Laura: My Love Letter to Boston

Dear Boston, 

I love you, a lot. You are so beautiful and never cease to amaze me. I feel so lucky to call you my home, not only because you are much cleaner, quieter and cozier than the Big Apple, but because you have brought me endless joy. 

You are so much more than Commonwealth Avenue. 

You are the walk into Kenmore coming home from a night at Fenway Park, when everyone is wearing their red and navy blue singing Sweet Caroline. You are the gorgeous brownstones of Beacon Hill. You are the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, the Hood Milk statue in the Seaport, and the lit up swings on the Lawn on D in Southie. You house the tourists at Faneuil Hall, the best shopping on Newbury Street and have some of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. 

You have granted me with some of my best memories. Whether it is taking a walk on the esplanade, trying my favorite ice-cream at the Boston Public Market or going to a concert at the Orpheum, thank you for all of it.

And don’t even get me started on the food! The first time I ever tried oysters was right here in the South End and I even ate blowfish tails at the Elliot Hotel. I would be incomplete without matcha lattes from the Boston Brewin Co. and frozen yogurt from Cafe 472. 

I love you for all you have given me thus far and I know I am bound to learn even more from you in the future. Because of you I met some of my best friends, achieved some of my proudest moments and have grown each day.

Most of all, I love you for being my home. I’m not sure where I will end up in the future but I know that every other city I will ever live in will have some tough competition. 

Love, Laura

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Maddie: The COM Student’s Essential Bucket List for London

Studying abroad is one of the most exciting possibilities of college. I know that when I was looking at universities as a wide-eyed high school senior, a good study abroad program was one of my top priorities. When I toured BU, I heard the story (though, it’s more of a legend) of a BU student who studied abroad 7 out of her 8 semesters here.

From then on, I was sold. I was convinced I’d be able to go wherever I desired. And though I’ve fallen in love with Boston, this summer I was able to pursue that goal and travel to London for the COM Mass Communication/Advertising/PR/ program. My experience was amazing, to say the least—but I’m sure you’ve heard that.

 Now that I’m back in the real world (because study abroad genuinely doesn’t feel real), aside from the slight teasing from my friends that “abroad changed me,” I’m feeling acclimated back into my routine after a summer of living in a foreign country. However, I have my own personal bucket list for any students hoping to hop the pond and study with our trans-Atlantic neighbors. Here are your must-do’s for if you spend your semester in London!

  1. Take a walk around the city—you’ll never know what you’ll find.

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Though you should always be slightly aware of where you are (thank you, Google maps), getting “lost” in the city is always the best way to get to know where you’re studying abroad for the semester. Since everything is new, every little shop or restaurant you see is an exciting experience. And don’t worry, the closest Tube station is usually only a five minute walk away for if you need to book it back to class.

  1. Go to as many museums as possible.

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Around 95% of the museums in London are free—take advantage of that as much as possible. London is expensive, so while you’re saving up money for your next getaway, explore some of the great museums in your free time. Some of my personal favorites? The Imperial War Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wellcome Collection, and the one pictured above, the Churchill Museum (though not free, if you go through school, it is).

  1. Stuff yourself at every market.

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Whoever said England had bad food is just completely lying. Case in point? The amazing food markets you’ll definitely need to hit up every single weekend. Pictured here is the best meal I ever had, courtesy of Borough Market. Other markets like Camden and Portobello are nestled in some of the trendiest neighborhoods in town, so after you chow down on your mouth-watering street food, you can explore the area. 

  1. See a show in London’s West End.

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Before I went to London, my friend told me that I absolutely had to see a show in London. I took her advice and bought tickets to Matilda—and decided her advice was some of the best I’ve gotten. If you’re a COM student who appreciates theater production and catchy musicals, you’ll be blown away. I literally had never seen such a beautiful set.

  1. Go to Harry Potter Studios.

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Harry Potter Studios—the place for everyone to nerd out. I seriously felt like I was in the movies—and I 100% geeked out posing in front of the castle (featured above). If you ever even came into contact with a Harry Potter book as a child, these studios will still be one of the coolest things you see abroad. And if you’re a film & tv student, you’ll get to see all the behind-the-scenes work as well. Sip on that butterbeer and enjoy.

