Free Things That Come with Being a BU Student

By Cathy Cheng (ENG & CAS ’23)

Let’s face it: with tuition at Boston University costing almost $60,000 this year, you’d want to make the most out of it. So here’s a list of all the free things that come with being a BU student! Besides, who doesn’t love free stuff?

In Boston

1. The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)

Located in Copley Square, just a 20-minute T-ride away from campus, the Museum of Fine Arts allows free entry to all BU students! Just show your BU student ID at the ticket counter. The MFA is the 20th largest museum in the world with more than 450,000 works of art.

2. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Perhaps best known for the Gardner Museum Heist in 1990 in which $500 million worth of art was stolen, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is made to look like a Venetian palazzo (with some of its windows, balconies, and arches actually derived from palazzos!) with an impressive, lush courtyard. The museum itself houses art from around the world and is located approximately 20 minutes away from campus by the T. You can show your BU ID at the ticket counter, or use promo code BOSTUNIV when reserving tickets online.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston (Photo by King of Hearts, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Photo by King of Hearts, CC BY-SA 4.0)

3. The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Just a few minutes from downtown Boston and overlooking the Boston Harbor, the ICA exhibits contemporary art. Just 30 minutes from campus by the T, stop by for some arts and crafts (it’s mostly for kids, but who’s counting?), incredible views in the outdoor amphitheater, and contemporary art! Just show your BU ID at the ticket counter.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (Photo by Smart Destinations, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (Photo by Smart Destinations, CC BY-SA 2.0)

4. BSO Symphony Orchestra

Your BU student ID also gets you access to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Just register for a College Card to attend Encore BSO Recitals and other performances! You can pick up a College Card at the CFA Dean’s Office (855 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd floor), the GSU Information Desk (775 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd floor), the CAS Student Programs and Leadership Office (685 Commonwealth Office, Suite 130), or the HR Office (25 Buick Street). You can register for a BSO card online with your BU ID!

On Campus

1. BU Shuttle

Okay, so this isn’t the most exciting item on the list…but it’s definitely convenient! The BU Shuttle has stops on the Charles River Campus as well as the Medical Campus, and is free to all BU students! Download the Terrier Transit app to track the shuttle!

2. Ice Skating at Walter Brown Arena

All BU students get free membership to the Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec), and in turn, free admission to ice skating during open skate hours at the Walter Brown Arena! Just check their website for the hours. You do need to bring your own skates, or you can rent them for $5 at the rink!

3. Public Open Night at the Observatory

Nothing to do on a Wednesday night? Come visit the Observatory to look at the night sky! The Observatory hosts Public Open Nights beginning at 7:30pm in the fall and winter, and 8:30pm in the spring and summer. You can reserve your free tickets online at Eventbrite.

Online

1. Headspace

The free services that come with being a BU student don’t end there! There are also a couple of free online services. BU Student Health Services offers free Headspace subscriptions for mindfulness and meditation. Just sign up at this link with your BU login information!

2. Xfinity on Campus

For on-campus students, BU offers free subscriptions to Xfinity on Campus! Livestream some TV or find your favorite shows on Video on Demand! Just find Boston University under participating institutions and use your BU login information!

3. Microsoft Office

Need Microsoft Office for your classes? Well, it’s free for all BU students! Whether you need Excel for that lab report, or Word for an essay, you just need to follow the instructions on BU Information Services & Technology’s website to download Microsoft Office for your device!

4. Adobe Creative Cloud

Last but not least, for all the artists out there, BU also offers free access to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes over 20 different applications. Follow the instructions on BU Information Services & Technology’s website to download this as well!

You may not get to all of these, but they’ll be there when you need them! Be sure to check them out and explore the city!

6 Tips for a Double Major or Dual Degree within KHC

By Aiden Cliff (CAS/Questrom'23)

Hello everyone! First and foremost, I want to congratulate all of you on your admission to BU and KHC. My name is Aiden Cliff and I am a Peer Mentor, Kilachand Ambassador, and KLAB representative in the class of 2023. I am a dual degree student in the BA/MA program for economics within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and a Business Analytics concentration within the Questrom School of Business (QST). Kilachand attracts the best, brightest, and most ambitious students from around the world. Naturally, some of you want to take your education to the next level and pursue either a dual degree or a double major. While these programs are not for everyone, I wanted to share my experience as a dual degree student within KHC and give you a few tips on approaching these rigorous programs.

One important thing to keep in mind when reading this blog post, and while at BU, is the language that the University likes to use. The double major program is for students working towards two Bachelor’s degrees within the same school or college. An example of this would be a student studying both Chemistry and Biology within CAS. The dual degree program is for students pursuing two Bachelor’s degrees from different schools or colleges. This is what I am personally doing since I am studying Economics in CAS and working towards a separate Business Administration degree within QST. Usually, a double major will have fewer requirements than a dual degree since many programs within the same college have overlapping requirements.

