By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
If you think you know Boston, think again.
Last year, I participated in Boston University’s annual Amazing Race, which is based off of the CBS reality television show of the same name. The event was exactly what it sounds like: one massive scavenger hunt and a race against time to find clues leading to a certain destination, and sometimes even completing tasks at those destinations to receive the next clue. The last team to arrive gets eliminated.
I was one of eight people that made up a team representing my favorite club, the Boston University Filipino Student Association. I was excited beyond belief to run around this amazing city we call home and (hopefully) earn a monetary prize for my club. But, there were some things I wish I had known beforehand – and that’s where I extend my knowledge onto you.
This year’s race will be held on Nov. 16. Here are some helpful tips and tricks on what to expect:
- Brush up on knowledge about Boston and the neighborhoods within it; bring maps and guidebooks if you can. These are vital, since all cellphones and electronic devices will be taken away the morning of the race. Having some sort of prior knowledge beforehand or a few resources you can turn to during the race will save you precious time! Be prepared to approach total strangers for help as well.
- Get a day pass for the T. You’ll be running all over the city, so you might as well save some money while you’re at it. A 1-Day Pass costs $11.00 and gives you unlimited travel on the MBTA. I highly recommend purchasing one before the day of the race.
- Bundle up – wear layers! Boston weather is highly unpredictable and you’re bound to get hot and sweaty at some point. Be comfortable but practical.
- Bring a small, light drawstring bag or backpack with you. Bring a small supply of snacks to keep you energized throughout the day (granola bars, fruit, etc.) and maybe a water bottle or two. You can also stash your guidebooks and maps in here! A couple of Band-Aids or a small first-aid kit never hurts, either.
- Get a decent amount of sleep the night before. Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll need all the energy you can get, so rest up!
And last but not least, expect to have fun and make a handful of memories!
Some of the most memorable tasks we had to do last year in order to receive the next clue included acting out a scene from a Shakespearean play, walking into an antique store and asking someone to draw a portrait of one of our team members, and making a cheer for one of Boston’s many sports teams at the TD Garden.
Last year, I only got four hours of sleep the night before, wore horrible shoes and sprained my ankle while my team sprinted to get to the next clue. Talk about a major fail on my part. But with the help of my teammates and at least a dozen piggyback rides later, we were able to finish at a decent time before getting eliminated.
To those of you participating in this year’s Amazing Race, I wish you the best of luck.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
The gorgeous marbled floors and beautiful outside facade should be enough to reel any passersby inside the Hillel House at Boston University. But if the architecture isn’t reason enough to get you to step inside Hillel, I’ll give you one now: free Friday night dinners.
That’s right folks, for those of you who don’t have an unlimited meal plan or just want a break from the dining hall food, you get a chance every week to meet some new people and enjoy a tasty, feels-like-home-cooked meal.
In order to claim your wonderful Hillel dining experience, the first thing you gotta do is secure a meal ticket. All it takes is a few minutes to sign yourself up on the BU Hillel website and you’re set.
After signing myself up, I waited for Friday to finally come around. Religious services started at 6 p.m. and went on for about an hour and a half. Afterwards, everyone made their way to the third floor of the Hillel house.
The dining room layout was almost like a wedding: round tables with seats surrounding them with dinner rolls and grape juice (mimicking wine) as the centerpiece. Once everyone was settled, someone came out and said grace, or Kiddush, and the meal was finally open.
Our first food option was matzah ball soup. What’s matzah ball soup, you say? It’s a broth based soup, usually with carrots and celery, which also consists of dozens of fluffy soft balls made from ground up matzah and spices. They become so delicate from sitting inside the soup and soaking up all the juices and spices, which makes for a delicious and hearty appetizer. That, accompanied with challah, an eggy, sweet bread, made this meal like one from my grandmother’s house.
After the soup and bread, there was much more to come: salad, brisket, chicken, vegetable medleys and roasted potatoes were all delivered to each table to make up the bulk of our meals. The food was absolutely scrumptious and it felt like a huge shift from what I’m used to having at Warren.
In addition to the wonderful food, the atmosphere of the dinner was great. Everyone was talking to each other and it felt very comforting being in a place with so many friendly people. Jews and non-Jews alike attended the festive meal, enforcing BU’s emphasis on diversity and learning about new cultures and people.
