Hello fellow Massachusetts-folk,
I’m Adam Kaminski (freshman, class of 2017) and I’m from Arlington, MA. This Fall in the awkward dance of introductions and personal information sharing, I’ve probably made more jokes about my hometown’s proximity to Tufts than necessary. I consistently stick to my “Ya, I’m from Arlington, MA: 10 minutes away by bike, $1.50 away by bus, 1,000 calories away by foot” shtick. It works (sometimes). It’s since occurred to me, however, that I’ve used my hometown as something more than a springboard for social acceptance. The town, state, and region I’m from have, in fact, sculpted my college experience in ways I didn’t comprehend. They shaped the way I saw Tufts as a prospective student, an incoming freshman, and a born and raised Massachusetts resident.
Ever since I was an adorable baby (my, how things have changed) I would pass Tufts University signs on Mass Ave or on Route 2, en route to Lanes and Games (bowling) or Bertucci’s (pizza!). As a child oblivious to the horrors of the college admissions process, Tufts was just another name, but its presence was consistent. As a high school senior it quickly made my “list.” I knew Tufts was “highly selective,” I knew it would prepare me for a successful career, and I knew people knew that.
Friends at Tufts (the ones I’ve seduced with my gut-busting hometown-proximity jokes) have shared drastically different experiences. They’ve faced horrifying questions like “Tufts? Where’s that? Is it a 4 year university?” Yes! Prospective students from far away may not be guided by the same sense of hometown pride that facilitated my decision. In Arlington, asking “what’s Tufts?” is like asking a stranger what he thinks of Miley Cyrus: you just don’t need to ask.
Going to school walking distance from my hometown has sculpted not only my high school perspectives but also, of course, my collegiate experience. Yet (and this is significant) only as much as I let it. Feed up with school? I’ll go home for a night. Homesick? I’ll meet my lovely mother in Davis from brunch. These have been priceless safety nets and opportunities to reconnect to forever meaningful aspects of my life. Considering I have friends from California to India, it’s something of an unfair blessing.
But becoming enveloped by college is important. Crucial. My reunions home and meetings with parents have been scarce, purposefully, even if I’d like them to be more frequent. The college lifestyle is unique and should be tackled fully. Distractions from the past, while potentially revitalizing, can detract.
Living close to home has given me a sense of security I can exploit while I explore the unknown boundaries of my new life. Though I love the safety net and my family dearly, I’ve made new families here at Tufts.
If I meet you next Fall (make it happen!) our introduction won’t be nearly as awkward,