By Amy Gorel, Staff Writer
Thanks to tools like MuckRock and the Freedom of Information Act, government documents are made availible in an effort to have a transparent government, to an extent.
A man named Conor Skelding recently requested documents from the FBI that detailed a government investigation of Isaac Asimov, former BU professor-as well as a rather famous sci-fi author.
While I don’t know the reasons behind Skelding’s request for this information, the documents give some perspective on the public’s indignation at the NSA these days.
The reasoning the documents provide for investigation are as follows:
1. Asimov was born in Russia (though he came to America when he was three, and was naturalized by the time he was eight years old).
2. He was in academia as a biochemist (they were looking for ROBPROF, an academic in the field of microbiology).
3. He wrote for Sci-Fi Magazines which did some “blind” publishing for the Communist Party (CP) in the states.
4. His name was on a list from the 1950s of people who the CPUSA should contact for recruitment-but it doesn’t say if he was contacted or not.
Solid enough evidence? Well, the FBI didn’t think so and no, there was no further investigation into the matter.
But the government’s command of information is nothing new. The Cold War brought about a great deal of Soviet paranoia-calling out the communists-in America, especially during the 1950s. When Asimov was considered as a potential face of ROBPROF, a code name for a Soviet spy, it was already the 1960s and some of the craze had died down. However, this was the time when the government was looking for people who were inflaming the anti-war movement-which, according to BU Professor William Keylor, was assumed to have been fueled by the communists.
Nevertheless, the fact that the government had an entire file on him was probably not known to Asimov. They listed his address, phone numbers, wife, educational history; they had all the details of his private life.
So when the Edward Snowden ordeal became public and everyone started realizing just how much information the NSA had on each and every American-as well as foreign subjects it was investigating-it should have been no surprise.
Maybe you’re slightly uncomfortable with the government being privy to all those Google searches of cats you do every day, but this is nothing new: there’s just a new platform for you to submit information out into the world for the government to find. And anyways, why would the government care about how many times you’ve colored in the Koalas to the Max photo?
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Right, so as always, here I am with some tips to make your life a bit easier.
In case you haven’t realized (or didn’t want to realize), registration for freshman is this Sunday. The time, which you can refer to here, depends on the last number of your BUID number.
Do yourself a favor and don’t miss your time, especially if you have a really good time. Or do, because that means the rest of us get more of a selection for classes.
As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, a proactive thing to do is plan your entire schedule using the planner feature under ‘Academics’ on the Student Link. Most, if not all, of you should be familiar with this as we used it for planning our fall semester schedule over the summer.
If you have no idea how to do this, ask a friend because this will make your life 10 times easier when you’re actually registering for classes.
If you have your schedule all planned out, all you need to do is click a few buttons to transfer the schedule you have planned as your actual schedule. This saves both time and effort on the day and time of your registration, and it will also aid in getting classes you want (the quicker you are, the higher chance you have of getting a class).
That being said, don’t be depressed if you have a bad time to register. I went to the fifth orientation over the summer, so I pretty much got last pick but guess what – I only have one class on Tuesday and the earliest I start is nine in the morning.
In addition, remember that you can always email a professor to get into a certain class and that people usually do drop classes which opens up seats.
Let’s move onto more helpful things. I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to ask friends for opinions on various classes. While it is useful to get insight from people you know, it’s also important to realize that you are not your friends.
You’re here to get an education, so here are a few recommendations to make sure that your schedule (and therefore your education) is planned in the best way possible:
1. Academic advisors
Each college has a set of advisors designed to help you. If you’re having any issues with your academic course load or if you need help planning out classes for the next few years, these people are your go-to people. Colleges like CAS and ENG usually have assigned advisors, so that makes it even easier to get in contact with them. For colleges that doesn’t have assigned advisors, no worries! There are a group of advisors assigned to students as well. Take the opportunity to go and talk to your advisor for a better look at your education.
2. Student advisors
Some colleges are generous enough to assign you a student advisor in addition to a professional advisor. Student advisors, I think, are the happy medium between professor and friend. While they can give the low down on what and what no to take, they can also point you in the right direction because they’ve been through the whole experience before.
Students in colleges like COM and ENG get this service. If, however, your college didn’t assign you a student advisor, think back to orientation. Every group of students had a student advisor working with them, so if you can remember them, try asking them! I’m sure they’d be happy to help.
3. Official Boston University website
Anything you could possibly be confused about should be cleared up online. If it’s too difficult for you to navigate the many pages on the BU website, do a simple Google search including ‘BU’ and it’s likely that you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Before you run to a friend or an advisor, you might want to try doing a little research for yourself. You’d be surprised at what you can find with a few clicks.
So there you have it, tips to get the best schedule possible. In the end, how your next semester goes depends on you so good luck and happy schedule hunting!
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Hello, hello – Shivani here. Here’s your weekly dose of Life Hacks.