1. Be sure this is something you want to pursue

Taking on a second major or even a minor can add a lot of coursework on top of an already rigorous academic program. Getting one college degree, especially from KHC and BU, is already such an accomplishment. You shouldn’t feel pressured to try and double major if you really don’t want to. Adding on this coursework could make sense if you want to go into a certain field where you would be at an advantage having two degrees or if you are really interested in the classes. I would not recommend taking on these extra academic commitments if you’re just looking for something else to fill your time or you really can’t see yourself enjoying your classes. You can always add a minor to explore that interest without as much commitment!

The choice is completely up to you and definitely is not something you need to make right away. There is a wide variety of majors you can select at BU and a lot of students don’t even know which one to pick, and that’s completely okay! Feel free to use your first few semesters to take a wide variety of classes you’re interested in and you can get a better feel for if you’ll want to double major from there. You don’t need to declare a dual degree until the end of your sophomore year, so you will have plenty of time to see what the right fit for you is.

2. Come in with credit if you can

Taking on two degrees at once obviously comes with a lot of other academic responsibilities. By being able to skip a few classes, either through AP, IB, or other college courses, you could be at a big advantage when it comes to scheduling. If you reported your test scores to BU, all this information should be on your StudentLink under the Academics tab and External Credits and Test Scores. You can then see which classes BU has already given you credit for, and therefore won’t need to take during college.

Coming in with a lot of external credits can make adding an extra degree a lot more feasible since you will have more space in your schedule. If you don’t have a ton of credit already, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a dual degree; it just may mean you need to take a few courses over the summer or have less space for electives.

3. Utilize the increased credit cap

Another perk of Kilachand is that you are able to take up to 20 academic credits per semester plus an additional 2 non-academic credits. The normal BU student is capped at only 18 credits total for the semester. This means you can take up to 20 credits without any paperwork or anything like that. This is considered "overloading" and is what I have chosen to do. It is a really easy process and you just add all the classes as you would normally.

By overloading, it will be a lot easier to complete your dual degree on time. While this is no easy task, you are often able to plan your schedule so that the semesters you need to take an increased credit load, your classes will be a little bit easier. For example, overloading with a STEM heavy schedule and a lot of lab components would be significantly more time-consuming and difficult than adding an intro-level humanities elective to your plan of study.

If you wish to do more than twenty academic credits, it would be extremely difficult. That's where the paperwork comes in, along with a litigation process to actually get approved. If you do get approved, BU will charge you a little extra per credit and the workload would be tremendous. I don't know anyone who has tried to do this and I really wouldn't recommend it. By taking 20 credits, you will already be ahead of the average BU student and will definitely finish your major requirements at a swift pace. I would just like to remind you that Kilachand students are not able to graduate early, so if this is your intention to overload I would once again not personally recommend it.

4. Make a written course plan

This is essential for any college student, but is especially important for dual-degree students. Being able to lay out all your classes and keep your requirements in line can be a really tricky task, and impossible to do in your head. I recommend making a spreadsheet mapping out a rough idea of what you want each semester to look like at BU. A lot of the requirements for each major are available online and this can be really helpful when it comes time for registration or advising appointments.

The key parts are your requirements for your major(s), KHC, and the HUB (BU’s version of general education requirements). Making a course plan can be a really helpful tool to see if a dual degree is even right for you in the first place. A lot of students want to spread their reach and go for the dual degree, but just don’t physically have space in their schedule and this can show that clearly. You don’t need to make one of these right away and whatever you put on here can definitely change throughout your time at BU. Consider it as kind of a rough guide as soon as your plans and major choices get more solidified. I did not make mine until the first semester of sophomore year, when I had a more concrete idea of what degrees I actually wanted to pursue. I will be happy to share the planner I personally use with anyone who reaches out to me if you want a better idea of what an example actually looks like!

5. Meet with your advisors often

Making this course plan is only the first step! You also need to meet with your advisors every semester. Academic advisors in college are like the equivalent to guidance counselors in high school (but better!). These are the people you should go to if you have any questions about academics or anything at all about college. The biggest difference is instead of having only one counselor for everything, you will have a separate advisor for each academic commitment you take on at BU. For example, I have one advisor for KHC, one advisor for my Economics degree, and a third advisor for my business degree. The reason for this is because each advisor is meant to be a specialist in their department and they are all amazing.

I can speak specifically for the Kilachand advising team in saying that they are truly amazing people. They are all really down-to-earth, very knowledgeable, and easy to have a conversation with. While you will be “assigned” to one advisor within KHC, you are definitely not limited to that one person. I encourage you to introduce yourself to the entire Kilachand advising team, there's always someone in the office on the bottom floor of KHC to share a coffee or have a snack with.

