I am always hesitant to answer this question because it has taken years of experience to develop the answer of “I don’t know”. Technically, I will be a mechanical engineer, but even that could mean anything. Will I go into robotics? 3D printing and rapid prototyping? Energy? Engineering education? Manufacturing? Product development? Go live in the woods to live deliberately? In my field, I have plenty of doors to try out and we’ll see what happens! The reason I am indecisive is because I have taken so many classes, and I am more educated than ever about what I could be interested in. I predict this will get worse before it gets better. Part of what I love about mechanical engineering is its diversity and I am confident that this diversity will keep me interested for my entire career. However, mechanical engineering is just my occupation, and not who I am. I still have a lot to figure out with my occupation and that won’t stop after I graduate college. At the very least, I do know who I want to be when I graduate.
Just by going to Tufts, I have adopted part of this school’s personality. Over four years, all students here pick up part of the Tufts personality. The Tufts personality does not necessarily make us all similar people: in fact I would argue that we diverge in similarities because we were given the opportunity to be around each other, become more educated, and develop our own opinions. This community is a place where everyone can feel comfortable being themselves. Visiting Tufts on a women in engineering day during my senior year of high school, I realized I wanted to be like the students I met. I wanted to be like my soon-to-be advisor. I wanted to adopt part of Tufts’ personality. That hasn’t changed, and I am still working on it!
Tufts has a multi-faceted community, where all the values hold different importance, degrees of seriousness, and priorities to different people. There’s the passion/ nerdy side. I’m all set there. It really only took me a semester to develop a deeper appreciation for learning, and I think I can balance that part of my life pretty well at this point. I'm really not worried about keeping that up!
I have become better at critical thinking, active citizenship, becoming socially aware of issues in this world, being endlessly supportive of my friends, strengthening my independence and developing my opinions. Most of my improvements in these respects come from contemplating ideas in classes, or just by being around my friends.
These are important and special characteristics, but there is one common trait that I am still deeply working on, and that is constant curiosity. It’s easy to sit back and be blissfully ignorant or uneducated on a topic. That takes absolutely no effort. However, I celebrate education so much (my school and society class is changing my life) that I would be wasting the opportunities that Tufts provides by being lazy. I can talk to ANYONE here, and they could talk my ear off about some topic. As I am surrounded by such impressive people, I feel positive peer pressure to constantly be more open-minded, be a good listener and participate in some random acts of kindness to make this community a better place.
Curiosity affects how I operate in the Tufts community, however it also affects my personal growth. If I am not curious, it means I understand the world around me to completion, and that is not possible. While I want to always be very happy with my situation in life, I never want to be comfortable enough that I stagnate my maturity. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to learn about things I don’t understand, but admitting this is the first step to continuing my curiosity. This curiosity happens on the small scale when I don’t understand a concept in thermodynamics. It happens when we talk about racial tensions in my education class. It happens when I expose my vulnerabilities during sleepovers with my friends in my dorm room. Of course, there is plenty of fun and goofiness mixed into all of this. I don’t take life seriously all the time!
I’m getting a little cheesy and deep here, but this is important to me. These skills and mindsets are changing my personality for the better, in one of the most rapid times of change in my life. After four years here, I want to embody the Jumbo mentality that I have described. I want to have a side of me with the Tufts personality. These values hold different meaning to everyone, but they are all deeply ingrained in the Tufts culture. To the admitted students reading this, definitely think about who you want to become in the next four years. In the meantime, I can’t wait to welcome you to Tufts in September!