  1. Explore Shoreditch.

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One of the newest up-and-coming areas of London, Shoreditch promises the perfect night out. With endless food options and artsy holes-in-the-wall to explore, you’ll never run out of something to do when you go to Shoreditch. Make sure to check out Doughnut Time when you’re there. Insane.

  1. Relax in Hyde Park.

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Hyde Park provides the perfect break from classes. These breaks are definitely necessary when you forget that you actually had to do work when you studied abroad. It’s also one of the biggest green spaces in London, so it’s incredibly serene. Also, the Kensington Palace is right in the center—if you’re hoping to become bffs with Harry and Meghan, this is the place for you.

  1. Get out of the city for the day.

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If you need a complete nature break from the hustle and bustle of the city, try taking a day trip with a few friends outside the city and take a breather. A few of us went to the Mayfield Lavender Fields (featured above) for some stunning photos and tasty lavender scones. You can also take a beach trip to Brighton or explore some natural at Kew Gardens.

  1. Book a cheap flight to a new country.

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One of the best parts of studying abroad in London is how easily accessible other European countries are. Some of my favorite memories of my study abroad experience were the weekend trips my friends and I took, using relatively low-budget airlines and hostels/AirBnb’s. Above is my trip to Budapest—which is also a super-cheap city, 10/10 recommend.

  1. Be a cheesy tourist.

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Above all, this summer is for you. So be that cheesy tourist and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do! You might not get a chance to study abroad again, or return to the same country, so take advantage of every opportunity. Who cares if that photo op makes you look corny? You can laugh about it later.

If I can offer any advice for your study abroad experience, it would be this: Soak up every moment, your semester will go faster than you think. And once you’ll leave, all you’ll want to do is go back and do it all over again!

Frank: The 6 Types of Music You’ll Listen to in College

College is a place for self-discovery, for experimentation, and for an almost deafening amount of music. Times change and with it, what you think makes for good music. Here are the Six Kinds of Music You’ll Listen to in College:

  1. The Radio Hits

You’re young, you’re fresh, you’re new in town-- you also don’t know anything about music. The radio has been curating what you listen to for almost two decades, but it’s been doing the same for everybody else too. And when you’re the fifth person in a row to say they like ‘everything but rap and country’ in an icebreaker, it’s not a good image. It’s time to let go of the past and reinvent yourself. Time to listen to some new music.

  1. The Obscure

The Drake’s, Cardi B’s, and Ariana Grande’s of the music scene are too superficial for you. Music has lost its true meaning to commercialism and big record labels. Real music is the kind of music that refuses to sell out. Your music taste has become as refined and articulate as an aged cheese, but a cheese that only you and about five others around the world know about. Fingers crossed these bands you're listening to don’t hit the big time, or else you’ll develop one heck of a lactose intolerance.

  1. The Soundcloud Rap

The Drake’s, Cardi B’s, and Ariana Grande’s of the music scene are too soft for you. I mean, you only live once so you might as well listen to the best bangers the internet has to offer. It doesn’t matter the occasion, be it studying for finals at Mugar or just trying to relax and fall asleep, the sickest of Soundcloud raps are there to keep you up and drown out all those pesky ‘responsibilities’ you should definitely be on top off.

  1. The Foreign

American music just isn’t what it used to be. I mean you’re not sure what it ‘used’ to be either, but you can say with certainty that it’s not the same. You know what’s stayed consistently good, though? All the music scenes from literally every other country. Listening to this kind of music will make you a full-fledged cosmopolitan! Sure, you won’t understand a single word being sung… But you can just feel it; you know what am I saying?

  1. The Experimental

Music composition as a whole is overrated. You’ve grown past the need of instruments, or harmonies, or appealing sounds to listen to music. Now it’s all about that subversion! Actually enjoying music is for chumps. The way music is meant to be experienced is as a chore. Listening to this music is a complete pain, but imagine how cool you’ll sound when you mention you listen to this kind of music! Nobody has to know you hate every second of it.