Having a good relationship with your advisors is one of the most important parts of college. Not only can you get a lot of good advice and academic information, but your advisors will be approving your dual degree enrollment and other academic forms throughout your college career. I have had a lot of great conversations with all of the Kilachand advisors and they have helped me more times than I can count.

6. Take time for yourself!

It can be so easy for any student, especially a dual degree student within KHC, to be caught up in academic work all day. While college may bring a lot of new responsibilities and coursework, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to take time for yourself. Your mental health is extremely important and it’s vital to find outlets to destress and enjoy your college experience!

This looks different for every student, but for me, I am able to destress by finding a non-academic club to take my mind off of my studies. There is a wide variety of clubs you can join at BU, but I was able to find my escape on the Club Roller Hockey team. Being able to have a few hours of my week blocked off for athletics and socializing with teammates makes me a lot happier in general. I was also able to find that I am better able to focus on my work when it comes down to academics since I have more motivation overall.

If athletics aren’t your thing that's completely okay! I also spend a lot of time on the Esplanade which is an awesome city park complex attached to BU where a lot of students go to socialize and find time for themselves. The Esplanade is a great place to take a walk, have a picnic, or throw a frisbee with some friends on a sunny day. I always enjoy going up to Longfellow Bridge and appreciate one of the best views of the city when I have a lot of work to do. This helps me mentally reset and ready to start doing some work. Also, feel free to check out Charlie McMahon’s blog post about exploring Boston for some other great ideas to destress around the city.

Hopefully, this helps! I just wanted to share my experience as a double major across colleges within CAS and QST. While all majors, and especially dual degree programs, are extremely different, a lot of this information will be relevant no matter the degree(s) you are pursuing. Just be sure to take time for yourself and enjoy life along the way!

I would be happy to continue this conversation, or others, with anyone. I can also speak a lot about the academics in Economics or business, picking your classes, club sports, exploring Boston, finding a roommate, or anything else you could think of. Feel free to reach out to me (acliff@bu.edu) if you have any questions at all and I will be happy to answer them via email or schedule a zoom call.

I Promise You’ll Like Office Hours

By Morgan Donohue (CAS'22)

What is an “office hour,” anyway? In my senior year of high school, the most common piece of college advice I heard was “go to office hours.” It is one of those things that everybody says, but which you don’t really believe until you do it for yourself. Office hours are scheduled times that professors and instructors make available for meeting with students outside of class, and all of those people are right. You should absolutely go to office hours, talk to your professors, and build those connections. After three years, I have finally learned that lesson, and I would recommend all students go to at least one office hour session with each professor at the very least to introduce yourself. Not many people utilize office hours, so you have a good chance that you’ll be able to have a nice conversation and ask questions about your class. Your professors are probably excited to talk to you and share their knowledge. But that is not why I am writing this! You should also talk to your Teaching Fellows (TFs)!

A TF is a graduate student at BU who helps a professor by leading discussion sections, running labs, and grading assignments. They also have office hours! Your TF is a wonderful resource. They know what goes into the weekly planning for lectures and discussions, so they can help you identify and understand the most important topics from lectures. In big classes, your discussion section TF is probably grading your assignment, and if you speak to them before an assignment is due, you might get some good tips. I’ve even had a TF offer to read and comment on a draft of a research paper if we got it to her a few days before it was due. This automatically gives you the opportunity to revise, edit, and improve your paper. Going to their office hours is a chance to speak with someone who is a little closer to your age but who has valuable insight into what you are studying in class and how to succeed in a course.

Office hours are only the start. TFs hold review sessions before exams, can provide feedback on labs and research topics, and tell you about graduate school if that is something you are interested in. Your TF is probably a pretty cool person, too. They are doing research themselves, and they will definitely share what they study with you if you ask. You could learn something new from someone who is passionate about the subject.

All of this is to say that you shouldn’t forget that your TFs are there to support you, and taking advantage of their office hours and expertise is definitely beneficial. Your professor’s office hours could be at an inconvenient time or are unusually busy. Maybe it can be a little intimidating to talk to someone who used to work at the Department of Defense before becoming a professor. Perhaps you just want to talk about something one more time. And sometimes you just want to talk to someone closer to your age. Whatever your reason, you should definitely check out your TF’s office hours!

What to do the Summer After Your Senior Year

By Bridgette Lang (CAS’23)

The summer before you enter your freshman year of college can be a confusing time. You made a decision for your future, but now what? For the first time ever, you won’t have assigned summer work, meaning that you have a lot more free-time. Though it may seem like you have all of the time in the world, it’s still important to ration out some time for activities to prepare yourself for your first year of college! Here are some of my suggestions about what you should do the summer after your senior year:

1. Get a part time job

Getting a part time job doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend your last summer of freedom, but working during the summer can set you up well for the school year. It’s no secret that Boston is an expensive city, and having some spending money can’t hurt to offset some of those costs.