Though I can’t fly down to Houston on Friday nights to eat a family dinner, it feels nice to find a place where I can still feel comfortable with my new family in Boston.
By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer
Connor McEwen, a College of Engineering senior, was chosen as one of 11 college students to be on the investment team for Boston’s branch of the Dorm Room Fund, a student-run venture that invests in student startups.
McEwen and his roommate of four years, Nam Chu Hoai, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, took time off their junior year to build their own startup, Credport, a way to verify people you were interacting with in online marketplaces.
With some personal experience in building a startup, McEwen and Chu Hoai have some advice for future entrepreneurs. Here are some tips from them:
1. Understand what you’re signing up for.
McEwen: “Entrepreneurship gives a lot of freedom. It also takes a lot of time, energy and motivation, but at the end of the day it’s worth it.”
2. Do it for the right reasons.
Chu Hoai said that when they began working on Credport, they left college as an afterthought, instead of dropping out and figuring out what to do from there.
Chu Hoai: “We thought, ‘We want to work on this, how do we do it?’ instead of ‘What are we doing after we drop out?’.”
3. Just do it.
Chu Hoai: “The best thing is just to get started and do something.”
McEwen: “Start working on something. It can be a side project, or even simply a one page website, but start making something yourself instead of something you have to do for class…the most important thing is having the willpower to just start working on something.”
4. Reach out and ask for help.
McEwen: “Boston is an awesome place to become an entrepreneur. There are so many people who are helpful and willing to reach out and give you advice.”
- Have an idea that needs financial support? Apply to the Dorm Room Fund
5. Have some confidence!
McEwen on ‘confidence’: “Everyone says, ‘Oh, Jobs is a genius,’ and yeah he was really smart and an awesome guy, but at the same time he was just an 18-year-old going to college at one point in his life. Everything in the world was made and designed by someone not that much smarter than you.”
By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
It’s been nearly two months since we’ve been in school, which means you’ve probably had more than a few boring breakfasts.
Whether it’s been Cocoa Puffs every single morning or switching between strawberry and vanilla yogurt, chances are you could use some new, unique breakfast entrees to switch things up a bit.
If you’re fine with eating the same thing every day, more power to you! But for those of us with ever-changing morning munch-y desires, here’s a list of something new you can eat every day of the week:
Monday – Is it really Monday again? Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get over that dreaded beginning-of-the-week feeling, but eating a super delicious breakfast can certainly brighten your spirits!
Today, check out the omelets and toss in your favorite toppings (here’s a great way to eat your veggies!). You’re going to want a protein packed meal to keep you awake during your classes. Pair it with a slice of toast or English muffin and you’re good to go!
Tuesday - In my opinion, Tuesday is basically Monday, except that tinge of excitement you get from seeing your classmates again is long gone. I’d recommend French toast this morning. Make it more exciting by topping it with peanut butter and frozen blueberries.
Or, if you’re more traditional, you can’t go wrong with syrup. But you’re looking to skip the extra sugar from it, top your toast with some jelly instead: it’ll sweeten things up without giving you a sugar rush.
Wednesday – It’s Hump Day! Let’s kick the morning off with a bowl of cottage cheese. Mix it with fruit: blueberries, strawberries, or whatever you can find!
Make sure to add in a dash of cinnamon (there’s a shaker by the Grill area) to get an extra zing of flavor. It tastes great topped off on a slice of toast or half a bagel.
Thursday – Don’t be a cereal killer, be a cereal thriller! (Oh geez, not another pun…) Now sounds like a good time to whip out one of those sasquatch bowls. Fill it up with your favorite cereal, but why stick to one?
Mixing two or even three different cereals will give you a unique flavor in every spoonful.
Friday - Power through your last day of classes with a not-so-boring bowl of oatmeal. Here are a few combinations you can try in the dining hall:
- PB&J – Mix ½ cup of oatmeal with a tablespoon each of peanut butter and jelly.
- Chunky Monkey - Mix ½ cup of oatmeal with chocolate sauce and add sliced bananas on top.
- Blueberry Cinnamon – Mix ½ cup of oatmeal with a ladle-full of frozen blueberries, a couple shakes of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of honey.
Saturday – Hallelujah! Finally, Saturday has arrived. To start your weekend, make a kick-ass breakfast sandwich: toast and butter an English muffin, then add 2 sliced hard-boiled eggs to the inside. Throw in some salt and pepper and a couple squirts of hot sauce for good luck.