  1. The Favorites

This aimless charade of music types has left you tired and unhappy. Somewhere along this musical journey, you’ve forgotten who you are and what you really like. You’ve realized that for some reason you've been trying to impress an audience that really isn’t there. Who cares what you listen to? As long as you enjoy it, it’s good music. So listen to your favorites, regardless of what anybody else says. You’re gonna be in college for a while, might as well enjoy your time here.

Emily: Emily’s Top 5 Commute Jams

This semester, I'm doing things a little differently. Because of a surgery in the spring, I was unable to come back to campus this fall. Instead of getting down, I've decided to make the most of my time at home; I'm interning at two amazing agencies in Philly and taking online classes. This, however, has created a new problem for me: the commute. Between my long drives and train rides, I have found myself needing the best pump up music to keep me sane. So, without further ado, I present my top 5 albums to listen to on a commute (or on the T or jamming down Comm Ave). 

1) Sweetener - Ariana Grande


I don't care what anybody says, this album is amazing! If you want to feel confident before heading into work, jamming to Ariana Grande is definitely the way. My personal favorites from the album are Borderline and Successful (but also God is a Woman is a masterpiece that makes you feel like a bad b*tch).

2) Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
If you're feeling nostalgic and dreamy, Stevie will never steer you wrong. I refuse to choose a favorite from this album. I guess you'll just have to listen in full ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3) Melodrama - Lorde
Again, if you're feeling homesick or nostalgic this one really hits me in the feels. It's perfect for a foggy drive/walk through the city. My favorites are Supercut and Homemade Dynamite.
4) Anything by Lizzo (ik, not an album)
This technically isn't an album, but if you're looking for a pick me up, Lizzo is the way to go. Her upbeat hits will have you skipping down Com Ave!
5) Greatest Hits - Queen Compilation
Finally, I can't have a music blog post without mentioning my favorite band, Queen. Literally any song you listen to will put you in a good mood. But, if you don't have time to listen to their entire body of work, any Greatest Hits compilation will have you dancing and smiling all the way to work.
BONUS: Podcasts
I also love podcasts!! If you're looking for a good podcast to get lost in I recommend How I Built This or Invisibilia! 

Becca: Why My Fall Goals Matter to You

The fall semester is one of my favorite because it’s time to reset the focus on meeting goals. Even if you spent your summer working or taking class comparable to your fall semester, as I did (although in Australia), everyone is back on campus together to take classes, work part-time jobs, participate in extracurriculars, and try to strike the work-life-school-friend-extracurricular balance that’s rare. So I take time every fall to set some concrete goals for myself. However, it is hard to set goals that are really meaningful, so I am willing to share my mine with you guys so we can all have a successful semester. If you’re already inspired, this Fast Company article is my favorite guide to create an attainable plan. I encourage you to write your goals down in a visible place that you will see daily to reconnect you with your vision.

But, if you need some examples or are just really nosy about my life below are my goals. This is not only helpful for you, but for me because now everyone knows them and will keep me on my toes. Enjoy!

  1. Read for enjoyment every day.

I don’t know about you but I grew up a reading fiend. I would read after my bedtime and risk being caught by my Mom.  However, as I have gotten older reading has become something to stress over for class. Well, this semester I am determined to take back the fun in reading. Once a day, I am trying to set aside some time to read a thriller, a sci-fi mystery, or a romance novel. Even books I have to read for literature class can fall under this category if I find myself enjoying them. I can talk about the scientific studies that accompany reading novels every day, but really you just feel a little better after some good book time.

  1. Find fun ways to move my body daily.

As you will see a majority of my goals are taking things off my chore list and making them something I look forward to. Exercise is no different. We all know we should be doing it daily and making it a habit while we are young. But no rulebook says exercise is thirty minutes on the treadmill (it actually began as torture machine) and not dancing with your roommates or participating in an intramural league. I want to recommit myself to love the body I was given and all of its talents instead of using it for my next Netflix binge. (or Hulu, because I just started Handmaid’s Tale. Amazing.)

