ACT I: The Speech
That guy on the stage at Jumbo Days, holding the sword, talking about /r/MapPorn (again, not a collection of cartographer pornography), and comparing Tufts to Narnia? Yes, that was me. It's fun to be on stage, speaking to a gym full of prefrosh (pre-first years doesn't quite have that ring to it) and, occasionally, waving a sword about, yelling lines from my favorite movie.
So yes, that was me "celebrating my nerdy side" on stage at Jumbo Days (spoiler: it's just out in the open. My nerdy side kind of works its way through every other part of me -- it's not something I can turn on and off.) but it's also every kid at Tufts. "But wait!" you say, "that stage didn't have nearly enough room for 5,105 undergraduate students!" and you would be right. (I knew there was a reason for that low admit rate!) Tufts encourages its students to be who they are, and no one else, and to celebrate their nerdy sides. And on that stage, I celebrated the f**k out of my nerdy side.
ACT II: Revenge of the Nerds
I have a non-traditional definition of "nerd." It's "being unabashedly passionate about what you love." Do you love skate boards? Cool! Mountains? We have those (sort of)! Discovering the freezing point of soap by blowing bubbles in front of your dorm? Tufts has that in spades. My speech was not about coming out as a nerd (it's a little late for that) but about embracing and celebrating the fact that I have found a place where everyone is so comfortable with their own passions, interests, and weird hobbies and with sharing those amazing things with others.
You don't need to be the coolest (or the least cool) person in the world to go to Tufts. You don't need to have written a book about living in 12 countries, curing AIDS, and providing potable water to millions. Nor do you need to have choreographed dances to the major mathematical functions.
You just need to be passionate and open-minded.
What a nerd.
ACT III: The Experiment
I wondered on stage, "where is my nerdy side?" So, even though I know many of you have already answered this, I'm asking you to tell me where is your nerdy is. A Google Docs form is embedded below with three questions: "how would you categorize your main passions?" "Where are you from?" and "Elaborate" if you feel that I'm being too restrictive.
I'm not going to reject your application or tell you that we have rescinded your status as an admitted student based on this poll, but I want to make a "map" of the passions of Tufts students. I think it'll be pretty interesting. Want to help? :)