By Danielle Cantey
We’ve all experienced the anxiety of entering a crowded lunch room alone on the first day of middle or high school. In those awkward grade school years, finding someone to sit with could be a daunting task. Sitting alone generally indicated you were some sort of social pariah. But once college begins, those anxieties and stereotypes about dining hall sociability disappear…or do they? Eating alone shouldn’t be an indication of loneliness or social status, but sometimes it is.
According to an article in The Dartmouth, Christopher McMillian, a senior at Dartmouth College, has implemented the Dartmouth Social Cup Program. The program is designed to combat the awkwardness of eating alone with special red cups. When the red cups are used in lieu of Dartmouth’s regular clear cups, they indicate that the student using it wouldn’t mind company. While there are students who have made fun of the program and others who complain about the cups’ ineffectiveness, the idea behind them is brilliant. As McMillian says in the article, “Students often feel uncomfortable or awkward when they are eating alone.”
The social cups are aimed at ameliorating some of the awkwardness associated with meeting new people. The cups may be ineffective when most people have established solid friend groups, but the program has great potential for freshman entering in the fall. What better way to improve freshman year than with a red cup that encourages people to come up and talk to you.
College Confidential features the perilous task of eating alone as a hot topic. Go to any dining hall on BU’s campus, and you’ll see a variety of diners: people eating alone, two people eating together, and people eating with groups of friends. In college and in life, eating alone is often a result of busy schedules and convenience. Luckily for those who feel too uncomfortable to embrace the solidarity of solo eating at Dartmouth, these red cups may just be the solution.
By Arielle Sebestyen
Welcome to the MUSE Food section’s No Kitchen Required, where BU students send in their favorite dorm-friendly recipes. Dorm-friendly recipes don’t require any sort of traditional kitchen appliances. Can you make it with a microwave? Does it involve ingredients you can sneak from the dining hall? Then it’s dorm-friendly! Send all submissions to MUSE@dailyfreepress.com. This month’s submission comes from CAS freshman Arielle Sebestyen:
In college, everyone misses eating a home cooked meal. To bring the feeling of home to your dorm, there are many dishes you can make using basic ingredients and a microwave. One of my favorites is a simple pasta dish. I enjoy it because you can dress it up with staples from home, such as basil, beans, carrots, pesto, and more. The bare basics for a single serving goes like this:
- Tomato paste (or other sauce)
Add approximately 1 cup of pasta and 1 1/2 cups of water to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave covered on high for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave on high uncovered for another 4-6 minutes. Drain some of the water, but leave a small amount in the bowl. Mix in tomato paste or a sauce of choice to taste. Add parmesan and your dish is done! To make it special, add in any ingredients that remind you of home. Enjoy!
By Zara Kavarana, Staff Writer
Coming into college is a blank slate.
We find ourselves submerged knee-deep in opportunities – some that stand out academically and some that stand out socially. So many of us want to belong, find our place, meet new people. Greek life is one of the more obvious places to start.
Although college may be new to us, the idea of Greek life isn’t. We’ve seen it on TV, in movies, read about it in books and magazines. These portrayals show being a part of a sorority or fraternity as the ideal college experience, so it wouldn’t be inaccurate to suggest the big impact it may have on someone who is considering joining. It’s almost a sort of encouragement, saying that if you join, you’ll get movie-worthy stories.
Undoubtedly, joining a Greek organization will lend itself to an unforgettable college experience, but are TV shows and movies the main reason why some students choose to join?
After becoming so familiar with sororities and fraternities from multimedia sources, it feels as if participating in Greek life is imperative in order to get the full college experience. Of course, there are many of us who join simply because we want to learn, or to give back, or to meet new people.
On another note, many of the depictions aren’t even real. Like most Hollywood productions, TV portrayals of Greek life are often sensationalized. Which leaves the question: before we even get to college, is our perception of college life influenced by the way TV and movies portray the Greek community?
With Newbury Street only a few blocks away, Boston University students rarely have to worry about finding fashion-forward clothing. The issue, rather, is how students can afford to look fashion savvy without breaking their bank accounts. In such a cosmopolitan area, it’s no wonder that BUtiques, the Facebook group started by BU junior Alexandra Shadrow that allows students to post photos and sell their clothing, became a popular hit. Unitiques, the free service that is based on BUtiques, will not only help those struggling students in bustling cities, but students nationwide.
