I’ve even adopted a few British phrases – “take away” instead of “to go.”  But I’ve also learned that enjoying another culture does not mean giving up your own. It is ok to ask questions, get lost and be disgusted by black pudding. Being aware of a stereotype is the first step in beating it, or at the very least having a laugh at it. In Barcelona, one café featured a “sandwich Americano.” It was a hotdog.

Learning is essential. You must not forget the study part of studying abroad! It is the reason people go abroad and the reason BU supports these programs. Fortunately, I use study in a liberal sense. Most of the learning one does while studying abroad does not happen in a classroom or from a textbook. While classes are important, learning opportunities come in various and often unexpected forms. I have learned all about the NHS and the history of British cinema. But I’ve also learned how to decipher between North England and South London accents and how to find the best hostel on a budget. I’ve learned that Keira Knightley got her start on a cop drama series and that Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be” for his mother. I won’t say that school work is not an important part of the program, but don’t let it hold you back! As they say in England, “get on with it” and get out!

Traveling is both a blessing and a curse. I chose to study in London partly because of its location. Europe is at my disposal. My travel itinerary this semester includes Budapest, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, Athens and various cities in Italy. It is pretty amazing to jet off to a new country almost every weekend. However, I would advise future abroad-ers to plan wisely. You can book trip after trip after trip and return home knowing very little about your host city. I have seven weeks left abroad, but only one weekend left in London. Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to call a foreign place home for a few months. It is learning the in and outs of London – the slang, the hidden treasures, the best grocery stores – that make the experience truly amazing. I know I will make time to travel throughout my life, but I will never have this opportunity again.

So as I said before, do it! Study abroad. You know you want to!

Sarah: How to be Funny

Last semester, I waved a bittersweet goodbye to my required courses. This semester, I loaded up on Film & TV electives and hit the ground running. It’s been a hectic semester, but in the best way possible. All my classes are practical and very hands-on (and don’t have finals!). In my production class, I made films. In my creative producing class, I put together packages for talk shows and documentaries. I’ve been busy doing the things I love to do and hope to make a career out of, and that’s what college is all about.

I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to perhaps my favorite class this semester – Writing Situational Comedy Scripts. The class teaches the fundamentals of comedy storytelling and how we see it executed in the current television market. Essentially, it’s a class in being funny. The coursework involves writing several drafts of TV spec scripts, or nonprofessional scripts written for existing shows. The class is taught by Michael Loman, one of COM’s stellar faculty members. Professor Loman was a staff writer for The Cosby Show, Happy Days and All in the Family, to name a few, and also acted as Executive Producer of Sesame Street for 10 years. Needless to say, he is qualified to teach the class.

Over the course of the semester, the class completed two major projects. The first was a group spec script for a current sitcom – ours was Modern Family. Since almost all shows have a staff of writers who group write, this part of the class is meant to simulate the writer’s room. We were all responsible for writing and pitching a story outline to the class. Then we picked one story and went to work. We all know how much of a struggle group projects can be, so imagine the plight of 16 writers – 16 loud, opinionated writers – trying to create a quality script. There was a lot of fighting, a lot of laughing and a whole lot of bad jokes. But in the end, we produced something to be proud of.

The second project is a personal spec script, which we completed on our own. This project is your chance to shine. I decided to write for one of my favorite new shows – New Girl. I spent weeks creating an outline, writing drafts and meeting with my professor. Oh, and rewriting. And rewriting, and rewriting and more rewriting. Now I have a polished spec script for a new series that I can use when I start applying to jobs (which is crazy soon!).

So on that fateful day when you must bid adieu to your requirements, find solace in all of the cool COM classes you have yet to take!


Sarah: Production 1

Now a first semester junior, I have been putting off Production I for some time. I’ve had quite a bit of experience with production in the past, but always as a production assistant. I observed first-hand how much work goes into directing your own film. I’m currently enrolled in Production I and shot my final film this past weekend. It was even more difficult than I thought it would be, but in the end, it was a totally gratifying experience.

