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.

Favorite Study Spots on Campus

Hannah Martin (CAS'25)

Throughout my first year at BU, I have discovered quite a few spots on campus. Since it is such a large university, there are tons of places available for study needs. Whether you need to collaborate, a silent study room, or an area with white noise, there is definitely a spot on campus that will work for you. In this blog post, I’m going to share my favorite spots to study, and give a little reasoning for why they work so well for me.

1. Questrom Starbucks

Questrom! The building itself is a wonder to look at, and there are a multitude of spaces to finally finish that essay you have been putting off for weeks. I am quite literally sitting at a booth inside Questrom as I write this blog post. Some honorable Questrom mentions include the Pardee Library, and the common room found upon the entrance of the building. However, Questrom Starbucks produces productivity out of me which I have never seen before! I somehow manage to complete all of my work in just one sitting at a comfortable corner booth. Perhaps it's the caffeine readily supplied for me from my Grubhub app, but I like to blame it on the atmosphere itself.

2. BU Beach

Okay, so maybe this is a very basic place to put in a top five list, but it's basic for a reason! Everyone loves BU Beach on a warm, sunny Boston day. I like to go here with a few friends, pick up lunch from the George Sherman Union, and catch up on readings at a picnic table. The location is pretty central, so it's easy to stop by in between classes as well. I like to study outside, which I know can be difficult for some, but this is the perfect place for me to be productive while still getting some time outside.

3. Kilachand 9th Floor

As a KHC freshman living in the Kilachand Hall, this is the most accessible study spot on campus for me. The ninth floor in Kilachand Hall contains two rooms of different studying atmospheres. There is a silent room, which is where I go if I have an exam to prepare for, and there are also collaborative spaces that I utilize for group projects with other students. There is a beautiful view of the Boston skyline, which is an immaculate aspect of the location. There is also a common room on the first floor of KIlachand Hall, which is nice for collaborative projects or discussions.

4. CGSA

Found in the basement of the George Sherman Union, this one’s hidden! The Center of Gender, Sexuality, and Activism is a great place to take a break from the chaotic city of Boston to get some studying done. It is an inclusive and welcoming space, and perfect for anyone! I like to start on bigger assignments here, as usually there are only a few people, and I can easily focus. The CGSA is also home to many different clubs on campus, and available for students to just take a break during the day, or hang out with some friends!

5. Yawkey Center

The Yawkey Center is my final favorite place to study. It has such an open atmosphere perfect for any type of studying. There are beautiful views of the city, the CAS writing program to assist you in any written work, and the CAS and pre-professional advising offices. In addition to all of these resources, the best dining hall on campus, Marciano Commons, is on the first floor! I like working on all of the floors in the Yawkey Center. However, I definitely favor eating breakfast at Marcianos and doing my work early in the morning to have the whole dining hall to myself and only a few others.

Throughout campus there are tons of spots to study, or just hang out! These are just a few of my favorites, and I think they deserve a bit of hype.

Studying Abroad As A Second Semester Senior

Richard Boylan (COM ‘22)

As a Kilachand student, senior year is an undeniably busy time. Between juggling KHC specific classes, the Keystone Symposium, major requirements, and making sure to complete that final HUB credit, adding the prospect of studying abroad to the mix can be overwhelming. Despite the challenges, my decision to study abroad in Los Angeles during my final semester is one that I do not regret. With BU’s numerous abroad programs there is any number of cities and countries you can study in, but figuring out the work, school, and life balance can be challenging so here are some tips:

1. Plan Ahead of Time

Even if you don’t know where you want to study abroad quite yet, once you’ve made the decision to build a study abroad experience into your time at BU, start talking to both your KHC and Major-specific advisors right away. Navigating graduation requirements and class sequences can be tricky and talking with your advisors can often be the easiest way to map out a plan for building a semester abroad into your schedule. Each study abroad program offers its own unique classes and opportunities, often including an internship. The Study Abroad Office even has its own site-specific advisors who can help point out the most popular programs and walk you through the benefits of each.

