Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More about BC Professors

Hello everyone;

Courtney's post below does a great job of explaining how the professors here at BC are really top-notch. I just wanted to add my own story about how the professor-student relationships here have affected my education.

First, I should begin by noting that I was originally solely a Political Science major. How I came to add English as my second major is the subject of this blog post.

I was always good at English in high school - I took AP English Language when I was a junior and AP Literature during my senior year. I liked writing, but I wasn't sure I wanted to continue with it as much in college; I thus declared my Political Science major and assumed that my English career was all but over.

Fast forward to sophomore year here at BC. I took a literature course called 19th Century Irish Literature with Professor James Smith (of the English & Irish Studies departments). The class was structured around 2 essays and a final exam. When I turned in my first essay, I expected the grading to work just like in high school: the teacher/professor running through my paper with red pen and handing it back in due time.

When I did get my essay back, I was happily surprised. Professor Smith wrote a writeup of my essay (essentially an essay about my essay), complete with detailed analysis of what he thought I did very well along with what I could improve to become a better writer on the college level. I went to Prof. Smith's office hours (which all professors have) to discuss the essay; we talked for about a half-hour about writing.

As a result, I became a better writer, and wrote better for all of my English courses. More importantly, I rediscovered how much I loved the English language, spoken and written. With that in mind, I declared English as my second major and haven't looked back since.

Everyone at BC has a story like mine - that of a professor who went the extra mile and made their experience at BC richer. Professors who care about undergrads are truly the rule, not the exception, here at BC.

Brennan Harkins
BC A&S 2011
harkinbr@bc.edu

Monday, July 20, 2009

Professors Will Pump You Up!

Before I begin my next blog, I should probably introduce myself, as I failed to do so in my first entry—I was just too excited to write about my experience in Paris that I forgot all about it! My name is Courtney Kipp, and I will be a senior this fall in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am pursuing a double major in French and Theology, and I’m originally from North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Even though it’s summer and you don’t see them as often, there are still professors who, like us summer student employees, can’t seem to get enough of Boston College. Upon running into my Theology professor and adopted advisor Professor Kilcoyne last week, I began reflecting on my experiences with my professors during my past three years at BC. Many of them have had a profound impact on my academic trajectory, and their involvement in and care for their students’ lives make BC professors one of the school’s best assets.

Upon arrival at BC, every student receives an academic advisor in his or her major. The advisor gives the student his or her registration code and offers advice as to which classes to take and whether or not the major is right for the student. For double majors, students only have an advisor in their primary major, or the major listed first on their degree audits. Since French is my primary major, it was up to me to find a professor in the Theology program to give me advice. Luckily for me, when I came to the Admitted Students Day at BC in April of my senior year of high school, I went to an informational session about the Philosophy and Theology programs given by Professor Kilcoyne, a prominent professor in the Theology Department. He spoke about the Theology major and minor and introduced the 5-year BA/MA program in Theology, which allows BC students to begin taking graduate courses during their senior year and stay at BC for one extra year after graduation to obtain a master’s degree. I went to Professor Kilcoyne’s office early on in the year and talked to him about my “theological aspirations” for my next four years at BC. Before long, he had become my adopted Theology advisor, and to this day, I return to his office a few times a semester to ask for advice and receive guidance in the major.

As I enter my senior year, Professor Kilcoyne and other professors in the Theology program will continue to play a significant role in my academic experience. I have been accepted into the 5th year BA/MA program and will take my first graduate course in the fall. My senior thesis, which will combine both of my majors, will be nearly impossible to complete without the expertise and guidance of my Theology professors. No matter what you study here at BC, you will inevitably find professors who will become your mentors, advisors and, perhaps more importantly, friends. They are the ones who will shape your academic experience and not only help you make the most of your four years here but also mold the rest of your academic life. Until next time!

Courtney Kipp
A&S 2010
kippc@bc.edu

Friday, July 17, 2009

525,600 Minutes...and only 25 Dollars

Hello everyone - and welcome to Boston College's A&S blog! A brief intro: My name is Brennan Harkins and next year I will be a junior here, majoring in English & Political Science.

While I can't say enough great things about BC's academics, I'll dedicate my first post to what is (in my humble opinion) the greatest college town in America (if not the world) - Boston.

