My roommate and I were on campus the day ResLife released housing last summer, so we decided to take a look at Newton Campus. “Just in case,” I said, “But let’s hope we don’t end up here.” We drove down Centre Street and tried to understand Newton. Which buildings were dorms? Where did the law campus end and our campus begin? How do we find the allegedly amazing dining hall?
Honestly, we were disappointed. I remember leaving Newton that afternoon and saying, “I really hope we don’t live here,” because it seemed very lonely and isolated. But, as fate would have it, I logged onto Agora portal on our way home and saw that we would be spending freshman year in Keyes South. We were officially Newtonites.
To me, and countless freshmen before me, Newton seemed like the worst case housing situation. Who wants to take a bus in college? That’s called commuting. And, if being a freshman weren’t stigmatized enough, living on Newton would mean we would never be able to hide our ages. We would be “those freshmen running for the bus” all year. Awesome.
Most of the negative reviews of Newton I heard came from people who had never lived there. I understand it’s easy to laugh at Newtonites when the bus rules our lives, but can we have a bit of understanding, please? Sure we look ridiculous and sad all the time because we have to wait for a bus, wake up early for a bus, and can’t stay out late because of a bus, but we need encouragement instead of condescending scoffs.
Upperclassmen told me to be happy about living on Newton. “Rejoice!” they said, “You will love it!” Being a Newtonite means you love Newton, and I did not understand this. It seemed like a catch-22, but I decided to embrace it because there was no way to change it.
And, for every freshmen worrying about Newton right now, that’s the one piece of advice I want to give you: Embrace it. Make the best of it because you will love it. Had I lived on Upper, I might have loved it there, but living on Newton was a unique experience that will affect my next three years at BC.
For one, Newton life helped me learn time management and responsibility. I couldn’t roll out of bed and make it to class. I couldn’t walk to a meeting from dinner. I couldn’t go to the library. Instead, I had to plan to catch the bus at least a half hour before class (Tip: factor in Comm Ave. commuters for 9 a.m. classes and be ready for crowded buses for 10 a.m. classes), eat dinner to go on the bus, and find other study spaces. These are small luxuries that you don’t have when you live on Newton, but you learn to adjust to this way of life. Is it inconvenient? Yes. But, it taught me to be independent.
The other great part of Newton is the people. Newton houses freshmen only, and this is ideal for the initial transition to college. You start to recognize and get to know people more quickly than on Upper. The dorms are smaller, which is great for building community. There were about thirty girls on my floor in Keyes, and I recognized them all and knew their names. I formed relationships that went deeper than those girls two doors down because of this small community.
Students aren’t the only great part of Newton, however. The staff at Stuart is very friendly and the law students start to tolerate undergraduates at a certain point. Dorita is one Newton personality from On the Fly mini mart that everyone knows. You should get to know her because she has a very warm and open personality. All of the cashiers are very friendly, actually. They helped me make it to my 9 a.m. classes with their positive attitudes, thanking me and saying, “Have a great day, Sweetie!” And, though I had only ever spoken to a few law students, they were very nice to me when I offered to spend my meal plan on snacks for them at the end of the year.
Thinking back to August 3 last summer, I laugh at my reaction to living on Newton. I overreacted. I thought living on Newton was going to be the worst thing in the world, but I was wrong. Of course, there are Newtonites who hated every minute of their freshmen year and have no fear telling anyone about it, but I hope my fellow 2016-ers and every Newtonite after me takes something away from Newton that is bigger than riding the bus.
I may be repeating what many Newtonites before me have said about community, but when I moved out of my dorm in May I realized that BC was going to be an entirely different school in the fall. I can’t make jokes about waiting for “my pride and glory” at the bus stop. I can’t stop into the mini mart and talk to Dorita. I can’t eat lettuce wraps for dinner Monday nights. These are little things that made me love Newton even when I hated it. I was one of the few, the 40% of freshmen who lived 1.5 miles away. One of the few. That isn’t such a bad thing at all.