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…
Colleges—just like towns and high schools—have personalities as well as reputations. One is emotional while the other (mostly) depends on evidence (and history). But assessing a college's personality is more of a feeling than an analytical proposition. It's a flavor rather than a data point.
The vibe of a campus is intangible but you’ll detect it. And you’ll react to it. That’s an essential aspect of your college search: can you see yourself at that place?
As you get to know a campus (in person or online) keep a list of the adjectives you associate with it: friendly, intense, playful, athletic, apolitical, preppy, spirited, anonymous, funky, international… These are just a few examples of the kind of reactions you might have. It's our job (the colleges) to introduce ourselves to you; it's your job to decide if you like what you see.
Write down your impressions. (Keep a visit journal.) Then evaluate those descriptors on your terms: would those be the words you'd use to describe…
Once upon a time (did you just say “uh oh”?) I was a high school senior. (It was a very long time ago.) My father and I were on our way to a college visit in Upstate New York and, with each passing mile, a pit was forming in my stomach as I stared out the window.
“Turn around,” I finally blurted out. “Let’s go home.” Let’s just say Dad was surprised—and not particularly pleased—by my unexpected command from the co-pilot’s seat.
“What’s the problem?” he asked (in his best version of his "displeased dad" voice).
“There are too many cows,” I replied. I think he cursed, but my memory is fading.
I had had an epiphany: a rural campus was not what I was looking for in my college quest. But before I’d had this close encounter with all those bovine beauties, I had not grasped that particular truth about my preferences. Urban/rural, big/small, (cows/pigeons), close to home/get-as-far-away-as-possible were still nebulous considerations…until I was on my way to one of the options on my list…
I'm dating myself but, paraphrasing Barbra Streisand’s famous lyric, people need people. (Ask your parents for a cultural reference.)
The second “P” in your college discovery phase is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve evaluated program, it’s time to consider the people who will populate your undergraduate experience. This is the ingredient that makes it memorable. Professors and deans, coaches, fellow undergrads, grad students (teaching assistants), librarians, choir directors, the dining staff... Some combination of these people will play a role in your college community so taking some measure of the folks who will share your campus makes sense.
Who will teach you, study with you, play with you, feed you? Do you see mentors, friends, kindred spirits in their midst? Do their interests and passions match yours? Will these people stretch your perspectives and personal boundaries or will they reinforce the person you are today? In other words, do you seek personalities who share your…