By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Hello friends! I hope you all had a great winter break filled with great food and good company. Here we are at the start of a new year, time for new beginnings and new life hacks to try out.
But before we turn over a new leaf, it’s important to take a look at the past and learn from our mistakes. Why don’t we take a close look at the fall semester and rectify the mistakes we made (if you didn’t make any, good for you – but let’s be real: we’ve all made mistakes).
Here are five things we (hopefully) learned from first semester:
This does not mean simply skimming. It may get the task done quickly, but not very well in the long run. When it comes to studying, websites like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes are helpful to refresh your memory, but the only way to actually know what’s going on is to read the real deal. Don’t have the time? Try an old elementary school tip and apply it to college by reading a portion of the assignment each night. You can also make a habit of active reading by taking notes or by quizzing yourself at the end of chapters, another great study tool.
2. Monitor your party habits.
Partying is fun, I get it. The experience is unlike any other, but at the same time, don’t be that desperate freshman looking to “turn up” every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. First semester it might hard to find the delicate balance between having a social life and partying too much, but now that we’ve had a semester to assimilate, it is no longer acceptable for you to stagger into your dorm every single weekend. Instead, plan out your weekend. One night out, another night in. Your body will thank you for less toxins and more sleep.
3. Get involved.
Academics are great, and should be a huge part of your life. However, if you spent your entire first semester hitting the books, it’s time to get some fresh air. Thankfully, BU has over 500 clubs and organizations, including the Community Service Center (CSC), that you can always find something to do. SPLASH may be over, but another way to find out what BU has to offer is through this great site that lists all our student organizations. If you don’t have the time to commit to anything specific, at least make a late New Year’s Resolution to explore Boston. Go see a Red Sox Game, visit a museum, the list goes on.
4. Make an effort to keep your friends.
This one isn’t as obvious, but if you notice, your friends have been coming and going all throughout first semester. The friends you thought you would keep all four years from orientation are no longer your friends and the random kid you met in math class is suddenly your best friend. Unlike high school, you don’t see your friends every single day, which makes things more difficult. Take the time to keep in contact with people, by making a lunch date to catch up. It will be worth it in the end.
5. Social media is not that important.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. We’re all obsessed, and while we say we can stop at anytime – the truth is, we can’t. Document how much time you spend on social media everyday for a week and you’ll how bad your media addiction really is. By learning to cut back, you can increase time spent on studying and spending time with friends, and therefore improve your grades and relationships. If you can’t stop checking your social media sites, look into applications such as Self-Control (Apple) that block you from accessing those pesky sites you go to by instinct.
Best of luck in making this semester even better than the last.
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break that was ultimately way too short for my tastes. I spent mine with two crazy adorable little girls, so I can’t say it was too bad. Hopefully you all had equally wonderful vacations.
Does anyone else find it annoying that we have to come back for about two weeks? It’s honestly the worst because I can practically feel winter break, but of course, there are the dreaded finals to worry and stress over.
Instead of giving you all tips and tricks to study better (because let’s face it, if you don’t have the skills to study by now…well, good luck), I’ve been inspired to write about the name of this blog.
I find it extremely ironic that I haven’t written about actual life hacks throughout the course of this series of posts. So, without further ado, here are my top five life hacks that I think are worth mentioning:
For freshman, the only way we can even dream of getting scrambled eggs is by either going to the dining hall or going to the McDonald’s down in Kenmore. I offer you a solution that will let you stay within the comfort of your own dorm.
All you need is a coffee mug, eggs, cheese, milk, and non-stick cooking spray and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. The coffee mug is a staple you should already have in your dorm room, and the salt and pepper can be found in packets at the GSU. Yes, you’ll have to buy the eggs, cheese, and milk but scrambled eggs (I feel as though that’s enough of an explanation).
2. Make-shift TV
No TV? Never fear. This one is for those of you who have tablets, or iPhones if you can deal with such a small screen.
Remember those nifty little 3M hooks your mom bought you at the beginning of the year? Take two and stick them on the wall so that your tablet can rest on them and voila! Lay back, relax, and enjoy your favorite TV shows on your new makeshift TV.
If you don’t have the hooks, you can buy them at CVS.
3. Chip bowl
Imagine you have a bag of chips. You get to the point where you’re coating your arm in flavoring because the chips are at the bottom of the bag. What to do.
Of course, there’s a life hack for that. Simply roll the bottom of the bag so that the bag itself becomes a bowl. You can refer to this infographic for more information.
This eliminates the need to get unnecessarily dirty and the need to get a bowl. A win-win situation.
4. Fairy lights
This hack automatically makes me think of Ellie Goulding’s Lights or Peter Pan due to the whimsical look of the jars.
These jars can act as a night light for when you get back to your dorm late at night, when your roommate is sleeping. This will allow you to see where you’re going without waking up him or her up.
