Pretty much anything that has complexity, intensity, high stakes, and a ticking clock piques my interest. Finding elements of these in life is easy but few combine them as elegantly as Netflix’s House of Cards. I recently finished season 2 (rest assured, no spoilers coming) and the timing is apropos as my office begins the very real, living, and breathing process of admissions committee.
We’re in the home stretch. Applications have been read, 2nd read, and filed into three weeks’ worth of committee meetings. Groups of seven or more admissions officers sit together, reading (literally reading out loud) our write-ups of your application. The committees will vote to admit, waitlist, or deny.
Decisions will be made.
We want to admit you (really, applicants to 2018 are special) but it’s an understatement that reality hurts. We’ve spent the last two months building special cases to admit students from our territories and, in minutes that work can be undone.
I believe you don’t know someone…
For the past, oh, three months or so, we here at Tufts Admissions ground zero have been locked safely into our reading bunkers and quietly churning through the roughly 19,000 applications you guys sent in this year. It’s lonely work - the office is mostly empty this time of year and you’ll find the lunch table quite lonely. So with a mountain of files in front of me, and seemingly endless schedule of reading day after day (yeah, nights and weekends too), how does a humble admissions counselor do it?
Let’s talk about NASCAR.
I love a Broadway show (even when the performance is far from Broadway). And of course I love some shows more than others, with RENT landing near the top of my list of favorites. So I was really excited when I heard the '90s rock opera would be the winter production for Tufts' Drama Department. I wasn't disappointed.
Under the direction of Professor Barbara Grossman, the cast rocked Balch Arena with high energy, inventive staging and edgy choreography. The ensemble aced the many poignant moments of Jonathan Larson's script. They made me laugh as they brought Mark and Roger and Maureen (moo) to life and they made me teary when the flamboyantly endearing Angel passed away and Mimi came close to joining him. That’s not easy to do: I’ve seen RENT many times and I know the plot.
I loved the fact that many of the leads were majors in something other than drama. Mark was a pre-dental biology major who also sings opera (an operatic dentist, "open wide" in both roles) and Maureen was a…
South Hall 264 had been transformed into a set, or as close to a "set" as a sophomore dorm room could become. Then again, the set was supposed to be a college dorm room so there was a certain logic to our surroundings.
It was Valentine's Day, and Cupid's big moment was synchronous since we were filming a scene from Jules & Monty, a web "re-telling" of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Tufts-TV (TUTV). Imogen Browder ’16, an English major from Calabasas, California, and Edward Rossini ’16, a drama & history double from Jersey, get top billing as the series’ creators/writers/executive producers/leads. (So they’re basically Lena Dunham on Girls…)
Shooting a scene in a fully-occupied dorm during a cold spell in February isn’t without its challenges, but the technical crew was vigilant about eliminating “ambient noise.” (It’s a dorm, imagine the organic soundtrack…) The window was covered and they put signs on the hand dryers in the nearby bathrooms asking students not to use them because…
The other day, Tom and I were walking to the Tufts gym. It was that day when Boston had - oh, I don’t know - seven trillion inches of snow topped with freezing rain. For some reason we thought, “Hey! I know! Let’s leave the comfort of our office and walk to the gym at the height of this miserable storm; that seems prudent!” In case you’d like to visualize: Tom had on his ski goggles, and I was both incredibly embarrassed – in fact I asked him to please walk eight steps behind me – and really freakin’ jealous, because I was getting sleeted in the eyes. We turned the corner and began walking down the hill that brings us to the Tisch Fitness Center. It’s a small slope by Tufts standards, not a big deal at all.
Ahead of us, a car approached. Heading up the small-by-Tufts-standards hill was clearly still very difficult for the vehicle… eventually the slope proved too much; the layer of sneet (that’s snow and sleet, but you knew that) proved too slick. The front tires began spinning furiously…