For my own benefit, I have been reading bits and pieces of this book:
By no means am I desperate to find solutions to my misery. I don’t have that much misery… But at the beginning of this semester, I sat in on a Tufts Experimental College class called Positive Psychology. I didn’t end up taking it, but this book was one of the required texts and I kept it!
This quote really spoke to me:
But why do we continue to believe so strongly that it’s the large and dramatic events of our lives – the earthquake, the overseas adventure, the wedding, and the divorce – that are the ones that matter? Because those are the events we anticipate, remember, chew over, and discuss with others. We tend to notice and recall only special and important episodes from our lives, the one day that something went very wrong (or extremely right) instead of the remaining 364 ordinary days.
After freshman year in Washington, a year off, three rounds of college applications, and four years away from home, I believe that many little contentments are more valuable than a huge happiness here and there. (Yes, I am only 21 and will – hopefully! – be capable of learning for the rest of my life, but this concept still rings true.) Happiness is not the grand ideas which shape the stereotypes of a good life.
You should not be choosing to come to Tufts because it has the highest freshmen retention rate, or the lowest faculty-to-student ratio, or the influence (or lack there of) of the Greek system. You shouldn’t worry too much how many undergrads get in to the best medical school in the country. What do these things really tell you about the school?
Do they tell you that you will be happy to wake up there in the morning? That you will find a supportive group of friends? It is the small stuff that matters: that people smile when you walk by, that your professors refer to you by name, that every semester you will have a class that genuinely interests you.
And you might be surprised by what pleases you down the line! Now in my second year at Tufts, I have discovered how truly supportive and friendly all the professors in the Biology Department are. They laugh and poke fun at each other and are excited to help. They want us students to become passionate biologists and citizens so they teach with gusto and integrity. I don’t care how many Tufts biology undergrads end up in the most prestigious PhD programs because I know everyday I am learning.
My younger brother came to visit me over the weekend. He is graduating high just like you guys and will be going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California. We were talking about how excited he is. He was tripping over his words trying to tell me everything. He’d preface each statement with: “At Cal Poly, they…” I stopped him and said, “Say ‘we!’ You are part of that place now!”
I leave you with this point. At Tufts, we know you are choosing between us and other places. We don’t take that personally because we know this: we chose you because we know that you will add something valuable to our community. We genuinely want you to be a part of it. So please have faith in yourself and your decision, but know that at Tufts, we want you to be our ‘we.’