2. Learn skills to become more independent

Use your parents as a resource while you can! Do you have questions about how to open up your first credit card? Or maybe you’re just unsure how often you need to wash your sheets. College is your first step into adulthood, so ask questions before you get there. I’m sure your parents will love getting a phone call from you during the semester, but maybe they won’t be as happy if you are asking them how to clean the toilet two months into the semester.

3. Set up professional social media accounts

You might already have a Linked In or Handshake account, but if you don’t, go set one up now. Creating your account and entering in some basic information before you get to school will help you get a head start. Instead of creating an entire account when you’re looking for a summer internship in the fall, you can simply update your profile.

4. Make your Boston bucket list

If you’re not from Massachusetts, Boston has a lot of new sights for you to explore. If you make a bucket list over the summer, you can try to stop by everything that you want to see. You can maybe even make a one year and a four year bucket list. You’ll never get bored!

5. Find clubs to join and activities outside of class

In high school, I’m sure you participated in clubs that helped enhance your academic experience, but college offers a wider variety of clubs, organizations, and activities. It could be useful to evaluate what activities you enjoyed and what other ones you didn’t have an attachment to. Is there anything new that you want to try that wasn’t available at your high school? Check out BU’s full list of clubs here:

https://www.bu.edu/admissions/why-bu/student-life/student-activities/

6. Give your brain a rest

Every single summer, I am sure that you’ve been given summer work by your teachers. Reading five chapters of your AP textbook, writing three papers for your summer reading books, and solving math problems is what my summers normally looked like. With that being said, it's important to give your brain a break from learning and do what you enjoy. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished, and give yourself the space and time to reflect on your journey so far.

How to Remain Organized

By Carolina Becerril (SAR’22)

I graduated high school with both excitement and fear as I knew I was embarking on a completely unknown experience. While I was preoccupied with meeting new people and becoming as involved as I possibly could, I paid little to no attention to my study habits, organization and time-management skills. In my head, I had mastered them in the little time that 4 years really is, so really what was there to worry about? Turns out I just needed a little humbling. Over the last few years, I’ve taken the hardest lessons and turned them into tips I would give to first year students, just like you!

1. Find a system that works for YOU (aka what works for others might not work for you and that’s ok)

If you’re anything like me and love learning how others organize their work, you know that it’s easy to want to do the same for yourself, but that doesn’t always work. Some people can simply write down what they need to do on a sticky note, others can set reminders on their phones or even rely on their own memory. For me, unfortunately, that’s not the case. I personally heavily rely on my good old paper agenda for school work aka any assignments, projects, exams, etc. as well as any tasks I might have for my job as a resident assistant. In addition to my paper agenda, I use google calendar as my “master calendar”. I have essentially everything I do in this calendar: school, work, meetings, advising, clubs, etc. As overwhelming as it might sound, it has helped me remain organized and on top of what I need to do. However, this is what works for ME and I encourage you to try out different systems and truly understand what works best for you. Do your own research, watch youtube videos (highly recommend checking out my friend’s YT channel: Mira Dhakal) and try different combinations of different resources. It’s ok if things don’t work out the first, second, third, fourth time. I’ll talk about why you shouldn’t worry about this soon. Hold on tight for me.

2. Attend workshops offered around campus on time-management and organization

Boston University has a Center for Career Development that offers a variety of really useful and informative workshops on a myriad of topics. They often host workshops on time-management skills, studying strategies, organization, etc. I would highly recommend attending these as they are a great resource on campus! Additionally, you can always feel free to ask advisors for more information on this.

3. Have a designated work/study space

Something that I find is JUST as important as having a good organizational system is having a designated work/study space. I’ve found (especially during this pandemic) that it can get really tricky and overwhelming quite quickly to get work done when you mix your social or “me” space with your study space, like studying in your room. While that might work for some people, I think it is highly beneficial to separate your rest space from the space where you spend time working hard on assignments and studying for exams. It doesn’t matter what that looks like, it could be a library, a coffee shop, a study space on or off campus, just make sure you find a space that best fits your needs and goals!

4. Most importantly, be willing to fail

Something that I wish I would’ve understood my first year is how important it is to be willing to fail. I wish I would’ve understood that failure is your friend rather than your enemy. I think it’s important to know that finding what best works for you and what will yield you the best results (academically and personally) will take a while, and even when you DO find that works best for you, you might still have to change it! My willingness to try out different ways to stay organized has led me to where I am now, where I feel like I have a good system but I’m still happy and excited to see how this will change to make me a better student.

I hope this was in some way helpful. Don’t ever hesitate to ask for help and use the resource you have available to you. Good luck!

De-Mystifying the Keystone Project: Deciding on a Topic

By Nikita Sethi (CAS’21)

The Kilachand senior Keystone Project offers students free reign to craft a project in a subject they are interested in with the resources of Kilachand to back them up. For the first two years of my time in the Kilachand Honors College, I had very little idea what I was going to do with this opportunity. I did not have too much experience in my field outside of my classes, and spent most of my free time in choir practice or working. The summer after my sophomore year, I happened to pick up a book called “The Privileged Poor” by Anthony Abraham Jack. In this book, Dr. Jack outlines the ways that the lived experiences of low-income students at elite institutions are affected by their status as low-income. Reading that book, I recognized a lot of the things that I had been struggling with in my first two-years at Boston University. This was research about me, about my experience, and I needed to know more. I rushed down to the Kilachand office and told Eric and Danny all about why this subject was important, and why more people needed to know about it. The two academic advisors laughed a little bit, as they both had graduate degrees in the subject I was just beginning to become interested in, but they both lent me books from their personal libraries that covered the subject. The rush of excitement I felt in researching the issues that had plagued my undergraduate experience was initially just for my own personal research, but by the end of the summer, I realized that I could contribute to the body of work on this subject through my Keystone Project. And that’s just what I did -- I am currently in the last semester of completing my project entitled, “The Lived Experiences of Low-Income Students at Boston University.” I have been using the resources that Kilachand provided to interview low-income students on campus and create a podcast about their experiences. In the end, for me, the correct path for my Keystone Project was to just lean into the thing that I spent the most time thinking about in my four years. If I could give advice to incoming freshmen about the Keystone, it would be to not sweat it too much -- just pay attention to the things you are passionate about.

ENG & KHC: Balancing Academics, Extracurriculars, and Social Life

By Peyton Tierney (ENG’21) & Deema Abdel-Meguid (ENG’21)

DeemaPeyton
Peyton & Deema, March 2021: Four years later, still each other’s ENG and KHC partner in crime <3

Freshman Year (Don’t worry about the extra credits!)

Peyton: Freshman year on paper is daunting, and I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy. Since both KHC and the engineering core curriculum are front-loaded, you will be taking 2-3 more credits than your peers who are either in just ENG or just KHC. The good news is the extra credits are primarily just for the first year, and once you get the hang of it you're in a better place to deal with the more fun and challenging work that follows in your next few years. Deema and I survived the freshman year workload while also joining clubs and making friends so we are here to tell you that you can do it too!

Deema: Freshman year certainly was not an easy one. I was maxed out on credits, signing up for a bunch of clubs and organizations and trying to maintain the clean pink and grey aesthetic I had chosen for my second floor KHC double. Finding a balance was challenging at first, but knowing I was not the only engineering student going through it helped tremendously. I quickly got into the swing of things. My peers and I encouraged and supported each other to keep pushing through. I distinctly remember Peyton, who was amazing at chemistry, teaching me about moles using a tree and leaves metaphor when we were freshmen. Who knows what would have happened in that class without her...

Eventually, freshman year was over, and it was on to the next. Being in ENG and Kilachand is more work than your major alone, but it is ABSOLUTELY doable and highly worth it. There is a lot of talk about the retention rate in Kilachand when you are an engineering student, but the reality is that if you are willing to put in the work and you value the balanced education Kilachand gives you, you will pull through and you will make some of the strongest academic connections imaginable when you do.

Peyton and Deema in New York, 2018
Peyton and Deema in New York, 2018

Advising (Plan ahead)

Peyton: I am graduating this year as a KHC, biomedical engineering student with a concentration in nanotechnology and completing the pre-med track while having studied abroad and worked in a lab for 3 years. It takes lots of advanced planning, good time management, and a lot of hard work and dedication, but you can accomplish whatever your goals are. And you don’t have to do it alone, you have a veritable fleet of advisors to help you navigate class registration, extracurriculars, and future planning. I have a KHC advisor, an ENG advisor, and a premed advisor to ensure that I am fulfilling all of the necessary requirements for my degree. All are extremely supportive of my goals and have also helped me plan what research/extracurricular I should strive for as well as helped refine my post-grad plans.

Deema: Throughout my time in the Honors College, I worked with my ENG advisors and my KHC advisors to flesh out my schedule and academic goals. At one point, I wanted to minor in Biology, and even with my Kilachand schedule and requirements, I was able to work with the department to make it possible. I ended up starting a minor in Mechanical Engineering and was able to take a few extra classes and opportunities to work towards it. My advisors were supportive every step of the way.

