I only have a little more than two months left on Comm. Ave. as a student, and as exciting as that may seem, it’s also pretty daunting. No less daunting, though, than first arriving on campus as a freshman. The feelings I’m having now as I look for my first job are the same ones I felt in the fall of 2014 – anxious, scared, uneasy, unsure. But not to worry. If you’re new to BU, I’ve got some tips for you. Below are 10 quick tips I’ve picked up along the way that I think would be useful for any BU freshman, or any BU student for that matter.
1. Get a semester T Pass
You may think, “Oh, Comm. Ave. is walkable, I’ll never need to take the T.” Wrong. As unreliable as the MBTA is, it’s indispensable for any BU student. Especially now that I live in West campus, taking the T to COM on a time crunch is the way to go. It’s cheaper than buying a pass every month, and if you plan on doing a lot of traveling around the city, it pays for itself quickly. Be on the lookout early, though. I’ve missed the deadline a few times because it’s just before the semester starts.
2. The “freshman dorms” are your friends
I was unsure about Warren Towers and West campus when I first arrived at BU, but I shouldn’t have been. I spent my first year in a brownstone on Bay State Road, and while I loved that space for its peace and quiet during study time, I made my best friends at Warren and spent a great chunk of my free time there. Being on a floor with so many of your classmates is super valuable – make the most of it. Keep your door open and don’t be afraid to make new friends.
3. Join BU On Broadway
One of my only regrets about my college career is that I didn’t join BU On Broadway sooner. It’s an amazing group with amazing people, and the perfect outlet for any theater geek to continue their high school passion in college. Semesters only get busier when you become an upperclassman, so make the most of your free time as a freshman and get onstage.
- COM swipe access is a major key
Though COM students now have access to the entire Adobe Suite, if you’re like me, you prefer to do your editing in COM. I bet you’re thinking, “But I thought COM closes at nine, Nick…” And while that’s technically true, with swipe access you’ll be able to get into COM later and finish any work. Just get a professor’s sign-off and go see the tech-guru himself, Brad Fernandes in room 102. You’ll thank me later.
- Don’t be afraid to take classes in other colleges
With the BU Hub on its way, taking classes across colleges at BU has never been more attractive for COM students. I only took the necessary classes outside of COM to fulfill my major and minor, but I know there are a few classes in CFA I would have loved to explore. Don’t make the same mistake. And thanks to BU’s pass/fail policy, you really have no excuse not to take that music theory course you’ve been eyeing.
6. 26th floor of Stuvi2 & 6th floor of Mugar are ideal study spots
This one took me awhile to perfect, and while I’m ashamed to admit it, I hadn’t studied in Stuvi2 until junior year. The views of the Charles River and downtown Boston from the 26th floor are truly the best in the entire city. And the sixth floor of Mugar is one of the only places in the library that isn’t constantly packed. I don’t mind the view from up there, either. Hey, it beats studying in your dorm.
- Take advantage of all the great events BU has to offer
In just the past month, I’ve seen Obama’s White House photographer and took part in a discussion about media in the age of Trump featuring the executive producer of POLITICO podcasts. This is just a sampling of some of the events going on around campus that interest me, and things are happening every day. During my freshman year I generally kept my head down and studied, and while there’s a time for that, be careful not to miss some of the extraordinary opportunities here through COM, the Howard Thurman Center and BU at large.
8. Don’t miss the Power of Narrative Conference
Journalism majors and anyone who loves a good story – this is a must. Every march BU hosts this unique conference featuring some of the finest narrative journalists in the world. It’s an opportunity to meet industry leaders and strengthen your storytelling skills. This year’s guests include ESPN’s Don Van Natta (BU alum), Emily Steel of the New York Times and longtime NYT feature writer Sonny Kleinfield.
9. U-Grill is a Hidden Gem
Though it’s only about a three-minute walk from COM, it took me until sophomore year to discover University Grill & Pizza. It’s one of the best places on campus for a quick bite. The chicken parm is my go-to, but their menu is full of cheap and tasty opstions. The service is fast, the food is always hot and the folks working there are super friendly – always willing to talk some Boston sports. (Sadly, no convenience points accepted.)
10. Apply to be a COM ambassador
The COM ambassador program has been one of my best experiences at BU. It has introduced me to so many incredible people, and I’ve even mentored some incoming freshmen through the program that have become great friends. Being involved with open houses, giving tours to prospective families and writing these blogs has given me a whole new appreciation for my school. APPLY APPLY APPLY! You’ll be glad you did.