It’s never too early to start considering your options for studying abroad. As a Film & TV Major, I knew that coming into BU my freshman year, I wanted to spend my last semester in Los Angeles. Working alongside both my advisor at KHC and the COM advisors, I was able to create an academic plan that allowed me to not only study in Los Angeles but in London too and still meet all my requirements.

2. Don’t Overload Yourself

Keep in mind, that every study abroad program offers its own unique set of classes. Often study abroad programs offer culturally specific spins on major-required courses. Each program also offers a host of one-of-a-kind electives that give you the chance to explore your interests further and take classes not offered in Boston. In addition to class requirements, most study abroad programs also include an internship component. The prospect of interning for a professional company is undoubtedly exciting but having a regular work schedule in addition to classes can require more of a commitment than many students are used to.

With all these different requirements vying for your attention, it is important to find a way to manage your time. Keeping track of due dates, knowing which assignments to prioritize, and most importantly taking time to enjoy your new home is crucial to managing stress. Which brings me to my final point…

3. Take Time to Enjoy The Experience

While classes and internships are important, the greatest allure of studying abroad is getting to live in and explore a new city or country. No matter how long it may seem at first, the semester undoubtedly always goes by faster than expected and it would be a shame to miss out on exploring in favor of grinding out homework all the time. Personally, I like making a bucket list ahead of time and made one for both of my semesters in London and Los Angeles. Creating a bucket list with a mixture of touristy “must-see” attractions, more niche experiences, the best food places in the city, and any of your other interests can help you explore parts of a city or country that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

The BU Study Abroad Programs also regularly run site-specific experiences to help introduce you to the city and other students in the program. For instance, this semester the Los Angeles program hosted trips to Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Brothers Studios, and the Academy Museum in addition to several smaller study breaks. Most of these trips are free or heavily discounted, not to mention extremely popular, which make them one of the best ways to explore your new home in an affordable way.

Whether it be Los Angeles, London, or any of the numerous other study abroad programs that BU offers, the opportunity to live and learn in a new place is one that you should take advantage of no matter your class year.

7 Tips for Balancing Academics, Extracurriculars, and Mental Health in College

Emily Yoder (CAS’24)

My freshman year of college took place during the 2020-21 academic year, during which Boston University offered hybrid courses and most of my classmates were not on campus. Although the coronavirus negatively impacted my first year in college in multiple ways (virtual classes and club meetings, take-out only dining halls, etc.), one positive impact that it left me with was an improved understanding of what habits cause me to be my happiest and most productive. Spending more time than usual sitting in my dorm left me thinking about how I could motivate myself to make the most out of my freshman year, even under covid circumstances. I’ve collected some tips below that have not only stayed with me for two years, but have also enabled me to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, all while getting the most out of my academic experiences and having free time for my hobbies too!

1. Find a routine that works for you, and stick with it!

Productive and healthy routines aren’t one-size-fits-all! Experiment with wake-up times, meal times, and study spots until you figure out your favorites. If you’re not a morning person, forcing yourself to wake up at 5:00 am won’t automatically make you more productive! One of the best general life tips that I’ve received is that discipline succeeds when motivation fails; keeping a consistent routine has stopped me from procrastinating even when I haven’t necessarily felt energetic or motivated.

2. Schedule your free time!

As the semester speeds up, midterms begin, and then finals approach, it’s easy to not see friends for a week or abandon hobbies. Add blocks of time specifically for seeing friends, reading, or doing whatever relaxes you to your schedule, even if it seems that you don’t have time to do so. The busier you are, the more important for your mental health it is to force yourself to take a step back! You’ll come back to your work refreshed and focused. Scheduling blocks of free time also incentivizes me to stay on track while working because I know that I have something to look forward to later, even if it’s just reading in bed for a half-hour or going on a quick walk with a friend.

