It was not love at first sight. In fact, it's a pretty long and wordy and a not-really-like-a-love-story story! :) I came on a tour of Tufts my junior year of high school. I thought it was fine; it was pretty and all, but I wasn't sold. I'd had my heart set out on Princeton for as long as I could remember. And in the end, I was another Ivy League heartbreak. The thing is, I can't remember why I was so "in love" with Princeton. I was so drawn to the idea of it (and why shouldn't I be, it's a wonderful place and a fantastic university!) that I didn't have an open mind to Tufts, who was calling my name. :) I attended April Open House, now called JUMBO DAYS (YAY!). I came with reservations and doubts, and Tufts blew me away. It was raining half the day and during the beginning of my tour, and still, everyone was just SO FLIPPING EXCITED. I remember being in the bookstore at the end of the day and telling my dad, "I think I want to go here." And then we bought my first Tufts sweatshirt! :D
A few months later in August, it was finally time to go. I was leaving home (and it felt like I was leaving forever!!) and entering a completely new environment. I went through the countdown on my Facebook status with all of my friends, I bought fun decorations for my room, and I was excited. But there was also this lingering feeling of doubt. Was I sure this was the right decision? Well, what does it matter, I've already decided to go. What if I forget something?! What if I don't make friends? I just wasn't as sure as I’d been at April Open House. Nonetheless, I was excited about the things I already knew I loved about Tufts: the engineering school, the people I'd met, the enthusiasm, the atmosphere.
The doubts followed me here on the first day of the pre-orientation FOCUS. My parents practically threw me out of the car and drove away while I was nearly in tears, promising to meet me on move-in day. Simply put, I was terrified. I'd lived in the same town for 16 years and had never been away from home without my family for more than five days in a row. Luckily for me, I met some more crazy-excited-wanting-to-know-everything-about-me leaders, support staff, and other incoming freshmen. We got to know each other over the week, and I had a FANTASTIC time. We volunteered on a farm and in a soup kitchen and more, and I'd met some awesome people before orientation had even started. I started to feel okay.
And then big surprise, on move-in day, I was a mess again. My life that had been packed into boxes was being put into a room that wasn't mine. But that day and the rest of orientation I continued to meet people just as enthusiastic as I'd been meeting all along. Dan Grayson (woo!) popped into my room to introduce himself as my application reader and gave me a business card (still have it, Dan! My whole family was shocked that an admissions officer remembered my application! :D), which was a huge comfort to me. I'm telling you, I've never felt so interesting in my entire life; Jumbos just WANT to KNOW you! :D I started to feel okay yet again.
Still, the first few weeks of school were hard for me. I'm over-the-top bubbly and energetic and I love people and getting to know others! But when I was constantly meeting new people, I felt overwhelmed. I missed the feeling of having friends who knew everything about me. And what really worried me about that was feeling as though I would never know anyone as well as I knew my friends at home. There were many times between April Open House and the October of my freshman year when I was in doubt of my decision to come to Tufts. I was comfortable and then I wasn't. I was happy and then homesick. I was sure I'd met friends for life and then all I wanted was to talk to a friend from home. I think I would have had a difficult time adjusting to life in college no matter where I was, but I had a terrible fear that my unhappiness was due to the school I chose, not the big life change. Tufts turned out to be the perfect fit for me, whether or not I knew it at the time, and by the end of my first month here, I was head over heels.
Now, three years later, I look back and I can't remember the moment I fell in love. I can't remember when this place and the place I grew up became synonyms for "home." It may have been that night my suite mates and I all sat around one night and told each other about our lives in high school. It may have been the day my suite mate came back with a fish for us all. :D It may have been when I found a church to attend. It may have been when I painted the cannon with my FOCUS group or the night my friends and I stayed up watching Tangled in one of the giant Hill Hall rooms. The point is, from April Open House 2010 until now, there are countless, priceless moments that told (and continue to tell) me Tufts was the right place for me. I wasn't positive in any one a-ha! second, and I struggled to feel comfortable at first.
Everyone here has something different to say about their first introduction to Tufts, or any college. Wherever you go, this experience, these college years, are what you make of them. If you fall in love right away, you'll know. :) But if you don't, just remember that so much can happen in such a short period of time, and you are in charge of your attitude. Don't give up on any school you go to just because you don't love it right away. Being in love with Tufts doesn't mean that you'll be happy 24/7 here; it just means that you won't be able to imagine the ups and downs of your life taking place anywhere else. Somewhere in the last three years, I realized that I had found a school where people have boundless enthusiasm and curiosity, and some became friends who became family. I fell in love with Tufts because it inspires, frustrates, impresses, overwhelms, and uplifts me. I am home! :)
Nervous about making your decision or nervous about leaving home in general? Or just life, Tuftsy, Jumbo, any questions/comments? I'd love to talk to you!! :) Comment or email me or come find me at Jumbo Days!