As I finally completed another finals season full of writing papers, taking exams, and going a little bit insane from spending 14-hour days in the library, I realized why one of Tufts' Common App questions was "Celebrate your nerdy side". Your nerdy side shows what you're passionate about, and, at least for me, if I'm passionate about something, I'm going to enjoy the work more and try my hardest to do my best. Because let me tell you, I wasn't sitting in a study carrel all day (and probably increasing my risk for developing blood clots in my legs, too) just for kicks. I was sitting there taking practice chemistry exams. And while repeatedly using PV=nRT may be fun in its own way (?), I don't think I would have been able to stick it out in the library for too long unless I was doing something I was passionate about.
I distinctly remember the moment I decided to apply ED to Tufts- a Tufts rep came to my high school, and one of the things he said to us was, "at Tufts it's cool to be smart", and that stuck with me. As I was sitting in my study carrel, I was far from alone. All around me, students were simultaneously studying, whether they were writing papers, making study guides, or, like me, taking practice tests. And as far as I can tell, that's what Tufts is looking for. No, not a bunch of miserable students who go to the library all day every day and never have fun, but students who have passions and are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve their goals. And while that work may not always be the most fun, it will definitely pay off in the end.
To me, passion means taking your final chemistry exam only to fly home to face the ridicule of your parents for asking for MCAT test prep books for Christmas, and then watching 10 days straight of MythBusters. I'm really passionate about science (or maybe I'm just passionate about watching things blow up on TV? I'm still not sure, honestly),
and I couldn't feel luckier to be surrounded by people who are passionate about international relations, linguistics, psychology, drama, et. etc. (the list could go on forever).
Plus, when you're passionate about things, it's impossible to hide. My friends know me as the girl who works in a fly lab, has a poster of Charles Darwin by her bed, and, if you watch closely, the girl who you might occasionally find tearing up in biology (proteins can just be so beautiful sometimes). And when your friends know your passions they may even post gifs like this on your Facebook wall:
Tell me that's not the single best thing you've ever witnessed!! (Thank you, Lily for having on-point biology-related gifs)
Passion, aside from providing you with wonderful "Hotline Bling" gifs, provides you with a community of interesting people, all eager to learn and then share their knowledge. The Tufts community is one of the most supportive I've ever been a part of. While competition exists, it has always stayed at a healthy, productive level in my opinion. These passionate Jumbos know what they're nerdy about, and definitely aren't afraid to show it. This gives us cool programs like Summer Scholars, Ears for Peers, and, yes, it also gives us some friends who are willing to stay at the library with us all day and night. So, for any of you who may think that to "celebrate your nerdy side" is kind of weird and geeky- you're completely right! And I wouldn't have it any other way.