So, with this blog post I decided to start a series of posts that talk to students at Tufts about various things that have defined their experiences being a student here - be it their socio-economic/ cultural backgrounds, their identities, or even experiences that have defined their on-campus experience. To kick this off this series, I talked with a good friend of mine, Sophia about her experience as a multi-racial student at Tufts.
Sophia is a senior at Tufts, studying Community Health and Urban and Architectural Studies. She dances on campus with Tufts’ Bollywood fusion team, Tamasha, and is a part of Public Health Society.
Has your background ever affected the activities you did, or how you saw yourself fitting into the Tufts community?
It’s definitely been a learning experience for me, mostly in a good way. I come from a town where there are few opportunities to explore a more multi-cultural background. Coming to Tufts, I was very proud of my multi-racial Indian, Polish, and German heritage, but hadn’t had a chance to figure out what it meant to me. I’m still learning, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to do that more here. Tufts Tamasha was one of the first ways I began to explore this background. I danced before college, primarily ballet, and so this seemed like a comfortable and fun entry point into my cultural heritage through an art form I love. I met many great friends and soon began to explore more of my background through cultural events, classes, reading, and art.
This being said, there have been challenges. As I’m sure many students here have found, other classmates, friends, or people have made assumptions and tried to define my background and my experiences for me. Because I am half white and half Indian, I’ve had people try to “choose which side” of my background I “actually” am without considering or asking about the complexity of a multiracial identity or my experiences. This can sometimes be a problem in an academic context – I often found myself tailoring what I said depending on how I thought my classmates saw me. As a consequence, it used to affect how I felt I fit in to the Tufts community, but ultimately I learned from this and came to trust my own experiences and sense of identity.
What is one word or phrase that defines your four years here, in this specific context?
Work in progress
Anything you would like to add/ a quick sentence to sum up this interview?
I know many people struggle to define their own identity, in many different ways and contexts, but I am glad to have found the support of so many great friends and peers here!