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Commuting and Community: How to Optimize Your Newton Campus Experience

Last August, I opened my email to find the room assignment dreaded by most Boston College incoming freshmen: I was going to be living on Newton Campus. Now, I’ll confess, the initial feeling of unluckiness warranted a few tears at first, which were then followed by an endless supply of complaints. After almost three months of adjustment, however, Newton has not been the agonizing inconvenience that I had expected. In fact, I prefer to view Newton as my comforting freshman enclave, which holds a special place in my heart that I don’t think Upper Campus would have been able to, and I am determined to make the most of it as we get closer to the spring semester. Whether you loathe Newton Campus or you just want to appreciate it more, I have a few suggestions on how to carve optimism out of the typically dreaded experience. 

Appreciate Stuart Dining Hall

It’s no question that Stuart is the best dining hall on campus. It has substantially shorter lines and serves better food. In fact, the ability to walk from your dorm to Stuart is arguably the greatest benefit of living on Newton. Every time you take the one-minute walk over to Stuart, I suggest that you put yourself in the shoes of your unfortunate friends on Upper Campus who are walking to McElroy Commons. Chances are, they will be standing in a much longer line in a much more intimidating dining hall just to be served less enjoyable food. Going to Stuart as much as possible and recognizing the privilege of this experience is by far one of the best ways to appreciate Newton Campus.

Use the Commute to Your Advantage

One of the less popular benefits of Newton Campus is the way it aids freshmen into their college transition. Starting college comes with many shocking changes—from leaving family and friends to participating in more rigorous academics and, especially, to adjusting to dorm life on campus. It can be confusing for freshmen to live in the same place that they are eating, taking classes, studying, and spending the majority of their time. With Newton Campus, home life is separated from school life, so the transition into a completely new place comes a little easier. I advise you to think of the commute to Main Campus as the same as a commute to high school. You can also take advantage of the time on the bus by looking over notes before class, listening to music, appreciating some alone time, or talking with friends. This way, when you’re on Main Campus you can focus on your schoolwork, and at the end of the day, you can relax and feel like you’re coming home.

Take a Trip to Newton Centre

One of the greatest benefits of living on Newton Campus is the closer proximity to Newton Centre. Newton Centre is the heart of the City of Newton and only a 20-minute walk away from Newton Campus. Going for a walk through the neighborhoods to get to Newton Centre is always an extremely pleasant experience. On the way to your destination, you get to look at all of the charming, small-town-feeling houses while also immersing yourself in the Newton community. Whether your final destination is Tatte Bakery & Cafe, J.P. Licks, CVS, or just the Newton Centre Green, the ability to take an easy walk to a fun store is an amazing way to get out and appreciate the nearby community.

Find Friends on Newton

Chances are, if you see someone on Newton Campus or the Newton bus, they are probably also a freshman. Knowing this makes it much easier to introduce yourself to new people and make friends. If you see someone consistently, fight the urge to ignore them and acknowledge them instead. Making friends over shared experiences—especially the traumatic experience of taking the Newton bus—is a great way to bond with people. Personally, I have found that I see the same people on the bus each day because of similar class schedules. Seeing people repeatedly and making small talk with these people is the perfect way to become acquainted with more of the freshman class.

All in all, I am not immune to the negative mindset of the Newton Campus experience. Yes, the bus can be annoying and inconvenient, but us Newton kids need to band together and decide to appreciate the experience for what it is. If nothing else, it is an extremely effective bonding experience for half of the freshman class.

November 10, 2022