On the side, cut up an apple and dip in it some au natural peanut butter. Do you hear that? It’s my stomach, already growling for Saturday breakfast…
Sunday – Can you believe it’s been SEVEN WHOLE DAYS since you repeated a breakfast? Don’t stop now! On Sunday, treat yourself to the pancake bar.
Whether they’re chocolate chip or blueberry, pancakes on Sunday is sure to lift your spirits up before your next week of school begins.
All that’s left is drinks: switch it up between milk, tea, coffee and all those weird looking fruit-infused waters you haven’t tried yet. Bon appetit, mes amis!
By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
Do you hear those screams in the distance? What is that? No, it’s not the sounds of students wailing over their midterms (ha, ha). Whatever it is, it’s coming from the basement of 518 Park Drive.
You should go investigate. But bring along a friend or two, because you won’t want to go alone.
Halloween is coming up fast, and this Saturday, the BU Japanese Student Association, BU Chinese Students and Scholars Association and South Campus Residence Hall Association are holding their annual Haunted House. Enter if you dare.
For those of you who are new to campus or haven’t been to the event before, here’s the rundown.
Typically, groups of five or six people are let in at a time. As they walk through the Haunted House, people in costume jump out at the most unexpected times. Warning: side effects may include peeing one’s pants or shouting a mouthful of expletives at the top of one’s lungs.
Besides all that, what else can visitors expect at the Haunted House this year? This week, I spoke with School of Education sophomore Sayaka Kawano. Kawano is on JSA’s executive board and is on the planning committee for the Haunted House.
According to Kawano, this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever before.
“What makes this year so special is that this time we’ve made our Haunted House mission oriented. Visitors have to complete certain tasks instead of just walking through. We’re also collaborating with another group for the first time – the BU Chinese Students and Scholars Association – so we’re expecting an even larger turnout than usual,” said Kawano.
In previous years, the Haunted House has had a dollhouse theme and a hospital theme. This year, the collaborating groups tried to incorporate more of Japanese culture into the theme.
“Our theme is ‘ryokan.’ Ryokan is a Japanese-style traditional inn, and ours is filled with Japanese spirits and ghosts. Once you arrive, an innkeeper will lead you inside. Throughout the course there are different characters you will recognize from old and traditional Japanese folktales and movies. I can’t give away too much, because part of the fun is seeing these characters, but I can tell you that I’ll be inside dressed as the girl from ‘The Grudge’,” said Kawano.
“It’s the perfect way to kick off Halloween a week early! Feel free to come in costume, our entire e-board will be dressed up. Bring the Halloween spirit and invite all of your friends,” she said.
Horror fans and scaredy cats alike, you won’t want to miss out on this experience. There will be food – expect there to be hot chocolate as you wait in line! – and best of all, the event is FREE!
JSA’s Haunted House will be held on Saturday, October 26 at 518 Park Drive in South campus. The event runs from 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., but doors close at 9. For more information, check out the Facebook event.
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Hello, hello! It’s time again for advice from yours truly.
On today’s agenda, we have the ever confusing (but necessary) topic of transportation. As a non-Bostonian, I can tell you how difficult it was to accept that a car was not the only means of transportation. At first, I didn’t understand how anyone got around.
However, I realized that one of the great things about Boston is that the public transportation is top notch. If you don’t believe me, try coming to California – there’s a reason we only use cars.
For you clueless souls, here’s a breakdown of some of the public transportation around BU:
1. The T (Subway)
The T is just a subway that can take you to just about anywhere you desire around Boston, whether that’s Newbury or the Financial District. The best part is, there are stops everywhere up and down Commonwealth Avenue (conveniently right in front of West and Warren).
Here’s where you ask me how do you differentiate between inbound and outbound.
Inbound means that you’ll be heading towards Government Center, and outbound means you’ll be traveling away from Government Center.
To make things easier, get a Charlie Card from the nearest T station (Kenmore) and load some money onto it. This way, the fare is cheaper and you don’t have to spend precious minutes getting a ticket.
2. BU Shuttle
One of the best and worst parts of BU is the BU Shuttle. Best part? It’s free, and it makes many stops up and down Commonwealth Avenue. It’s incredibly convenient when you have back-to-back classes (especially if they’re from East to West campus or vice versa).
