Thursday, November 19, 2009

Italian Class

Hi everyone!

I know that a lot of students on this blog have given their personal stories about how they have been impacted by our wonderful Boston College professors, and even as a first semester freshman I can definitely say that my professors have already left their mark. One professor I can definitely say has impacted my education is Professor Brian O’Connor, who teaches my elementary Italian class.

I took French for 10 years before coming to Boston College, and I did not like it. I never really received the foundation I needed in primary and middle school to succeed in my high school French classes, and therefore I was never a stellar French student. French was a struggle for me, and so I decided that I no longer liked foreign languages and that I was looking forward to never taking one again. This, of course, was not really possible, because Boston College has a language requirement, so I knew that I would be taking some sort of language, I just didn’t know which one. I knew for a fact that even though I could take one semester of French and fulfill the language requirement, I wanted a fresh start. I chose Italian because I have been to Italy a few times and I really love the country (plus the food is amazing!).

I went to class on my first day not really knowing what to expect, but preparing myself mentally in case I was as bad in Italian as I was in French. Instead, I was greeted with a very energetic professor who made class fun and very stress-free. I can definitely say that I love going to my Italian class twice a week, and at 9am as a college student, that is saying a lot! I think what I have learned from this is that no matter what you are taking, you should keep an open mind and feel free to try new subjects, even those you might not be too excited about, and you may even get a professor who will change the way you think about a certain subject.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Ali McDonald

Holidays in Boston - Part I

Happy almost Thanksgiving! In the real world, Thanksgiving is still a week away, but here at BC students are counting down the hours until classes cease and a much needed break begins. Classes technically end next Tuesday afternoon, but some students with light class schedules are heading home this weekend. It’s hard to believe that the semester is almost over, but when we return from Thanksgiving break there will be only a few short weeks until finals and Christmas! It seems that this week, everyone either has a lot of work (my roommate) or no work at all (me). At BC, it all depends on your professors – some classes have midterms early, around Halloween, while others are just taking them this week. Regardless of test schedules though, everyone at BC is eager to get into the holiday spirit! The great part about fall semester is that there are lots of holidays to celebrate with decorations, special events, and of course, great food.

This week, lots of roommates and friends are having their own “Family Thanksgivings” where one person, or lots of people, cook a Thanksgiving dinner in very small residence hall or apartment kitchens, to feed anywhere from 4 to 17 people. Although it’s often hard to find time at BC to cook, it is one of my favorite things to do, and a really great way to chill out after a lot of tough schoolwork. On Sunday, I cooked a new Italian soup recipe, and made a pie by myself for the first time. I had some questions about my pie crust, but luckily it came out delicious.

Anyway, I have to go get ready for class, but have a great Thanksgiving, and stay tuned for more about the decorations and events for a great Boston Christmas!

Rachel Craft
craftr@bc.edu

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winter Weekends

Hi everyone!

Here at Boston College, it could be argued that nothing is more important on a Saturday afternoon than filling the Alumni Stadium student section and cheering on the football team. So, with football season winding down, what is there to on campus on weekends? Plenty! Just as the regular football season is about to end, the basketball and ice hockey seasons begin. Personally, I love ice hockey, and it is so much fun to walk into Conte Forum and cheer on the team in my Superfan shirt. Last weekend we beat Northeastern 5-1. Go BC!

If you don’t like sporting events, or even if you do, Nights on the Heights is also a great way to have fun on the weekends. Nights on the Heights is the name of a group of activities put on by students and faculty. One event coming up is the Black and White Soiree, which will be a fun black and white dance complete with fondue. Other events include movie nights and open mic nights, and all the events are free, so you can have fun without breaking the bank.

Winter also brings a new group of intramural sports, including ice hockey, basketball, and tennis. Intramurals are a lot of fun and a great way to continue playing a sport you love now with your new Boston College friends.

Until next time!

Ali McDonald

Monday, November 9, 2009

Professors

Hi all, from unseasonably warm Chestnut Hill!