Take a mason jar, glow stick and diamond glitter. Cut open the glow stick into the mason jar and sprinkle the diamond glitter in it. Put the cap back on, and shake thoroughly. That’s all there is to it! This is a great alternative to the Christmas lights that most people put up.
5. Dorm-made coffee
Without the coffee maker. That’s right – it is possible to make coffee without a Keurig. Although it does seem primitive in comparison, when you’re broke, you got to do what you got to do. Am I right?
Here are the instructions. The best part? Absolutely nothing about this can get you in trouble with an RA. Get your coffee fix for cheap. You can even make scrambled eggs and have a full blown dorm breakfast.
If you do decide to try these life hacks, let me know how they go!
And there it is, folks – the last post from yours truly for 2013. It’s been wonderful (hopefully) helping you all become savvier young freshmen at BU. Have a wonderful winter break, and hope to see you all in the new year. Don’t go too crazy!
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year where Halloween decorations may still be up, but advertisements for Christmas gifts are already coming out. It seems as though some forget that we have this holiday during which we celebrate the American Indians and the Pilgrims coming together.
Honestly, I think we should be giving this holiday a bit more credit. Do we get a whole week off for Halloween? Didn’t think so.
I think we all need this break because let’s face it, some of us are losing steam and getting overwhelmed due to a lack of sleep and massive amounts of stress. Luckily, Thanksgiving is the perfect way to rest up and come back stronger than ever for the last month of your fall semester (where did the time go?). But before you go postal, here are a few things to remember:
1. Realize that you don’t have free reign
This especially applies to those of you going home to your immediate families. College is wonderful in that you can do whatever you want (for the most part) because no one is going to tell you “no.” This is your time to be young, wild and free; but remember that your parents are still your parents. Telling them that staying up till 4 a.m. and waking up at 3 p.m. is normal probably isn’t going to fly with them. Do yourself a favor and tone down the independence – they want their baby back too!
2. Adjust to your audience
For those staying with your distant family or friends, remember that they let you in out of the kindness of their hearts. Don’t take advantage of them by being a complete slob. Instead, offer to do the dishes or help cook. After all, it’s the least you can do because, think about it – they’re saving you from spending who knows how much money on BU’s vacation housing. Plus, you get a home-cooked meal. After dealing with dining hall food for almost a full semester, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that very much.
3. Be thankful
It is, after all, Thanksgiving. Appreciate where you are and what you’ve been given. You’re going to one of the best colleges in the Boston area. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so. We’re in such a beautiful place with some of the best people I’ve ever met. There are so many things to do and so many people to meet that it’s almost overwhelming, and it’s something we can easily take for granted. Take the break as a breather from BU and use it to realize all the opportunities you have. If you haven’t done much here, do something! Get pumped, you still have the rest of the semester to do something awesome.
Cheesiness aside, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great food and loved ones, whether they be your family or your friends.
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 Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
For most of us, midterm season just blew over and probably just left us under a pile of depression and sadness.
While we all want to stay underneath the covers for the rest of the semester, life goes on. Instead, we have to learn to deal with the disappointment and move past it.
No, it’s not possible to change your grade but it is possible to change the way you go about studying. Luckily, we still have half the semester to make up for it.
As usual, I have a few tips for you to make sure that you finish strong by the time the end of the semester comes around.
1. Self Control
I mean this both figuratively and literally. Studying requires self-control, as we all know. It is so easy to get distracted by that text from your crush or wash your dishes in the common room sink because they need to be washed again. Electronics will be our downfall, because the devices are just so distracting.
Luckily, there’s an app called Self Control, which lets you set a time during which you cannot access websites of your choosing (I recommend blocking the basics – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, your email, etc). The best, and worst, part of this app is that when it means x amount of hours, it means that many. If you try to turn it off to get rid of the timer, it won’t work. The only thing you can do is wait it out. For Mac users, this app is free. For you PC users, there is an app called Freedom, but it costs $10 to use so if you find that it is necessary, go for it.
2. Location, location, location
You sleep in your dorm room. You eat in your dining hall. Ideally, you should have a place to study. Kudos to you if you can successfully work at your desk in your dorm room. I, for one, can’t do that because I can’t even see the top of my desk (messy people unite) and because there are just way too many distractions in my dorm. I’m sure this applies to many of you. In my previous post, I found a couple of solid locations for studying. Wherever you are, just make sure that you can keep all distractions to a minimum.
Motivate yourself! With motivation, you’ll have a much better time completing your work and studying for tests because you’ll have a goal in mind. Whether this goal is to pass the class with an ‘A’ or grab a cheeseburger after you’re done, work towards them.
A good way to implement this is using the reward system. After reading a certain amount of pages, reward yourself with a snack or five minutes on Facebook (which is a bigger incentive than it seems).
Going off of incentives, taking breaks is a good way to recharge your brain. Staring at the same material for hours will start to strain your eyes and take a toll on your brain. Instead of going crazy studying, take a deep breath and set alarms every half an hour or so. Take a five minute break to do whatever you like and then get back to work. This way, you’ll feel refreshed and you won’t go completely batty after an intense study session.
