Four years ago, I came into BU confused and unsure of where it would take me. Fast forward to now, and I have been lucky enough to not only call Boston a second home, but studied abroad in both Dublin, Madrid, and next semester, Los Angeles.
Although I am sad my time in Boston is coming to an end, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had the past few years with some of the most amazing friends.
I came to BU undecided with my major; I had no idea what I wanted to study and where the major would take me. I considered communications, business, and even nutrition. I joined several clubs such as BUTV, Her Network, and Student Government. Communications became my main interest, so after taking COM 101 freshman spring, I decided to declare my major in Public Relations. Freshman year really taught me to be open to new things, new people, and a new environment.
The summer after freshman year I had the opportunity to intern at NBC New York. This was my first real internship and I had an amazing experience learning about what it takes to work in a newsroom, especially one as highly regarded as NBC. Working out of 30 Rockefeller Plaza was a dream. It also confirmed my confidence in my recently declared major; I realized I did not want to be a journalist and that PR was the right choice.
Coming back to school sophomore year was so exciting; I was eager to be back on campus and reunite with my friends who I hadn’t seen all summer. I joined PRSSA, learning so much about the field of Public Relations. I spent the year as a Victoria’s Secret PINK Brand Ambassador, when we came so close to winning a free concert on BU’s campus out of over 100 schools. I planned a free yoga class and other events for PINK, as well as was flown to New York to visit the Victoria’s Secret headquarters. I became a COM Ambassador and joined my sorority, Sigma Kappa, meeting so many new, amazing people!
The summer after sophomore year I decided to study abroad in Dublin. I had never spent more than a week in another country before this, so I was extremely excited to immerse myself in a new city, learn about their culture, travel, as well as intern at Ali Coffey Casting. Spending the summer in Dublin was a dream; I made so many new friends from the program, and traveled around Ireland and Europe. I became so much more independent, and I miss my time in Dublin every day.
The fall of my junior year I was a Communications Intern in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School. I found this internship on Handshake, and although it did not align with my career goals of working in the entertainment industry, I learned more than I ever thought I would about the medical field, as well as discovered a new area of Boston- the Longwood area. This was my first semester being assigned a COM Ambassador group, and I really enjoyed helping mentor freshman and serve as a resource with their transition into college. My second semester junior year I studied abroad in Madrid, which was an amazing experience. The Madrid program was so different from my Dublin program because for one, I lived with a host family (who I miss so much!), there was a different language, and I met even more new friends. I traveled so much around Europe during those four months, and fell in love with the city of Madrid. I interned at a magazine called HELLO!, learning more about the journalism side of the entertainment industry. Although they were different, both of my study abroad opportunities were amazing experiences.
This past summer, I found an internship in LA at William Morris Endeavor, where I interned with students from all over the country, and further developed my passion for working in the entertainment industry.
This semester, I have been enjoying my last few months in Boston as much as I could. I am interning at Boston Casting, where I have been able to be an extra for a TV show, as well as learn about casting for feature films. I am spending a lot of time with my friends, who I will not see for a while since I will not be in Boston with them next semester. I’ve also been trying to explore different parts of Boston one last time.
Reflecting on these past few years have made me extremely grateful and feel so lucky for all the opportunities I have experienced, and the friendships I have made. Every experience has helped me grow immensely as an individual, and I know I will always keep growing. Next semester I am heading back to LA, this time on the BU Study Abroad Program. I am eager to be back in La La Land, and am so excited for the experiences coming my way. Although I will miss Boston, I know the LA program will bring even more opportunities and friendships to my life.
I will see you at graduation, Boston.
Internship application season is well underway for journos, with most internship deadlines already passing on the first of November. However, plenty of publications are still looking for interns for the summer. You might have seen that a lot of applications call for portfolio websites, even for non-multimedia journalists. Don't fret, making a portfolio is much easier than you might think! I'm here to take you through it step-by-step, and the end result will hopefully be a portfolio that showcases all of your skills and accomplishments as an aspiring journalist.
