I know students at Boston College have only been back at school for less than a week, but I want to offer a piece of advice to students—especially freshmen:
Go into the city of Boston.
Now, I know we have just settled into our dorms, attended our first set of classes, and even completed our first homework assignments (or maybe not) as part of what is known as “Syllabus Week,” but I want you to understand that there is much more to your college experience than what is contained within the “BC Bubble.”
Although many freshmen are content with staying on campus most weekends, I urge them to explore the city that is at our fingertips and find some of the things that make Boston special.
As an editor of the Metro section of The Heights, I’ve had many opportunities to explore the city in our backyard and share my experiences with BC students this past year. What fascinates me the most about the city is not what I originally planned.
While being in close proximity to a city full of sports, fancy restaurants, and shopping malls is appealing to many people, I’ve found my own version of Boston present in more traditional aspects—its many different neighborhoods.
The North End—A traditional Boston location, the Italian roots of this neighborhood along with the old cobblestone streets make you feel like you’re in Italy.
The North End is home to the best restaurants in the city, which will be packed for lunch and dinner every weekend. This neighborhood is also home to Mike’s and Modern pastries, which are signatures of the Boston food scene.
Newbury St.—A Boston landmark for tourists and nearby residents, Newbury St. displays some of the best shopping around the world.
Whether you’re looking for the most expensive designer stores, or just want to grab a bite to eat at Trident Cafe or Trattoria Newbury, this is the place to be. You will also see street artists and musicians playing during the warmer months, and you might catch Tom Brady or Gisele Bundchen walking to their nearby home.
Fenway—Some of my favorite memories of going into the city are attending Red Sox games, especially last year when they won the World Series. Nothing unites a city more than 37,000 people singing “Sweet Caroline.” Plus, students from any of the multitude of colleges in Boston can get a student discount to games at this iconic stadium.
Harvard Square—Just a quick ride on the T over to the center of Cambridge will give you a distinct college vibe. Harvard Square is swarming with students and tourists looking to see one of the country’s oldest campuses and college hotspots.
Harvard Square also offers many cheap dining options that won’t put a dent into your new college-student budget. For those who plan to stick to Mac food, Harvard Square also is home to some great museums, including the Peabody museum and Sackler art museum.
This past summer, I found myself missing Boston and its various neighborhoods. As I was sitting in my cubicle in the suburbs of Minnesota, I felt myself longing for a run by the Charles River, a visit to Faneuil Hall, or even a chance to eat a cannoli from Mike’s.
Even though I’m just a sophomore, I believe that I have taken advantage of the numerous opportunities available to me as a student living in Boston during my first year; however, I also know many seniors who look back on their college experiences, and wish they had further explored the city they are supposed to call home.
Although the school year has just begun, my advice to you as we begin the new semester is simple:
Go explore your city.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor