living

Surviving UMB: Professors, Campus Location, and Residency Options

May 2, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

UMass Boston

UMass Boston

UMass Boston is the type of school that can surprise new students in both good and bad ways. The only public university in Boston, UMB is currently having loads of improvements done with the goal of upgrading the campus and offering higher-quality classrooms for their A-list professors to teach in. So let me inform you on a few things: tuition, professors, the location of the campus, and living options.

First, lets talk about tuition.

As the only public school in Boston, UMB has very low tuition cost in comparison to many other schools in the area. Full time students pay an average of a little over $7,000 per semester (just under 15,000 a year). When compared to the tuition of schools like BU (about 45,000) and BC (around 47,000), this is probably the biggest advantage that the school holds over other universities.

However, to assume that UMB’s low tuition correlates with the difficulty of it’s professors might prove to be a shock upon your first semester.

UMB English Professor

UMB English Professor

From my experience at UMass Boston, the school typically has a very, very high standard when hiring professors. I think I noticed this when a buddy and I enrolled in world music, an intro course, expecting to bang on drums instead of taking tests.Turns out the professor had a doctorate in music, and not only did he know everything about just about every instrument around the world, but he could play a lot of them on a professional level. And we’re not talking about the bas guitar here, the things he could play were more along the lines of this.

He was a great teacher, but it was a reality check for me and my friend. Not even the intro-level professors mess around, so be ready to study up. This school takes pride in their teachers.

Next, lets talk about UMass Bostonand the illusion that this title might put into the heads of prospective students.

UMB is located off of Morrissey Boulevard

UMB is located off of Morrissey Boulevard

While they may advertise and even be listed as a Boston address (100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston), the truth is the campus is pretty much in Dorchester. While it’s on a peninsula of it’s own, you really don’t want to go a mile in the wrong direction off campus at night.

So, where should you get an apartment? Let’s look at the best and worst aspects of a few different areas that I’ve lived while enrolled over the years

First, the Quincy area. (Sophomore year)

The good part about this location is you can get rent a house with a few other roommates for relatively cheap money. But, I would recommend being within walking distance to the T. The busses can add twenty minutes to your commute on a bad day. We also had a huge raccoon problem, but that was entertaining more than anything.

Next, Cambridge. (Junior year)

Cambridge is very safe, and there’s a lot to do at night. However, not being 21 in Cambridge kind of ruins that aspect of living there. Also, it’s probably going to be a 45+ minute commute unless you’re willing to pay more money to be right off of the T. We also had to dodge cat-sized rats while walking up to our front door every night. Just absolute mutant rats on Gore St. in Cambridge.

Finally, The North End. (Now)

This is a pretty crazy place to live. It’s a bit of a walk to the redline, but the scenery never gets old. Night life is unreal; you’re near everything. Bad news is the rent is out of this world expensive, and the getting up to jump on a train to Dorchester every day has slowly killed my soul over the past months.

My best suggestion to younger students would be living in the place that I never did- the off campus housing (HP or the PEN). There you will be surrounded mainly by students your age who like to have fun, and the only things getting shotgunned in those apartments are Busch Lights.

 

 

How to be the Worst Roommate Ever

April 14, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

Being a good roommate is overrated. Who wants someone quiet, clean and respectful when you can live in the same 10×10 foot block with a raging hot mess? Nobody, that’s who. Bad roommates are the best material for epic college life stories. Why would you want to miss out? Read the following tips to learn how you can make the college living experience as obnoxious as possible for your roomie(s).

Arguing with the Roommate 101

Arguing with the Roommate 101

 

Focus on the senses

The most immediate way to get on your roommate’s bad list is to mess with their senses. Don’t be afraid to come off too strongly. More is more here. You’ll want to address all aspects of their sensory perceptions, including hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell. Personally, I’d go straight for the easiest one: sight. To make this work all you have to do is nothing. That’s right, do nothing. Leave your clothes on the floor (preferably on his or her side of the room). Make sure to leave your books and papers and other forms of trash laying around as well. You might also wish to invest in a couple of posters of Disney Princesses or lightly clothed porn stars, depending on your personal preferences.

The next is smell. Guys, this one is really fun. First of all, get yourself something delicious and greasy, like some chili cheese fries from your local take out place. Then, go to your room and open the box. Let it sit two minutes before you eat it, then eat and leave the box there. For extra points leave a little in there so it can grow mold later. If you’d like to be subtler put it on top of your roommate’s trashcan (note: on top. It should already be stuffed inside). This is guaranteed to violate your buddy’s nasal passageways. If not, just stick around the room until you can produce chili cheese farts.

