Today, I’ll take the liberty of presenting to you a small Why Tufts piece, perhaps answering both why, if I were a prospective student, I’d choose an environment like that at Tufts, and also hitting on why I stay here year after year, as opposed to backpacking across the country or dropping out and founding Facebook or Microsoft.
So, Why Tufts? The short answer is words.
At Tufts, I’ve had numerous discussions with friends of mine in an absolutely non-academic context about the very specific aesthetic appeals of certain fonts. Would Twitter still work with young people if it used a serif font? Would the New York Times be less reliable if it switched to a sans serif font? Why is Garamond such a beautiful typeface normally but yet its italic is so underwhelming? Why is it that Helvetica and Arial are so dang similar, yet I adore Helvetica but hate Arial? (For the interested, this blog post’s text on my computer is written in Georgia, or as I like to think of it, Cambria’s more casual cousin.)
Or how about when at fencing practice one day, I had a fantastically heated discussion with a friend of mine – while doing core workouts – about whether the word “as” is a conjunction or preposition: is it “he can do as many push-ups as I can” or “he can do as many push-ups as me”? What about than? “I’m a worse fencer than she is” or “I’m a worse fencer than her?”
Not to mention the serious back-and-forths with friends of mine about the pronunciations of alumnus, alumna, alumni and alumnae, and why so many people use alum and alums instead. Or the serial comma: should I use it? Should I not? Why should I care? Why do I care?
The thing I’m getting at here, I guess, is that I’m fairly certain that at many places around the world I’d be looked at kind of funnily if I were to mention that I think the English subjunctive tense is fascinating. At Tufts, though, that’s not the case. My friends have solid opinions on whether one space or two is appropriate after a period, and I’m in heaven. So for you, the reader of this blog post, keep that in mind. I’m not a Tufts applicant anymore, but if I were (subjunctive tense), that’s what I think I’d write my Why Tufts essay about.