As midterms (finally!) end, I thought that it would be a good time to talk about my relationships with professors, and how it’s one of BC’s biggest strengths. Yes, BC is an undergraduate research institution with around 9,000 undergrads. That said, this is not an impersonal place. It may take a little bit more effort to find professors you like and build relationships, but once established, professors become your advocate, your mentor, and a great sounding board for ideas and worries. When you first arrive freshman year, you will be assigned an advisor. If you are an undecided major, you will be assigned a professor to mentor you until you declare and become involved with a specific department. As a part of the Honors program, my first year professor automatically became my advisor. This was fantastic because he got to know me very quickly. He became familiar not only with my life goals and plans, but also with my work and personality inside the classroom. Therefore, when I had a question about choosing a course or a major, he was all the better informed and able to help. This isn’t just an opportunity for students in the honors program though – if you elect to take either Perspectives (a philosophy and theology class), Courage to Know (an English class) or a freshman topic seminar, your professor in this class will become your advisor. Whether it’s through a class or just in office hours, take advantage of the opportunity! You never know when you’ll need advice or an advocate, it’s a great feeling to know exactly who to call, email, or see.

While my relationship with my freshman advisor has continued through this year, I’ve also come to know professors from my other classes. I’m a French minor and a History major, so it’s especially helpful build relationships with professors in the Romance Languages and History Departments. I now have a new History advisor, and he has been especially helpful in advising me on major classes, helping me get overrides into classes that are full, and providing specific advice when I have questions about my history classes and history professors. Professors absolutely love it when you go to their office hours, and it doesn’t have to always be about a specific class. I’ve gone to office hours with questions about papers and homework, but also about study abroad, research opportunities, and just to say “hi”. Some fantastic and brilliant people have already shaped my BC experience.

That’s all for now, don’t hesitate to email or comment with questions!

Rachel Craft
craftr@bc.edu

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Men and Women for Others

Hey Everyone,

One of the things I love most about Boston College is this school’s mission to shape students into “men and women for others.” We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend college, especially a great one like BC. The students here really reflect the Jesuit ideologies that this school was founded upon. Students here are committed to serving others through a variety of different ways. On campus there are a number of different service organizations, clubs, and trips that are designed to help those less fortunate than us.

One of these campus groups is Appalachia Volunteers, a BC organization that sends around 750 student volunteers down to the Appalachian region during spring break. During the trip, students work on a variety of different service projects. There are also a number of international immersion trips, such as Arrupe, that give students the opportunity to learn about the reality of those living in situations of “economic, political or social marginalization.” In addition to these, there are a number of groups and organizations that focus their attention on those in need in and around Boston.

I am involved in one such program called Peer Health Exchange. PHE is an extraordinary program that trains college students, like me, to teach a comprehensive health curriculum to students at high schools that lack health education. I felt especially compelled to become involved in this program because I know how important this type of education is. Especially as these students grow older and near college-age, it is even more important for them to have the knowledge to make healthy decisions, hence the programs mission. PHE aims to “give teenagers the knowledge and skills they need to make health decisions.”

One thing I enjoy most about PHE is that I get to go into the classroom and teach teenagers who are close to my age; they are my peers. I feel that, not only can I talk more openly with them about the importance of all the things we teach in the program but they also feel more comfortable asking me questions. Sometimes it is just too hard to talk about these subjects with adults.

I absolutely love the program and feel fortunate to be involved in it. At BC, service is not a chore nor is it used as a resume builder. Students here feel strongly about helping others. There are great opportunities to get involved, and these experiences can teach you things that could never be learned in a classroom. If you come to BC I assure you that you will find yourself doing some sort of service. However, this is just a small window into the many extracurricular activities available at BC. I implore you to check out the Boston College website to learn even more about the service opportunities, as well as the various other clubs and organizations, here on campus.

I’ll write again soon,

Greg Sacharoff
College of Arts & Sciences '12