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A Beginner’s Guide to Beantown

Disclaimer: Please read with caution. This article is meant to be a satire. The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the author’s or TRBC’s feelings toward or position on any of the topics covered below, because obviously no one needs a guide to Boston, it’s filled with the nicest people you could ever encounter, and they’re always willing to pause for a moment to help you out. 

Having been born and raised in America’s heartland, Iowa, I had quite the transition when I moved across the country last September. Of course, there were the obvious obstacles, like the fact I couldn’t go home very often and that people call pop “soda” here, but I truly wasn’t prepared to live in a metropolis like Chestnut Hill.

cleveland circleWhen I was at orientation the realization set in that I’d have to find something to do on the weekends other than tip cows, and I was embarrassed to realize that I was the only person who took corn supplements. Although not being able to ride a tractor to class has been quite the adjustment, I’ve been lucky enough to explore the city of Boston a fair amount. I’ve developed an extensive knowledge of Boston, or “Beantown” as the locals call it, in a short time, so it seems logical to pass some of that on.

First and foremost, you’ve got to start speaking like a local. Nothing says, “I’m not from here,” like someone who fails to use “wicked” in at least every other sentence. Seriously, don’t make the same mistake I did. Locals also may have trouble understanding you if you pronounce “-er” traditionally instead of the more Bostonian “-ah.” I recommend watching Good Will Hunting for an example of how most Bostonians talk.

Additionally, while people are incredibly friendly here, they aren’t the brightest. If you’re in a less-educated area like Cambridge it’s really just good manners to speak slowly and check people’s math and spelling. When in doubt, it’s always easy to start a conversation with someone about how overrated Tom Brady is and how terrible Dunkin Donuts tastes.

As for eating off-campus, well, let’s just say that there’s a reason the BC bubble exists. It honestly doesn’t get much better than Chinese at Mac, and Boston simply doesn’t have many good restaurant options. If you must venture off campus, I’ve found that it’s best to stick to what you know and take the T to your nearest Subway, but the Cleveland Circle Chipotle offers authentic Mexican and is a great option for the more adventurous.

Whatever you do, stay away from the North End. Most restaurants there are a sad excuse for Italian, and truly don’t compare to the authenticity of Olive Garden that I’m used to.

mbtaThe weather in Boston is consistently nice, so I typically opt to walk into the city, given Chestnut Hill’s convenient location near downtown Boston. Public transportation was definitely a foreign concept for me when I moved here, but so far I’ve been incredibly with the reliable and efficient MBTA. Any upperclassmen will tell you that the B line is by far the fastest route into the city, so don’t bother with taking the bus to Reservoir. Of course, if it’s a busier time at night or if there’s a snowstorm, Uber is the way to go. Sure you don’t exactly know “Louis,” but he has a three star rating and lets you use the AUX cord, so you’re probably good.

When it comes to exploring the different areas of Boston, I’ve found that the Allston and Fenway/Kenmore neighborhoods surrounding BU are the place to be. Be sure to take in BU’s gorgeous setting along Comm Ave. and don’t forget to wear your BC apparel, because they absolutely love BC students around there! In fact, if you cite the difference in BU and BC’s rankings on US News, many restaurants will give you a discount. Of course, if your parents are in town and you want to show them the sights, head straight to Dorchester. It’s a perfect example of all Boston has to offer with its immaculate streets and quaint cafes.

Now that you know basically all there is to getting around Boston and interacting with locals, it’s important that you don’t let that wisdom give you any silly ideas. Remember that Boston will always fall short to New York and is in no way capable of hosting the Olympics, but that’s not to say it’s not an incredible place to spend 4 years of your life. Here’s to Beantown and all it has to offer: mild winters, stellar drivers, and mediocre sports teams!

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