Step 1: Create it!
As you can see above, welcome to my portfolio, laurenfrias.wordpress.com! For starters, pick a content management software (in layman's terms: a website creator) to begin building your website. My personal preference was WordPress, as I had used it before to create blogs, but other popular websites include Wix and Squarespace. Once you find the best CMS for you, it's time to name it! This is the easiest part. It's just your name! You'll find yourself at a disadvantage if the domain is already in use, but if that's the case, consider using your middle initial or middle name as a whole to differentiate. You can go the extra mile and buy your domain name (for a small monthly fee depending on the website creator that you choose), and you'll become the new sole owner of yourname.com. Congrats, now you have a website!
Step 2: Customize it!
No, this is not a reiteration of the last step. Once you get the website to an aesthetic that you approve of, it's time to really make it your own. That is, it's time to showcase yourself as a journalist and make this portfolio a summation of what you've accomplished in your career thus far! That being said, make sure to write a concise About Me page with a short bio about yourself, kind of like how you would write in the introductory paragraph of a cover letter. Your portfolio is also a good place to keep an updated copy of your resumé for recruiters to find it to either screenshot or download for themselves, say in the instance that the file that you supplied was corrupted or it was not the most recent version. You should also include a Contact Me page, listing an email that you can be best reached at and a phone number. Be careful how you format it, however; there are lots of internet bots that can skim your phone number and email off your website and flood your inbox and voicemail with spam. One way that I've avoided it is through differentiating the typical email format (i.e. youremail (at) gmail (dot) com) or simply omitting the information as a whole.
Step 4: Upload it!
As you might have seen in the title of this blog, this is your career in a nutshell; I only emphasize this point because it's important not to make your portfolio a complete timeline of your experiences. Instead, it highlights the best parts of your past experiences and shows your potential employer in five minutes or less what you may have accomplished in five years, or whatever the case may be. In my opinion, I would upload your top five to seven clips of your best work from each of your past internships, and maybe even less so depending on how much experience you have. On my portfolio, I provided links to my work on the original publication's website, unless the article was blocked by a paywall, in which case I would create a downloadable file that had a PDF of the headline, text, publication, and date of publication. Make sure to create parent pages and child pages to easily organize your clips into a navigable structure.
Step 5: Update it!
After 7 semesters and 3 summers, my time at Boston University is drawing to a close. I will carry the memories and lessons I’ve learned long after I graduate in January, but it feels very bittersweet for my time as a student to be ending after such a wonderful experience! I’ve decided to go through and reflect on what I learned during the time I was a BU student.
I was so nervous before I moved in about making friends and getting to know a city I had only visited for short periods of time. But, I was able to form a community by doing FYSOP my first week of college, befriending all of the people on my floor in Warren Towers (5C!), and joining lots and lots of clubs. It seemed silly to be afraid after meeting so many people I could relate to.
This was the semester that I found my home at BU: COM Undergraduate Affairs. I really looked forward to being, and to stopping by whenever I was in COM. It was where I really found people with similar interests and passions. I also learned how much fun PDP’s are while I took a golf and swim class!
I spent my first summer after college back home in Maryland, and it was the second-best summer of my entire life! It was so important for me after a school year of change to be able to come home and be with the friends I had grown up with, to nanny for the kids I love, and to sleep in my own room.
This was undoubtedly the best semester of my college career. I became best friends with the greatest friend I’ve ever had, CA Claire, and realized what it meant to find a near-perfect friendship. I also worked harder than I ever had on Bay State, the BUTV10 show, and felt more confident than I ever had in my classes and what I was doing.
I went from my best semester in college to my worst. Though I was doing lots of fun things, like being an assistant stage manager for BU On Broadway’s Legally Blonde, and directing on Bay State, I was doing totally too much and my mental health suffered. But, I learned how to prioritize the activities and friendships that matter, and to stick close with the friends that would be there for me through the tough times.