This topic is dedicated to my friend, who almost made me lose faith in our class and our competency.
Sit back and relax while I tell you a short story.
The other day, I was casually sitting at Marciano doing homework and listening to my music. My aforementioned friend walks by and decides to sit with me.
Already, it’s obvious that he looks pretty tired. He then launches into a story about his horrid interview to be a campus ambassador.
He went to the interview in sweats and a t-shirt (and only realized so five minutes beforehand). He hoped he could play it off as a joke, but sadly, it didn’t turn out that way.
During the interview itself, his phone actually went off. You’d think this would be the worst of it, but no. He was asked to describe a certain area of campus as he would to a group. Instead of describing a place on East campus, he ended talking about a place all the way on West Campus.
Here are three things NOT to do during an interview (and hopefully not be a n00b):
1. Dress Up
Never, ever, ever wear sweat pants to a meeting. That is rule number one. If you didn’t learn that in high school, surf the web or ask a friend but that’s a basic skill any person needs to succeed an interview. In fact, you should be wearing the complete opposite. It is imperative that you have at least a pair of nice slacks or a nice skirt (modest, obviously) in order to dress to impress.
2. Silence Your Phone
These days, we’re so plugged in that it’s hard to remember that we need to silence it sometimes. Make sure to always keep your phone on silent. Even keeping it on vibrate is a bit of obnoxious, so just do yourself a favor. That text message from you best friend can wait while you have the interview.
3. Know Your Info
Seriously? Mixing up East and West campus? If you’re applying for a certain position, look at what the job will entail. If, for example, you want to be a campus ambassador, know about the campus! Simple as that. If you’re unsure however, it never hurts to ask the person in charge for more information about the position. They might appreciate your honesty and curiosity (win-win).
So there you have it. My friend has learned from his mistake, and hopefully so have you. Good luck on your interview, and for Pete’s sake, don’t wear sweats to the interview.
By Erica Schwartz
Occasionally, we are put into unpleasant situations wherein following our regularly, healthy routines becomes slightly more complicated. Here, I answer some some common scenarios to get you back on track.
Q. Which is better? To skip breakfast or eat an unhealthy one, when there’s nothing else?
A. Eat an unhealthy one. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it is essential for boosting your metabolism. I never skip breakfast, no matter how late I wake up.
My rule is to eat a little something every two to three hours, so skipping breakfast is a big no-no. If put into this situation, eat a smaller breakfast of a little bit unhealthier foods and just tone down the grams of fat and sugar later that day. And don’t worry, tomorrow a better breakfast awaits!
Q. To work out or heal first while sick?
A. Depends. There’s a rule I follow: if you’re sick with a cold, or anything sinus and/or throat-related, go for it. But take a rain check if anything more pressing. When throat-related or sinus-related, working out can actually help energize you back to health. The flu has been invading BU campus the last couple of weeks and, I for one can vouch that kickboxing worked magic on me.
Though please understand that, if you feel like you’re on your deathbed, puking up piles of blood or feeling very dizzy with a fever or something extreme then definitely skip the gym and get yourself to a doctor.
Q. To weigh-in or give it a week after binge eating the night before?
A. Give it a week. We are only human! Every once in a while and unexpectedly, it’ll be hard to pass up on that double burger topped with queso, onions, bacon and jalapeños (sadly, this is an actual dish at Pluckers restaurant).
As long as it is ONLY every once in awhile, you’ll survive, I promise. Just remember not step on the scale that week. Wait until the following week to weigh-in.
Binge eating, especially binge eating on foods high in carbohydrates, causes your body to have extra water retention, making it look like you’re an extra three to seven pounds or so for the next couple of days. Fortunately, as long as you only overeat one day that week and then bounce back into routine immediately following, it’s safe to say that you won’t have to go up a pants size quite yet. It takes a person eating 3,500 extra calories in one day to gain a pound so quickly, so cool your jets.
We all go through tough situations where the right answers seem a little harder to come by. Just remember, it’s one day. As long as these occasional situations don’t turn into everyday situations then you’re fine. Note that the fact that you are even worrying about these situations is already one step ahead of those people who don’t even have the motivation to respect and love their bodies and self.
So keep working at it and I’ll continue to answer more of these common scenarios in the future!
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Brace yourselves, midterm season is coming (cue the theme from Psycho).
For some of us, it has already come. For freshmen, it is definitely daunting to realize that this is our first set of midterms – I swear I moved in just yesterday. In most classes, this and the final are the two biggest components when it comes to grading.
I, being the helpful person that I am, have found a couple of tips for you to make full use of the little time you have for studying.