3. Cast a wide net with extracurriculars, and then narrow your focus!

Finding clubs and extracurricular groups that are a good fit may take some time. Go to SPLASH, reach out to clubs that grab your attention, attend their first meetings, and then look for others if they aren’t a good fit! As you begin attending meetings, you can narrow your choices down to your favorites, but it’s useful to initially join every mailing list that catches your eye.

4. Recognize and combat burnout!

Even though BU is a large school, it can be tempting to sink into the same routine each day and never try a new dining hall, study spot, or off-campus cafe. When signs of burnout begin to show (fatigue, lowered motivation, etc.) switch up your routine even in small ways: try a new Starbucks drink, do your homework outside, or try grabbing dinner with someone you want to get to know better!

5. Track every commitment and assignment!

My most important college habit has been consistently using a planner. Buy a planner or create an online calendar and write down every commitment, whether an extracurricular event, dinner with friends, or a meeting with your advisor, the minute that you commit to it. Create separate sections for normal homework, larger projects, and deadlines for quizzes and tests; assignments and events pile up quickly and it’s easy to lose track of smaller commitments! I also color code: yellow for academic/extracurricular meetings, purple for social commitments, blue for when I need to submit major assignments, and red for deadlines.

6. Work ahead!

I try to complete homework assignments two days in advance, so Wednesday’s homework on Monday, Thursday’s homework on Tuesday, et cetera. It isn’t always possible, but using this system has enabled me to spontaneously say yes to plans with friends, review topics with which I struggled, and begin larger projects further in advance! Additionally, if I realize that I missed an assignment, I have time to catch up before it is due.

7. Know yourself!

All of these strategies have allowed me to make the most of my college experience, but every person and every student is different and learns differently. Go through a process of trial-and-error to get to know what balance of academics, extracurriculars, and social life is best for you!

The Five Best Items on the Bay State Underground Menu

Jackson Wallace (CAS’22)

I first heard of Bay State Underground from other incoming Kilachand students in the GroupMe we used to get to know one another. It had opened not long before our first year and everyone was sharing what they knew about it. Apparently, the menu was fantastic, with a lot of options beyond what one might expect from a traditional dining hall. When I finally got to campus, Underground quickly became a lifesaver Wednesday evenings, when I did not have time to go to the dining hall before it closed. I looked forward to ordering on those Wednesdays before trying to finish my work at a decent time. After a few weeks, I quickly figured out which menu items were worth their salt and which were better avoided. I will now pass this wisdom on to you.

Fifth on the list is Underground’s fries. If you’re looking to get a little side when you’re going with friends, then these standard cut fries make for the perfect dish. The fries have a good balance of crispiness and are salted to perfection.

The next best item on the menu comes off of the dessert list. Although there may be better cheesecakes to be had, for the price Underground’s New York-style cheesecake can’t be beaten. The graham cracker crust is well-constructed, the cake itself is delicious, and sometimes it comes with strawberries.

The third best item on the Bay State Underground menu is the quesadilla. Specifically the one with chicken. I find that the plain quesadilla is not filling enough for dinner, but once you add some extras it becomes quite the meal.

The cheesecake is actually only the second-best dessert on the menu. The real treat is the warm brownie sundae. Sometimes, you are in the mood for something chocolatey and sweet and that is exactly what this menu option provides. They even put whipped cream on the sundae. The only thing keeping this menu item from number one on the list is that sometimes the brownie is not the finest quality.

With all that said, without a doubt, the best item on the menu is the chicken caesar wrap. It is delicious, it is nutritious, and it's pretty affordable for what you get. If you check out Bay State Underground, be sure to give it a try.

Jackson

Making the Most Out of College Visits

By Bridgette Lang (CAS'23)

After two years of virtual programming, many colleges are starting to offer in-person tours and events again. With so many colleges to visit and so little time, it’s important to make sure you get the most out of your visits. Here are five tips that will help you while visiting BU or any other school:

1. Make a pros/cons list

I probably looked a bit silly on my college tours, but after seeing another student do this, I decided to keep a notebook of the pros and cons of every school I visited. Start writing your list of pros and cons during the admissions presentation and then, immediately follow up after you’ve seen the campus. What did you think of the majors offered, housing, and extracurriculars? If you start making a list during your tour, you can easily reference what you wrote while writing your college application essays. It’s a lot easier to name what stood out about a school when you have a premade list! I also used this list when deciding where to enroll.

