To Future Eagles: It Does Indeed Suck to B.U.


In this new series, titled “Letter to an Eagle,” I author a letter to past, current, and/or future students of Boston College, expressing  my views on my beloved alma mater, advising on surviving and thriving, and sharing personal stories from my collegiate (and law school) days.

The first letter is addressed to high school seniors who had the wisdom to choose Boston College as their future alma mater.

__________________________________________________________________

To a Future Eagle,

Congratulations on your acceptance to Boston College!

The odds are that in the past year and a half, you carefully researched BC’s academic program, spoke with the students already attending, and toured the school to get a feel for the campus so your choice to attend the school is a result of thoughtful consideration.  I, by sheer luck, stumbled onto one of the best universities in the United States (can’t comment about the world, but I suspect the reach is global).  You already know it is one of the best, or at least the best for you.  So I’ll spare you the token speech on the wonderful attributes of the school, faulty, tradition, campus, sports, and the food.  You will discover, or un-discover, those yourself.

Instead, I wish to introduce you to two untenable faiths of Boston College that you will immediately learn anyways, but which won’t hurt for you to know before you officially become a member of the community.  They are the following:

  1. Doug Flutie is God.
  2. It Sucks to B.U.

The first is visually self-explanatory.  I will only add that, to date, Doug Flutie is the only Boston College football player to ever win the coveted Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest honor, all the while being a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.  Even the recently graduated and NFL star Matt Ryan, the “Second Coming,” only managed to top His Holiness in two categories:  yards passed and wins (in 2007).

The second tag line is a witty tease at our rival down Commonwealth Avenue, Boston University.  It won’t be a week before you hear the phrase, but it’ll take a full  four years to truly appreciate its significance.  Let me just introduce you to some of the ways so you can strike up a conversation when an upperclassman blurts out the insult:

1)  Boston College has a campus, a nice, enclosed, beautifully gardened, thoughtfully planned (at least in most sections) campus.  BU has a shuttle that claims to connect the  “Charles River and Medical campuses,” using the term “campus” far too loosely.  The word “barf” is more appropriate than “campus” to describe the haphazard combination of buildings that is BU.  BU is so rudely spread out it’s not entirely clear where the “Charles River campus” ends:  the BU East, West, Central, Mid, North, South, Right, Left, Up, or Down stop on the “B” line of the T (which, if you haven’t learned yet, is the name [letter?] of Boston’s train system around BC).

2)  Not surprising for a school with such sorry excuse for a campus, BU is rather impersonal.  I have been told there are classes where students place name tags in front of them so the teacher can identify them.  That’s just intolerable.  It’s one thing to be sitting in class where you don’t matter–even BC has a lecture hall that sits over a hundred.  It’s another to have the professor not care to learn your name but care enough to pick on you.  That kind of torture should be reserved for law school.

3)  Boston College has architecturally pleasant buildings.  Yes, Carney is a travesty and the library is an eye-sore, but the Gothic buildings around Gasson are worthy of a postcard.  In fact, I believe they sell those at the library to write home to remind your parents where all the exuberant tuition goes.  Architectural design at BU is epitomized by two things:  the ugliest building on Commonwealth Avenue, which happens to be its law school, and a dorm building they acquired from Howard Johnson located along the Charles River.

4)  Boston College has a football team.  BU doesn’t.  Not even Division X.  So that means B.C. has a Heisman winner while B.U. students aren’t even Heisman eligible.  That’s just pathetic.

5)    Boston College has a hockey team that’s won two national championships in the last 9 years, losing in the finals three other times.  BU’s hockey team annually wins the nationally meaningless local Beanpot tournament and flames out in the national tournament on occasional years they make it in.  That their fans cheer “B.C. sucks” regardless of opponent is a sign of desperation, like how the Red Sox fans used to cheer “Yankees suck” against the Oakland A’s.  And just because they (finally) won the national championship in 2009 doesn’t change the fact that they still don’t have a football team or a basketball team anyone cares about.

6)  Boston College, which, admittedly, is neither a college nor in Boston, has a name that suggests honor and distinction, like how Harvard graduates pompously refer to their undergraduate institution as “Harvard College.”  The name Boston University suggests exactly what it sounds like:  a big behemoth with little personal touch.  (Incidentally, I’ve always been confused how Boston College lost the race to be named “Boston University” since BC is the oldest university in Boston, but in retrospect, it was a battle worth losing).

7)  BU’s homepage looks like the final project of a computer science undergraduate.  Boston College”s homepage actually looks like the school paid for people to create it.

8)  Boston College provides a traditional liberal arts education, mandating coursework in theology, philosophy, social sciences, the arts, literature, history, and cultural diversity regardless of school or major.  At BU, you choose to receive a liberal arts education, and it’s a disjunctive education at that:  literature, religion, classics, or philosophy.  I call this increasingly common brand of liberal arts, “liberal arts of personal preference.”  The core ideal of a diversified education appears to have gotten lost in the modern era.

I’ve just given you a taste of why Boston College is an awesome school and, more importantly, why it sucks to B.U.  May your four years at The Heights be as full of wholly irrational, absolutely indefensible hatred of B.U. as mine had been (and continues to be).  It is, after all, (a part of) what it means to be an Eagle.

J.S.

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10 Responses to “To Future Eagles: It Does Indeed Suck to B.U.”


  1. 1 Joseph Lee April 30, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I didn’t think the BU homepage looked that bad. But then again, I don’t share in the unadulterated hate of BU (not to be mistaken with I don’t think BC is better). Somehow your immense love of BC makes me feel a little bit less miserable about being here.

    • 2 joesas May 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      Joseph,

      BU’s webpage is awful and anyone with an unbiased view can see that. I could’ve created that.

      We should swap places. You, being an overachiever, will love my job.

  2. 3 Alex Costa May 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    My comment may be biased since I grew up in Chestnut Hill Cleveland Circle, did sports activities at BC at a young age, and was a part of InverVarsity at BC for 3 years. I do appreciate the ‘campus’ at BC in it’s enormity, including the main campus as well as the one in Newton. The upside though to BU is they are right next to the Charles River, where they can bike, run, roller blade, walk while BC has the reservoir.
    BU is closer to the nightlife in Boston but sometimes that doesn’t compare to the parties the mods throw at BC. I do agree with the football statement, it’s a must when going to college. Who doesn’t enjoy bragging rights, even as an alumni.
    Spending a significant part of my life at BC was easy with all they had to offer and I’m afraid those experiences could not be replicated as well with BU.

    • 4 joesas May 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm

      Alex,

      Welcome to the blog! Thanks for reading.

      I have to say that whatever you want to say about the nightlife in Boston, it’s not a college nightlife, right? You can get the best of both worlds by going to BC. Just head out to town when you want the city life, and stay on campus when you wanna get wasted like an idiot. I do concede, though, you bring up a good point withe the Charles River. That is a nice place to be alongside.

      I think I know what you mean when you say you grew up around BC so you have a fondness for it. I tutored kids who moved from Japan for 2 years while they lived in Newton. Their summer activities, like basketball camp, was centered around BC and their tutor, yours truly, brainwashed them into loving the school. When you grow up in the school’s backyard, you’re going to end up loving it.

  3. 5 rattoch May 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Let us not forget that a Liberal Arts educaton is not a precursor to a job, so you might be able to debate that section of your letter. However, 90% of my friends have recieved a Liberal Arts/Catholic education and they have all done well in life.

    On a side note most of my relatives have either gone to BC, Stonehill or Holy Cross and I have found the nuttier ones have attnded BC.

  4. 6 joesas May 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Chris,

    As you know, I’m a big believer in a liberal arts education–and what it does and does not do. That’s a post for another time, but I obviously never intended to say (nor do I think I said) that a BC education gets you a job.

    It’s good to know that 90% of people with liberal arts education did well in life, but I don’t know what to make of your relatives who are nuttier for having gone to BC.

  5. 7 Chris Schroeck May 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    B.U.: home to 100% of all craigslist killers.

    • 8 joesas May 4, 2009 at 6:40 pm

      LOL. Apparently their reach extends to Rhode Island.

      I’m glad you’re back. I was startin’ to wonder where you’d disappeared off to.


  1. 1 To Current Eagles: Seek a Liberal Arts Education, Not a Job Training « The World According to Joe Trackback on September 28, 2010 at 12:34 am
  2. 2 I’m Available to Give a Lecture | The World According to Joe Trackback on September 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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