Bad part? They are so unreliable. More often than not, they’re a couple minutes late due to traffic which doesn’t seem like a big deal but when you’re in a hurry, it’s going to be a huge deal.
There are a few apps that facilitate catching the bus – the schedule on the actual BU app & an app called BU Transit (which tells you simply how many minutes you’ll have to wait for the next bus).
Boston isn’t known as a walking city for nothing. It’s free – a college student’s dream. Plus, this way, you really get to experience Boston by seeing and exploring the city you’re going to be living in for the next four years. Also, it’s guaranteed that you won’t get off at the wrong stop (though you getting lost is a different story).
Hopefully you’re not as scared to take a leap of faith on get on the T or trust that the BUS will come on time after this. And of course, always look both ways and especially watch out for bicyclists when you’re walking or even when you’re trying to walk over to a T stop.
By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
In 10 years, you should look back to your first week as a freshman and remember the friends you made, the classes you began and the late-night trips to the laundry room. After all, starting off college confirms the idea that you are mature enough to move out of the house and not have to get told when to shower because you already know (that’s every day, people). But when that first week of school tests your abilities as a rookie adult, it may be difficult to rely only on yourself.
Especially when it comes to getting sick, or worse… getting lice. Dun dun duuuun! I remember the event vividly: On the Sunday night after the first week of classes, I went to the bathroom to check in the mirror and I saw them: two tiny, dirty black bugs crawling along my hairline. I did a double-take, because what the heck was that? Turns out, I had contracted lice.
I had never had lice before. I’d hoped to never, ever find a hotbed of little insects and eggs in my hair, but alas, my time of weakness had come. All I could think was “Why me, Lord?” Unfortunately for me, my hair is long and super-thick, which meant that this whole process could take longer than usual.
As soon as I discovered them, I told my roommate, then my RA, and last, I called Student Health Services. The darn place was closed for the night, which meant I had to wait until the morning to get my scalp checked out.
In the meantime, my roommate and I took a lovely stroll down to CVS and hunted down a lice removal kit. I knew that after I did the treatment, I’d feel much better knowing that most of these bugs would be gone. Back at the dorm. we started shampooing. 10 minutes in, we washed it out. Then came the comb: a plastic red handle with small, metal teeth aka the death contraption/torture devise for my minute enemies. I rinsed my hair with water and got all shower-capped up.
The next morning, I headed straight to SHS and met with a doctor. She was right: lice is not deadly or even that harmful. Sure, they are a real pain in the neck (pun intended) and you have to do extra loads of laundry, but it’s really nothing to be worried about.
The new few weeks were full of treatments, keeping my hair in a bun to prevent any accidental transfers and even put vinegar in my hair after every shower. I think the collection of treatment fumes from this incident is enough of a caution against having it again. Two weeks later, BAM! My third trip to the doctor proved that I was lice-free. I walked out of that patient room and even whipped my hair back and forth.
So that was my first month of college. Delightful, with an underlying tone of gross. If you are unfortunate enough to get lice while in college, here are some tips:
1. Don’t panic. Seriously. Take a breath before you take care of the problem and don’t make the situation a bigger deal than it is.
2. Call a doctor. You don’t have to handle this on your own and they can give you advice when it comes to treatments.
3. Call your mom (or dad). I called my mom on the first day when I found out. She was very sympathetic and she helped reassure me that I’d be okay. Plus, your parents probably want to hear from you that you got lice, and not from embarrassing pictures on Instagram (but those are cool too #licearentnice).
By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
If so, chances are, you’re a K-Pop fan. That’s short for “Korean Pop,” in case you, like me, were unaware of the ever so catchy musical sensation that’s risen in popularity worldwide.
What makes K-Pop so appealing and how did it make the transition overseas to the States? Liz Marandola, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Communication, said, “I actually got into it because of a friend, who choreographed to a song by 2NE1 at a dance workshop. I don’t speak Korean, so it’s not the actual meaning of the song that appeals to me, but rather how fun and playful the whole genre is. It’s unlike anything that American artists produce.”
Speaking of dance, I’ve got exciting news for all you K-Pop fans out there. If you’ve ever dreamed of being in a K-Pop group and grooving to their music, miXx K-Pop Cover Dance Crew is a new and upcoming group on campus that meets several times a week to learn various K-Pop group’s dances and choreography.