As far as hearing goes, have a conversation with your roommate. During this conversation, subtly ask his or her favorite type of music. Then ask if she or he has a genre that they can’t stand. Once you have this information, start building several Spotify playlists of this genre. Do your research; make sure to find semi-horrible to mediocre artists. You want them to think you actually like these songs and you’re not just doing this to annoy them. Once you’ve finished, listen to these playlists all the time on your laptop’s crackly speakers. Bonus if you play it while getting ready in the morning when your roommate is still asleep.

 

Act like the room is yours

You paid for half of it so you can do whatever you want, right? Most people would say WRONG, but I say GO FOR IT. Especially at 3 a. m. on a Friday morning. I know your roommate doesn’t want to get sexiled, but more importantly, YOU don’t want to miss the chance to DO YOU (or the buddy you brought home), thus the roomie’s just going to have to deal with it. If you’re not too keen on taking such an aggressive step, I’d suggest the following alternative route (there’s always an alternative): just stay in the room 24/7. Be sure to be there when he or she is also there. If he or she comes in, DON’T LEAVE under any circumstances. Trust me, this will drive them crazy.

 

Pretend you don’t know what you’re doing

The key to making you roommate hate you is making them think you don’t do any of this on purpose. The dirty laundry, the chili cheese fries, the late night sleepovers, all of this has to seem like you were just doing what you wanted, not actively trying to irritate them (although we know it’s both). If they ask you to clean up, just say you were going to, but you’ve just been too busy. You have good intentions, you’re just filthy. It’s always better to be oblivious than to be intentionally disruptive. That way, they can’t hate you; they can only be annoyed and feel sorry for you. In any case, the best advice I have is to get a single.

by Maura

The Joys of Dorm Life: From Horrors to Hilarity

April 11, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Infographics

meanwhile-in-college

meanwhile-in-college

Living in a dorm can be stressful, cramped, messy, and even a little bit insane. However, while I’m sure we can all come up with some doozie horror stories about evil roommates, incestuous floor romances gone wrong, and super creepy RA’s, everybody’s got at least a few seriously good ones as well.

A few of my favorite dorm stories are the ones that include my freshman year floor (Boland 3) and the amazing group of floor mates I was lucky enough to get stuck with. While we all got along really well normally, we did have a tendency to play some pretty nasty tricks on each other. In fact, we often played them on one particularly susceptible friend of ours, who I’ll rename Jon for the purposes of this article. Jon is a sweet, lovable oaf and we could never resist playing a prank or two on him.

Once, some floor mates decided it would be a good idea to take advantage of a day that Jon was going to be away for several hours. We collected several rolls of plastic wrap and then, with the help of some dedicated individuals. we saran wrapped his entire room. And we were very thorough. We wrapped every individual item, including wrapping his mattress before remaking it and wrapping up the whole thing.

Another favorite was when we gathered a few more rolls, duct tape this time, and decided to be a little more creative. Instead of going after his things, we went right after him. While he was sleeping off a potent hangover, we completely duct taped his doorway. When he finally woke up and opened the door, he walked directly into a very solid, very sticky wall of duct tape. Writing these down makes them sound a little cruel, but I swear it was all in good fun and he knew it as well.

My freshman year, we had another very interesting dorm incident. On the seventh floor of the very building I lived in, we had a very unexpected guest. Unbeknownst to anyone, there was a guy living in an empty dorm room who did not go to school at SU. Apparently, he had been jumping from room to room, crashing on different couches for several weeks until he found an empty room and decided to make it his own. Honestly, I’m not sure about all of the logistics. How he was getting in and out of the building with no ID or how no one questioned the fact that he was living on couches, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe he was local and was living with people he already knew or snagged a lost SU ID or maybe he was just a really good liar. Not good enough to get by without getting caught. When people finally figured it out, it was quite a scandal. Syracuse Police and SU Public Safety were called, and despite the RA’s attempts at crowd control, nothing could have stopped the flow of insane rumors flying around that dorm.

Oh the joys of dorm life! So much potential for fun and so much more for disaster.

dorm cooking

dorm cooking

Dorm Life: It Can Get Pretty Interesting

February 8, 2014 in Campus Life

Freshman year, right before you head off to school, it seems like all anyone can talk about is how great it is that you’re going to be getting all of these new experiences. You’ll make memories that you’ll have for life. At least that’s what the people I know told me and it’s true. I feel like I have some great stories to share now about roommates, floormates, and dorms in general. Though, I have to admit, a story that can sound funny now wasn’t so great to live through. Freshman year was a very interesting experience.

