College, Google Calendar-ing, and You

Emma Hartman (ENG’23)

To many people, Google Calendar is just one of the several apps that sits untouched taking up space on their crowded iPhones. However, to college students across the country, and to me and many of my friends in the Kilachand Honors College, Google Calendar is a revered organizational tool without which life would never be the same.

When you first get to college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you want to do and things you have to do. You’ll have a new class schedule, new friends (and with those new friends, a million plans for lunches, dinners, nights out, nights in, study sessions and everything in between), office hours and tutoring appointments to attend, Kilachand co-curriculars, club meetings, and a million different events happening on campus to choose from at any given moment, from BU hockey games to art nights to musicals.

With so many responsibilities and so many choices, it’s easy for important deadlines and meetings to slip your mind. You don’t need to schedule your life down to the minute, but it can be helpful to write some of these things down in Google Calendar so you don’t forget! Here are some of the most helpful tips for staying organized with Google Calendar that I’ve gathered in my time at BU:

1. Put all of your classes, office hours, KHC co-curriculars, & important academic responsibilities in it.

Not everything has to go in your calendar, but there are definitely some things that should. Make sure to write down when you have class and office hours. It sounds like basic common sense advice, but trust me, it’s popular advice for a reason! In your first week of classes, you’ll also receive a syllabus for each class with info about homework assignments, lab reports, essays, discussion board posting, exams, quizzes, and more. No matter how good you think your memory is, once things get busy, these can be really difficult to keep track of. I like to put due dates and exam dates in my Google Calendar to ensure I don’t forget anything. It’s definitely saved me more than a couple of times…

Also, don’t forget to put KHC co-curriculars in your calendar. They’re talks given by guest speakers and you’re required to go to two of them every semester. Oftentimes, some of the co-curriculars conflict with classes, club meetings, studying, or even plans with friends. I use Google Calendar to figure out which of the co-curriculars are most feasible for me to attend at the start of every semester, which saves me from scrambling to fulfill the requirement at inconvenient or stressful times.

2. Write important details about each event in your calendar.

For all of my classes and office hours, I like to write down information like what building and room the class is in. This is especially helpful at the beginning of every semester when you haven’t settled into a routine yet or when you’re new on campus and haven’t really developed a sense of direction. It’s also helpful when you’re running late and can just glance down at your phone to see what floor and classroom you’re speed walking to. Additionally, I like to write down information about who “Lunch at 12:30” is with or what class the “2pm Office Hours” are for. It’s just easier when you’re glancing at your phone mid-day not to have to think too much about these things.

3. Check your Google Calendar daily!

It’s helpful to write down your schedule, but none of this will be useful if you don’t actually check your Google Calendar on a regular basis. I check my Google Calendar every night when I write out my next day’s schedule in my planner. I usually wind up finding info like a meeting that I scheduled three weeks ago is happening tomorrow or I’m reminded that I have an exam coming up next week so I should start studying soon.

4. Don’t always follow the calendar

I know firsthand that it’s really easy to overschedule yourself in college. Sometimes, some of the best experiences you’ll have happen when you break out of your daily routine. If your friend wants to hang out and get lunch, but you had planned on getting some non-urgent work done, it’s okay to push the work back to a later time. It’s good to plan, just don’t let the planning get in your way of enjoying college! Your Google Calendar should help you, but it shouldn’t ever control you.

The 5 Best Items to Buy at Trader Joe’s

By Emma Hartman (ENG'23)

One of the great joys of living on BU’s west campus is shopping at the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe’s. Every week or so, my roommates and I pack up our rolling cart and make the trek to TJ’s for affordable food that we can make in our Stuvi 1 apartment kitchen. After months of research, I’ve taken it upon myself to compile a list of the 5 best items to buy at the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe’s. I am not sponsored by TJ’s, but I probably should be. These are just my (and my roommates’) personal and correct opinions.

1. Veggie Bites

As a pre-med engineering major, I know all too well how hard it can be to find time to cook healthy food once things get busy or exam season hits. On busy days (or days when you’re just feeling lazy and want to watch Netflix), veggie bites are the perfect low maintenance, high nutrition option. Throw them in the oven for 10 minutes and walk away (just don’t forget to come back). They look and taste like tater tots, but are loaded with broccoli, carrots, celery, kale, onions, sweet potatoes, and a shocking amount of other healthy ingredients. You can dip them in pretty much any sauce (my roommates and I have tried all of them) and if you’re like me, they’re guaranteed to brighten your day.

2. (Vegan) Kale, Cashew, & Basil Pesto

For something consisting of such simple ingredients, it’s shocking how versatile this pesto is. I love eating it with the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi (which, honorable mention, are a blessing to gluten free eaters like myself everywhere) and I put this in all of my turkey wraps and sandwiches. Even if you eat it everyday, this tiny tub will last a while and you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

3. Scandinavian swimmers

Cousins of the Swedish fish, the Scandinavian swimmers are as delicious as they are addicting. I find it’s best to eat them with my friends while we spend hours on our signals homework to avoid consuming an entire bag by myself per sitting. I hesitated to include them on this list because their appeal is almost too strong. I speak from personal experience. My suitemate Steph has a tragic Scandinavian swimmers addiction and buys several large bags per week. The fish have taken over her life. We’ve held multiple interventions, but to no avail. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Anyways, these are pretty good. I’d recommend them. Everyone seems to like them.