The host website will be the selling grounds for furniture, clothing, kitchen appliances, and the like. Fashion friendly students will no longer be the only people attracted to the site, but those with more realistic intentions can also find what they’re looking to have or even get rid of. Somewhat like a virtual thrift store, students can browse a plethora of products from Maine to California. Exchanging items is possible, and students can have confidence in the products they will soon be getting based on users’ reviews.
The fashion industry is constantly changing, which can make it difficult for students on a college budget to stay trendy. If someone wears something only once but happens to run into everyone while in it, he or she may already be looking for a new outfit to sport. Or if someone moves apartments and is looking for a change in scenery, he or she may find it time to decorate a little differently. Unitiques will allow students to search thousands of products with potential sellers without ever having left the couch, and often prices will be negotiable. Sounds like a pretty good deal for those of us already thinking about student debt.
In the meantime, some other sites I often check out are:
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
Does bullying of gay and bisexual students diminish after the transition from high school to college? Recent studies discussed by the Associated Press say yes, it does. So my question to a handful of BU students was: what is your experience with this at BU? Hopefully, this video opens the discussion up for more debate:
By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Kind of hard to believe with the stress of finishing up class and studying for finals. And on top of finals season, there’s the stress of holiday shopping for friends and family. Whether it’s a white elephant gift exchange with friends, a gift for your roomie or shopping for your family at home for when you finally get to see them after the semester ends, the amount of people you get gifts for adds up
along with the price. How are we supposed to afford buying gifts when we spend all of our money on coffee and comfort food? Fear not, there are options.
The closest supermarket:
Think Shaw’s or an equivalent. What is your friend’s favorite candy? Make a study snack pack for your roommate. One year I got a hot chocolate mug that came complete with hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was stoked. Your fellow college students understand what it means to be a broke college student. Try having a gift exchange with a low budget set so one feels obligated to spend a large sum of money. Note: This might not work for bringing home in your suitcase because most food is perishable, obviously.
Good for more than funny costumes and ugly sweater holiday parties, thrift shops of any sort are sure to have the perfect present at a low price. The key to Goodwill is shopping when there are good donations. It can be hit or miss, but when you do find a great gift for your sibling you can be sure no one else will get them the same thing. Check out Goodwill’s website for the location nearest you! Just remember that one man’s trash is a college student’s potential gift idea.
It’s in the name; the dollar store is a college student’s best friend when it comes to the shopping season. Obviously you get what you pay for, so you probably won’t find high quality gifts here. However, think about the dollar store as the finishing touch to your gift. Wrapping paper, bows, the whole nine yards. You might even find a cute key chain or stickers to make your gift even better. Everyone loves stickers.
Handmade the old-fashioned way:
This one is for your dear parents. They of all people should understand the financial situation you are currently in. It is certainly a great gift just to have you home for the holiday season, so why complain? It’s the thought that counts, so give mom and dad a heartfelt card made with love. Put a little humor into it and draw a picture of what you wish you could afford to buy them this holiday season.
‘Tis the season for gift giving and finishing off the semester strong!
Check out what people had to say about about shopping on a budget on Storify.
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
I grew up thinking I had family that lived in the Philippines, Guam, Orlando, Fla. and Los Angeles. Nothing more, nothing less. And I believed that for 18 years.
When the time came for my me and my parents to decide where I would be going for college, I sat them down in our living room. I had applied to colleges all over the U.S. and was fortunate enough to be accepted to most of them. It was a surprise when my parents started listing off names of family members I never knew existed that lived nearby certain universities I was accepted to. The conversation went something like this:
Parents: Oh, Seattle University? You have cousins that live there.
Parents: You have an aunt that lives in New Jersey.
Parents: NYU and Fordham? We have family in New York.
Me: Oh my goodness!
Parents: Chaminad University? We have family in Honolulu, too.
I was dumbfounded.
Nonetheless, as confused as I was at this sudden revelation of our extended family tree, I was all the more excited to go to college. Yes, I’d have somewhere to stay during breaks, I thought to myself.
Thanksgiving weekend was the first opportunity I had to stay with my new found family. They live in a town outside Newark, N.J., so I took the bus from Boston to Newark Penn Station. It was a slow bus ride, prolonged by the holiday traffic and made longer by the anticipation I felt. I was going to meet these family members for the first time. All I knew was that my dad and the woman I was meeting were cousins, and that she and her husband had three children, all around my age.
When I got to Penn Station, I nervously stood in the cold waiting for them to pick me up. I was looking for a turquoise Nissan Altima, according to my new second cousin. Once it pulled up to the pick-up area, I saw my cousins waving out the window, smiling. And with that, all my anxiety was erased. They seem like nice people, I thought.
