How do you handle stress at BU?

Stress in college is nothing new, and finals in particular tend to heighten than part of the collegiate experience.

At a major research institution like Boston University, students can sometimes feel swamped under the pressures of heavy workloads, particularly as many students are involved in countless other things around campus.  

Feeling prepared provides students with some comfort during the most stressful times, particularly finals.  Preparation means studying, and effective studies require study spaces.  College libraries are often a point of pride, shown off on campus tours and in brochures, but at Boston University that isn’t the case.

“Mugar is so sad that i’ve only ever studied in there once,” said Gabrielle Giacona, a senior in the neuroscience program.

Natalie Kahn, a senior in the College of Communication, had only this to say: “Mugar sucks.”  The library may seem large during the regular semester, but during midterms and finals overcrowding means getting a seat is almost impossible. “There are a ton of other libraries for students to use that aren’t promoted as much or we just have no idea where they are,” added Kahn.

No amount of studying can eliminate stress completely, so students must find a way to handle the pressure. That skill, however, seems to develop over time: “My stress at BU hasn’t been too high. I mean, maybe freshman year, but we’re all sorta garbage fires for a little bit then so I don’t really count it,” said Sean Grogg (CAS 2018).

As the years go on, students start to find their own ways to handle stress. The task does often fall to students to figure out the best ways to handle the pressures associated with college.

“I have something that helps me with stress relief all the time,” said Ben Allen (COM 2019), “I do deep breathing and meditation.”

Other students turn to comforts to cope with the associated distress that goes with stress.  

“I handle stress by spending time with my friends or calling my family if its general stress or tackling assignments as quickly as possible if its school stress,” said Lauren Rodolakis (COM 2019) “I don’t really know what BU does to help students with stress, I know they have the therapy dogs and SHS but that’s about it.”

For other students, the stress leads them to diversions: “I stress eat,” said Lucy Siegel (SED 2018), “If you’re someone who does too there are a lot of cool resources like within FitRec that you can take on how to eat healthy and fun exercise classes.”

“FitRec seemed like a popular place for stress relief: “For me, FitRec has always been a bit of a safe haven to go and destress for a bit, just because the facilities are so nice,” said Grogg.

University resources may exist, but that doesn’t mean they’re effective.  “I think BU tries to be good about stress but isn’t,” said Gabrielle Giacona (CAS 2018).  

The university does provide some resources for students who feel the stress beginning to impact their overall health, but with so many students it doesn’t always seem to be enough.  Boston University’s Center for Wellness and Prevention declined to comment, however their website indicates that they do provide “Resources on topics like stress, sleep, sexual health, alcohol, and other drugs.” Further probing on the website, however, indicated that the topics emphasized are largely regarding sexual health.

“They offer counseling services but the issue is that they aren’t advertised at all,” said Leigh Crossett, an international relations student in the College of Arts and Sciences, “and during finals week the appointments are way oversubscribed.”

Stress doesn’t just come from classes, however, “Usually my stress in college comes from the lack of support from advisors,” said Meredith Moore (SED 2018), “In such a big school it is important to advocate for yourself and what you need.”

 

In “Healthyish,” Conde Nast creates a successful social brand

Healthyish is a sub-section of Bon Appétit, under the Condé Nast umbrella.  This brand concentrates it’s coverage on simple and health conscious foods.

When first launched in January of 2017, the brand focused on sharing recipes, with other content taking a backseat.  In the year (and a bit) since, they have developed other programs and now have both a “Stories” vertical and a “Recipes” vertical on their website.

 

 

The brand is only online, though as a part of Bon Appétit their stories do find a way into print. They carry 263k followers, while Bon Appétit carries 2.2m.  Clearly, the parent company is still more popular, but because of cross promotion people are still being exposed to this new content.

Instagram is their primary tool for engagement and for promotion.  With it’s many brands, Bon Appétit does a lot of cross promotion, and vice-versa. They have also started sponsoring events and including health tips outside of those that are food specific.

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Instagram stories have become a major part of their brand, with recurring weekly segments on the platform.  The parent magazine does that same.

A critical part of their brand is also the conversational tone used in all areas — from Instagram captions to longer stories.  A particular voice unites their social media presence with their content to create a well-curated brand.

Compared to Bon Appétit, this brand takes a more casual approach, as well as a didactic approach.  Geared towards a teaching younger audience about healthy foods and unusual foods.

Combined with their voice, this attitude is helping to make Healthyish, and subsequently Bon Appétit, a successful part of Condé Nast.

Italian Roots in North End Caffés

The North End, Boston’s old-school Italian hub, is home to popular restaurants, historical monuments, and an assortment of traditional Italian caffés. The Italian influence hardly ever falters, however, with pizza and pasta and pastries in abundance.

Scattered between the lines of tourists queuing for cannolis and gelato, these caffés are serving some of the best espresso in the city, and many of them have been for years. With espressos Italian origins, this comes as no surprise.

The North End welcomed Boston’s first Italian café in 1929, when Caffé Vittoria opened its doors on Hanover Street. The shop has changed very little in the nearly 90 years since opening, only expanding once to take over the space next door, which previously belonged to an Italian travel agency.

Sprawling across four levels, the original space has hardly changed. “The floors, and most things, are original,” said Armando Reyes, the current manager of the caffé. As with any good caffé in Italy, the space also includes three full liquor bars and classic pastries.

For coffee fans, Vittoria isn’t just a place to taste supreme espresso (though the imported Lavazza beans are some of the best), it’s also like stepping into a museum. Along the first floor, shelves are overflowing with a variety of espresso pots and brewers, and the walls are lined with memorabilia and photographs.