Last night, I went into the city with another one of our admissions councilors to see Rent, which is on another tour off Broadway. It took us only a half-hour or so to get downtown. Beforehand, we ate at Papa Razzi's, an amazing Italian restaurant downtown. Boston is chock full of places like this - the dining scene around here is second to none.

Rent
was playing at the Colonial Theatre an elegant performing hall on Boylston Street, right across from Boston's Public Gardens. The best part? Tickets were nearly $60 for regular patrons, but just $25 for students - and our seats were 10 rows from the stage. Boston is home to over 250,000 students and businesses of all stripes cater to us - it's awesome to be 25 and under around here.

Once the play was over, it was great to come back to our own campus - mass transportation took us right back to BC (there's actually a Boston College line on the subway). So while the city is right at our fingertips, we have our own community to come back to at the end. If you visit BC, be sure to not neglect the amazing city at our doorstep.

-Brennan
A&S 2011
harkinbr@bc.edu

Monday, July 13, 2009

Where In The World Is Courtney Kipp?

It’s been over 6 months since I returned from my study abroad experience, and I’m finally beginning to readjust to life back at BC. While I still miss waking up for my morning run to the smell of freshly-baked pain au chocolat at the nearby boulangerie and long to do my back-to-school shopping on Rue Saint-Antoine and Saint Germain-des-Près instead of Newbury Street, my experience has given me a greater appreciation not only for the beautiful city I called home for nearly five months, but also for my three and a half years at Boston College.

As a French major, studying abroad was a no brainer. I spent the fall semester of my junior year studying at the Université de Paris IV: Sorbonne. To say I was a bit nervous to leave is a complete understatement; I was absolutely petrified. Coming from North Attleboro, a tiny town just an hour south of BC, I thought that entering a school of 9,000 students was a huge step. As an only child, I’m incredibly close to my family and, before leaving for Paris, I had never gone more than a month without seeing my parents. The first week of study abroad was a challenge: my airline switched my connecting flight from London to Paris four times before throwing me onto a plane five minutes before takeoff, my luggage was lost and held hostage by the aforementioned airline until late into my first night in Paris, I couldn’t figure out Skype if my life depended on it, and my French speaking skills were mediocre at best. But on my sixth day in Paris, something changed. All of the girls in the BC in Paris program gathered at my apartment, a gorgeous, three-bedroom on the fifth floor on Boulevard Morland, located between the Marais and Bastille districts. We headed off to a club in the Bastille district just after midnight—this is all too typical of the European lifestyle and could even be considered “too early” to go out. As I danced and laughed my way into the wee hours of the morning, I began to realize why everyone raves about studying abroad.

My next few months only got better. Once I figured out my courses, I was engrossed in medieval religious history and 19th century French literature during the week. Through the lectures, papers, and discussions with my fellow Parisian students, my French drastically improved, and I found myself chattering with friends before class and understanding jokes made by my professors. I went to Mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral on a weekly basis and explored the city by foot, uncovering delicious cafés and neat clothing shops that would never be mentioned in a guide book. Outside of my circle of BC friends, I met international students from England, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, and I even began dating one of the English guys (clearly, a transatlantic romance is quite impossible, and I’m sticking with American guys from now on!). When January 9th came, I sat in my bare bedroom and stared at my packed suitcases as I tried to find a way to stay in Paris; I really did not want to return to the States. I had lived a fairytale life for four and a half months, and back in Boston, I couldn’t help but compare everything to how it had been in Paris.

In the recent weeks and months, I’ve finally been able to look back on my abroad experience in a new way. Before, I would have given anything to go back to the loud techno clubs, late nights, whirlwind romances and fascinating places, but as I spend more and more time in Boston and think about my senior year, I understand that I have come full circle. It is because of Boston College, with its wonderful study abroad programs and preparatory French classes, that I was able to go to Paris in the first place. I have grown and matured since living in and returning from Paris, and as I consider all the friends, professors, and opportunities I have at BC, I can finally say that I am thrilled to be back in Boston, and this time, I would give anything to stay here. I certainly wouldn’t turn down another trip back to Paris, but this time, I know I would be looking forward to coming home to BC.