Every year, Matriculation Day is my favorite day at the office. Not only does it mark the celebratory end of all of our admissions work in a given year (Class of 2019… check!) but it also brings up a certain amount of nostalgia and happy-sadness for me. Seeing incoming freshmen move in, meet their roommates, and say goodbye to their parents is a very poignant reminder of the passing of time, the bittersweet aspects of growing up, and the endings that must precede new beginnings.
Walking around campus in the morning, eating lunch on the lawn with all the new students and their families, and sitting at the matriculation ceremony listening to Dean Coffin’s speech introducing the class allows me quite a bit of time for observation throughout the day. Each year I notice families and catch snippets of their conversations (“I’ll meet up with you later, Mom, I’m going to go sit with my new friends”… “No, I didn’t buy a desk lamp… do I need one of those?”), and it always brings up a certain amount of emotion.
This year, a certain theme caught my attention as I wandered around: I’m calling it #dadphotographers. On the President’s Lawn at around 12:30pm, I passed a dad filming his daughter walking to get lunch (literally he was directly in her face, it was so cute) while she put her hands up to his camera and yelled “Daaaad, stop!” On my way back to my office, I noticed a father-daughter pair attempt a selfie in front of the Jumbo statue (I asked to take the photo for them, but they seemed content with the selfie, actually). Tweets from dads with #tufts2019 and accompanying photos started popping up left and right (shout-out to @tspan22, who tweeted simply: “Paige has arrived”; and to @JeffGoodBRAVO, who tweeted: “On the plane that takes you away from me. But that’s part of growing up”). Throughout the matriculation ceremony, I witnessed fathers galore stand up to take photos of their kids in the sea of people… often waving frantically to get their attention or squinting and searching to identify their son among the 702 men in the incoming class.
Maybe it was because they wanted to remember this day forever –the day their first (or second… or last) child went off to college. Or maybe it was because they wanted to keep themselves busy during a day they kind of wanted to pretend wasn’t happening at all. Either way, I thought I’d use this post to acknowledge the #dadphotographers who documented yesterday as best they could. Congratulations and I’m sorry, all wrapped into one!