I’d like to tell you all right now that dormitories have thin walls. Very thin walls. Whenever I’m out in the hallway I can hear people talking in their rooms and I can nearly always hear when my suitemates are talking. Freshman year, the worst place to have a conversation was definitely the floor bathrooms-speaking in there meant everyone up and down the hall could hear you. That meant if you liked to sing in the shower, you did so at your own risk. It still seems like there are people oblivious to the fact that they’re serenading the entire floor or at least a handful of random strangers. Then, perhaps worse, was the fact that late at night (or early in the morning, if you’d prefer to look at it that way) my neighbors would have conversations out in the hallway. No, very personal conversations should not be had in the middle of the hall. I know way too much about some people now.

This year my experiences have been equally as memorable. Like the time my friend and I were stuck on an elevator for half an hour and decided to play Disney charades to pass the time, only to be told by our rescuer that he almost hadn’t heard the call to save us and might have taken a lot longer to get there! Everyone always talks about how the elevators are unreliable and forever getting stuck but you’ll never believe it’s going to happen to you. Trust me, it will. My freshman year experience with an elevator was slightly more terrifying because the elevator didn’t align with the floor right and the door opened. My friend didn’t look before stepping out and ending up tripping on the floor we were trying to get out on, because the elevator floor was a foot lower! We got out of there pretty fast.

I only have one more thing I’d like to touch on. I don’t think any college has a perfect dining hall. Not that I can really complain. But you’ll soon learn that events with free food (usually coming from outside the school!) happen all of the time in dorm lounges. At the College of New Jersey I know that these events or presentations are often open to anyone. Even if you don’t think you’d be interested in whatever is going on, you might learn something new (and, chances are, you won’t have to stay for the whole thing and you’ll get that pizza or pasta you’ve been craving).

Dorm at The College of New Jersey

Dorm at The College of New Jersey

No Boys Allowed?

April 20, 2013 in Campus Life, Colleges, Love

Every college is different and is unique in their own way. Every school has different values and many different people from all over the world, yet they all somehow come together to make up the specific culture of that school. That being said, every school its good and bad aspects. What you do with those things you may not like is up to you.

I believe that one of the most controversial aspects of my school is this rule called “Open Hours.” 

To define open hours at Vanguard (because yes, this rule exists at other schools too): The hours and days in which the opposite sex can be on your floor/in your quad/room. On top of that, you must keep the door open.

Every time I tell someone about this rule, I always watch their facial expression. Most of the time, they gasp with their mouths open wide, appalled at the idea that the opposite sex is not always allowed in your room.  I remember one of my best male friends saying, “I don’t know how I would deal with that!” because at his school, he used the lack of time limits to get to know the girls living around him.

Limits on the opposite sex in college is a hard concept to grasp when the media has socialized us to think that drunken hookups with whoever we want in college is the norm. However, not everyone wants that for their college experience. Yes, there are still people here that despise that rule, but they chose this school and they deal with it. That is their fault for choosing this school if they hate it that much. Despite that, there are still so many positive aspects to having a rule that limits the opposite sex in your dorm:

  • You don’t have to constantly worry about the opposite sex being on your floor
  • Like the previous one, you are free to walk around in your underwear without being considered indecent (the 7th floor girls at my school take full advantage of this rule during finals week when they streak the freshman girls’ dorm)
  • You don’t feel obligated to clean or do anything to impress the opposite sex! (I know some guys may feel this way as well as girls)
  • You don’t have to worry about running into your roommate with someone of the opposite sex in the middle of the night
  • You don’t have to worry about hearing your neighbors doing something inappropriate next door (Thank God!)

Those are only a few of the advantages of having the open hours rule. Many think that it hinders your college experience but quite honestly, college is what you make it out to be. It doesn’t have to mimic every single college movie out there. In fact, just the open hours rule alone automatically makes your college experience drastically different from what is portrayed in the movies. You can either fight it or embrace it, that is completely up to you. For me, I will continue to embrace it as I think it is a great rule for everyone, single or in a relationship. It takes a lot of pressure off to bring them to your room or whatever the other pressures may be.

Two friends of mine hugging it out in her room after fighting over a scene from “The Notebook.”
Source: Kriselle’s Facebook