President of the group and College of Arts and Sciences senior Dondré Gumbs said, “When I was studying abroad in Japan last year, I tried joining a couple of K-Pop cover dance groups, but I wasn’t able to join them for various reasons. I was really bummed out at first, as it was something I was really interested in, but then I thought, wait, why don’t I make my own group? So I did. In the span of six months, we had about 10 performances and recorded four music videos.”
The group is not limited to any specific gender or race and you definitely don’t need to have any previous dance experience to join. “Our group is really different from other groups in a variety of ways. First of all, we are BU’s very first K-Pop-only dance group on campus. There are some other dance groups and cultural groups that perform some K-Pop songs occasionally, but we are the first dance group to focus just on learning K-Pop choreography,” Gumbs said. Practices can be either high or low commitment for those who want to join, depending on if you want to come just to learn the choreography or become more involved and perform or be a part of music videos for the club.
The group also has plans to host their own charity showcase and collaborate amongst other dance groups on campus in the future and hopes to increase awareness of K-Pop on campus through their performances and music videos.
By Steph Solis, Staff Writer
Now that matriculation and SPLASH are behind us, it’s time to dive back into the city or start exploring it–here’s looking at you, freshmen. You can enjoy the city on a budget. In fact, some of the most interesting happenings in Boston are cheap or free.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s some highlights of what the city has in store this weekend.
Ah, the smell of Boston lighting up on the Common. Every year the Freedom Rally, known as Hempfest, brings together stoners from all over Greater Boston (many of whom are college students). For the first time, Boston will host a first two-day Hempfest on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is free, but food and novelties likely aren’t. You’ll also want to watch out for police looking to hand out citations for smoking on the Boston Common.
Hours: September 14, Saturday from 12-8 p.m. September 15, Sunday from 12-6 p.m.
Location: Boston Common
Downtown Crossing Block Party
Hat tip to the Boston Calendar for this one. The block party, in its second year, offers free appetizers from 49 Social, a downtown restaurant and bar. There’s also supposed to be an extensive selection of beer and wine for the 21+ crowd.
If you’re looking for some free music, the Downtown Crossing Block Party is hosting local bands like Hot Like Fire and Swinging Johnsons. Get a feel for the local music scene.
Hours: September 12, Thursday from 5-8 p.m.
Location: Downtown Crossing (specifically 32 Sumner Street)
Night Shift Brewing Tours
Night Shift Brewing’s been getting some buzz lately, but if you’re not familiar with them check out their free tours and tastings. The tour includes beer samples, bottles and other merchandise. There’s no reservation needed.
The brewers are usually available during other hours, according to the Night Shift Brewing website. If you want to catch them at another time, try calling or tweeting at them.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 12-5 p.m.
Location: 3 Charlton St., Everett.
Note: This one is recommended for those who have a car. You can get there through the Green Line, Orange Line and the 105 towards Malden. But it’s probably more of a hassle than most would want for a Saturday afternoon.
By Steph Solis, Staff Writer
Most professors dive into their lessons on the first day of class, but engineering professor Jeffrey Carruthers took a different approach with his students.
Students in EK128, “Engineering Computation,” which teaches students the programming language Python, looked through their syllabus and found that the professor included an algorithm for how the class will be grade — in Python.
The algorithm shows an example of one student’s results, calculating the final grade to be a B+.
“The code below, which you will understand eventually, shows you how grades will be assigned given a set of scores,” the syllabus reads. “Most of the course will be graded by Python scripts instead of humans.”
The language, named after the British comedy “Monte Python and the Flying Circus,” can be used to program anything from computer games to robots. It is seen as an alternative to MATLAB, another programming language (there is ongoing debate about which one is worth learning/using).
Carruthers said the introductory engineering course focuses on problem solving using Python and Python tools known as “SciPy” for engineering (number crunching, plotting, etc.).
The professor used to prepare his syllabuses with help from programming languages and then produced a polished PDF that hid the process. So he decided to give his students a chance to see that work.
“I give them an active piece of software that they will come to learn how it works, but right now they can use it to estimate their grades by typing in example homework and exam results,” Carruthers said in an email.
He added that he has used Python to solve other problems like generating exams for midterms and finals, including in his class EK 307 “Electric Circuits.” He also uses it to create visual demonstrations of electrical engineering concepts in class.
“Anyone can learn Python and use it to get your computer to do something it does not currently do and which you don’t have the time or money to pay someone to calculate or solve for you,” Carruthers said.