I like to think I had a pretty typical college process. I formed my list after a lot of Google searches and trips to Wikipedia and then narrowed it down further after a slew of college visits. Most of my time on these various campuses was spent focusing on the tangibles: student-faculty ratio, number of study abroad programs, miles from the closest city, things that I thought would matter to me as a college student, and they did, just not nearly as much as the intangibles.
When I was in high school I went to a summer program called Center for Talented Youth (CTY). I love explaining CTY because if you focus only on the tangible pieces you’re left with a group of students who exchange three weeks of summer freedom for seven hours a day of classroom learning. But that’s only the tangible. The intangible is a group of students devoted to creating a safe, accepting space for all people where everyone is given the chance to grow and develop into whoever they want to be with support and care each step of the way. I still remember crying to my dad in the front seat coming from my last year of CTY saying I’ll never find another place like it ever again... and then I found Tufts.
At Tufts I was greeted with the same loving embrace that I saw at CTY. Students wanted to get to know me, they wanted to know about my life and my experiences and where I thought I was going and how I was planning on getting there and if they could help. Meanwhile, I was fascinated by all of them. Here was a group of people from all over the world with the full range of life stories and yet we all shared one thing, we were all Tufts kids. We loved knowledge for the sake of knowing more; we took our work seriously but not ourselves; we understood the importance of fun and the power of kindness.
I think the best way to explain my four years at Tufts is to say that they simply made me better. The people here challenged me to be my best but supported me when I needed it. They made me reconsider everything I had ever thought and patiently explained their point of view, they respected my opinions even when I disagreed. They opened my eyes to the successes and failures of the world both near and far and helped me find my voice in the issues that matter most to me. I am beyond grateful for the role that Tufts has had in shaping who I am today.
If you had asked me senior year: “why Tufts?” I would have said because it fit all of the items on my checklist and felt right. Now, it’s because Tufts is where I’m happy. Tufts is where I can celebrate both my nerdy side and the role of sports in my life. Tufts is where I learned which rules matter and which are meant to be broken. Tufts is where I continue to meet inspiring characters who have made a true difference in my life on their way to making a true difference in the world. Summed up, Tufts is how my life speaks, and hopefully, how yours will as well.