For those of you not up to date, I've been abroad in London this entire 2015-16 year! It's been an incredible experience, but as the end of my time in London draws closer and closer, I've started to look forward to all the things I've missed most about Tufts. It's not easy being away for a year, and I'm sure it'll be quite the adjustment coming back in the fall. So many things I knew front and back my first two years may be completely gone, and new additions to the Tufts community (like a whole new class of Jumbos, hello there Class of 2020!!!) are sure to be there as well. Transitions are never easy, but I'm jumping in with a positive attitude, so I've listed below my favorite things about Tufts and what I'm most looking forward to seeing when I'm back in September!
1. The Academic Quad
I come from a rural area in Connecticut, so nature/greenery/trees/animals/soil are crucial elements to my environment. I love living in a massive city like London, but aside from two major parks, there isn't a lot of green. There is nothing better than walking across the academic quad on a crisp October day and taking in the beautiful leaves and buildings. Seasons aren't as dramatic in the UK, and as New England girl at heart, I'm beyond excited for seeing the leaves change this fall.
Again, as a lover of the changing seasons, it was massively disappointing not to have any snow here in London. I know this isn't technically limited to Tufts itself, but it's a big part of winter on campus. Plus, snow days don't hurt anyone either. Some of my best memories at Tufts are from sledding or exploring campus on a snow day with all my friends!
3. The "Tufts Bubble"
This is a phrase that gets tossed around a lot. When you're in the Tufts bubble, you usually want out. But, as I've learned being outside the Tufts bubble, I really want back in! We take for granted how close our Tufts community is, and being at a school where most students don't live anywhere near the campus, there is a much smaller community present. It's understandably hard since UCL is located right in central London, but I miss being able to wander around Tufts and bump into friends or hang out in the campus center for hours in study groups. UCL has libraries and hangout places as well, but with such a sizable university, it's hard to meet a familiar face.
Being from a tiny town, London can be a bit overwhelming at times. It's absolutely massive, and while most of the time being among huge crowds is exhilarating, sometimes I long for the small familiarity of Boston. There's so much character packed into Boston's tiny streets, and having grown up only a few hours from it, it's really my "home city." I'm more familiar with London than I ever thought I would be, but I miss the uniqueness of Boston and exploring it with friends from Tufts.
So there you have it! You may be saying, "But Helen, it's so cool that you're in London! How could you ever miss Tufts so much?" But to that I say, if you were away from your perfect university, you'd miss even its most mundane days too! I'm loving my time in London, but I'm excited to return to Tufts too!