On every tour I gave as an undergraduate, and after every information session as an admissions officer, I get a question that goes something like this- “What brought you to Tufts?” Like over two thousand of our applicants for the Class of 2020, I was raised in the beautiful state of California and decided to move to the East Coast for college. In fact, I looked exclusively at schools on this coast- I figured there was no better time for me to move across the country and try something new. Moving so far away from home can be really exciting, but the unknown can also be sort of scary. Not only are you trading weather that fluctuates between sixty and eighty degrees the entire year for seasons that change drastically with a moment’s notice, but you are also jumping into a whole new environment. That’s why I figured I would share some realizations I have had as a native Californian who has spent 6 great years on this coast (and specifically, at Tufts and in the Boston area).
· To start off, let’s talk about the seasons. Growing up in the Bay Area, it would rain for a few weeks in the winter, get much colder and foggier in the summer (no, really it gets colder in the summer) and then maybe one or two trees would change colors in the fall. My first year at Tufts, I got to experience real seasons for the first time, and even 6 years later, I still love seeing the transition from summer to fall. I am that person who will stop while walking up the hill to the academic quad to take pictures of the colorful leaves.
· You will not be in this alone! California is the third most represented state at Tufts, so you will be sure to find other Jumbos who are experiencing a real winter for the first time. You can usually spot them when the first snow hits and they are more excited than your average student. I spent four winters at Tufts and even stayed once I graduated, so with the right jacket, I know you can handle it.
· The 3 hour time difference is actually a blessing in disguise. I cannot tell you how many times I called my mom at some very late hour on the east coast and she was still awake to chat with me. While living your life in two different times zones can take some getting used to, it’s actually something I came to appreciate.
· When I was looking at colleges on the east coast, my mom said I could only consider schools that were close to a major airport AND offered a direct flight back to San Francisco. On my first trip home, I realized she was 100% right. There were times that I could be from my dorm door through security at Logan airport in a half hour tops. When you have a six hour flight ahead of you, being close to an airport helps alleviate a lot of the stress that can come from travelling. In addition, there are a lot of direct flights from Boston to the major cities on the West Coast that make going home a lot easier.
While all those realizations may be small and trivial, one thing I did learn from going away to college is the importance of immersing yourself in campus life. Because I did not have the option of going home for a long weekend, I was almost forced to become involved in extra-curricular activities and stay busy so I wouldn’t get homesick. Eventually my schedule became so packed that leaving for a weekend wouldn’t have been an option for me! This was my biggest takeaway and biggest piece of advice- try everything that may be of interest to you and get involved!
Looking back, I do not regret my decision one bit. While I am still fiercely proud to be from California (and wear my SF Giants and Golden State Warriors apparel every chance I get), I am so proud to call Boston my second home.