And I was right. From there we hit off pretty well. We have similar tastes in music and hobbies, and we like to eat, as demonstrated by our appetite during Thanksgiving dinner. Apparently, they didn’t know of my existence either. My dad’s cousin (their mother) had only informed them just recently. So that became another thing we had in common.
Like every person who’s never been to Guam, they asked me what Guam was like and how I like BU. In return, I asked the similar questions about New Jersey and their schools.
There was never a dull moment during the weekend. We went out every day, whether it was to go Black Friday shopping or going to New York City for the first time—which, by the way, was AMAZING. I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and now I can check that off my bucket list.
It was quite depressing when I had to go. I knew I’d miss them badly. But I’ve already made plans to return for spring break, so it wasn’t all that bad.
So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the five seemingly new family members I gained, who took me in and made me feel as loved and appreciated as if I’d known them my whole life. Surely, lots of people have relatives, however distant, they’ve never met. Go meet yours.
By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
“Well, I can’t get mad at him/her. We were just hooking up…”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase from my peers over the past few years. It always comes as we sit down and try to untangle the mess of confusing actions that resulted from what was supposed to be a casual encounter.
It appears my friends are not the only ones trying to understand the codes and rules behind hooking up. There has been considerable focus on hook-up culture among college students. Whether it’s universally participated in or not, the term “hook-up” is familiar to most young adults. Its deliberate ambiguity allows people to describe their exploits and adventures without revealing too much about what they are actually doing behind closed doors.
In a recent article for The Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith outlined the pros and cons of the college “dating” norm. She concluded that hooking up leaves participants dissatisfied, and she questioned why students don’t require more out of each other in order to put an end to the confusing and hurtful concept.
I met up with one of my old friends from my previous college, and without thinking, we started to try to talk through it. This girl is a successful senior at a small college out in the countryside of Massachusetts. She holds two jobs, an internship and makes great grades. She admitted to participating in hook-up culture. She made some solid points about hook-up culture I hadn’t thought of.
Young people are still trying to make sense of a traditionally unconventional behavior. There seems to be a code that balances on the verge of non-commitment and insensitivity. Those who are most successful at surviving the gauntlet of hook-up encounters are the ones who are able to balance on that line. But where is that line?
“I know I don’t want a relationship,” my friend said. “If there was a guy to stay around for years, I’d keep them—friends with benefits, that’s fine. It’s not like I’m looking for multiple guys, but when they find someone else I have to, too. I’d be fine having one or two people and switching off…”
Her answer reflects the attitudes of many peers I’ve spoken to over the past few years. Most ideally want the benefits of casual, stress-free play without worrying about hurt feelings or being constrained by a relationship. But they want monogamy, or casual sex with only one person at at time, too. Because monogamy brings with it a certain level of commitment, the relationship-wary often shy away from it in order to keep their options open.
With the constant upheaval of the college school year, the endless commitments to stay competitive and the realization that a lot of change is bound to happen in at least the next five years. Before the majority of today’s college-aged students start to think about marriage, a good portion of students—65 to 75 percent, according to figures stated in Smith’s article—are or have in the past turned to hooking up to satisfy their immediate needs without any long-term machinations.
Hook-up culture is criticized for causing emotional fallout without responsibility. But many people who participate in it feel that if it is approached by both parties for what it is, without the hope of anything more, and that the risk is minimized. My friend continued and said,
“Hooking up is a power thing. It’s the power of suggestion. If they see that you can be with other people, then they know that you could be with other people. It makes them want to be with you more. You want what you can’t have, and when you have it, you don’t want it. That’s when girls get attached. That’s why I want at least two people, so when you start liking someone, you can take a break.”
Though this may come off as calloused, it’s basic self-preservation in a culture that places an emphasis on maintaining the freedom not to be responsible for someone else’s emotions (as that seems to be reserved for a relationship).
Hooking up—in all its different meanings and forms—seems to be a response of young people who have realized that the serious commitment of an adult relationship is not, at the time, for them. It seems to be the response of those who expect themselves to change in the coming years, and who can’t promise their time, energy and emotions to someone else. It also seems to be a substitute for filling the desire that people have for closeness, even when they can’t promise something long term.
Then again, what do I know? These are merely the thoughts of one of those college-aged girls backed with a little bit of research and observation.