Staying in Boston for the summer was an outstanding experience. The weather was great, I was working for Orientation, and I did my first internship. Claire and I did our fair share of cooking, and visited as many beaches as we could. We also took time to visit family in NYC and Maryland, which was super important after not being home for so long.
This was the semester that I had an hour long lunch break at my internship in the heart of Boston, meaning I was constantly exploring and visiting my favorite place, the Boston Harbor. I also got to read feature film scripts for the first time, and made some really wonderful new friends as I took on bigger leadership roles.
My last semester in Boston was amazing because I interned at WGBH in their Children’s Programming department, and finally felt like I had found where in the entertainment industry I belonged. It was the best feeling in the world getting to go there, while also experiencing my favorite things in Boston for the last time. I miss Regina’s Pizzeria in the North End every day.
The BEST summer of my life! I got to go abroad to London and explore England, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Amsterdam, and learned what it meant to really fall in love with a city. I had never felt so clearly that I belonged somewhere, and I miss it every single day. I also got to teach a bunch of Europeans how to make s’mores, and changed their lives forever!
My final semester of college has been devoted to “studying abroad” in Los Angeles, and preparing for a post-college world. I have had the opportunity to intern at what I think is probably the best place in the world, DreamWorks, and feel ready to enter the workforce and begin to make the magic I always dreamed I would.
There are so many opportunities I haven’t gotten to mention in my final blog post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much being a COM Ambassador has meant to me. I have been able to make wonderful friends, meet amazing prospective students and their families, and share my love of BU to thousands of people. That’s craziness, and I am so so thankful for COM. I’ll miss college very much, but I know it has helped me get right where I need to be.
Given the recent midterm elections, it got me thinking a lot about policies, especially environmental policies. To me, some of the most important votes are the ones about our environment and how we choose to treat it. Thinking too much about its current state of the environment could get you depressed quite easily but what always uplifts me is the amount I can do as an individual to change that.
Now, we all know by now to use a reusable water bottle, take reusable grocery bags to the story and so on. There are tons of tips and tricks to make your life more sustainable: use a soap bar of shampoo to not use a plastic bottle, ditch those plastic straws. But did you ever think about the clothing you wear daily is both capable of harming the environment and helping it depending on how you shop?
Clothing is being vastly overproduced around the world with many of the unsold items being wasted. This creates a chain of problems for the environment especially considering how harmful some clothing material can be to the earth when not disposed of properly. That is why I have made the conscious effort to shop more sustainably and have created a short list of the brands you can shop to do the same.
One of the easiest ways to keep on trend while remaining sustainable is by shopping at stores that make their clothing out of recycled materials. One notable company is Everlane, who now makes winter coats out of water bottles. Of, you can opt to shop local with a brand that uses old fabrics, deconstruct them and turn them into something new like Elliot Clothing who uses recycled materials such as repurposed raw silk.
Then, there are other brands that don’t produce the item you want until you buy it. What that means is that they are not overproducing so their materials will not go to waste if no one buys a certain style. Though this slows down the buying process, it forces us to think about how much we buy compared to how much is produced. A great brand that keeps demand and supply curve steady is Only Child based out of Oakland, CA.
Some of the biggest negative environmental issues that arise from clothing brands are poor factories that pollute the air and create unsafe human working conditions. Everlane has been transparent about their factories and working conditions making a movement to be completely plastic free in packaging while creating safe environments for humans to work.
Other notable brands that focus on environmental sustainability are Reformation, J. Crew and Madewell. Both J. Crew and Madewell have made strides toward sustainable clothing by repurposing old jeans to insulate houses and creating eco-friendly jeans. One of the easiest forms is simply shopping at local thrift stores and repurposing clothing so it does not add waste to the world.
I encourage you to take more care in where you shop. Anything from workout leggings to swimsuits are being made out of plastic that is repurposed. There are so many more brands trying to create a world of fashion sustainably.