4. Any Trader Joe’s Salsa and Chip Combo

They’re a classic and dependable (and cheap) combo. Nobody says no to Trader Joe’s chips and salsa. For some reason, they’re just better than other chips and salsa. Perfect for nachos and you can enjoy them by yourself or with guests. Enough said. 5. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups I’ve always been a sucker for any combination of peanut butter and chocolate, but in this case, pretty much everyone agrees that these are amazing. I like to eat them while I study for exams for a quick sugar rush. Pro tip: put them in the fridge for a few hours. You won’t regret it!

A Day in My Life as a Biomedical Engineering Major and Pre-med in Kilachand!

By Emma Hartman (ENG’23)

5:40 AM: I wake up. OK, OK: don’t panic reading this -- as hard as it is to believe, this is something I do to myself willingly and for reasons completely unrelated to academics. My favorite hot yoga class is at 6 am on Wednesdays at a yoga studio less than 5 minutes from my dorm. There are other yoga classes at normal times, but I really like this one.

6 AM: Hot Yoga! I started practicing yoga about a month ago to shake up my routine and quickly got addicted. I use it to manage my stress, stay in shape, and as something fun and COVID safe that I can do with friends.

7 AM: I take my time on the walk back to my dorm. I live in a safe area that’s incredibly pretty in the morning and I’m trying to enjoy it more. When I get back to my brownstone, I make some breakfast (I’m currently training in the art of microwave-based cooking) and shower before class.

Beacon Street in the morning, right by South Campus.
Beacon Street in the morning, right by South Campus.

9 AM: I arrive at the George Sherman Union (GSU), our student center, before my first class and meet up with my friend Sarah. Our Differential Equations lecture is remote learning only this semester, but we meet up to get Starbucks, catch up, and to take the class together in the library attached to the GSU. We claim that we keep each other accountable and focused, but we almost always wind up talking during the slow parts of class.

10 AM: Sarah and I leave the GSU and walk to our next classes together. I have my Cell Biology and Biotechnology lecture, where I run into Natalia, one of my friends from Kilachand. We met during our first semester of freshman year in a Kilachand seminar on Latin American music. I met a lot of engineers in that class since we all took it to fulfill the same HUB units. I still see a lot of them in my engineering classes or around campus!

Socially Distanced Biology Lecture in Agganis.
Socially distanced Biology lecture in Agganis.

12 PM: My lecture is over, and I want some lunch. Some days I’ll stay by Agganis Arena, where my lecture was, and eat with my friend Karolyn who lives in West Campus. Other days, I’ll head back eastward and eat with my friends Chloe and Sarah, who are studying at the GSU. No matter where I am, I always try and use meals as a time to see my friends.

1 PM: I head into the BU biomedical engineering research lab that I work in. We study mice to learn more about the neural circuits in the brain responsible for movement. Right now, I’m working with a PhD student on her latest project. Together we’ve been training our 3 mice—Matcha, Mocha, and Macchiato—to perform different behavioral tasks. Once they’re trained, we use electrophysiology probes and optogenetic techniques to record neural activity in different parts of their brains (basically: we stick a sensor into a genetically engineered mouse’s brain and choose what areas of the brain we want to record data from by using a laser to selectively silence groups of brain cells). I ask my grad student a truly annoying number of questions about the research, and she answers every last one because she’s genuinely happy to help me learn.

My lab mouse Matcha is in her tube and ready for training!
My lab mouse Matcha is in her tube and ready for training!

4 PM: It’s time to log onto Zoom for my HUB co-curricular, a course that I take in tandem with KHC HC 302. We teach Boston high schoolers about public health through a local program called Boston Area Health Education Center. It’s a great way to give back to the local community, learn more about public health and the Boston Public School system, and secure a coveted HUB unit.

6 PM: I log off of Zoom and knock on my roommate Iris’s door. We’re off to go find dinner so we can bring it back home, eat on the couch, and talk about our days. Sometimes we put on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy or the Bachelor while we eat

7 PM: I do some homework and answer some emails for my Girls Who Code club.

8 PM: I log onto Zoom office hours for my engineering mechanics class. I work on my homework and private message my friend Jenny, who’s also here because she’s struggling with problem #7 too.

9 PM: My roommate wanders back out to our couch and wants to figure out our weekend plans. We bring our laptops to the couch and work while we talk. Eventually, we either finish or abandon our work and just relax.

10:15 PM: I start getting ready for bed, write in my journal about the day, and look at my color-coded Google Calendar as I write in my planner about tomorrow. Tomorrow’s schedule is incredibly different, but no less exciting!