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Welcome!

Hello!

Hi, welcome to my blog! My name is Gretchen and I am from Virginia Beach, VA. I’m a second year Health Science student, with a minor in Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity.

Ask me any questions about:

  • The coop application process
  • Community service in college
  • Taking language classes at NU
  • Cool cafes in Boston!

I’m excited to keep you updated throughout my time at Northeastern and share why I love this school so much 🙂

Bye Bye Bye Sweatpants

I will be honest, 40 hours a week can sometimes feel quite endless. 

The transition to co-op is a weird one. About a month ago, I started my first co-op at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as the International Projects co-op for the Nutrition and Global Health Program. I was previously accustomed to having classes sporadically throughout the week, with time in between to do homework, nap, or go to the gym. While sometimes I miss this flexibility, there are also many perks to being on co-op. When I get home at the end of the day, I no longer have to stress about assignments or upcoming exams. Throughout the day, I don’t have the chance to grab lunch at Rebecca’s with friends or see them at random times in passing, but when I am home from work I have ample time to catch up, without having to make time to do homework. 

Another opportunity through co-op is the chance to get to know my coworkers. Working with a team that conducts and sponsors various research projects regarding nutrition and health all over the globe also means that everyone has had their fair share of incredible experiences and is a unique resource to gain insight into the world of both academia and global health. However, sometimes it is also crazy to me to have coworkers that are all so successful. Almost everyone in the office has their doctorate, so contributing to lunchtime conversations can be a little nerve-racking. I also find it comical being 15 years younger than all of my co-workers, especially when we talk about weekend plans and theirs all revolve around their kids and trying to find time to go to yoga class. Overall, I really enjoy working with my team and am looking forward to getting to know them over the next five months.

Another major aspect of co-op that I have had to get used to is the lack of sweatpants. Sometimes, especially when it’s a snowy, cold morning in January, it is completely disheartening to have to put effort into my appearance. Tragically the days of waking up at 9:00, rolling out of bed, grabbing a granola bar, and heading out to my 9:15 class are over. On the flipside, sometimes putting on “real people clothes” can at least make me feel like I am slightly more on top of it and together than usual.  

Although the transition can be a strange one, there are both pros and cons to being on co-op. I truly am thankful that I go to a school that places such importance on experiential learning, because it is not often that you get to test out a career for a six-month period to help decide if it is something that interests you. A month in, I am still excited by my co-op, but definitely think I now have a better idea of what I want out of future co-ops and jobs. I am hopeful that the next five months are beneficial and insightful, even if it means a lack of time spent in sweatpants.

A Collective Haul of Study Spots

In the spirit of finals, I decided to compile a list of my favorite places to study on and around campus. If you’re like me, then studying in a silent library is not the most ideal location to do work. So hopefully this list contains some insight into other study spots around Northeastern.

Spots on campus:

  • ISEC (Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex): Arguably my preferred spot on campus, ISEC has a great atmosphere and open layout that always help to channel my productivity. With six levels that each have multiple studying spaces, it is easy to find a place to set up shop. If eliminating noise and outside distractions is the goal, the bottom floor also has fun, egg-shaped pod chairs that do a good job of blocking noise. Cafe Strega is also located in ISEC, to accommodate any study break food necessities.  
  • Any empty classroom: Often forgotten about, empty classrooms can be ideal locations to do work with a group of friends, especially when Snell Library is overcrowded. Buildings, such as Shillman and Richards, seem to always have space available at night or on the weekends, making them good places to check. 
  • Afterhours: Located conveniently close to the Starbucks in Curry Student Center, Afterhours is a venue that sometimes features musicians or speakers. This location is fantastic for studying, as good music and coffee are both featured. The atmosphere is most similar to a cafĂ© with a calm, yet dynamic energy to it.
  • Tatte/Marino: While perhaps not the most obvious place to write an essay, something about the close proximity to all the wonderful pastries from Tatte and the active energy present in Marino creates an interesting, but productive dynamism. There are almost always tables open, unless you visit around noon on a Sunday when all the seats will be filled with the weekend brunchers. 
  • The great outdoors: In the rare event that the weather is actually warm in Boston, Northeastern has many outdoor spaces on campus to do work while enjoying the sun. 
    • Centennial Commons: A crowd favorite, Centennial Commons is one of the main green spaces on campus. Located next to Ruggles Station, students can always be found enjoying the nice weather in adirondack chairs or lounging in hammocks. 
    • The law library quad: Next to Northeastern’s law school, this quad has less traffic than most, making it a great spot to do work without being distracted by passerbyers.
    • ISEC: In the warmer months, tables are put up outside and making ISEC once again a fantastic location to do work. 

Places near campus:

  • Boston Public Library: One of the most magnificent buildings in Boston, the BPL has a gorgeous reading room filled with long tables and green lamps, making it an excellent place to study. The overall atmosphere feels much more like a museum than a library, which is why a study trip is the perfect excuse to go check it out and spend some quality time there. 
  • CafĂ©s: I have also found that cafĂ©s are great places to study, as they offer both sustenance and good atmospheres. Luckily, or perhaps not so lucky for my bank account, Northeastern is located close to many great cafĂ©s and bakeries. Here are some of my favorites:
    • Farmer Horse CafĂ©
    • Caffè Nero
    • Caffè Bene
    • Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop
    • Pavement
    • Render Coffee
  • The Prudential Center: Another location off campus that is perfect for studying is in the Prudential Center. Although sometimes busy with frantic shoppers, there are lots of spots to sit, making it a nice place to get off campus and get work done without going too far. 

In conclusion, one should never feel limited by Snell library or dorm room common spaces. Northeastern is filled with great study spots, and is in close proximity to a wide variety of locations in Boston that will cater to all studying needs. 