It’s the beginning of November, and I can’t believe this semester is almost over. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in school work, jobs, and other responsibilities that the semester passes by in a blink of an eye. I try to live in the moment, but I’m sure many can agree that it’s not that easy. This is my last semester in Boston because I will be spending my final semester in LA through the COM Internship Program. I have come up with a few ways to help me live in the moment and enjoy my last few weeks in Beantown before heading out for good!
Set time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment, but it is so important to set some time apart for yourself. With stress from classes, internships, and other extra-curriculars, prioritizing “me time” helps you take a step back, relax, and appreciate everything you have accomplished so far. I try to do this by working out, going on a walk, watching a movie, or meditating. This helps me live in the moment and enjoy a break from everything else in my life.
Don’t plan too much.
I feel like I’m constantly planning throughout the semester, between setting time for club meetings, work schedules, and other activities, it’s difficult to live in the moment because I am always thinking about what’s ahead. But, a goal for this month is to not plan too much during my free time and to act spontaneously. Instead of constantly thinking about what’s next, I will try to live in the moment and enjoy what is going on in the now.
Make time for friends.
Although there may be a lot going on between school and work, making time for friends is essential. Especially since I only have a few weeks left with my friends in Boston, I am trying to enjoy my time with them as much as possible. After a busy week of classes, homework, and work, I find hanging out with my friends is a great way to take a break and relax. With time flying by, spending time with them helps me live in the moment and enjoy the now.
With this semester going so fast, I hope these tips help you learn to live in the moment and enjoy every second at BU!
Listen. I’m not a sports fan. Not at all. Ask me to name almost any player… I can’t. But, sports have provided me with some of my favorite moments in college and in Boston. I mean, we are in the City of Champions after all.
It was freshman year that I rushed over to the hockey games with my friends to cheer on the BU players. Just yesterday my friends and I were reflecting that going to these games were some of our favorite times freshman year. We didn’t care as much for the hockey as the being together and being part of BU. I’ll keep those memories with me a long time. The Beanpot is highly recommend for all BU students to go at least once.
Sophomore year the Pats won the Super Bowl and the city went wild (let’s not discuss what happened last year). I was gathered around a screen with my closest friends. We watched tense and filled with snacks we had all contributed. And, when they won (YES!!) we cleared our schedules to go to the Patriots Parade. It was freezing and pouring at the parade but I have never felt so much a part of Boston as during those few hours.
I’ve watched the marathon every year I’ve been in Boston and every time I tear up. I cheer on strangers, and sometimes friends (shout out CA Rachel), as they run through all kinds of weather to achieve a lifelong dream. I mean, Marmon is one of the best days of the year. If nothing else, we get class off for people to run through the city.
While studying abroad in London over the summer I watched every game that England played from the comfort of an overcrowded pub pretending to be a local. Watching in those hot, crowded pubs were some of the best moments of my life. CA Megan and I got so invest in the games we learned all the songs and cheers. We even picked our favorite players. Shout out to Harry Kane, the fourth best Harry in England.
And, this year the Sox are in the World Series! I’ve had the pleasure to watch a few games in Fenway, I can hear the crowds from my apartment, and I cheer them on in every game. I love seeing the city like this. Everyone is feeling the love for Bean Town. It’s lovely, and exciting, and bustling.
Boston, I love you so much and occasionally I really like your sports too.
To answer the questions posed in this title, yes! And yes!
I think an overwhelming majority of COM students choose to study abroad during their junior year. I don’t have any stats, but I’m sure someone in the Undergraduate Affairs office can give you some numbers. By the beginning of my junior year, however, it became clear that this wasn’t the best choice for me. And guess what? That’s okay!
After I made the decision to study abroad senior year, there were plenty of times when I worried I was making the wrong choice. The idea of coming back to campus and only having one semester left terrified me. I couldn’t bear the thought of missing Splash. My heart yearned to see the fall leaves cover Bay State Road one last time.
But as this semester approached, I grew more and more secure in my decision. Being abroad as a senior has given me an opportunity to reflect on my time at BU. As a senior, I feel so much better equipped to handle some of the challenges that come along with studying and interning in this new environment.