By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
We are serial deal-seekers, makers and money-savers. We have slim wallets made slimmer by our penchant for purchasing hot pockets and Ramen at 7-11. We are college students. And where there are deals, you better bet we will find them. I’ve made it easier for you this time by exposing one of Boston University’s Facebook groups’ best-kept secrets. The “Free and For Sale” Facebook page is a public group that as of now has about 1,920 members. The title is pretty much self-explanatory. All the stuff you find on there is either—wait for it—free or for sale. The page is a forum for “fridges, futons, textbooks and tons of other stuff,” according to the page’s about section.
It keeps its promise. On the groups wall, tons of BU students write posts advertising things that they are selling, getting rid of or looking for. And they include everything. Here’s an amusing list of items being sold and requested that I saw while perusing the page:
- A Wally the Green Monster Pillow Pet
- An LED desk lamp
- A November bus/train pass
- A Wii console
- An “everything must go” closet sale
- An iPhone
- Fairy wings
- Concert tickets
- Recording services
Students offer help (and sometimes sarcasm) to their peers, either responding to their requests with offers of their own, or directing them to places where they can buy or sell what they are looking to. Most of the items on the page are lightly used, and the owners are looking to get rid of them quickly and conveniently, so they are cheaper than they would be off-the-shelf. It’s a pretty convenient way to buy or sell something, since it’s all located within the BU community. Usually, buyers and sellers contact each other via message or phone if they are interested in making a transaction.
There you have it—I just catered to your weaknesses—convenience, low prices and the allure of new crap. Have at it. If nothing else, join for the sheer amusement of seeing what people post.
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
What comes to mind when you hear that word? I see my family and friends, my room, beaches and palm trees. I could go on forever, but that’ll only make my bout of homesickness worse.
When I arrived in Boston, I thought this city was nothing short of amazing (and I still do). I guess when you’re just so enamored by new sights and experiences, you get momentarily distracted by what you’re leaving behind. When my mom left Boston for Guam after helping me get settled, I felt no pain or anxiety. I know. It sounds bad, but I see it as a sign of reassurance, a sign that I’m going to do quite well with my time and independence here in Boston.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I began to feel homesick. I soon grew tired of the dining hall food and the repetitiveness of my work schedule, and I was overwhelmed with school in general. Oh, and I was COLD.
I wanted to go home, and I somewhat still feel the same way right now. As much as I love this city, it will never replace my home back in Guam. I’m not an expert, but I believe the root of homesickness is the fact we’re missing certain aspects of home that we can’t replace in college. You’re not going to find family or your Mom’s mouthwatering fried chicken in this city, unless you grew up here, of course. The best advice I can give to palliate homesickness is to find distractions and near-replacements for home.
Remind yourself why you’re here
What brought you to Boston University? Ask yourself that question and when you find the answer, pursue it! Sometimes in the midst of all the work we’re given and the many distractions that seep their way into our lives, we tend to forget our primary reasons for being here. So, remind yourself why you came here in the first place. Take yourself back to that moment you got your acceptance letter in the mail and thought about all the cool things you were going to do here. Now do it.
Join a club
Affiliating yourself with a club can give you a clearer sense of identity and will provide you with plenty distractions. Boston
University, being the diverse institution that it is, has a ton of multicultural clubs that you can join and that’ll make you feel at home. I’m Filipino, so if it wasn’t for the Filipino Students Association, I would probably not have met a lot of my friends at BU or gotten my quick fix of Filipino cuisine.
Of course, clubs aren’t limited to your ethnicity. There are several other clubs open for you, such as sports, community service and academic societies.
Ask for a care package
Considering that we’re nearing the end of October, I’m assuming your family or friends back home should have already sent you a care package. If they haven’t done so yet, ask them to send you one (or more)! Make a list of all your favorite foods and comfort objects that you can’t get in the city. Ask your grandma to send you a batch of her famous cookies. Tell your parents to send you that stuffed toy that wouldn’t fit in your luggage or your favorite books that you want to reread. Try to recreate home as much as you possibly can.
Get out of your dorm
The city is your playground. You literally can’t count the amount of things to do in the city. Get out and do something. Pick up a new sport. Go on a tour. Go shopping. Go to the aquarium. Do homework at a park. Try not to stay in cooped up in your room all day. That place is meant for sleeping.
Call home regularly
You should be doing this already. There isn’t a valid reason why you shouldn’t be calling home. If you miss your family, chances are that they miss you, too. Do your parents a favor a call them just to check in with them. Let them know how your week’s been going and ask them how theirs has been as well. Just because you’re in college does not mean you have to sever contact with your family. It’s completely okay to call home.
I would also tell you to visit home if it’s feasible for you. If you’re extremely homesick, then I suggest you do it. But try not to go every weekend. That goes against one of the best parts of being a college student, which is to find your independence.