2. Sign up for a tour

You may be saying, “Duh! Of course,” because this tip seems like a no-brainer, but from speaking to my friends and family going through the college admissions process, not everyone takes a tour! You might be in a rush or only think you need to walk around campus, but taking a real tour can show you things you would have missed by yourself. Tour guides will show you parts of campus that you may just stroll by and not see. 

3. Get your tour guide or another current student’s email address

You’re bound to have questions later, and if you can’t find the answers, emailing your guide is a great option. It may seem a bit scary to go get their contact information, but you won’t regret it. You’ve already established contact with them, and generally speaking, it’s their job to help you. Whether you’re filling out an application or deciding what school to enroll in, your tour guide can give you a personal perspective of their experiences. 

4. Pay a special visit to your departmental building

If you have any idea of what you’re majoring in, check out the building or office that your classes will be taking place in. For example, if you’re studying business, you can swing by the Questrom School of Business, or if you’re studying political science, there will be a separate office just outside of the College of Arts and Sciences for that. You will likely be taking the majority of your classes in one building, so make sure you like it! Also, see if there are any bulletin boards or flyers. What are students in your major doing in their free time, and what kinds of events are offered? You might want to include that in your pros and cons list!

5. Visit the surrounding areas

After you’re done walking around campus, try to visit the surrounding areas in order to ensure you feel comfortable. One of the main things I paid attention to during my off-campus visits were if there were shops within walking distance. Would you feel okay traveling to this spot to get groceries, meeting your friends for coffee, or spending some time shopping? For some people, convenience and access really make a difference.


Photo by Jackie Ricciardi for Boston University Photography.

Why Too Good To Go Will Be Your Best Friend

By Aiden Cliff (CAS/Questrom'23)

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Kilachand Blog. My name is Aiden Cliff and I am a Kilachand Ambassador, Peer Mentor, and KLAB representative for the class of 2023. I am a dual degree student studying economics (CAS), business analytics (QST), and finance from Billerica, MA. There has been a lot of academic focus on this blog lately so I wanted to change up the pace and focus on another fun aspect of college.

Taking time for yourself is such a crucial part of the student experience that often gets overlooked. What better way to do this than to grab a bite to eat with your friends? I wanted to share an up-and-coming app that I use all the time that made this easier than ever to do on a budget: Too Good To Go. This app is really unique since it repurposes all the leftover food that local restaurants have and sells it to you at a very low price. My friends and I have been able to get some really good meals from restaurants around the honors college this way and are able to reduce food waste at the same time. This is a great excuse to get out into the city of Boston as well and explore some new places to eat with your friends!

You can consistently get an entire meal for less than five dollars on this app from some local Boston favorites such as Otto, Ajeen, Shawarma King, or Twin Donuts. Not to mention the Insomnia Cookies on campus usually run a deal through here so you can get a dozen of their best-baked goods for only five dollars which is the perfect way to fuel a late-night study session. I highly recommend everyone download the Too Good To Go app to try a lot of really good local restaurants for cheap and reduce food waste at the same time! I used this a ton during my first year on campus and still continue to use it years later.

Feel free to reach out to me (acliff@bu.edu) if you have any questions at all about anything in this post or life at the honors college. I would be happy to talk about my experiences as an honors student balancing a dual degree, club sports, and academic research if you are interested in any of these areas. Also, feel free to check out my previous post about dual degrees linked here. Best of luck in your admissions process and I hope to see you on campus this fall!

 

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!

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!

How Do I Know I’m in the Right Major?

