Local Slang: A Guide to Being “Wicked Smaht”

by Kerry Ryan

Who are the mysterious people that hang around with some Green Monster? They keep their Red Sox jerseys tucked in neatly as they mosey about with their daily Dunkins styrofoam cups. They can even be spotted throwing their Bruins caps as they yell that you are going wicked slow around the rotary. They are indeed a mysterious group, fleeing annually to their secret summer location down the Cape.

“Who are these people, and WHY do they park their cars in Harvard Yard?!” you might ask. The answer is simple: these are Boston-area locals. As a longtime member of this infamous bunch, I was unaware that I constantly use local slang, only comprehensible to other fellow Bostonians. I only became aware of how unique these terms were once I got to college, asking fellow Bentley students where the bubbler was. Not only did they not know where to find a bubbler, they also thought I was insane. For all of the newcomers to Massachusetts, here are a few local terms:

  • Dunkins or Dunks: Dunkin Donuts. NOTE: A regular coffee in Boston means much more than merely a caffeinated cup of Joe. A regular (or regulah) refers to a cup of caffeinated coffee with one cream and one sugar.
  • The Cape: Cape Cod, one of the most popular Massachusetts vacation spots. However, it is never fully referred to as “Cape Cod,” as that would require too much effort.
  • Rotary: A roundabout or traffic circle. Bonus Fact: Bostonians are known for being some of the most ruthless people on the road. That includes pedestrians! Speeding, forgetting a blinkah, and spontaneously dodging traffic on a crosswalk are all common occurrences around these parts. Some call them laws; Bostonians call them suggestions.
  • Bubbler: The bubbler is another name for a water fountain, but allows you to show off that swanky new Boston accent of yours.
  • Wicked: There must be a law in Massachusetts in which citizens will be fined if they use the term “very” instead of “wicked.” Wicked is practically the hub of all Boston slang. It’s commonly used to intensify a situation, similar to the use of “very.” It’s rarely used to describe something evil, as you might think. Some common descriptions include “wicked cool” or “wicked awesome.” It is also common to hear the expression “wicked pissah,” which is—surprisingly—a compliment, meaning something is awesome.
  • Worchester, Gloucester: “Woo-ster” and “Glaw-ster” are the actual pronunciations for these Massachusetts cities. Practice makes perfect with these ones.
  • Beanpot: The Beanpot is not actually for cooking, and is rather a highly anticipated event for hockey fans around the area. The Beanpot is a hockey tournament for Division 1 college hockey teams around Boston, including BU, BC, Harvard, and Northeastern. Games are even played at our very own TD Garden!
  • The T: The “T” is more than just a letter for Bostonians, folks. The T refers to Boston’s subway system, which connects riders to all parts of the city. The T has multiple lines, including the red (which is located right in Harvard Square for interested Bentley students), green, blue, orange, and silver lines.

Slip these words into conversation, and you will sound “wicked smaht” in no time!

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Bentley Students Turn Drunken Tirade Into A Campaign To Feed And Clothe Homeless

By Rachel Palumbo

Originally posted on The Odyssey

There’s nothing college students love more than YouTube videos and mac and cheese, better yet, YouTube videos about mac and cheese. When a YouTube video of a drunken college student aggressively demanding “Jalapeno and Bacon Mac and Cheese” went viral, junior Sathya Perri and freshman Devin Quinn knew exactly how to turn a negative into a positive. Peri and Quinn are Students at Bentley University who were brought together by their desire to spark social change through social media.

Peri and Quinn started off as a part of a small group of friends who wanted to do something meaningful for the local community during the Holidays. They decided their mission was to address homelessness and hunger by providing a bowl of jalapeno and bacon mac and cheese to 100 homeless people shortly before Thanksgiving. Their efforts and goals grew as more and more people jumped on board to help them. They eventually collected enough money to be able to provide a full meal (not just mac and cheese) to those they will be serving. Motivated by the success of their project, they partnered with Y2Y Harvard Square, a shelter for homeless youth, to provide 30 individuals with warm beanies, socks and gloves. Their most recent efforts have also allowed them to partner with Strideline; for every pair of socks purchased through Peri and Quinn’s unique fundraising link, a pair will be donated to the cause.

Peri and Quinn recognize that, though the Jalapeno and Bacon Mac and Cheese Video gave them their inspiration, it was just the vehicle the boys needed to discover their passion: helping those struggling with homelessness and hunger. They are two individuals who care about their community and the well being of others. What I’ve found is that while most people do care about the community, they rarely take action. Yet, Peri and Quinn took the initiative to do something, and are seeing an incredible following.

To follow their success and/ or make a donation please visit the link below:

 http://bit.ly/macncheeseforchange

To view the YouTube video that started it all check out:

http://bit.ly/thatonekid

Wishing them luck as they continue this exciting journey!