  1. Take personal relationships very seriously.

My friends mean the world to me. I can count on them to fulfill any role in my life, and I would do the same for them. Lately, I have been putting effort into my close relationships with my best friends, leaving acquaintances and new companions in the dust. This semester I am committing to be a better friend to those in my life. Whether that means grabbing lunch with someone in the GSU (when I’d rather watch Netflix) or just commenting something nice on new Instagram posts. We forget most people have their own lives with their own problems and can often use an extra dose of compassion from their fellow humans. And remember, when you put good in the universe, it comes back for you.

Just for fun, if I still have your attention, I’m going to list the rest of my goals that you can adapt to fit your own needs. What works for me, may not be what your focus is. Set a goal and commit to it.

  1. Figure out job plans for the next semester
  2. Tell people honestly how I feel
  3. Actively listen to everyone (including professors!)
  4. Have a conversation with one new person a day
  5. Shut my phone down for a while (not including class!)
  6. Learn to forgive my family, my friends, and myself


Carly: The Death and Rebirth of the Romantic Comedy (Relative to my Own Experiences)

I’m sure I speak to many film majors (and non-film major movie buffs) when I discuss the air of authority kids assume when they first discover the art of film.

When I first fell in love with movies, I became a Wes Anderson junkie. I spoke constantly of his organic storytelling and unique aesthetics, and I shamed my friends for being shallow when they insisted on seeing Divergent instead of Grand Budapest Hotel (yes, I was that much of a film snob). As a result, the more I expanded my film knowledge and discovered a community of other cinephiles, I began to scorn the conventional romantic comedy. I scoffed at girls who loved movies I believed contained no depth, and I saw myself as superior because I didn't waste time watching "feel-good movies".

There were some exceptions over the years, including Crazy, Stupid Love, Amelie, and She’s The Man. But for whatever reason, the only movies I insisted on seeing and watching had to be either dark and pervasive, quirky and experimental, or deep and provocative.

And the beginning of last year, I suddenly found myself pining for a good dose of romance. I wanted to watch two people fall in love and I wanted to watch two lovers share an emotional connection.

And thus began my secret binge - it started with trailers for rom-coms both old and new; then I found myself actually queuing up rom-coms on my own time. What was I doing, wasting my time watching What If?, a 2011 rom-com that lost close to three million dollars and starred Daniel Radcliffe and a pre-The Big Sick Zoe Kazan? Why did I repeatedly watch the trailer for Before We Go, Chris Evans’ 2014 directorial debut that received a whopping 21% on Rotten Tomatoes? Because these movies made me feel things. Even if they made me feel more lonely, even if they enabled me to quietly pine for a character in my own life (for whom, yes, I am still secretly pining), they still enveloped me in feeling. I couldn’t get enough. I rewatched classics, and I searched long and hard for indies.

All the while, however, I kept my new interest private. I didn’t feel comfortable enough asking my friends to binge rom-coms with me (how stupid and pretentious is that?), and I felt weak if I admitted in my film classes that the most recent movies that had made me cry were Moonrise Kingdom and/or Wall-E, or even worse, that I cried just watching the trailer for Mamma Mia.

But now it appears as if I wasn’t the only one who missed romantic comedies. As it turns out, quite virtually everyone wanted them back, a development that surfaced with the widespread popularity of Crazy Rich Asians.

Of course, I don’t mean to discount the fact that Crazy Rich Asians primarily served as an important piece of representation for the Asian-American community, and that it will no doubt pave the way for non-white actors who deserve to land roles other than the stereotypical best friend or sidekick. But I also think the movie was a success because it was such a damn good love story. It was so SATISFYING. It made me CRY. It made my FATHER cry. It was so enjoyable, and heartwarming, and it felt good knowing everyone around me similarly loved it.