What’s done is done, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! By taking things into our own hands, those bad grades can and will be made up.
Good luck to you all (I know I’ll need it) and happy studying!
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
In about a month or so, something important is happening.
That, my friends, would be registration.
I’m sure you all remember the excitement and disappointment of searching through all the classes, trying to find the right times and professors only to have all the spots taken by the time you registered. I feel your pain (fifth session orientation problems).
Here’s to hoping luck is on our side and that we don’t get 8 a.m. classes.
If you haven’t already seen it, there is a registration date and time based on the last number of your student I.D. Pro tip: have it memorized because you need it for so many forms (i.e. tests) and it is a pain to have to get your I.D. out every time.
I suppose someone out there really didn’t want me to get a good schedule, because I have the last time on the last day. Hopefully, you all get a better time!
As with before, don’t forget to plan your schedule beforehand so that you don’t waste precious minutes looking for classes right before your slot opens up.
As a reminder, freshmen get to start registering on Sunday, November 17!
Now, as freshmen, we usually get a bit of leeway when it comes to choosing classes. All you need is to complete credits for certain subjects; the choice in class is completely up to you. I talked to a few upperclassmen about what they would suggest, so here are a few classes you might consider taking:
1. Intro to Ethics – CAS PH 150 (4 credits)
If you need credits for philosophy, here’s a suggestion. Everyday, we perform actions that require a certain amount of thought behind them. This class deals with the morality behind those thoughts. For anyone wanting a more thought-provoking class, this will be it.
2. General Psychology – CAS PS101 (4 credits)
This is a good class to get credit for science and learn a bit more about the way humans work. It is useful for any major – be that journalism or business. Since it is general psychology, the work isn’t too intensive so you’ll get to focus more on the content than stress about the exams. This class usually has a discussion section, so plan accordingly. Many recommend taking the class with Caine, who is “very straightforward and explains concepts very clearly,” according to Kush Desai, a sophomore in CAS.
3. Magic, Science, and Religion – CAS RN 242 (4 credits)
This class usually seems to be a favorite among the students at BU. Like Intro to Ethics, this is an interesting class that makes you think outside of the box. Although magic, science and religion seem like three incredibly different topics, this class might just show you that they do have quite a few intersections and similarities.
4. Film Industry – COM FT304 (4 credits)
If you can manage to get approval for this class, go ahead and take it. If you’re iffy about the reliability of Film & TV major, this might help ease your mind. It marries both business and film into one class – the business behind the film industry. You get to learn about the inner workings about the industry, while still keeping to film.
If you have any other suggestions, comment below. I hope these have been helpful in your class hunting.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
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 Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
As of now, we’re a couple of weeks into the semester and slowly moving along. We’re slowly taking quizzes, tests and midterms. Because of this, some have been pulling a few all-nighters to keep up – or at least staying up past two in the morning watching YouTube videos while doing a write-up for that chemistry lab.
I don’t know about you, but I know so many people (myself included) who get those late night munchies.
Warren Late Nite will be my downfall.
For those select few who haven’t visited Warren Late Nite, let me paint you a picture. Imagine that you are standing next to a sign with all types of food like pancakes and curly fries (my personal favorite is chocolate chip pancakes). There are three stations and you have to pick your (fried) poison. Just as you’re about to pay, you see a rack full of chocolate and candy. A packet of Swedish Fish won’t hurt…right?
You get the point.
As usual, I am here with a few alternatives to make sure you don’t gain “Freshman 15” from all that fried food.
1. Late Night Kitchen, Marciano Commons
Yes, it is a bit of a walk if you live in Warren (quadruple that if you live in West) and yes, it does close at 11 p.m. on weekdays. However, it is quite the experience because it has a restaurant style format. This means that they seat you, give you menus and bring the food (as well as the check) to your table. If you have the time to go, I’d definitely suggest checking this place out. After all, they have Nutella crepes!
Hours: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2. Extreme Pita, West Campus
West Campus, known for its great food, has this, which serves food such as gyros in Claflin Hall. If you’re looking for something healthy and nutritious, this should definitely be your stop. Plus, if you’re looking to watch some TV, Extreme Pita conveniently has a sufficient amount of TVs for your viewing pleasure.
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Mondays-Thursdays), 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. (Thursdays-Saturdays)
3. City Convenience (located at both Warren Towers & West Campus)
I think this is one of the more underrated places to get food. There is an incredible variety (both healthy & non-healthy). There is a selection of pre-made food, fruit and microwaveable meals. Plus, you will find any drink you could ever want. These locations are usually open until three in the morning, so for any late night cravings, City Convenience will be your best bet.
Obviously, there are more places to go (i.e. Insomnia Cookies), but let’s take a stab at being healthy right?
The best part about these three places is that they accept convenience points. You’re welcome.
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!