It’s no lie: Tufts students study a lot.
The past two months have been an adventure and search for the infamous “ideal study space”— the place where I will spend hours silently freaking out over my philosophy paper since I can’t come to a conclusion if it’s reasonable to fear my own death, or where I can sit with my burrito bowl and crank out a chemistry problem set in record time.
I’ve come to develop some haunts on the Tufts campus where the vibes inspire me to overcome my inner procrastinator and actually be productive. It took some contemplation, but I’ve managed to narrow my list to five...
1. The Rez
A student run coffee shop on campus serving my new favorite chai drink since moving to college, the “Medford Fog”, The Rez is my number one. Located at the upper level of the campus center with red lights ringing its perimeter, I feel like I’m in a club turned coffeeshop.
The Rez is always a hub of activity and spastic dancing. As I started writing this (in the Rez) there were some Tufts students showing off their dance moves as they rocked out to the playlist that the baristas had cued up. Somehow I always see people dancing in The Rez… last friday night two students walked in, filmed a dance routine, and walked out.
2. Bridge Between Miner Hall and Paige Hall
Joining two halls on the edge of the hill, the bridge between Miner and Paige Halls is a best kept secret. Only accessible from Miner Hall, the bridge is well known, but most people say “Oh, I’ve seen that, but I’ve never thought to go up there to study” when I mention that’s one of my favorite study spots on campus. Warning: beware of windy days when your chemistry practice exam can fly over the railing onto the head of an unaware bystander underneath like mine almost did.
My only wish is that Tufts would invest in new tables and chairs for the bridge. One of the tables is off balance and some of the chairs need to be replaced, probably due to extreme weather at some point.
Most of all, the people watching from the bridge is legendary.
3. Blue chairs by Memorial Steps
This picturesque spot on the Tufts campus is often shown on the Tufts Instagram. Although it is beautiful in the professional quality photos the Tufts account posts, it is nothing compared to actually sitting in a blue (the color makes all the difference) chair with the sun on your face as you try to decipher Locke’s On Identity and Diversity.
The tours always stop nearby at the top of Memorial steps and the parents usually point and remark to their prospective student how they could be there someday: sitting on a lawn chair, book in hand, and overlooking the Boston skyline.
4. President’s Lawn
A Tufts student set up a hammock between two of the trees on the Pres Lawn last week—I was extremely jealous…
With the leaves changing and signaling that fall exists in places that are not California, the Pres Lawn is popular on sunny days where students can set up a picnic blanket (or not) and listen to the birds chirping overhead as they attempt to finish their workloads for the day. I’m a big fan of green grass—we don’t get a lot of it at home in California since the drought exists—and the President’s Lawn is the epitome of grassy places on the Tufts campus.
There tends to be little noise over the wind whistling through the tree leaves, which is the Tufts natural equivalent to a white noise machine. And most importantly, the Pres Lawn, like The Rez, is centrally located so students uphill and downhill alike can come and enjoy studying here. The changing leaves create an absolutely breathtaking view.
5. Tisch Library
Within the Tisch Library on campus, there is several study atmospheres to choose from depending on what kind of studying environment you prefer.
For me, the library tends to be a late night option or when I come back exhausted from a weekend of sailing and it’s too cold or dark to study outside. Although I’ve tried studying in the lower levels, my favorite nook is the ground floor back corner with the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the greater Boston Area, especially as the sun starts to set over the city. I joke that my usual niche is at the “vertex of the parabola” of the library since the back of the library curves to allow a 180 degree view of the surrounding area through its floor to celing windows.
Tufts has rad study tables back in the corner with an overhead light, four cushioned seats, and a bar under the table to provide a sublime and unintentional footrest. In the past few weeks alone, I’ve spent many hours at these tables in my sweatpants with a cup of rooibos tea.
The ability to change study spaces based on my mood is essential to my productivity because the perfect atmosphere is everything. Sometimes, I can't wait to get out of my dorm and go study because you never know what you'll see around Tufts.
I walked out of class to see an adult sized bouncy house in the middle of the academic quad a few weeks back. Every Thursday night during fair weather, there's students juggling lights—and occasionally fire!—on the lawn outside the uphill dorms. I've witnessed more spontaneous dancing than I could have ever imagined in every area of the Tufts campus. Apparently, a few Tufts students built a tower of bowls in Dewick last week. Tragically, I didn't get to witness it, but the pictures proved that there are engineers among us.
In the past two months, the thing that has surprised me most about Tufts is the students and the community we build for ourselves on the hill.
When I visited Tufts, a current student told me the truest statement I've ever heard, "here at Tufts, we take our academics seriously, but don't take ourselves seriously". After the Target Run (Tufts gets buses during orientation week to shuttle all the freshman to Target), a group of random strangers helped my roommate and I carry our mini fridge all the way up the hill and to the third floor of our dorm. One of the guys on the sailing team did our team lift in his blow up dinosaur halloween costume to make us all laugh. When I was on crutches, strangers held doors open and made sure I was doing alright. And, when I had to go to urgent care after hurting my shin, I never worried that I wouldn't find someone to go with me.
Tufts, so far, has truly been more than I could ever though it could be and I am thankful to be here despite the impending cold weather.