As Commonwealth Avenue is once again flooded with students walking to and from classes, it’s hard not to smile, especially those who experienced Boston University’s Learn from Anywhere (LfA) model last year and the impact it had on the Boston University community. Classrooms were socially distanced, with a limit put on the number of students who could attend class in-person, and students certainly began to experience the concept that is now known as “Zoom fatigue.” I was fortunate enough to sit down with John Fallon, a third-semester student, who has now had the opportunity to experience both the LfA model and a traditional on-campus experience.
Chris Kattak: Could you share a little bit of background? What brought you to Boston University and what made you want to pursue a master’s degree in media science?
John Fallon: Before the pandemic, I was working as a sales representative for Toast, a restaurant technology company in Boston. It was my first job out of college, and I was excited to start, but by the end, I didn’t feel comfortable in sales.
Something that stood out to me from my time at Toast was its exceptional content marketing. The company understood its rising value and went so far as to have its own company podcast about the industry. After leaving the sales position, I knew I wanted to refocus my career towards content marketing, and BU’s media science program was the perfect place to get everything started.
What was the most challenging aspect of the LfA model last year?
The most challenging aspect of the LfA model was this constant feeling that I was missing out on the “full experience” of BU. The media science program only lasts three semesters, so it was always in the back of my mind that it was possible that my entire BU experience would be online, but luckily I’m here at the end.
What about LfA do you miss?
There’s definitely a freedom to LfA that I miss. Having the fridge close by was always a plus, and never having to worry about being late for class. I enjoyed those small things that made it easier to adjust to the LfA format.
How has this semester been different than last year?
It’s similar in a lot of ways, but mostly it’s just seeing everyone in person and getting those face-to-face, albeit masked, interactions. What’s interesting is how the return to campus really breathed life into this area of the city again. There are so many people on the streets now.
How has being back on a “full” campus impacted your final semester of graduate school?
My final semester will be my only semester at BU on-campus and in-person so I’m definitely going to try to get the most out of it that I can because before you know it it’s over. For me, I’ve already enjoyed going to athletic events, building connections with professors, and enjoying the city with fellow students. It’s been great and I’m looking forward to getting the most out of BU.
If you could share with students one piece of advice, what would it be?
My advice would be to build strong relationships with your professors. Ask them about your own strengths and weaknesses and about where they believe you’d excel in your career. They may even have great opportunities for you if you ask.
What’s next for John Fallon?
Fortunately, I will have a full-time job after graduation. I’m working in PR with content and social media responsibilities. It’ll be exciting to test out everything I’ve learned during my time at BU. I also want to write a fantasy book one day, so keep an eye out.
Christopher Kattak, Staff Writer
Originally from New Jersey, Christopher Kattak is a second-year master’s student studying public relations at Boston University. Before attending BU, Christopher received his Bachelor of Arts in communication from Sacred Heart University, where he gained corporate communication experience. Christopher began playing ice hockey when he was four years old and continues to have a passion for the sport. Christopher is excited to be a writer for The COMmunicator.