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The Wonderful World of Outlines

by Gabby Tetreault

Have you ever looked at an assignment and just shut down? I know I have, and I still do every now and then. Sometimes it can be really hard to know where to start even, let alone how to write the entire paper and actually have it make sense! But I’ve learned a trick that helps me with this struggle, and that trick is the same thing your teachers have been telling you for years: just make an outline! I know it might seem simplistic, but making an outline can really help you understand where you’re going with the paper. It doesn’t have to be really detailed; it can have as little or as much information as you want in it. It’s just helpful to have something to work from. For me, I sometimes make a few versions of an outline. Each has only a general idea for each paragraph, just so I know what overall topics I want to talk about. Later, I make another one that has more detail about what is going to be in the paper. This step makes actually writing the assignment so much easier; once you make a thorough outline, half the work is already done! These are some of the things I try to include in my more detailed outline, or just add to my general outline to give it more detail:

  • A thesis, or at least a general claim or controlling idea for the paper
  • A list of topics to include in my introduction
  • A general topic for each body paragraph
    • What arguments I am going to use to support the topic in each body paragraph
    • What sources I want to use and where I want to use them
  • What to say in the conclusion

Remember, these are just examples of some things that could be done with an outline There are no hard and fast rules that you have to follow every time. Also, just because you make an outline it doesn’t mean that you need to stick to it exactly. In fact, I almost never do! Just having the ideas written down in some kind of form makes me feel more prepared, and once I start writing I often end up changing around the order or even what ideas I am going to include. It doesn’t matter in the end how you make or use the outline, it’s just for you to have as a way to organize your thoughts. So maybe next time you get an assignment, especially a really long and confusing one, try making an outline first and see if it helps. I know it does for me!

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Balancing Your Schedule

by Colleen Lindberg

Sophomore or junior year has hit and all of a sudden, you aren’t just taking classes and attending a couple of club meetings per week. Nope, now you’re on the e-board of a club, a member of two others, working on campus, trying to get an internship, taking five classes, attending group meetings and trying to fit a social life in there somehow. I’ve been there, and I figured out how to make it work. Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with writing, but I promise you it does. Three words: Microsoft Outlook Calendar. Use it; love it; rely on it. Some tips:

  1. Color code: Use red for class, blue for meetings, purple for work, yellow for social events, etc. If your calendar is going to be filled, it will be easier to read (and look better) as a rainbow than an overwhelming sea of light blue.
  2. Schedule everything: And I mean EVERYTHING. While Outlook is great for keeping track of meetings and events, it is also meant to keep you sane. Schedule the times you want to go to the gym, the time you need for homework, and even the time you need to watch Netflix (yes you need to watch Netflix). Scheduling in these buffers gives you time to decompress; otherwise you’ll feel overbooked and stressed out.
  3. Check first: Never agree to something until you’ve checked your Outlook Calendar because although Monday at 6 sounds like a good time to meet your group, I bet you forgot about the Writing Center appointment you made a week ago for that same time. Check your calendar before you agree and then immediately enter your new commitment.
  4. Say no: It’s okay, I promise. This is probably the most important one. While you may have the time to work two jobs, be in three clubs, and take five classes, do you have the time to do it all well while maintaining your sanity? Probably not. Pick and choose what you say yes to: I know it’s hard, but sometimes saying no is the better decision.

Long story short: WRITE IT DOWN. Use Outlook Calendar and stick to it, and your 8 billion things that you need to do this week will get done if you’re organized. Now don’t even get me started on using an agenda book for homework assignments…

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Where Art Thou Winter?

by Elena Andreadis

The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp and students are pulling out the Bean boots. Saturdays are spent at the orchard picking Honey Crisps off the much-too-tall trees, waiting in the much-too-long lines to purchase gallons of fresh apple cider, and eating as many as possible of the much-too-good apple cider donuts. The plaid flannels have come out of the closets, and pumpkin flavored everything lines the shelves of the grocery stores.

It’s that time of the year again—fall. The summer is sadly over, and the long, cold winter awaits. Most of us dread the cold, dreary winter nights ahead, but we all wonder when it will all begin. Growing up in South Texas, I had never experienced a real winter before college. It can’t be worse than last winter I tell myself, as I walk up the hill to class, wearing two sweatshirts layered on top of each other because I can’t quite get myself to pull my winter coat out of the closet. It’s 9 am and the temperature on my iPhone weather app reads “42° F.” The sun hides behind the clouds and the wind rustles the leaves beneath my feet. I know that winter is approaching.

Or is it…? A month passes and still the weather remains relatively warm. Not a week goes by that is colder than the prior. That morning, I wake up not from my alarm, but instead from the overwhelming warm temperature in my bedroom. I turn to check the AC unit to find the heat on low. I quickly jump out of bed and crack the window to let the cool breeze in. There is no breeze. I again check my weather app, and the temperature reads “68° F.” The date is November 3, 2015. I peek out my window in Collins Hall and students fill the Upper Greenspace in tank tops and shorts. I remain baffled, but deep down inside, I am grinning from ear to ear.

