Suffolk, Boston, and the MBTA: Information for new students

Welcome to college! First of all, congratulations on entering adulthood. In case you didn’t know, that starts right now. While some may say that the “real world” exists after college graduation, many of us at Suffolk University know that we chose this school because we are ready now. With a campus located in the heart of a major city and the likelihood that you’ll be signing a lease on your first apartment sooner than you can finish reading Game of Thrones, Suffolk is the perfect next step as you place high school firmly in your past. As a senior who is finally comfortable with life in Boston, I realize there are things I wish I had known as a freshman and some things I am happy to have learned early. For many, it is a brand new world that takes some getting used to, but the more you learn about your school, your city, and your transportation system now, the better.


1. It’s okay to change your major.

After starting out as a broadcast journalism major determined to work in sports media, I changed my major at the end of freshman year to political science, during which time I became committed to going to law school and making the big bucks. After months of political theory, comparative politics, and being bored half to death, I realized my true passion is and always has been reading and writing. I changed my major to English at the end of my junior year fall semester and I have never been happier with my classes. Although I was worried to make the change so late, everything has fallen together. If you’re unsure of your major or even if you’re committed to an area of study, remember that you’re here to explore. With a liberal arts education that forces you to study a broad range of subjects, it’s important to keep an open mind and be in tune to what you really enjoy. It’s never too late to decide. Would you want to sacrifice your happiness to finish studying a subject you hate, or stay another year to feel good about what you’ve learned?

2. Get involved right now.

The best decision I ever made in college was joining the Suffolk Journal. I’ve not only met some of my best friends on the staff, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many students and faculty members and really feel like I’m a part of Suffolk. It is important to get involved early and to start falling in love with this school now before you mistakenly feel like you’re not part of a great community here. This is not Northeastern; we don’t live in a bubble and we don’t have a green. We have the Boston Common and our bubble is the entire city. It’s easy to feel like there’s no community at Suffolk. When you get involved and learn about the incredible amount of truly excellent programs at this school, you’ll get in touch with our community and appreciate its importance.


1. Don’t spend too much money.

Just because there are countless restaurants and clothing stores doesn’t mean that you have to eat out every night or buy new outfits every weekend. Save your precious dollars for the future. There’s absolutely no harm in having fun in college, but this situation starts to get very serious after freshman year when you need to pay rent, bills, and buy groceries. Trust me. The amount of money I threw away as a freshman on clothes at H&M, or on food at the Cheesecake Factory, could really come in handy when I have to decide whether to pay the electricity bill or buy milk. Be careful with your spending.

2. The city is bigger than you think.

There is so much to see in Boston, and the best part about it is that every adventure is pretty much within a manageable distance. Besides the fun spots on Newbury Street, in the North End and in Harvard Square, the city holds a wide range of possibilities. The dock by the Charles River is a great place to sit and enjoy the sunshine, Chestnut Hill and Coolidge Corner have a lot of cool restaurants and shops to explore and the reservoir by Cleveland Circle is a beautiful area to go for a run or hang out with friends. I’ve been here 3 years and I haven’t nearly seen everything there is to see. Don’t limit yourself to having the same experiences over and over; seek out fun things to do in the city that you didn’t expect when you decided to attend college in Boston.


1. Buy a weekly pass instead of a monthly pass.

I know there’s a discounted student pass and that a monthly pass is technically a few dollars cheaper than buying four weekly passes in a month, but I say this as someone who dropped her pass at a concert only one day after spending $70 on it. I haven’t bought a monthly pass since. This is purely for the possibility of loss and my own hesitance to drop $70 on a small piece of plastic. If you’re confident that you can keep your pass under control, then by all means go for the monthly. I’m much more comfortable spending $18 at a time.

2. Take advantage of the buses.

The trains are not your only option in this city. If you can manage to figure out the buses early, they will come in handy when you need to get somewhere and don’t have time to wait for the train. There are smart phone applications with pretty accurate schedules for both, and there are paper bus schedules at Park Street and other stops that you can pick up.

Once again, welcome to Boston! Good luck here at Suffolk, and have fun.