That critical moment when you realize you’ve just entered the last summer of your academic life is daunting to say the least. Between OD2 and OD3, students get about 6 weeks of vacation time before starting summer session classes. Since rotations start in a year, it’s presumably the last “summer break” any of us will have as a student. After almost 25 years of schooling, it’s hard to imagine life without summer breaks!
It turns out my dad had already solidified what I would be doing those critical 6 weeks by announcing his visit from Taiwan. I’d be showcasing Boston’s best-dressed summer side and New York’s finest tourist attractions before we jetted back to the West Coast for a cruise trip to Alaska for 7 days. Then I would still be able to squeeze in some home-friends time for 2 weeks before heading back to Boston to start classes. If that sounds like a world-wind of things to accomplish in 6 weeks to you, then you are absolutely right! It was awesome to be able to show my dad the NECO campus. Since I also work in the Admissions office as a tour guide during the school year, I gave my best walk-through of the school grounds.
As for showing him Boston, during the months of June- August, the city of Boston hosts “Free-Fun-Fridays,” a series of open houses and free museum days on Fridays. I realize that perhaps some readers are considering a tour here or perhaps you’ve already got your interview scheduled, but you might want to think about what else should you do to get a full “Boston experience.”
I’ll list in no particular order some of my favorites for any of you guys looking for something to do while you visit NECO:
- Freedom Trail: This includes 2.5 miles of U.S. history. It’s best broken up over 2+ days to make time for museums/historical sites and get up close and personal with some of the oldest relics of our country. Grab a map and do the free tour yourself or join one of the many colonial dressed tour guides. They’re fun to just watch walking around the city, too.
- Faneuil Hall: This is part of the Freedom Trail and a historic landmark itself. It’s a great place to enjoy some food or grab an ice cream and watch the street entertainment out front. FREE tours of various parts of the Freedom Trail are also offered here by the U.S. Urban Park Service. Ask them when and how to save money during your visit!
- Boston Whale Watching: This happened to be a HIT for me as our day was gloriously filled with breaching, curious Humpback whales, but I understand that it isn’t for everyone. Bring a jacket since the temperature within the city vs. out at sea is about a 10 degree difference, minimum! It’ll cost you between $40-$50, but they give a refund if you don’t see anything!
- JFK Presidential Library Museum and Edward M. Kennedy Senate Museum: This great state was where the Kennedys called home before they headed for D.C. to serve the country. It’s a great spot to get a view of the ocean and an awesome learning experience for any history/political buffs out there.
- Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital: This location is walkable from NECO (or a short subway ride). It is the first place where anesthesia was performed in a surgical setting in America. For any medical aficionados, this place also has a FREE museum that walks through a bit of the hospital’s history along with the development of surgical medicine through the years. It’s not a huge place, but it’s quite fun for medical geeking out purposes.
- Harvard and MIT: I lump these two schools together because although they are not that close together, they are both in Cambridge (across the river from NECO) and tend to be visited together. Take a walking tour or explore the grounds on your own-either way is beautiful.
- So-Wa Open Markets and Copley Square Farmer’s Market on the weekends: Although there’s a farmer’s market in virtually every city, it’s important to experience unique local specialties while in town!
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Located 2 subway stops from NECO or a good walk, this museum is unique to Boston in that it houses a completely functioning indoor garden with numerous paintings and tapestries hung within its stone walls. You may ask yourself…am I in a castle? Take a moment by the garden and breathe in the sweet smells of the flowers in bloom before you head upstairs to check out the art collection!
- Samuel Adams Brewery Tour: FREE, but be sure to arrive early as tours stop around 3-4pm and tend to be extremely crowded on weekends. Each visitor will walk away with a glass/keychain memorabilia. Don’t forget to write your friends back home to make them jealous of your visit to NECO and the brewery via their FREE postcard service!
- The Esplanade: This beautiful park along the Charles River is located right behind NECO. It’s a great spot to unwind after a long day of interviews or time indoors. About a mile in, you’ll find the Hatch Shell, a concert stage where there are frequent festivals and free concerts (check for the weekend you’re visiting!) If nothing else, it’s got a beautiful view of the Boston skyline, breathetaking any time of the day.
After a few weeks shared between Boston, New York, and a long flight back to California, plus a 7-day Alaskan cruise with my family, I was ready to finally become a third year and enter clinic! Read more about that in my next entry.
Angela originally hails from California. She is a recent graduate of the College.