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Formatting versus Content: The Influence of Specific Formatting Requirements our Writing

By Gabby Tetreault

We’ve all been there. A professor assigns a paper, and along with the assignment comes a page-long list of formatting requirements that the paper must meet. The criteria are so specific that we wonder how we’ll be able to get our point across amidst the myriad of rules concerning word choice, sentence structure, and paragraph formatting. Our professors of course have a reason for doing this, and in the end, learning to adapt our writing style to match our professor’s desires has the potential to expand our abilities as writers. In the short-term however, the struggle we face is with trying to make our voices heard above all the clamor of formatting noise.

Being able to find their own voice in their writing is something that can be really tough for some writers. I’ve seen many students struggle to create a paper that fits the detailed format set out by their professors and still sounds like it’s coming from them. They might have really strong ideas or opinions about their topic, but as I read through their papers, those ideas are totally lost on me. It’s clear that words have been changed or removed to fit the specific criteria, but these changes are so prominent that they’re all I can focus on.

There are different levels of structural requirements that professors assign. The most difficult of these are the ones that focus on paragraph and sentence length (only 2 per page, no sentence over 3 lines, etc.), specific pronoun usage, and limitations on word choice. Some professors explicitly tell students they can’t use words that are “too big” or more than a few syllables, mostly because the professors assumes they’ll be used without any actual comprehension of what the words mean. Now this is not being done because professors want to give students even more to stress about; it is simply because they want to see the best papers that students can produce. This means clear, well-structured papers that can be easily understood, and formatting requirements are a common and viable way of achieving that goal.

In thinking only about the elements of structure that a professor assigns, students (myself included) often forget that there’s also an idea that the paper is supposed to convey. This push and pull between content and structure is what makes formatting so difficult. If students were just able to write and write without even thinking about their formatting, the ideas would probably be really strong, but they might not be understandable. However, when papers have specific formatting, focusing too much on that can also cause confusion. A well-structured paper that fails to include the writer’s idea is no better than a cluttered, incomprehensible paper with really strong ideas.

There must exist somewhere in the world of writing a balance between a student following his/her own path and creating a robotic piece of writing. Luckily, there are a few different ways that writers can go about trying to find this happy medium. For example, when I’m starting a paper, I usually make an outline before doing anything else. This allows me to get my ideas on paper in a way that makes sense to me, and then once I have that figured out I can try to rearrange the setup to meet any requirements my professor might have. Another idea is just a general “brain dump” on the page, where you can get all of your ideas on the page at once without any structure, and then see how they all fit together after. Professors are primarily concerned with the final product that they receive; the ways in which writers go about getting to that point can vary for each writer, meaning that writing in a disorganized way to get ideas on the page and then cleaning it all up for the final draft is an acceptable approach. These are only a few ways to go about finding a working balance, but hopefully they can be useful for writers in the future when faced with this problem.

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Breaking the “Writing Rules”

As a Writing Center tutor, I see a lot of writing habits that make cringe. But don’t worry, if you work with me, it is not you making me distraught. No, the issues stem from writing “rules” ingrained in students’ minds from countless high school teachers. Therefore, you may be confused— Did I learn the wrong way to write? Can I still be a strong writer? Will I ever graduate college!?

Never fear! I have the answers: No. Yes. And absolutely (calm down)! Here are three writing rules you may have been taught in high school, and what you should do instead:

Five-paragraph essay

  • Why they taught you this: Beginning writers need a place to start, so providing a five-paragraph format is easy to follow.
  • Why it is wrong: College writing tends to bring up some more complicated ideas that simply cannot be constrained to five paragraphs! When writers try to do this, paragraphs tend to become too long and ideas get jumbled.
  • What you should do instead: “But my 2-page long paragraph is all about one idea!” you say. I understand. But just because your sentences are on the same line of thinking does not mean you should write a run-on sentence! Sometimes your idea might shift just a little bit as you write— new paragraphs should indicate this slight change.

Three-pronged thesis

  • Why they taught you this: It creates an easy way to organize your three paragraphs and proves that you have reasons behind your assertion.
  • Why it is wrong: It is too simple and, again, cannot appropriately capture the complexity of your arguments.
  • What you should do instead: Really think about the bigger picture reason for the point you are making. Answer the question: “Why should my reader believe my argument?”

Three quotes per paragraph

  • Why they taught you this: Your teachers wanted to make sure that you were backing up your ideas with evidence.
  • Why it is wrong: Honestly, sometimes you only need one quote to make your point. Other times, you’ll be citing sources throughout the paragraph.
  • What you should do instead: Use quotes because they support what you’re trying to say, not to meet a quota.

I’m not trying to bash the US school system—in fact, I took two years after my sophomore year at Bentley to work in inner-city public schools. Teaching someone to write well is a daunting task, so the “rules” taught in school are more like stepping stones to better writing. Now it is time to move forward and take your writing to the next level!

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