By Charlie McMahon (SAR ’23)

One of the great, but often intimidating, parts of college is choosing a major. For many students, this is the first time you have real control over what you are actually going to study. For some, it may feel liberating. For others, daunting. I am here to offer some advice about the process both before entering BU and after matriculating.

First, what actually is a major? The best way I can describe a major is a specific pathway through a college or university. While you will always have some freedom in the courses you take, a major has specific requirements and often includes a suggested timeline for when you should complete each course. Many majors often have overlapping courses, so you will definitely be interacting with students from all across the school, regardless of what you study.

As you apply to schools, many applications will ask for your “intended major” or “major of interest.” Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want to do, while some people have no idea. Whatever situation you find yourself in is totally ok! If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, I would recommend browsing the course catalogues online to see what classes different majors require. While short descriptions do not do justice to what actually goes on in the classroom, often you can get a good feel for what the class may be like. If you’re feeling truly lost, many schools have “Undeclared” options, where you can sample a bunch of classes from a variety of disciplines before choosing what suits you best after a year or two.

Now we are going to jump ahead a bit. Imagine you have matriculated, enrolled and are going to classes. College life can be difficult at times. It is an adjustment from high school, and everyone will make the change at their own pace. It is totally normal to begin questioning your path after matriculation. I would honestly be a bit concerned if one didn’t question what they were doing at least once or twice!

Here is the most important part of this post: how do you know you are in the right major? Obviously, there is no magic formula that tells you if you are on the right path. Rather it is highly individualistic. However, as someone who loves their major and has been in the program since matriculation, I can offer a few pieces of advice or “wisdom” I have picked up along my path in the Human Physiology program.

Like I said previously, questioning is incredibly important. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your classes, it is vital to stop yourself and ask what your motivations are. Are you studying this topic because it is truly interesting to you? Perhaps there is family (or even internal) pressure to go into a specific field. The most important question to ask yourself is “Am I happy?”

I cannot sit here and pretend that the act of taking a Chemistry or Physics exam makes me happy. However, when I am feeling overwhelmed, I often find it helpful to look at the bigger picture. Though I do not enjoy the stress before an exam, I generally do enjoy going to my lectures everyday and find myself excited to learn more about the topics relevant to my major. I love making connections across disciplines, like when Biology and Chemistry interact in Systems Physiology. For me, the tradeoff of my love for, and general interest in, the disciplines outweighs the frustration and temporary stress of exams and deadlines.

If you ask yourself this question and realize that you aren’t happy or excited by your classes, I would challenge you to ask yourself a further question - is it just one class or is this a trend? You will take so many classes with so many different professors. As professors are people too, you will click with some and not others. Unfortunately, sometimes this personal connection carries over into the classroom. You are bound to have some professors that do not fit your exact learning style every once and while. No one is expecting you to love every single class you take. If you notice that this unhappiness seems to be a relatively isolated incident, I would make note of it, but carry on.

If you notice that this unhappiness seems to be a trend within your courses, then it is probably time to meet with an advisor. They can help you to figure out exactly what about your program may not be the right fit and potentially help you adjust to a better suited curriculum.

My parting piece of advice is this: when you are really stressed and frustratingly asking yourself “why did I have to pick this major,” ask yourself, “what would I be doing if I wasn’t studying this topic?” Personally, I do not have an answer to this question. As I said, I cannot say I love writing out my Chemistry mechanisms in a high stress timed environment, but when I picture myself doing something different, it just does not feel right. This grounding exercise can be quite helpful when I am overwhelmed. It forces me to think about what I appreciate about my program and consistently for me, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Thus, unfortunately, there is no magic way to know if you are in the right major. It will take some introspection and reflection, and perhaps a late night venting session with a friend over a T. Anthony’s mozzarella stick pizza, but you will find your path eventually! It is also important to note that what is best for a friend might not be best for you. College is a personal experience, so try to resist the urge to compare yourself to others. You are only competing against yourself, regardless of what anyone else may tell you! So take some time to figure out what you like best, what motivates you and how you can incorporate that into your studies. It’ll be so much better in the end!