“For Boston, for Boston, we sing our proud refrain! For Boston ’tis wisdom’s earthly fame!
For here are all one and our hearts are true….”
Dear class of 2022, congratulations on all of your achievements. High school might’ve been a roller coaster but as BC’s new class, all of you have earned your spot in this university, so give yourself a pat on the back.
As I’ve completed my first year at BC, I believe that I am completely licensed and experienced enough to give you ten sound ways in which you can prep for year one at this prestigious university.
Take a look at what 10 tips for Boston College freshmen.
1. Issa PWI (Predominantly White Institution)
This “private Jesuit Catholic research university located in the affluent village of Chestnut Hill” classifies as “very white.” The demographics as the school have compiled shows a report that over 60 percent of the school’s population consists white students, 10 percent Asian, 10 percent Hispanic/Latino and four percent Black/African-American. You may ask, “Why should I care and how should I prep for something like this?” Well, BC like many other prestigious institutions in this country celebrates “diversity” in terms of race and ethnicity. As a black woman on campus, I wish someone had told me how difficult it was to navigate certain spaces that I did not feel comfortable in or overall related to. Essentially, prepare to come open-minded and realize that the word “diversity” doesn’t just mean having a black girl in a photo-op. Have intellectual conversations—trust me, it saves lives.
2. Money Don’t Grow on Trees
Evidently, this challenging school with so many resources yielded a lot of successful alumni and other wondrous accolades. Always ask your teachers, faculty or anyone that you trust for help with anything that you need. If you qualify for Montserrat make sure to frequently visit the office. You’ll find that a lot of minorities benefit so much from their guidance. Also, if you identify as AHANA (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American), check out the BAIC office, Learning to Learn office and other organizations that you’ll eventually join at BC for the extra support. You’ll always have people genuinely willing to help out if you reach out to them.
3. Majoring in Indecisiveness?
I’m not trying to scare anyone—you do have time to figure out what you want to major in. I did not declare my major until April and didn’t declare my minor until the second to last week of school. Most students come into BC as either a biology, poli sci or econ major. Like mentioned previously, teachers at BC don’t hand out A’s. As you already can imagine, academic life at BC can get pretty hard, which results in some realizing that they don’t want to pursue their first-choice field anymore. Don’t fret. The world does not stop when you drop your first major. I definitely encourage indecisive people like myself who struggle to choose what to even eat to try different classes that seem captivating and eventually, you’ll soon find your passion.
4. Keep Calm…but Your GPA Lowkey Matters
I know I know, you’re probably like, Didn’t she just say to not worry because I have time?” Yes, I did, but also remember how in high school your GPA mattered. The same applies to college. And now with all the extra freedom, you’ll have to dictate how to maintain your grades. Focus on your grades because it will look really good when internships, jobs or even some spontaneous programs began to search for qualified high achieving students. Take note that GPAs dictate whatever internship or possible graduate schools you’ll get into. But, as BC sophomore Jonathan Ng said, “It is important to not revolve your entire identity around a number, but rather take steps in other ways to find your self-worth on campus, while also contributing to your academics.” Stay on top of your work, take a quick pause, then continue back to grinding.
5. Weather You Like it or Not
Brace yourself for the most chill winds that will hit you during the winter time. The amazing colorful sunsets, on fleek golden hours for selfies and even snowy days will make you happy. However, don’t be fooled—it’s hella cold. BC sophomore Sixto Taveras said, “Thermals come in clutch especially when the weather hits under 20 degrees. Boots are also a must.” You should definitely invest in some Uggs, Timberlands and, of course, the basic but awesome L.L. Bean boots. Hopefully, Father Leahy decides to award us hard-working students with a snow day, but if not with those wears and some layers, you’ll survive those incoming snowball fights.
6. Books? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!
Just kidding! For some reason (affluent student demographics), BC books are super expensive and that feels unfair for those who cannot afford it. Montserrat really helps those individuals with high financial aid need. Before spending bank on books ask your professors if they can loan you the book for a much cheaper price. Sometimes, they’ll probably let you borrow it during the course of the class. Also consider splitting the cost of the book amongst your friends that you share the class with—you can save tons of money. Before going to the bookstore, check Facebook groups, Amazon and other resources that have discounts for students.
7. “Service, Arrupe, BC Bigs… Service… Giving back… Men and women for others.”
I can bet you right now that there won’t be a day that passes by at BC that you won’t hear one of those phrases and many more. BC has over a 100 different clubs and activities that you can partake in such as the Emerging Leaders Program, BC Bigs, different dance groups like Presenting Africa To U (PATU), F.I.S.T.S., Sexual Chocolate and more. Every year on the first Friday of the school year, the school holds an involvement fair with many different clubs to explore. You can even try out to be Baldwin the Eagle. Whatever you decide, take advantage of the fair and don’t get scared to ask questions.
8. You Woke or Nah?
By now everyone should know or have seen the word “woke” displayed around social media. As a Muslim Black woman, a.k.a. a “minority” on BC’s campus, I wish someone had told me when coming to BC that not a lot of people understand or care about how racism, colorism, xenophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia and other factors can critically affect the mental state of a person. Boston College Sophomore Dani Rowe said, “Some people did seem to become aware of the racist tendencies, but we definitely need more of it.” Every single year, there is a rally of some sort because some insensitive, problematic person decides to traumatize/terrorize others because of their sexuality, skin color or whatever reason they feel the need to. Make sure to really learn something new every single day about emotional intelligence, bullying, and understanding having diverse relationships. Respect people as a whole and embrace your differences.
9. BC, You Call That “Food?”
This will be a lot to digest, but let me tell you about college food. If Upper, Lower, Stuart, Hillside or the Rat has a “special” themed dinner that may look good, don’t fall for it. The food can get pretty expensive and tastes bad anyway. You’ll always miss your families cooking. Unless you live around the Boston area to get some food at home or live in 2K or senior housing with an oven, you may not see great food on your menu. Downtown Boston has plenty of places to go out and eat. Or you can order food (always ask about student discounts). Too lazy or broke to dine out into Boston? Don’t worry—the steak and cheese and guava passion fruit juice will satisfy your hunger needs.
10. Work smart and always find joy in what you do
Live your freshman year to the fullest. If you live on Newton, you might have lucked out waking up for classes, but Stuart’s food makes up or the distance. BC has a lot of fixing to do, but I believe every individual has the power to make a change. School can really be challenging at times, but always remember that you were accepted at Boston College because you have all the power to make a difference.