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.”


How would a West Station impact BU?

Transit in the for Greater Boston may be getting a new edition, according to an article by The Boston Globe.  “West station” would fill the empty space of tracks between Boston University’s Student Village and the Charles River, putting a new stop on the Framingham line of the commuter rail.  According to a report by The Daily Free Press, Boston was recently ranked as the third best city for transport.

According to the article, “Allston has endured decades of subpar transit, cut off from the rest of the city by railroad tracks and the Pike. There’s no doubt that whatever replaces the current roadways will leave the area in better shape than it is now. But a plan that includes West Station — now, not in the distant future — is the key that unlocks the real potential of the area that could become Boston’s newest great neighborhood.”

We asked members of the Boston University community how this new station, though in the distant future, could affect the university and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

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.

Find a Photo Feature

Students in an evening journalism class looked to make a feature out of a quiet building on a Wednesday night: