Living off-campus while going to school in Boston can be many things: exciting, scary, liberating, confusing, and so on. To help demystify the process, we’re speaking with current students and graduates about their off-campus experiences. So if you’re curious what it’s like to live off-campus in Fenway, Boston, then read on.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Happy to do so, for sure.
So you lived in Fenway during college, is that correct?
Yep! BU Law. I didn’t get in to the Commonwealth Avenue housing, so I wound up getting my own spot with a roommate. BU undergrad. Were there any issues with that? Different schedules, workloads, that kind of thing? Nah, they were great. Quiet bookish type, which was perfect for me. Work like crazy, then cut loose when you’re done. Fenway’s a great place for that. It’s alive in a way that I find really energizing, you know? Law school can be a slog. I wanted to live someplace that gave some energy back.
And Fenway did the job?
And then some. I’m getting jazzed just thinking about it.
So what’s the game day traffic like?
Well, I’ve lived here for… twenty years? Twenty-odd years.
Oh no, no no no. I was born here (laughs). I grew up in Medford, so I kind of got to see Fenway change over the years. My family moved here when I was a kid.
So, yeah. Let’s say twenty years. Let me put it this way: game day traffic has become much more of a thing since the Sox have been good! Game days can suck if you’ve got friends coming over from the suburbs.
Is that a parking thing? A traffic thing?
Parking, mostly. Sometimes you’re coming in via Boylston, and that can be difficult depending on timing. Traffic kind of blooms on game days, you know? If you’re taking a bus, don’t plan a route that crosses gameday traffic and you’ll be fine. It’s mostly learning the patterns. Every city has its rhythm, you know?
It’s the same thing here. Game day rhythm, concert rhythm. The energy is just unbeatable. I was living just off Boylston, over by Ipswich. I just loved it. Game days weren’t a problem, I looked forward to them. Hearing the crowd erupt before you saw why on TV? Can’t beat that.
It sounds like living near Fenway Park was a big perk for you.
You mentioned traffic. Did you have a car while living off-campus in Fenway?
I did not, no. My roommate did, though.
But you felt like you didn’t need one?
I mean, there’s half a dozen Green Line T stations. (Note: between Blandford Street, Kenmore, Fenway, Saint Mary’s, and the Boston University East, Central, and West stations, Fenway has 7 Green Line stops in total). Commuter Rail. I didn’t really need to go anywhere that I couldn’t just take MBTA to. If I wanted to go further afield, I was usually riding with my roommate anyway. So I guess I’d recommend taking public transportation, and having a roommate with a car. Or knowing somebody. If I lived in Fenway now, I’d probably just rent a car on the rare occasions when I wanted one.
Any favorite spots?
Hard to pick just one or two… how much time do you have? (laughs)
We can go all day. We’ll edit it down to size later.
Fair enough! Blackbird Donuts. Blackbird Donuts all day. There’s a Tatte there now. I loved hanging out at Cornwall’s: get a drink, play some board games. I’d stop by Tiger Mama on my way back from school. Cheeky Monkey, for sure, love that place. Best bar food in Boston, fight me.
(Laughs) It’s that Cajun poutine. Gets me fired up.
So how did living in Fenway work for you as a student?
Oh yeah. If I haven’t made that clear, let me do that real quick: living in Fenway kept me sane through law school, absolutely.
What makes it a good place to live off-campus?
I can’t speak for anybody else, but for me, it was exactly what I needed. Law school was just, just hours sitting in a library, pouring over texts. It’s not that it’s dry – it’s really interesting, at least it was for me – but it’s not exactly lively. So when I was done with that, I wanted to be done, you know? Some people like to take their work home with them, so to speak. I didn’t want to get in the habit, so I’d really try to do most of my studying, research, all the things around class that make up your time in law school, and get them taken care of before I went home.
Clear separation between work and the rest of your life.
Just so. Work-life balance, my friends. It’s not easy to come by.
So how did living in Fenway help with that?
Well, I had 15 minutes to and from school each day. Headphones on, just me and the city, and that really helped clear my head. Like a palate cleanser, you know? And when I got back to my pad – this was usually later on, so it might already be dark out – I’d be exhausted. But Fenway doesn’t get exhausted like that, you know? Fenway’s good to go, always.
And you found that invigorating?
Invigorating, yeah. Energizing. But more than that, it was always moving at a different pace, different tempo than my day up to that point.
You’d mentioned the rhythm of the city before.
Mm-hmm. People talk about the pulse of the city, heartbeat, whatever. Not trying to get all metaphysical on you, but there’s something tangible about where you live. I don’t really know how to describe it. But anyway, for me, getting back to my spot was very much “all right, work is done.” Maybe it’s time to cut loose, blow off steam. Maybe it’s time to flop face down on my bed and listen to podcasts. But it is most assuredly not time to research zoning dispute precedents, you know? To me, that’s what living in Fenway was like. A place that isn’t school, a place that you want to come back to, that you look forward to. So yeah, I would definitely recommend living off-campus in Fenway. It was really good for me.
Awesome. Thanks again for talking with us.
Yeah, thanks for making me want to move back to Fenway (laughs)!