First of all, location is key. Generally, the dorm room isn’t very ideal just because that is where you live. All your food, electronics and anything else that could possibly distract you are there. This only makes it harder for you to focus, which in turn will not help you. Here are a few places where you can sit down and really focus on study material:
1) Melville Lounge, Warren Towers
This is for nighttime studying. If you’re coming out of the dining hall, make a right towards A Tower. You’ll see this sign in gold that says “Melville Lounge”. It’s just the back of the dining hall, but the best part is that it is usually empty. All you have to do is sign in and then you get to sit wherever you want (there are booths available, which are, mind you, always taken at Late Nite). Open from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.
2) Student Village (StuVi) 2 (Level 26)
If you want to study with a view (and not get distracted), this place is for you. It is a quiet study lounge, so make sure you bring a pair of headphones so as to not disturb anyone. The view is actually really calming (unless you’re afraid of heights, I imagine), so come here to de-stress and get work done. Open all day/night
Of course, you can’t have a list of study areas without mentioning the library. Just a tip – don’t come here unless you have to (or unless you come during downtime). It’s always packed, which is especially true during midterm/final time. If you do manage to find a space, take advantage of the resources in the library as well as the quiet to finish that paper you chose to procrastinate on. Open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m.
There’s a lounge on the first floor. However, a little known secret is that there is another lounge on the top floor of 575 Commonwealth Avenue/HoJo. This study lounge is another alternative with a great view. There are options for a noise-permitting study area and a quiet study area. The view of Fenway and Backbay are also extremely pleasant to look at, so there’s that.
Additionally, make sure to take some vitamins so you feel your best while studying because, let’s face it, nothing is worse than studying while you’re sick. Staying healthy and well-rested is key, along with all those other necessary tools (i.e., notebooks, study guides, books, etc.)
Best of luck to all of you and hopefully we all make it through with our GPAs — and brains – intact.
If any of you have other study space suggestions, comment below!
By Amy Gorel, Staff Writer
Chugging a coffee during the last five minutes of lecture, distractedly checking social media, my foot is tapping on the ground and I’m hoping that the professor lets us out early. He gloriously says, “Okay, any more questions?”
Sweet. I’m out of here. Going to print out that paper due next class and call my boss to tell them I can’t make it to work because I have this thing and that thing to do.
But wait, there’s a hand up in the back of the lecture hall and now another one. Who are these people? He was about to let us out early!
And then I realize that their questions encouraged the teacher to clarify some important and interesting info that was covered in class. Ugh.
Those hand-raisers were more concerned about the here and now–the lesson covered in this class–than they were about rushing off to do the next thing.
When every freshman gets to college, either through some orientation talk or an Internet meme, they hear the options they have: “Academics, sleep and social life. Choose two out of the three.” And sometimes more comically and probably more correctly, you find Dwight from “The Office” telling you that you could only choose one.
American college life emphasizes “doing it all.” Get good grades, join all the clubs, have an internship, make some money (and sometimes a lot of money if you have to pay for your own tuition), have an exciting social life and be a healthy and rested human being. Easy, right? Just the idea of balancing all that reaffirms my practice of keeping a backup thermos of coffee in my backpack.
Let’s stop to think. What are we paying upwards of $50,000 a year for? An education. We’re paying for the opportunity to learn from professors and from the readings and homework they assign.
We could learn to cook on our own and go out at night without paying that astronomical price. I only have to pay about $2.50 at Pavement for permission to sit for hours–and they don’t even ask me to complete a certain amount of reading before I visit again.
The hand-raisers happened to be part of the Evergreen program–students over the age of 58 who audit classes at BU. Speaking to them after class, I realized that they were here for the reasons the rest of the students are supposed to be here for–a love of learning. They are overjoyed to come to class, while the majority of undergrads grumble about waking up at the early hour of 10 a.m.
They’re here because they want to be here and they want to learn. They don’t have to stress over what they are going to do with their lives or how to follow the proper class structure to finish their major in time. While the “what am I doing with my life” stress won’t go away as an undergrad, it’s a good thing to stop and think about why we want to be here in the first place.
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 Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
My name is Shivani Patel and I am an awkward freshman.
In case you were wondering (you probably weren’t), I am a journalism major in COM, I’m 17 years old and I’m from Southern California (shout-out to the west coast a.k.a. the best coast).
Just like you, I too am slowly learning my way around this gigantic campus, but I’ll be telling you tips and various hacks to cheat the system and not be an awkward freshman (through my own various experiences – yay?)
Moving along, let me direct your attention to weather outside. Right now, it feels like 70 degrees fahrenheit. It’s nice and sunny. The other day, it was terrible and raining. Coming from a place where it rarely rained (let alone in September), I was definitely caught off guard. Through my miserable experiences, I’ve come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for not letting the rain ruin your day.
1. Do check the weather before you go out for the day.
It is important to not base your outfit based solely on what you see outside your window. First of all, we’re in Boston. I’m sure Bostonians already know this, but for those of you who aren’t, take the time to check the weather app on your phone or go to the Weather Channel. It’ll take a few seconds, and it might make the difference between you being warm and you having wet socks (personally, I prefer having dry socks).