Peyton and Deema in Salem for Halloween, 2017 (Left), and having high tea at the Boston Public Libraries, 2017 (Right)
Peyton and Deema in Salem for Halloween, 2017 (Left), and having high tea at the Boston Public Libraries, 2017 (Right)

Finding Balance (Class, Life, Lab)

Peyton: While good time management is essential to managing the busy schedule of ENG KHC student, finding activities you enjoy and friends to hang out with is critical to your success and wellbeing. Growing up with a family who plays a lot of boardgames, I joined the BU Boardgame club my freshman year. Through this group, I met the majority of my friends outside of KHC and ENG and used our Thursday night meeting times as both incentives to finish all my weekly problem sets a day early and to ensure I always had a night off to have fun. Boardgames have been a part of my weekly routine for 4 years now, and I am the current president of the club. Making sure to give yourself a couple of nights off every week despite how busy you are is a great way to ensure you always have the energy you need for your busy schedule. Managing lab work and classes also gets easier starting your junior year as you are finished with the engineering core curriculum and have a greater say over your electives and class schedule. This makes scheduling blocks of time to participate in research a lot smoother. Also, there are a number of opportunities for paid summer/semester research work for engineering students so you can get paid for these hours.

Deema: Looking back on my four years at BU, it was really the people I met who helped me find balance. It was the friends I made in my Dance Theater Group who made the late rehearsals after a long day of academics worth it. It was my colleagues in my research labs who were also up late nights making incredible research happen who helped me push through my own late nights. It was the Brothers I met in my professional fraternity who became my family in Engineering and made me smile during the tougher weeks. It was the KHC friends that I got to bond with during classes that made every moment in Kilachand worth it. Finding balance for me was about finding the right support groups and people who kept me on my toes and reminded me of the activities that I enjoy the most. Balance was about finding moments between classes like walking or eating at the dining hall to catch up with friends.

Making time for the things you love and the people you care about (including yourself) is absolutely key for navigating whatever academic path you choose to pursue. Taking care of your physical and mental health, whatever that looks like for you, will re-energize you and enable you to better fulfill your obligations. The road was bumpy at times, but here I am getting ready to graduate!

Peyton and I have done almost every project possible together when given the choice. We are both BME, so we have been in most of the same classes both within KHC and in ENG. We always worked together well, but it was really the common experience we shared of both being in KHC and having similar ways of thinking that brought us success and honestly a lot of fun while we worked on a ton of deliverables together. Our story is not unique, and many people in ENG and KHC tend to pair up because they are the best equipped to support each other through the entire process.

Peyton: My best piece of advice is finding a group of friends to become your study group. Since we all tend to be busy, we often schedule longer than necessary group meetings or study sessions so that we can also use these work periods to hang out. These study sessions work even when we are not working on the same sets of assignments, it's just nice to have the blocked off to keep each other accountable and catch up on the week!

(Some of) The Amazing Places to Study on Campus

By Anna Natrakul (CAS’22)

Although BU students have varying preferences when it comes to study spots, these are just a few of my favorites! I hope that this list will be helpful in finding your own favorite places to sit down and have a productive study session, whether when studying with friends or by yourself! They have been numbered in no particular order (although perhaps it is no coincidence that the 9th floor of Kilachand ended up as #1).

1. 9th floor of Kilachand Hall

Anna N 1 - 9th floor  Anna N 2 - 9th floor view

Ever since living in Kilachand Hall for my first two years at BU, this has been one of my favorite places to study (at any hour, because it is open 24/7)! The 9th floor is divided into two major sections: a quiet study lounge (perfect for getting in the right headspace for exams) and a spacious common area with additional couches (great for hanging out with friends in study groups). It has stunning panoramic views that include the Boston skyline and the Charles River! The photo on the right is the view from the 9th floor of a gorgeous sunset sky, snapped during my first semester.

2. BU School of Law Café

Anna N 3 BU Law 1  Anna N 3 BU law cafe 2  Anna N 5 BU law cafe 3

The BU School of Law Complex is beautiful in its entirety (photo on left), with tons of study nooks on its multiple floors. I especially love the spacious and bright School of Law Café on the second floor (middle and right photos), which feels like a breath of fresh air. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in tons of natural light!

3. Kilachand Common Room

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When walking into Kilachand Hall, you are greeted by the beautiful Common Room, a warm and inviting space with a piano and tons of comfortable seating. It feels like a huge living room, and this is where students often mingle, study, or attend Kilachand’s co-curricular events. I took the middle photo while taking a study break to watch a Super Smash Bros. match happening in the background, which just goes to show how versatile and well-loved this room is!

4. Yawkey Center for Student Services

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This building offers amazingly bright views and is part of a building complex that includes the Educational Resource Center and Marciano Commons Dining Hall (both of which are great things to have nearby when studying)!

5. Mugar Memorial Library

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This is one of the largest libraries on campus, so not only does it include lots of resources for doing research, writing papers, and finding books, but every floor has a different noise level, which means that you can choose to work anywhere from the bustling first floor to the silent upper floors! Work areas range from individual cubicles to common tables and lounge chairs. Most BU students would attest to Mugar being a place of intense productivity that has seen us through countless projects, papers, and exams.

Again, this list only scratches the surface of all the great BU study spots. Given this starting point, some additional places to explore include the new Howard Thurman Center, the tiny Pickering Educational Resources Library tucked in the basement of Wheelock College, and the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Think Tank!

All photos credit Anna N.

Fun Ways to Get Out and Explore Boston, Your New Home

By Charlie McMahon (SAR'23)

Imagine this: it is a BEAUTIFUL blue-sky Saturday in September here in Boston. You have just moved into your dorm at Kilachand Hall and cannot get over those stunning Charles River or skyline views. You want to get out and see what Boston has to offer, but you don’t know exactly where to start. That’s where I come in! I have compiled a fun list of must-dos in Boston. As a lifelong Boston resident I know what’s good and what to avoid. So if you’re looking for some fun ways to make the most of those low key weekends in the city, keep reading!

First things first, after arriving in Boston, you are going to want to get a Charlie Card. These refillable cards are the best way to access public transportation (which we call the T) in and around the city. You can get Charlie Cards from T workers in many of the bigger train stations in the area (Back Bay, Park Street or even Kenmore) as well as the service desk at the Star Market in Fenway, the 7-11 on Jersey Street or the 7-11 on Massachusetts Avenue (we call it Mass Ave). After getting your Charlie Card loaded up, you’re ready to go exploring throughout the city!

After getting your Charlie Card, I would recommend hopping up on the Green Line at Kenmore and heading to Copley Square, home of the main branch of the Boston Public Library. You can soak in the beautiful paintings in the reading rooms and sit out in the courtyard on a warm afternoon. Importantly, you’re going to want to sign up for a Boston Public Library card. As an on-campus resident at Boston University, you qualify as a resident of the city of Boston, regardless of whether or not you call Massachusetts home. Now you might be asking “with such an amazing library system here at BU, why would I want to get a library card at the BPL?”

Although BU has many partnerships with nearby museums which I will go on to explain later, it is not an exhaustive list. However, having a BPL card offers you access to a database of museum passes for attractions all through the city! Card holders can reserve passes for the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium and even access to the Boston Harbor Cruises to visit the Boston Harbor Islands!

The view in Copley Square in the late afternoon.
The view in Copley Square in the late afternoon.

After stopping in at the Copley Branch of the BPL, you can get back on the Green Line and head up to Haymarket Station. After a brief walk, you will be in Boston’s North End! Filled with history like the Old North Church where two lanterns were famously hung signaling the British invasion and referenced in Paul Revere’s famous ride. Stop in at Monica’s Mercato for some delicious sandwiches which you can eat along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. After lunch, you can visit Modern Pastry and Mike’s Pastry to get some cannoli. This is a hot rivalry for Bostonians. Everyone has an opinion as to which bakery has the best cannoli (insider tip - check out Bova’s Bakery on Salem Street if the lines are too long. You will not be let down).

Meandering out of the North End, I would recommend you start walking south along the water. You will come to the New England Aquarium which has a bunch of public docks where you can sit and relax watching the airplanes land at Logan Airport or admire the breathtaking views of Boston’s skyline.

The view from the dock near the aquarium at sunset
The view from the dock near the aquarium at sunset.

An alternate cultural experience would be to check out Boston’s Chinatown. There are so many amazing restaurants like the Gourmet Dumpling House, Hei La Moon or China Pearl. Tea-Do and Kung Fu Tea are also great stops for some boba or refreshing smoothies! If you’re going to visit Chinatown, make sure to stop at the iconic Chinatown Gate and walk through Chinatown Park.

Boston’s Chinatown Gate
Boston’s Chinatown Gate

Perhaps you don’t want to head so far away from BU. There are some really awesome neighborhoods to explore a bit closer to home!

Take the C-branch of the Green Line to Coolidge Corner to experience another of Boston’s beloved neighborhoods. This is technically in Brookline, but it is close enough to campus that I am still going to talk about it. On a rainy day, catch a movie at the Coolidge Corner Theater, a Boston-area cultural icon (and recently named one of the most beautiful movie theaters in the world!). Stop in at Zaftigs or Rami’s for a quick bite to eat before walking down to Amory Park to throw around a frisbee or just relax and soak up the sun! Check out J.P. Licks, a famous Boston ice cream chain for a sweet treat too!