Just to make myself feel ever more sure that I’ve made an excellent life decision, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why it’s a great idea to study abroad during senior year. I’m studying abroad in London, but here’s a photo of me in front of the Colosseum. Go abroad so you can book cheap flights to Italy!
#1: Seize That Senior-Year YOLO Attitude
As a senior, you’re constantly aware of the fact that you’re doing things for the last time. You only get to experience college once, and it’s so easy to forget that as an underclassman. Being a senior has made me seize every opportunity I’ve had abroad, because I’m hyperaware of the fact that I’ll never have an opportunity like this again. I’m so lucky to be here, so I’d better act like it, right?
#2: Take time to get experience, experience, and more experience
Did someone say experience? If you’re a COM student choosing to do an abroad internship program, it feels SO good to go abroad knowing a thing or two (or a lot more than a thing or two) about your field. Junior year me wouldn’t be as confident at her abroad internship as senior year me is. I don’t regret taking the extra time to build my resume and recognize what I wanted to get out of an internship.
Follow me on Instagram @halisimone for more cloudy-sky London content.
#3: Gain New Appreciation for BU
It’s going to be so sad to leave London in December. But when I come back to BU, I know I’m going to cherish every moment. Knowing that I have such little time left to appreciate the COM lounge and the Warren Towers Starbucks makes me — dare I say it — excited (and emotional) to return back to campus. Wow, can you believe I’m weeping now?
This post isn’t here to convince you to go abroad senior year instead of junior year. It’s to remind you that you should go abroad whenever you want to! Think about what’s best for YOU, and how you want to shape your college experience and timeline. If that means having a little less time to enjoy the BU Pub, so be it (I hear the pubs are better in London anyway).
Hello! My name is Jimmy and I’m an FTV senior. If you’re wondering why you didn’t meet me at your fall orientation, it’s because I’m spending the semester abroad in Dublin, Ireland!
While I miss the comforts of Cecilia’s Warren Tower omelettes and slipping and falling on the metal strip on St. Mary’s bridge, choosing to study abroad has been nothing short of AMAZING! Here’s a few things I’ve picked up since arriving here.
Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland are two separate countries on one island.
I knew this before traveling abroad, but I didn’t know how touchy it was with the locals.
Quick history lesson: From 1139-1922, the entire island of Ireland was a colony of the British Empire. After war for independence, a civil war, and parliamentary reform, the newly liberated 26 southmost counties of the island went on to form “the Republic of Ireland” (what we just know as “Ireland”) in 1937. Because of a history of Protestant heritage and other political reasons, the 6 north most counties remained under the control of Great Britain and was designated “Northern Ireland.”
There’s a soft border between the two nations so it’s easy to physically move between the two (Belfast is a really cool city to visit!), but there are still a lot of differences in the currency, phone lines, etc.. There is a lot of resentment between the British and the Irish to this day, so don’t get them confused!
English is not the official language of Ireland.
After centuries of English colonial rule, the native Irish Language or Gaelic started to fade away, and only pockets of communities on the West Coast of the Island still spoke it regularly. In order to preserve this tradition, there was a “Gaelic Revival” in the late 19th century during which traditional Irish sports, myths, and were brought back into the mainstream
Since then, Irish language has been taught in primary schools and it was designated the “official language” of the island. Street signs, public transport, and government labels are listed in both Gaelic and English.
Gaelic is a very weird, specific language to pick up. It has much more in common with Russian than English or the Romance languages. But don’t be worried – only 41% of the island speaks Gaelic while 98% speak English.
Cars drive on the other side of the road.
This may not seem like a big deal. I’m not planning to drive a car in Ireland. I barely drive around in Boston.
Wrong. When crossing the street in America, you always look RIGHT first. And you take that for granted. Because when cars drive on the left side of the road, you need to look LEFT to catch them approaching or else you’ll get hit by a car
… I haven’t gotten hit by a car yet. But it was pretty close.