2. Don’t run down Comm Ave. in the rain.
If you notice, buildings like CAS and STH take up a huge part of Comm Ave. Use this to your advantage! Instead of walking through the cold and rain, just take the closest door into the building you’re near and walk down towards your destination. Ta-da!
3. Do invest in a waterproof jacket.
I’ve done a bit of research for you all. When/If you do winter clothes shopping, you’ll notice that there are jackets that are “waterproof” or “water resistant.” Water resistant is for light rain (a.k.a. what we’ve been having) whereas waterproof will protect you from harsh rain (a.k.a. what you’ll be needing for the actual winter). I’d say get one of each so that you’re set for the year. Good brands to try are REI and North Face, which are pretty durable.
4. Don’t use a golf umbrella.
I’m sure all of you have noticed by now, but BU is a walking campus. This means we use the sidewalks. This means that if you have an umbrella that takes up half the sidewalk, you will cause a jam. Just do everyone a favor and get a smaller umbrella. Personally, I feel that umbrellas are a hassle, so if you have a good hood on a jacket, it should be fine. However, to each their own. Just keep in mind that there are other people walking on the sidewalk.
There we have it. If you have any other tips, feel free to comment below!
Stay dry, my friends.
By Amy Gorel, Staff Writer
Though everyone has different opinions about what needs to be updated or renovated on campus, many students don’t realize the extensive planning that goes into each of the changes we see popping up.
Extensive research and bureaucratic processes go into deciding what new buildings to build, what areas need renovation, and where money spent will produce the most profit and have the most effect. The BU Institutional Master Plan outlines what the university is planning in terms of physical growth in the next ten years, but only after identifying every area of weakness and problems throughout campus. The strategic plan website outlines more of the university’s thought process on this.
For those who don’t spend their days perusing the Facilities Management & Planning website, check it out. It lists all of their major (and minor) projects around campus including ones related to academic spaces, athletic spaces, residences, administrative, research and student activities. You could find out more about why you see workers replacing windows on CAS in the middle of the night to which brownstone you should choose to live in as an upperclassman because they’re renovating it this year (it’s 2, 3 and 5 Buswell St., by the way).
So as you can see, it’s not quite as simple as saying taking care of those ugly lockers in the the College of Arts and Sciences is more important than putting new furniture in the School of Management lobby – even though its already arguably the most beautiful building on campus.
The renovations and new buildings show the school’s progression; these are decisions that denote that certain areas are growing or should be growing in the next few years. Physical renovations and buildings are evidence of academic growth or potential academic growth.
By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
Welcome to BU, freshman and transfers. Orientation is behind you and you’re almost through your first week of classes; now that you’re (almost) in the swing of things, it’s time to address an age-old issue for college students around the world – avoiding the bubble.
Part of going to a school as centralized and city-oriented as BU is learning how to get off campus and into the real world. Trust me, when you tell people you go to Boston University, people are going to ask you if you’ve been to a Red Sox game or walked the Freedom Trail, and you’re not going to want to say, “No.” Also, frat parties can only entertain you for so long. Don’t worry, we at MUSE have five activities to start your Boston life off with a bang.
1. Hop on the T and wander through the North End.
Hop on the green line and ride it to the end of the road: The Government Center stop plops you in the middle of downtown Boston, a short walk from one of the most iconic areas in Boston. Get a cannoli (whether it’s at the classic Mike’s or the Zimmern favorite Maria’s), inhale the intoxicating smell of Italian food and maybe even visit the historic landmarks hidden between the restaurants and wine shops.
2. Go to Central Square and hipster out.
Central Square in Cambridge, an easy T ride away, is a tiny hipster haven for the culture-cravers out there. Treat yourself to a scoop of the Grape Nut ice cream from Toscanini’s, get some new school year digs at Buy the Pound (in the store Garment District), and see a show at The Middle East.
3. Make yourself a picnic and sprawl out on the common.
Step one: Stick the blanket you’re obviously not using in this heat and stick it in a backpack.
Step two: See what you can sneak out of the dining hall.
Step three: Supplement your loot with some City Co snacks.
Step four: Ride the green line to one of the three stops on The Boston Common and have a quick picnic! The Common is a great spot for Frisbee, people-watching and general relaxation.
4. Dip your toes in the Boston Harbor (before it gets too cold!)
If you go to South Station and walk across Summer Street, you can find a little dock for some primo toe dipping. Yeah, it’s always that cold.
5. Eat some Boston Cream Pie!
Boston Cream Pie is a Beantown classic, and the first (and best) one can be found at Omni Parker House. If you ever walk the Freedom Trail, you go right past this iconic Boston restaurant. Stop in one afternoon and indulge in a timeless comfort food.