Originally, I thought the class was about learning all the technical aspects of making a film. But really, it is about learning to make a film, start to finish. While the technical side of the class is important, the biggest take-away for me will be learning how to coordinate a production. There is an incredible amount of planning that goes into it. Unlike most films you will ever make, Prod I requires you to make them on your own. Well, not entirely on your own. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll have a few stellar friends and classmates willing to help you out. But, you will call all of the shots. Literally.

A note for anyone taking a production class next semester – pre-production is key! I dealt with a million and one problems before I started shooting –actors dropping out, locations falling through and unavailable equipment, just to name a few. I found out 5 days before I my shoot that one of my actresses was a union member. Using her in my film would require paperwork, signatures and a $50 deposit – all due one week before filming. Oops!  Luckily, I settled things with a very understanding woman at the SAG office. Because I was able to deal with these problems beforehand, the actual shoot went smoothly.

That’s not to say production won’t yield its own complications. Murphy’s Law is in full effect on most film sets. A pair of socks I bought as the focus of my film ended up being too dark to be seen on camera. My crew spent an hour in one scene trying to light them. My advice is to schedule yourself plenty of time to shoot. As my professor always says, shooting will take you three times longer than expected. I scheduled using this rule, plus added an hour in between location changes. I expected to be ahead of schedule all day, but I barely maintained it.

So even though I don’t plan on continuing with production, this class was an invaluable lesson in planning and budgeting (time, not money). I hope you all get the chance to get out there and make some movies!


Sarah: A Boston Halloween

There is no place like New England in the fall. The air becomes a bit cooler, the trees change color and you’ve survived your first round of midterms. But most importantly, Halloween is approaching – and there is no place like Boston for Halloween. Here are some of my picks for the best Halloween activities in the Greater Boston Area.

Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Halloween Line Up

Every Bostonian’s favorite independent movie theater celebrates Halloween by screening old horror movies throughout the month of October. Enjoy the romanticism of an old theater while watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Poltergeist and The Exorcist, just to name a few. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? screened on Halloween night will top off the month of horror.

ImprovBoston’s Horror Show

Who says Halloween can’t be funny? This year, ImprovBoston presents their 10th Annual Halloween Horror show. This year’s show is a musical comedy titled “28 Days Latte.” The story follows a group hipsters and senior citizens as they barricade themselves in a coffee shop during the zombie apocalypse. What could be better? There are only ten shows this year, so order your (student-discounted) ticket soon!

Pumpkin Palooza

If you’re feeling both creative and charitable, consider painting and donating pumpkins with BU’s Community Service Center this month. Stop by the BU Beach on Friday, October 19th from 11am-3pm to carve and paint a pumpkin. The CSC will donate the pumpkins to local shelters, hospitals and group homes to decorate for the Halloween season.

Salem, MA

Nothing puts me in the Halloween spirit quite like walking through downtown Salem during the month of October. Note that this is a place, not an event. That is because there are too many ghost walks, haunted tours, festivals and expos to name. Be sure to do some research beforehand – not all haunted houses are created equally. There are enough street performers and people dressed in elaborate costumes to make just walking around an entertaining experience. Salem is just a thirty-minute train ride from North Station – perfect for a day trip. Take a trip with some friends during an upcoming weekend. Or if you’re feeling super adventurous, check it out on Halloween night.

Rocky Horror Picture – AMC Boston Commons

For the past 28 years, the “Full Body Cast” of Boston has performed The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday at midnight in Harvard Square. This year, although the location has changed to AMC Boston Common, the tradition lives on. As you might imagine, Halloween is a pretty big occasion for the cast. In addition to the usual Saturday show, the cast will perform on the Friday before Halloween and on Halloween night. You haven’t experienced The Rocky Horror Picture Show until you’ve seen it live!


Sarah: The Best Non-COM Classes I’ve Taken

In my experience, if there is one thing freshman want to know going into their first and second semesters here at BU, it is what classes to take. We hear a lot about all of the great COM classes to take, and there are plenty, but there are tons of hidden gems throughout all of BU. Here are a few of my recommendations.