You’re allowed to drink tea any time of day.
This is my favorite thing about Ireland, because I would do this already in the United States but people would ridicule me for it. Now I’m the one ridiculing people!
If you go out to a restaurant for lunch, it’s not uncommon for the waiter to bring a pot of black tea. The Irish drink typically take their tea with milk and sugar, but not too much sugar. It’s very big in the workplace, because the Irish often take longer breaks than Americans.
Get used to reading a 24 hour clock.
I still struggle with this. Every time someone asks me the time at night, I need to do the mental math in my head and subtract twelve. Two months before I booked my flight abroad, I changed the clock on my phone to 24 hours in order to condition myself. But seriously, try and and get acclimated telling time the European way or you’ll accidentally book an Aer Lingus Flight to Paris for 10:00am instead of 10:00pm (or as they say in Europe, 22:00) 🙂
Enjoy the academic opportunities.
It’s a trope that abroad classes are blow off classes and that’s NOT TRUE! I honestly don’t think I’ve been as excited to learn since I arrived. Ireland has such a rich political and cultural history that’s very well preserved in the bones of the city. All of the classes here are very immersive and hands on – my history and Irish society classes took us on field trips to tie in the curriculum with visits to historical sites in the city of Dublin. We’ve been to museums, prisons, nature hikes, and even got to see a play at The Abbey Theatre among other trips.
The country is beautiful.
It’s really easy to get a great insta pic here because the architecture of the cities is charming and the countryside is beautiful. Here’s a few of my favs:
If you have any questions about studying in Dublin, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been asked this question a lot over the past 4 years, by my friends, prospective students, and parents. There are so many reasons why I chose to attend Boston University all the way back in 2015, but one of the biggest reasons was BU’s incredible study abroad programs. I always knew I wanted to study abroad in London. And as a film student, I knew “studying abroad” in Los Angeles was the right move for my career goals. But how was I going to do both?
Well, after sitting down with the advisors in COM Undergraduate Affairs, I realized I could do both programs and get credit towards graduation. I spent this past summer in London, and now I’m getting ready to graduate in January while living in Los Angeles. For a girl who grew up on the East Coast, it’s been a life-changing experience.
In London, I learned how to live without air conditioning anywhere and how to look the wrong way when crossing the street. But, I also learned how to navigate a huge city and an entirely new form of public transportation, the Tube. From the Tube I could go anywhere in London, including the outskirts of the city where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake came from.
I learned all about Britain’s art history and how its television works, plus got to floss (the dance) on live TV (check out the video in this vlog.) I learned how to film all of the big moments so I could remember them forever, but also to appreciate picnics in Hyde Park that turned into evenings sitting in the Churchill Arms.
My best friend Claire and I discovered the rich history of London, but also Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dublin. I experienced the wonder of a concert on palace grounds in Oxfordshire. I tried to drink tea, but never got through a full cup. I did, however, enjoy lots of fish and chips.
In Los Angeles, I’ve learned how amazing it is to live somewhere that’s always warm. I can sit by the pool or go to the beach whenever I’m not working, and take my lunch breaks at picnic tables under palm trees that are too photogenic for their own good.
I’m learning how to take advantage of traffic. I listen to Harry Potter audiobooks or talk to my Grammie in the morning on my way to my two different internships, and call friends and family in the evening on my way back home. Wanna chat? Call me at 9:00 ET and keep me company!
I’m also learning how amazing it is to follow my dreams in the city where they can come true. I’ve learned what it means to wake up in the morning looking forward to going to my internship, where I see magic happen every day. And I’ve learned that I’m going to chase this feeling for the rest of my life in the children’s animation field.
Boston University gave me an amazing 3 years in a city I love, filled with Red Sox games and cannolis and the best friends I have ever had. Best of all, it gave me the opportunity to explore the world beyond New England with my best friends, and experience things that have changed my life for the better. I am so grateful, and so happy.