I’ve always been a science nerd, secretly loving the idea of memorizing every type of disease out there or every bump and fold in the brain (my favorite organ, although the kidney is also pretty cool). But the past few years I realized that I’m a writer too. I’m not necessarily better at putting sentences together than the next person, but I love words and how they flow out through my fingers much better than through my vocal cords. I realized my mountain of filled journals were surprisingly not normal, and I had developed a voice from writing through all of them. I had never done anything official with my writing, so I decided to try it out at Tufts.
Tufts has so many publications. During the club fair, I signed up for nearly every single one. The Compass, a travel magazine. TuftScope, the science journal. Melisma, the music journal. Voices Literary Magazine, run by the Asian American Alliance. Tufts Observer, the biweekly campus magazine. Tufts Daily, the daily campus newspaper and its affiliated blog, Jumbo Beat. Even Jumbo talk, the admissions blogs you’re reading! And there are so many more I haven’t even touched. Even though I’m a sophomore, I pulled the classic freshman (or transfer) mistake of signing up for too many things.
I had never written for anything before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Eventually I narrowed it down to 5: Tufts Daily, Tufts Observer, Jumbo talk, Jumbo Beat, The Compass magazine. Then I realized how that was not going to work, so I narrowed it down to three: Tufts Daily, Tufts Observer, and Jumbo Talk. That was fall semester, and now I think I’ve settled happily into two: Tufts Observer and Jumbo Talk.
But the first week where I was essentially part of 5 publications in addition to other activities I was joining felt thrilling and scary. The stress got to me, and I dropped two things that I still loved, but ultimately knew would wear me out in the long run. Very important life skill #1.
My time at the Daily was short, but I learned everything from keeping an objective voice (very important life skill #2) in my writing to filling the awkward silences in interviews (very important life skill #3). I also learned how to stick to deadlines like crazy (very important life skill #4). Turns out it wasn’t for me, but I watch for my biased voice now, and my conversations haven’t been as horrific lately.
I truly love writing for the Observer, and I think I’ve maybe settled into where I belong...? That’s always a tough task to take on - finding where you belong, but I find myself forgoing important homework assignments to craft the right article. It's the right amount of artistic freedom and investigative journalism. The amount of time spent on articles and the amount of criticism I get back can be discouraging. Every time I think my article will be great, the mass of highlighted comments pull me back down. But I’ve learned. Writing has always been personal and sensitive, and this has pulled me out of my own little bubble. I catch the privilege that often coats my writing (very important life skill #5). I catch the weird phrasing that only I would understand. I catch the clichés, like repetitive phrases aka this “I catch” thing, but I’m just going to leave it. Because I catch when I should just listen to my own intuition and forsake rules. Very important life skill #6.
If you love something and you want to try something new, just jump in. It’s scary and exciting, and you’ll learn so much (at least 6 very important life skills, I promise).