One of the reasons I decided to come to NECO was its location in the heart of Boston. Having attending Boston College for 4 years, many of my friends and family asked if I really wanted to commit to staying in Boston for 3-4 more years. There was never any hesitation when it came to this question because I knew that there was much more of Boston I still wanted to see. Besides, being nestled in the beautiful and safe neighborhood of Back Bay, NECO is a quick T ride or walk away from the best food and attractions in Boston.
This past year, I tried things that I had never had the chance to do while I was in undergrad. For instance, I went to my first improv show last weekend and I’ve been setting up my hammock by the Charles River on sunny days! I even went to a free, outdoor performance of Romeo and Juliet in the Boston Commons a couple weekends ago!
With the Class of 2021 joining us next week, I’d like to encourage the new first years to take advantage of September and enjoy their new home! September is not only a great month to develop efficient study habits and get into a routine, but also to take advantage of Boston’s gems before the workload picks up! The following are some of the things that I checked off my bucket list last Fall.
- 3 avocados for $2? Raspberries and blueberries for $3? These great deals can only be found at Haymarket, an outdoor farmer’s market that opens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They always have a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables at prices you won’t find anywhere else, even at Trader Joes! It’s accessible by T, or alternatively, it’s a 35 minute walk from NECO. I highly recommend the walk if you want to see some of the most touristy locations Boston has to offer, including Boston Commons, the Massachusetts State House, Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall, and Boston Harbor. Remember, it’s cash only! http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/haymarket-boston.html
- Free Kelly Clarkson, Blondie, and Andy Grammer concert! This is not a drill! Every year on the Esplanade at the Hatch Memorial Shell, MixFest takes place. Last year, Ingrid Michaelson, OneRepublic, and Shaggy came to perform. The concert is on September 16th at 2PM (the gates open at 11AM). Grab some friends and get there early to find a good spot on the lawn. Hatch Memorial Shell is only a 15 minute walk from NECO. http://mix1041.cbslocal.com/guide/mixfest-2017-faq/
- Beer with soft pretzels, and neon swings! You can enjoy both when you plan a day in Boston’s Seaport area. Harpoon Brewery offers $5 brewery tours (you get to do a beer tasting with your ticket) and afterwards, you can find a spot in their beer hall to enjoy some delicious soft pretzels. Walk off the pretzels by walking to the Lawn on D! If you haven’t already seen the pictures on Instagram, the Lawn is known for its neon swings, but it also offers lawn games, live concerts, and food concessions. https://www.harpoonbrewery.com/breweries/boston https://signatureboston.com/lawn-on-d
- $9 Red Sox tickets! As grad students, we qualify for $9 tickets to certain games at Fenway. When you fill out their online form (see the link below), they’ll send you notifications when there are available tickets. With Fenway being a short, 15 minute walk from school, a game is the perfect way to end a day of class and lab. https://securea.mlb.com/bos/ticketing/student9s-form/
- Come home with a new painting or terrarium! If you’re still looking for ways to decorate your new apartment, look no further than Paint Nite and Plant Nite. Groupon is currently offering a $25 deal (normally a $45 value) to channel your inner artist or to put your green thumb to work. It’s a great way to have a night out with friends and to come home with a work of your own. My roommate and I have our Paint Nite paintings displayed in our entry way!
- Get a library card at the Boston Public Library (BPL) and study in the outdoor garden. With your library card, you can borrow new movies and books, as well as audiobooks and ebooks. I love borrowing ebooks and reading them on my iPad on the weekend when I need a break from school work. You can even get free tickets to Boston museums, including the Aquarium, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and more! Getting a library card is free and can even be done online! Make sure you check out the BPL located on Boylston Street (a 14 minute walk from NECO) at least once this semester. There are plenty of study spaces and outlets, and there’s even an outdoor garden area that has seating. There’s one table in the garden that is located right next to an outlet; finding it was a total jackpot for me because I hate losing a sunny, warm day to studying. http://www.bpl.org/general/circulation/borrowers.htm
I’ve only listed 6 of the many things that Boston has to offer, but I hope that this provides a good starting point for ways to explore the city. September is an exciting month for NECO events as well, including NECO Olympics, the Welcome Back Barbeque, and the Welcome Back Social. Look out for more information on these events in your emails!
Wishing the Class of 2021 the best of luck as they start their first week of classes! My best advice is to take studying seriously, but also consider the importance of familiarizing yourself with the city and developing friendships with classmates, because it’ll make Boston feel that much more like home!
Hannah is a second year student who is originally from Rochester, NY. She is a 2016 graduate of Boston College, where she studied Behavioral Neuroscience and minored in Medical Humanities. Some of her most formative experiences at BC include volunteering weekly at a children’s hospital, traveling to Nicaragua on a service and cultural immersion trip, and studying the neurobiology of eating and eating disorders through an undergraduate research fellowship.
Hannah's decision to pursue optometry wasn’t completely made until the summer before her senior year at BC. Despite this relatively late start, she believes that her Jesuit education at BC has cultivated a deep sense of social responsibility to serve communities as an optometrist, perhaps by participating in vision science research adapted towards treatments for rare ocular conditions or by providing basic eye exams to underprivileged communities in the US and Latin America.
She is thrilled to be spending another 4 years in the historically rich city of Boston, but this time, as a graduate student and living in the heart of Boston with 2 other roommates! She cannot wait to see where the next four years at NECO will lead her, as well as her classmates in the class of 2020!