Common Room Conversation

Hello, hello!

I am Susritha Kopparapu, a junior double majoring in Biology and Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences.

And I am Emily Oros, a junior studying Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering with a minor in biology.

We are both from Massachusetts and were roommates our freshman and sophomore years. Although we are no longer living together, we have become great friends and it’s all thanks to our time living in Kilachand Hall.

Watch our video to hear us talk about some of our experiences our freshman year!

You might have heard us talking about FIRs, who are Faculty-in-Residence. These are professors who serve as mentors and role models for the students in their living and learning dorm. They are always up for conversation, whether that be about academics, careers, or hobbies. In our experience, FIRs are a critical resource especially during the transition from high school to college, and the relationships that develop have lasting impacts beyond your freshman year.

Thanks for listening to us reminisce about the good old days :,)

— Emily and Susritha

The Three Groups to Join in College

By Ellie Olsen (SAR'23)

Above: My view of the Prudential Tower and downtown Boston from my dorm window.


In high school, I was involved in upwards of 10 extracurriculars. I played two sports, was an officer for student council and National Honor Society, played in the band, was involved with my church, and more. The time I needed to devote to these activities was balanced, with all of it fitting together neatly. Most of them also doubled as social time because my friends and I joined the same clubs. If I tried to be involved with that same number of activities in college, I would fail miserably.

College extracurriculars ask much more time of you than high school ones did, and because of that, I knew I would struggle to maintain the same level of involvement. I was given a piece of advice before going to college about how to choose among the thousands of activities that colleges have to offer, and regardless of how involved you were in high school, I think it’s important to consider: “Choose three things to get involved in when you get to college: one for academics, one for service, and one for social interaction.”

As a note before I tell you what I chose to get involved in, it will take some trial and error to find the perfect three. You should probably start with 8 or 10 and narrow down which ones serve you the most, providing a balanced array of opportunities and engagement.  Also, three is a guideline. I have 5 main extracurriculars that I have been involved with for most of college, and other ones have come and gone or require less time and can be added on, so take everything that I say here with a grain of salt.

Now for my big 3.

1. Academics. I am a health science major looking to get my Master of Public Health and then continue into clinical medicine. To boost my skill set and strengthen my resume, I joined Peer Health Exchange as a Health Educator. I teach a public health curriculum to Boston Public School high school students, and can say with confidence that I now know how to communicate health information and work well with young people, both of which will be valuable to my professional career.

2. Service. I have participated in community service activities my whole life and quickly found that I was missing it when I got to college. I joined Camp Kesem, a free camp run by college students for kids whose lives have been affected by their parent’s cancer, to both develop my leadership skills and become more involved in service. I am now a development coordinator and have organized fundraisers that have gathered our chapter more than $20,000 in 5 months.

3. Social. I have been inseparable from my best friend since we met in seventh grade, and going to college left a hole that she had filled in my everyday life. I struggled to find close friends and, though I was successful in making a few, I wanted a larger group of people to be involved in, so I joined Sigma Kappa, a panhellenic sorority, and Omega Phi Alpha, a community service sorority. I have absolutely loved my time in both of them and have found it so easy to find friends among girls that are like minded and hold similar values.

I want to emphasize again that getting involved is not a formula. Nobody can tell you what three things to join or if three is going to be your magic number. I also have a job that I love at the FitRec center, served as an FY101 peer mentor (highly recommend taking FY101!!!), am a Kilachand ambassador, will start a job as an EMT in the fall, and do normal college things like working out, going out with friends, and sitting around watching movies when I don’t feel like doing anything else. These are all integral parts of my college experience and have made my time at BU as amazing as it has been in just my first two years.

I think getting involved is a good thing to start thinking about before you’re in college and even for my fellow college students, it is never too late to join something that looks exciting to you. My best piece of advice is to join what you find interesting, stop being involved in something if it is not adding great value to your life, and do what you need to to maintain your balance, which for me is fitting my main extracurriculars into one of those 3 categories.

5 Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before Move-In

By Sophie Li (CAS'23)

1. What time do you wake up?

Although this will change each semester depending on when everyone has their first class, this is super helpful to know. Are they the kind of person who takes an hour to get ready in the morning, or do they roll out of bed and go straight to class? Since you will be sharing a suite in Kilachand, it’s important to discuss before any issues arise. There’s not that much space to get ready in the morning, and if one of you is a light sleeper, you’ll want to know so you can prepare your eye masks or ear plugs!

2. What time do you go to bed?

This falls in the same category as the first question but is just as important to discuss! If one of you plans on sleeping early but the other plans to stay up late, when do you guys turn the light off? Is the early sleeper fine with the roommate using their desk light, or should they plan to go up to the study floor?

3. Are you neat or messy?

This seems like one of the first questions that might pop into your mind, and there’s a reason for that! While you can definitely live well with one messy and one neat roommate, it’s nice to know what to expect, especially if this is a deal-breaker for you!

4. What is your least favorite chore?

A lot of the chores/cleaning tasks you’ll have to do are for yourself and not the whole suite, this is a good thing to ask. You might end up in a situation where you hate vacuuming, but your roommate loves it, and you can trade off on housekeeping tasks. Or, if you both hate doing laundry, you can remind each other and get those tasks out of the way together.

5. How do you feel about guests?

Although this question has become less relevant with COVID-19, it looks like the guest policy might be back by Fall 2021. Pre-COVID this was an important question to ask, especially if you had a really busy week coming up and didn’t want your roommate to have any guests over. But if the guest policies come back, this question will be more important than ever, because the number one priority is still staying safe!

There are so many more questions you can ask your potential roommate, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a good way to get the conversation started about living together so that you can both determine if you would be compatible. And as a quick tip: you can live perfectly with someone you aren’t best friends with, and sometimes you can’t live with your friends at all, and that’s totally fine!

A Day in the Life

By Marie Kimball (CAS'23)

8:00 AM: I wake up, open the blinds, and answer some of my texts. I’m quick to shut my alarm off as my roommate is still sleeping. I go wash my face and brush my teeth, and then come back to my room to make some cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. Then I get dressed for the day. It looks like it's going to be a windy one, so I’ll make sure to bundle up. On the way out I stop into the Kilachand Offices, say hi to whoever might be in there and chat for a second, and grab some green tea.

9:00 AM: I arrive to Spanish class located in the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. We have presentations today about creating audio descriptions for those who speak Spanish and are blind, so that they can understand all of the movements on the screen despite being unable to see them. My classmates are creative, and we have some laughs while improving our Spanish.

10:30 AM: I take a 10 minute walk over to history class on the upper floor of the George Sherman Union. On the way I stop at the Starbucks in front of Warren Towers to grab, you guessed it, some green tea. Making it just in time to class, I walk in and my professor is discussing a largely unknown incident which occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. U.S.S.R. Vice Admiral Vasily Arkipov prevented his captain from firing a nuclear weapon at U.S. ships above, which were essentially creating a blockade around Cuba.

12:00 PM: With my friends Kristin and James, I head over to the nearest dining hall to grab some lunch. We chat about our days so far, and talk about the Co-Curricular yesterday, in which Hakeem Oluseyi, renowned astrophysicist, spoke.

1:00 PM: I walk over to Mugar Library in order to work on some homework and finish up a paper. At City-Co I grab a smoothie to stay energized. During the last 20 minutes of my stay here, I check in with my manager at the cafe at which I work, and arrange my schedule for the next few weeks.

3:00 PM: I head over to the School of Theology, where my Kilachand Seminar in Marriage and Family Law is being held. We discuss topics ranging from same-sex marriage, CRISPR technologies, and international adoption. A wide variety of opinions regarding ethics and politics are voiced.

4:30 PM: I walk back home to change and then hit the gym. There is a local crossfit gym which I love going to. Hopefully today I can hit a personal best on my deadlift.

Marie 1 IMG_0324
Looking east down a quiet Commonwealth Avenue toward the famous Citgo sign in Kenmore Square and the Prudential Tower in the distance. Credit: Marie K.

6:00 PM: I arrive home again, shower, and change into comfy clothes. I hit the dining hall with my roommate, Lauren. Tonight there is BBQ turkey, and butternut squash soup, so we are both excited. We run into a few other people in our Kilachand writing studio, and decide to all sit together and unwind after the day. On the way back to my dorm, I stop by Faculty-in-Residence Professor Woodward to catch up for a few and grab some of his famous nachos.

8:00 PM: I get back home and head up to the 9th floor of Kilachand to put the finishing touches on that paper I was working on earlier, as well as to begin a project I have due next week for an anthropology class regarding modern eating habits.

10:00 PM: I return home to watch an episode of the Office with my suitemate Sarah and eat some ice cream.

11:30 PM: I wash up my face and brush my teeth, and before getting to sleep chat with my roommate a little bit about a party we might go to this weekend. Oh, also, don’t forget to email your Kilachand advisor to set up an appointment, as registration for classes next semester is in a few weeks. I say goodnight to Lauren, and then fall fast asleep after another long, exciting, interesting, and fun day as a BU and Kilachand Honors College student.

 

Tips for Your First Year of College

By Marissa Carty (CAS'22)

Above: A view from the Esplanade. Just steps away from campus, the Esplanade is a great place to go for a walk and take space away from academics.


College is a thrilling time of discovery, surprise, and growth. But the transition is hard. Whether you’re moving to BU from across the world or you’re a Boston native, adapting to the academic, social, and lifestyle differences of college takes time. Here are my tips for a smooth(er) transition through your first year of college at BU.

1. Be Kind to Yourself

I was beyond excited to make the most of my every minute of college. I knew I would make friends quickly, start working on an impressive research project, and keep up a healthy routine of daily workouts on top of my heavy academic schedule and part-time job. However, my naive optimism was perfectionism in disguise. When I didn’t keep up with my workout schedule, I berated myself. When I couldn’t find time to commit to research my first semester, I felt like a failure. When I had a lonely night in, I told myself I shouldn’t be wasting time feeling down.

Over time, I learned to be compassionate toward myself and let myself make a mistake or have a bad day. The truth is, you’re going to have bad days, and that’s okay. When you do, remind yourself that the feeling won’t last forever and that you’re resilient for going through such a difficult transition. Everything is temporary, and it is alright if things are not going how you expected them to. That just means good surprises are around the corner!

2. Keep a Journal

We underestimate just how much we forget. The day I moved in, I took about twenty minutes to write in my journal before I went to sleep. I am so grateful that I did that. The days of college, especially your first year, go by in a whirlwind. You may take a lot of pictures or think that you’ll always remember the significant moments, but nothing can make up for a firsthand account in your own words of what happened. My journals are my most treasured possessions. I can read exactly what I was thinking after my first day of classes, what my first impression of the person who is now my best friend was, and how my perspective on home changed. I can also read about the day the Red Sox won the World Series and we paraded down to the Common until 2:00am. I promise, you will not regret taking a few minutes once or twice a week to write down your thoughts about college.

3. Utilize the Resources Available to You

BU has so many resources to improve the well-being of its students. Ask your advisor to chat with you about stress management. Go to events held by The Wellbeing Project. Reach out to Behavioral Medicine. Take a workshop or request a tutor at the Educational Resource Center. And remember that not all self-care has to be focused on academics or medicine! For me, taking dance classes (or other exercise classes called PDPs that students can register for), joining the meditation club (BU Zen), and signing up for a Writing of Poetry (CAS EN304) course made my first year enormously easier. Sometimes you’ll need help from the professionals, and sometimes you just need to make time for what you love.

4. Take Breaks

College moves at a fast pace. Cities move at a fast pace. New Englanders move at a fast pace. “The grind” can be self-destructive if we never give ourselves a break. When you have a massive to-do list, it can feel like you’ll never have time to take a night off of homework or go explore the city of Boston. I’m here to tell you that that’s exactly what you should do. Taking a step away from your workload restores you and helps you focus better when you return to your desk. When you feel overwhelmed, go for a walk along the Esplanade or facetime a friend from home. Not only will you be more productive when you have to get back to work, you will feel better overall. Academics are important, but they are not the only thing that deserve your time. I learned that the hard way, so hopefully my experience can help you.

Your first year of college will be challenging, but it is a challenge that you are up to. BU has so much to offer. Boston is the best city to be a student in. And you’re going to have a lot of fun. But you’re also going to have some bad days. Enjoy the good ones and keep in mind that the bad ones may be the ones that you learn and grow from the most. Good luck!