Once you've committed to a college, people tend to assume that's it. You're now a student of that university, always have been always will be. But things change and sometimes there are lot of winding decisions that lead up to that simple sentence "I go to ____ University."
I have a rather melodramatic story about choosing Tufts. It really isn't that dramatic, but internally I was a whole mess of emotions. As a transfer student, you don't really hear about colleges on one specific day. They give you a one month time frame, and then that whole month you're on edge. Every email notification makes your heart race. Because there's no definite yield date, there's also no definite decision date. Transfer applicants are typically given 2 weeks to decide once they get their letter/email.
I heard from Tufts last. Dead last. And because of that, I had already enrolled in another college before I heard back from them. I sent in my deposit there after already asking for a week extension for the deadline. And then I heard back from Tufts, literally two days after I sent in my deposit. For a split second I was ecstatic, and then I panicked.
Transferring from my original university was a hard enough decision, which took me months to decide, and now I had to determine whether I should withdraw from a different university I had already mentally committed to, to attend yet another university. And I had to figure out ASAP, or else I'd risk losing more money. It ultimately came down to the simple idea of picturing myself at the school. A lot of people say this, but it's much more than just visually imagining yourself as a student there. My sister went to the school I had enrolled in, so I knew the campus and obviously I could picture myself at the school. The difference was that I could see a future at Tufts, but I couldn't see one there. I had a plan at Tufts (which to be frank, has changed completely), but the other school was one giant blob of nothing. Not to say that you have to have a plan, but there should be something you're excited about, something meaningful to you. Most importantly, I had a gut feeling about it.
To be honest, there will be times (and people) that make you think, "what if?" You think about all the things that could have happened, but then you realize how much wouldn't have happened if you didn't make the choices you've made. Tufts exposed to me the liberal arts mentality and a politically active and socially aware climate that wasn't afraid to turn on its own university. It's hard not to have a conversation about this, regardless if you agree with it or not, and it has truthfully given me a fuller, more developed view on our society. Tufts gave me really cool opportunities in the Boston area. I get to spend my Thursdays in the Center for Anxiety at Massachusetts General Hospital, interacting with patients, screening people who often experience severe mental problems at the best hospital in the country for psychiatry (it might not sound interesting to you, but as a psychology pre-med I find this super cool). I spent a semester (in a class) creating a real, actual marketing campaign for a real, actual non-profit organization in the community, having real, actual Skype business meetings. And I had zero experience in marketing until that point. From Tufts internship opportunities and seminar classes, I got to have people like the executive producer of Curious George talk to our class and have lunch with the director of Dirty Dancing (that's a crazy story). Tufts encouraged me to do the things I believed in. I was strongly encouraged to study abroad by every advisor and professor I spoke to, despite my unbelievably ambitious schedule. And there are all the little things, that make the most daily impact in my life.
Would I have never had these kinds of experiences at another university? I don't know, and you won't know. But that doesn't mean the experiences you do end up having are invalid and worthless. I'm happy I chose Tufts and the unique experiences I've had because of it.
Deciding on a college is tough, and it's a big decision. For many of you, it's your first chance to make a big decision about your life path, so make sure you make the decision for yourself. It's worth considering friends and family's opinions, but listen to yourself because ultimately it's your life that's most affected.
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