Fenway is also a really cool neighborhood to check out and visit. Be sure to sign up for the $9 Red Sox Ticket program! Sox tickets can get expensive, so having the $9 program is an awesome college life hack. Whether or not you are a baseball fan, catching a Sox game at Fenway Park is an essential part of being a Bostonian and is not something to be missed.

You can't call yourself a Boston Resident without going to a Red Sox game at least once!
You can't call yourself a Boston Resident without going to a Red Sox game at least once!

Speaking of great student deals, BU has a partnership with many local museums like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute for Contemporary Art. As a BU student with a valid student ID, you have free access to browse amazing collections to your heart’s content. Fun fact: the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is home to the largest art heist in the world. When Mrs. Gardner established the museum (in what was at the time her home), she made a clause in the charter for the museum saying that staff were not allowed to alter her collections or rearrange any of the pieces. If that contract is broken, all the art must be sold and the profits are specified to be donated to Harvard University. As such, you can see the empty picture frames on the walls where the art thieves cut the paintings from the frames, eerily awaiting the return of the artwork.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Although Boston may not be a geographically huge city, there is no shortage of things to do or places to check out. The city is incredibly walkable and is becoming more friendly to bikers as well! If you like biking, check out the BU student discount for Boston’s Blue Bike subscription service!

So get out and explore what Boston has to offer! The city is eagerly waiting for you!

All photos credit Charlie M.

High School vs. College

By Cathy Cheng (ENG’23)

Thinking back to my senior year of high school, I remember being extremely excited ⁠— but, at the same time, so incredibly nervous ⁠— about what college would be like. I spent my summer browsing Pinterest for dorm ideas, researching study hacks, scrolling through social media, and taking more Buzzfeed quizzes than I care to admit…

But ultimately, even with all of that planning, my college experience was nothing like I had expected. So, to all of the high school seniors ⁠— or anyone else who’s curious! ⁠— here are some of the major differences I’ve noticed between my high school and college experiences:

1. Dorm Life

One of the biggest changes for me in college was dorm life. Even as someone who’s shared a room with their older sister for their entire life, I found it to be such a strange experience. For many of us, this may be the first time we’re living on our own. And while there certainly will be challenges along the way, take this as an opportunity to meet new people and also learn more about your own preferences!

2. Social Life

When it comes time to commit to colleges, chances are that you and your friends will be heading off to different places. While it can be difficult to adjust in your first few weeks and make new friends, just know that it does take time. But I’ve found that there many more opportunities to meet others in college, especially on an urban campus at a large university like BU. Be open to new experiences, but also make sure you’re keeping in touch with old friends!

3. Schedules

The summer before my first semester at BU, as I was planning out my schedule, I remember being so thrilled about just how much I had in my day. Everything had worked out perfectly: I was out of class by practically 1pm every day!

I was in for a wake-up call, however, when I met with my advisor: I hadn’t included a single discussion or lab.

Even after accounting for any discussions or labs, there are still some other differences. At my high school, students typically took 7-8 classes a semester. In college, that number falls to 4-6. And you have much greater freedom in designing your college schedule ⁠⁠— assuming your classes don’t fill up! Pro tips for planning your first schedule: don’t forget discussions/labs, take into account how far your classes are from each other on campus, and don’t forget to save time for lunch!

4. Classes and Assignments

Closely related to schedules are your classes and assignments. In most courses, assignments are usually due once a week. While that may sound like a relief, these are not designed to be completed the night before. So plan ahead!

And unlike at many high schools, there are rarely classroom copies of textbooks which can be rented out each semester. With 4-6 classes a semester, textbook costs can add up. Look into alternatives to buying textbooks new!

Finally, midterms aren’t actually...mid-term. Instead, many courses plan for 2-3 “midterms” (or projects) alongside a final. 

5. Resources

Now, that might sound like a lot at this point. And it can be. But at the same time, there are many resources that you have access to as a college student. On the academic/career side, you have your faculty advisor at your college (in addition to a peer mentor and Kilachand advisor at KHC!), office hours, the Center for Career Development, and career fairs. On the recreational side, you have access to the Charles River and the Fitness and Recreation Center! And there are plenty of other resources as well ⁠— be sure to check out the very first post on this blog!

One of my most intriguing memories is going with a friend to one of the workshops hosted by the Center for Career Development on professional dinner etiquette. If you ever get the chance, RSVP for free food and the chance to learn how to hold your fork...the right way.

6. Independence

I’ll end it off on a high note!

In college, you can expect immense independence. While it can be easy to get stuck on the campus bubble, put yourself out there and explore the city! And make sure that you take advantage of all of the opportunities that you’ll have in these next four years!

 

The Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library. Credit: Cathy C.

 

Ultimately, no amount of reading or hearing about other people’s experiences can truly prepare you. Just remember: everyone is coming into college for the first time. It takes time to figure things out. But at the end of the day, remember to have some fun!