I began my romance with Boston when I participated in a program called Common Ground the first day I was in town. The program was created in reference to Howard Thurman, a world-renowned educator, a philosopher and a poet and Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965. Thurman spent his life working to break barriers of divisiveness that separate people based on race,culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity. He wanted to find "Common Ground." The program had groups of 16 people [completely random, unfamiliar faces] to go around the city, locating certain points programmed into a handheld GPS. These tasks required us to use the train system around the city and become familar with Boston's diverse and historic neighborhoods. In my group I made a few of my [new] closest friends. It was spectacular.
That night, the miraculously high-energy students advisers [think camp counselors on a caffeine high] led several excursions around the city, and we were able to choose one to attend. The options ranged from a movie showing in a historical theater, an improv show and coffee night, a trip to Coolidge Corner, etc. My friends and I chose to go to the North End to sample the famous Italian cuisine. Eight of us decided to sit down in the first restaurant we saw, and it was nothing short of spectacular. We were seated by the most grandmother-ly Italian woman named Claudia and immediately given fresh bread and salad in true family style. The huge portions of pasta were almost comically gigantic but the hilariousity of the situation did not stop at the food. We were further serenaded at our table by a dynamic duo of two charmingly elderly Italian men. When we thought it couldn't be any more similar to a rom-com plotline, the owner of Modern Pastry [a very popular bakery in the North End that is characterized by long lines and mouth-watering desserts] came across the street with a platter of cannolis- one for each of us! It was unbelievable. I was already making "back in college" memories with a group of girls who I know I will remain close with in the fall. We most definitely found "Common Ground."
The next day, "real" orientation commenced. We were ushered into Agganis arena where we listened to the band play, were introduced to each student adviser and inspired by the several speakers including my personal favorite, the Provost. She taught us that Boston University is an educational facility, not a vocational training school. To educate, from the Latin root "educe" or "draw out" means to allow students to bring out their full potential in areas they never explored previously. We were divided into groups of 12 by major and were set on our way.
The student adviser of my group, Lauren, was stellar. She was fun, knowledgeable, and most of all realistic about what our new lives as COM [school of communication] students would be like. She took us to several meetings where we learned about everything from rape culture to health centers to financial planning to living arrangements. Throughout the day we were greeted by the unbelievably personable dean of students, Kenn Elmore, fed a beautiful catered lunch on the lawn of the COM school, and even scheduled into our classes for next year! I pushed myself into taking 18 credit hours and with a few AP credits an my testing out of Spanish, I am even able to take a Journalism class. After a long day of learning, spontaneous dance parties and frequent coffee stops, we were able to let loose a little at that night's festivities in the George Sherman Union. We first watched our student advisers in their self-written mini musical, which was filled with so much humor, talent, and pure wit. I was so impressed! We then went to see an improv show and an accapella performance, which showcased only a fraction of the great extracurricular opportunities BU has to offer. We stayed in the dorm that night, and I fell asleep in Rich Hall with a smile I couldn't wipe.
|my new home!|
|free cannolis from Modern Pastry!|
|the group <3|
The next day was short and sweet. We walked through the pouring rain to get our Terrier card [student ID] photos taken [frizzy hair was not even a question] and were able to sign up for club information at a miniature fair in BU central. I bought Boston Calling concert tickets, signed up for BU Hillel and applied to be on the Daily Free Press newspaper staff. After a closing ceremony complete with a video montage, a musical performance, and a handful of inspiring speeches, we said goodbyes to new found friends and made our way back to Chicago.
All in all, orientation taught me so much more about BU than I thought I knew before. It reaffirmed the fact that BU really focuses on educating students to become well-rounded, successful adults and truly values the purity of great education and interacting with great, big world. I know at this university, I will be challenged and pushed to be the greatest version of myself. I know that with the countless opportunity only BU offers, I can make myself the worldly, intelligent journalist I strive to be. It's amazing what one weekend away can do.