Only at Northeastern

October 19th. 9:00 pm. Speare Plaza.

It is absolute madness, but it’s also one of the most iconic events of the year: The Underwear Run!

There’s a few things that scream Northeastern: the lunch rush at Rebecca’s, the Doghouse/student section at hockey games (that one physically screams Northeastern), and the annual Underwear Run!

Last year, I passed on this classic event, but after watching a massive swarm of students only in their undergarments, I decided I could not miss out again. So this year, I joined the madness! This tradition has been occuring at Northeastern for the past 14 years and to describe it as madness is honestly a bit of an understatement. If the prospect of storming the streets of Boston at night in minimal clothing at all intrigues you, then I highly recommend participating.

First, the runners form a mosh pit in Speare Plaza — complete with a DJ — where everyone participating gets hyped up and dances together. Then, once the enthusiasm has reached an acceptable level, the run commences and students proceed to the course. The enormous flock of runners take over campus, running past some of the most iconic spots, including Snell Library and Centennial Common. 

After passing through the West Village Quad, runners move on towards Huntington Avenue, where the Northeastern Police Department shuts down the street to traffic, so that students can take over. My favorite part was definitely running on Huntington all the way to the Prudential Center, where we passed by stopped cars filled with confused, yet amused drivers, many of whom l rolled down their windows to get a better view of the event. I high-fived many perplexed onlookers who, despite their confusion, still cheered us on. Continuing past the Prudential Center, we made our way down Hemenway Street and eventually made it back to Speare Plaza. Somehow throughout the entire run, I managed to not get separated from the majority of my friends, which was quite the feat. Even though the running stopped, the hype lived on and we rejoined a newly formed dance party occurring in Speare Plaza yet again!

Although it was a bit chilly at first, the entire experience was absolutely electric, and I can’t recommend it enough! I think I now have a new favorite Northeastern tradition!

An Andean Adventure

While it’s understandable that some might not want to spend their spring break digging a giant hole, I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy my first spring break at Northeastern! This past March I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Ecuador on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and volunteer with the Tandana Foundation. We spent the week in the highlands of Ecuador and worked with the indigenous community of MotilĂłn Chupa to dig a water reservoir system. 

Some of the challenges:

  • No showers for a week: While not the most “appealing” aspect of the trip, not showering for a week definitely brought me much closer to my 10 other team members!
  • The language barrier: Perhaps one of the biggest challenges (but also my favorite aspect of the trip) was the language barrier. Not only was the Spanish language barrier present, but additionally the community members speak Kichwa, a language indigenous to the highlands of Ecuador. While communication was more challenging, I also learned words in a language that I previously never knew existed.
  • The length of the trip: ASBs only last a week, and this was perhaps the biggest challenge of the whole trip. At the end of the week, everyone wanted to stay longer because our time in MotilĂłn Chupa had been so special. 

Some of the highlights:

  • The community: The warm and welcoming community of MotilĂłn Chupa was probably the best aspect of the trip. Playing with the kids and talking with the adults of the community was always fun and I learned so much from them.  On multiple occasions, members of the community cooked us meals and went above and beyond to welcome us. They let us into their homes and taught us some of their traditions, including how to make queso fresco (which involved cow milking lessons)! Their generosity made a lasting impression on me. 
  • The views: The community of MotilĂłn Chupa is situated high in the Ecuadorian Andes, which in my humble opinion might just be the prettiest place on earth. Waking up every morning surrounded by spectacular nature was an incredible experience and a welcomed change from city living. 
  • My team members: The ASB experience has been my favorite memory from Northeastern so far. Not only did I become close with the community members, but the bonds formed between my team members and I that week have proved to be lasting. Working alongside others towards a goal that is much bigger than yourself is very rewarding and a unique opportunity to make friends. 

Even if I was a little gross after a week of digging mud and not showering, ASB was an incredible opportunity and something I would encourage every Northeastern student to apply for.  It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and learn about a different community, while making friends along the way!

Unique Classes at Northeastern

Are you interested in a future medical career serving Spanish-speaking populations? Curious about how to say bunion in Spanish? Perhaps you are looking to up your Spanish “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” game? If so, say no more. Northeastern offers the perfect class for you!

This semester, I enrolled in Intermediate Spanish 1 for Healthcare Professionals. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to at least expand my Spanish vocabulary along the way. Having not taken a Spanish class since high school, I was especially worried about how I would fare during the lesson; however, immediately upon entering the classroom, the professor made me feel at ease and created an environment where I felt very comfortable participating. She was also very conscious of including every student in conversations, which immediately created a collaborative atmosphere. Within the first class, I learned numerous parts of the body, plenty of medical terminology, and a handful of diseases in Spanish for good measure. In addition to learning extensive vocabulary, in every class we expand on grammar and get the chance to practice medical situations, such as doctor and patient interactions. Outside of the classroom, we reinforce lessons we have learned through weekly blogs, where we write about different healthcare topics in Spanish, such as dietary norms or healthcare differences in hispanic countries. 

Prior to taking the class, I was very unsure of what to expect, but I am thankful that Northeastern offers language classes that have such a targeted and practical purpose. Some of my classmates, such as nursing or biochemistry majors, are particularly excited to put the information from this class to use during their future clinical co-ops. As I am interested in doing public health work at an international scale, I know that learning diseases and health issues in another language will be very relevant in my future career. 

Thanks to this class, I can now conduct a basic physical exam, understand different health emergencies, and contrast healthcare systems in another language. So whether you are just trying to add to your reservoir of random words you know in another language, or you have relevant career aspirations, I cannot recommend Spanish for Healthcare Professionals enough!

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