The revival continues as well with To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before, a Netflix rom-com featuring budding stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo. I absolutely lost my mind over To All The Boys; I fell madly in love with both male characters and I never wanted Lara Jean to leave the screen. I loved the story and its characters and quirkiness and I loved watching the tale unfold (and yes, I now exclusively refer to Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky, and I assume he’ll live on as that character for a good majority of his career).

Yes, romantic comedies can be cheesy, and corny, and unrealistic, and they definitely hit an all-time low in the 2000s, when studios used big ticket stars to generate income on an awful script (i.e. How Do You Know circa 2010, or All About Steve circa 2009). But I finally think the industry is learning how to make them work -- with equal representation and diverse stories, and well-developed characters and plot lines, no doubt.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, as a society, we need rom-coms. We need to believe in the idea of love, and watching others experience the trials and tribulations of falling in love is a method of catharsis. We need to leave our own realities for brief periods of time to fall in line along characters as they reach their happy endings, if not for our own satisfaction then at least to hold on to the slight chance that we too might find such a love in our own lifetime. We need to share the laughs and the tears and the emotions with our friends and family, and we need universal love stories to help connect with strangers, with acquaintances, with budding friends. Rom-coms might just be the comedic relief our own society needs in order to survive this incredibly intense and upsetting time in the world. And so I eagerly saw Mamma Mia 2 its opening weekend, and I felt no shame in listening to its soundtrack for a week straight afterward. And yes, I cried after Love, Simon and The Big Sick. I saw La La Land four times. And I have tickets to see Juliet, Naked next weekend. Because I love rom-coms. I really do.

And now, I leave you with Vanity Fair’s most recent list of top 25 Rom-Coms. Invite your friends over. Bake some brownies. Enjoy.

Kate: How to Get Through Your Finals Week

Believe it or not, the end of the school year is approaching and finals week is back. Finals come in many forms at BU and especially COM since many COM classes have final projects and papers due the week before. But, no matter when finals week occurs for you or how long it lasts, this week may be stressful. So, here are a couple tips to help you get through your finals week.


1. Find some time for yourself
It may seem like you have a lot to do in only a little bit of time, but that time will be wasted with an unfocused mindset if you don’t give yourself a short break to do something you enjoy. Whether it be going for a run or just hanging out in your dorm watching two, and only two, episodes of The Office, these nice breaks are necessarily in keeping you mentally stable during this busy time.


2. Use the study break
BU is nice enough to give us a three day study break. This is a great time to spend studying and finishing up all assignments that need to get done. It’s nice because there is really nothing else you need to worry about except for work and preparing for finals. Even if your finals are later in the week, this is a great time to get started and just start reviewing the information, even if it’s for only a few hours that day. Those few hours are so beneficial and will be extremely helpful in learning and reviewing all the information from the course.


3. Get some sleep
Every cliche movie shows college students staying up late, cramming for their exams all night. But sleep is crucial to an alert and working brain, especially during a two hour test. These days off are a great time to be able to study while still getting a full night’s sleep. There is no better feeling than waking up after a good night’s sleep, ready and motivated to take on exams.


4. Go out into the city to study
You have all day! Go out into the city to study or find a quiet coffee shop. It’s your last couple days in Boston before summer so why not enjoy it while still being productive. If it’s nice out you can find outdoor seating or go to the Boston Public Library. The little spots around Boston are calming and allow you to take advantage of the last couple days in the city.


5. Remember that you are almost done
Yes, finals week can get stressful, but you are so close and almost done. Once exams are over, you get the entire summer to enjoy yourself and not worry about a test or a paper that you have to write. Just push through these last few days and then you have a couple months to completely just enjoy yourself and do whatever you want.
So, finals week can get stressful and can feel like a lot, but the light is there at the end of the tunnel. These tips can help you push through the end of the semester while still staying ~relatively~ sane. And with that I wish you good luck on finals!

Lilah: What to do when it seems like there’s too much to do and you can’t do any of it

Take a walk

One of my favorite things to do is to walk (or jog, depending on how many wild turkeys are chasing me) through Brookline. It’s adjacent to South campus, and there are some magnificent houses. If your mom raised you like mine, checking out some sweet real estate is as good as watching TV! You can imagine yourself living in these mansions, and leave work at home for a minute. Taking a walk really is the best way to clear your head. You can listen to music, or just hear the birds chirping in this beautiful suburban neighborhood.

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Find a tv show that calms you down

Personally, some of my favorite shows are also very therapeutic. For example, Chef’s Table on Netflix gets a bad reputation for having frivolous (but amazing) cinematography and pretentious cuisine. However, the dynamic cinematography along with classical music as the soundtrack is the perfect balance that calms your senses. Another show I used to watch was How It’s Made. If you like watching robots do stuff with, again, soothing music overhead, this show is a must.

Chef’s Table just released a season that only features chefs with a sweet tooth. I highly recommend it if you enjoy dessert.

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Make lists

This point often escapes me when I see a mountain of work ahead of me. First off, looking at the mountain is much scarier than breaking it up into pieces. If you have ever seen What About Bob?, you’ll know to take “baby steps.” I recommend making a list that sorts out the days of the week. Then, you can make a separate list of “to-dos.” Then, start placing certain tasks into certain days. They may not be completely realistic goals, but writing them down gives you a sense of control.

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Call!!!!! Your!!!!!!!!!!!! Parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Would you believe I call my mother every day? It’s true! She’s my rock! Please, I beg of you all, call your parents. First of all, they miss you so much that they will probably douse you in love once you call. But, I look up to my parents, so they are there whenever I need advice. Even when I don’t need to talk about anything specific, I call my mom. Just knowing that they are there for you, even though they’re not with you, means a ton, and it will calm your nerves.

Becca: Things Sophomore Year Taught Me

As the semester draws to a close, I become very reflective. I begin to look at old pictures and reminisce about where I was a year, five years and even ten years ago. It boggles my mind to see exactly how far I have come in a relatively short period. Genuinely, I get excited for the future when I think about the places you and I can go. And now, what I learned this year.

Professors want you to succeed as much as you want yourself to succeed.

I was lucky this year to have eight amazing professors who care about their students. Yes, they give tests that you might not do so well on. They also might give weekly quizzes with trick questions. But, deep down, they are all rooting for you to be your best. Because I went to their office hours (a lot), it became incredibly evident.

You find friends in unexpected places.

Sophomore year, I found where I belonged at BU. When I went home for vacations, all I longed for was to get back to school and see my Boston family again. I didn’t have these feelings freshman year because I overlooked nontraditional ways to find friends. You find your people next to you in classes, in the same extracurriculars, working Open House, and waiting in the Einstein’s line.

Although there are bad days, I am a better person now more than ever.

It’s no secret: you have bad days in college. Some really bad days. You also have some really great days. This semester instead of curling up and wishing I was anywhere other than Boston, I put on my “Big Girl” pants and faced problems head-on. I learned how to confront confidently, ask deliberately, and work incessantly, skills I learned from people I admire at BU.

To wrap up this incredibly sappy post, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to the people who gave me my first adult job this semester. Thank you to the professors who were on my side. Thank you to the friends I never thought I would have.


Jamey: Reflecting on Heathers

If you talked to me between the beginning of the semester and April 8th, you almost definitely heard that I was directing a production of Heathers: The Musical. The project took up all of my free time with roughly 15-20 hours of rehearsal each week on top of production meetings, e-board check-ins, and staging sessions.
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I've wanted to direct my own musical since I was about 13 years old, so it was a dream come true when BU On Broadway gave me the opportunity to direct Heathers. I've been involved in theatre since I was very young, mostly as an actor, but I always knew that I eventually wanted to direct. I love taking on leadership roles and I've always been interested in the creative decisions that are involved with directing an entire production. However, I had no idea about the amount of decisions a director would have to make.
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Overall, Heathers was the best learning experience of my entire life. I was in charge of the entire production and I am very happy with how it went. I am so grateful for the 100-some students who helped me put my vision on the stage. BU On Broadway, and BU as a whole, has given me so many opportunities. I checked one more thing off my bucket list this semester.
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