SED-DE570 & DE571 American Sign Language 1&2

Jason Norman & Kelly Kim

I could dedicate an entire blog post to my love for ASL. In fact, I have (check out my post from last February). If there was one requirement I dreaded, it was the language requirement. I avoided it altogether freshman year, hoping COM would magically drop it and I would be free. When I couldn’t put if off any longer, I registered for ASL; it was the perfect choice for me. I loved learning about Deaf culture and discovering an entirely new way to communicate. And, the class was just fun! We learned by playing games, role-playing and creating vlogs. If you like very active and hands-on (no pun intended) learning, this class is for you!

CAS-PH266 Mind, Brain, and Self

Walter Hopp

The dreaded philosophy requirement does NOT have to be so bad. This class came highly recommended to me, so I feel compelled to pay it forward. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the class is difficult. It took me half the semester to just train my brain to think philosophically. But, if you put in the effort, you will be fulfilled (and feel whackid smaht!). Professor Hopp really makes the class what it is. He is incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject, and it shows. He is also one of the funniest professors I’ve had (one of my friends in the class kept a list of priceless Hopp quotes). And, he is all about helping his students do well. I would send him page-long emails of jumbled thoughts and he would respond with two page-long emails of brilliant feedback.

PDP-DA 150 Cardio Jazz Funk

Jossie Coleman

This class is just as fun as it sounds. If you can commit to them, PDP classes are a great way to de-stress from a hectic week. I always looked forward to starting my day off with a little bit of dancing. Jossie is a wonderful teacher, and is accommodating of all levels of experience. She has crazy amounts of energy that will get you fired up and moving. She demands the same kind of energy and pushes everyone just a little bit outside of their comfort zone. I also loved the variety of people in the class. Some people had years of experience; some people had never taken a dance class before. But, everyone had a blast!

CAS-AR100 Great Discoveries in Archaeology

William Saturno

I took this class the first semester of freshman year, and I still miss it to this day. The work was reasonable and discussion sections were always fun. The material can be a bit dry at times, but Professor Saturno is the best lecturer ever! I feel like he should be hosting his own show in Vegas instead of teaching an archaeology course. But, he is certainly well-qualified to do so. Professor Saturno has gone on expeditions all over South America, and has a million and one stories from all of them. One of them involves a very territorial bonobo ape, but that’s all you’re getting out of me. He has also made some incredible contributions to the field – he recently discovered the oldest known Mayan murals in Guatemala. How cool is that!?

Sarah: Surviving the First Week

Hey everyone!

It’s hard to believe the Fall semester is almost upon us! Where did the summer go? While I was beyond excited to start college my first semester, I was also a little nervous. Big changes can be a stressful. Here are a few tips to make that first week a little easier.

Check out your classes beforehand.

It’s no secret that BU is a big school. The COM building and The College of Arts and Sciences are easy enough to find, but there are plenty of other classroom buildings on campus. During my first semester, I had one class in the Kenmore Classroom Building and one class in the Stone Science Building (I had no idea where they were either). It’s not a bad idea to check out where your classes are before they start. It’ll save you the stress of getting lost, and you can see how long it takes you to get from one class to the next.

Bring your order number when you pick up books.

If you have to pick up books at Barnes & Noble, be prepared for a pretty substantial line. Book pick-up is on the top floor (and is the hottest part) of the building. You only need your BU ID to pick up your books, but if you have your order number with you, you’ll move through the line much more quickly. Also, if you know you don’t need your books before the your classes start, try heading to the book store after your first day of classes.

Don’t bring your books to class on the first day.

Despite what I thought on my first day, your professors probably do not expect you to bring your textbooks to the first class, unless they tell you otherwise. This time is typically used for introductions and a syllabus overview (your hour-and-a-half-long class may only last 20 minutes!). There’s no need to lug around that 10-pound US History book. But, definitely come prepared with a pen and paper. For when you will have to carry those books around…

Buy a backpack!

Yes, I know – backpacks are dorky. Or, at least that’s what I thought going into college. I thought I’d buy a trendy over-the-shoulder bag and would be good to go. While these bags seem to work well for some people, my back didn’t stand a chance. I immediately went out a bought a backpack and haven’t looked back since.