My first semester in college has officially come to an end and, as I get ready to make the excruciatingly long trek back to Medford (yes, I’m literally going back to the same town), all I can think of is how grateful I am for my time at Tufts so far. I am very excited to get a nice, long vacation to relax and be with my family, but I am also going to really miss all of my new friends; I never thought I would view vacation as having any sort of drawback, but I am really not looking forward to my friends going back to their homes far away from me.
As I look back on this semester, I am filled with those same feelings of joy and gratitude that my friends bring me every day. I cannot even fathom how the time has passed so quickly—it feels like just a week ago that I signed up for my fall semester classes, but somehow I am instead finished with my finals. Throughout the past few months, I feel that I have learned so much, partly due to academics, of course, but also through clubs, events, and people I have met during my time here. Looking back, I remember wondering if it would be difficult to get adjusted to life on a college campus, but now I can’t picture my daily schedule without having classes, doing homework in my room or Tisch Library, getting meals with friends, and going to clubs or activities in the evening. I’ve even gotten used to living in a triple and climbing several feet to get into my (extremely) lofted bed, which I truly never thought would happen.
Seeing as I’ve been New Englander all my life, you’d think that the intense fall and winter seasons here don’t even phase me anymore… but somehow they felt different this semester. Because I have to walk to get anywhere on campus, I am forced to look around me and I am always hit with the same overwhelming sense of beauty that the seasons bring. In the fall, the campus was decorated with hues of red, orange, and yellow, and everywhere I went the breeze rustled through the trees. Now, in the winter, the snow absolutely sparkles and brings me pure happiness even though the cold rips directly through my jacket. My favorite days are those in which I walk to and from class through the cold, but watch the sun shine in the sky; the contrast between the cold outside and the warm colors of the sky always put a smile on my face. This winter, I’ve already gone sledding down Prez Lawn, built snowmen, made snow angels, and gone ice skating alongside my friends; it’s only been a few weeks of winter, but the excitement about snow and the holiday season is amplified when I’m with my friends who haven’t experienced a real winter before. Yes, I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never gotten to share my favorite season with others who haven’t lived through it before… There is just something so magical about playing in the snow like little children and feeling giddy with excitement whenever snowflakes fall.
I realize that my semester reflection has mostly talked about Tufts life outside of academics, even though a good portion of my semester was obviously dedicated to classes, homework, and studying. Tufts is such a great university for academic work, which is clear from its renowned name and ranking; I feel that it goes without saying that classes are of the best caliber and that the professors here are incredible. As students, we all work very hard and make the most of our education, and none of us underestimate the difficulty of the coursework. I feel very blessed that I get to pursue my education here, where learning and the pursuit of knowledge are encouraged and promoted constantly, in every capacity. The faculty members, of course, encourage us to learn for more than just a grade—for the ability to become a well-rounded, educated adult in the world. The students, too, constantly build each other up, and it is very common to hear exchanges of compliments flying back in forth when it comes to topics of working hard and being motivated to learn.
All of that being said, I think it is very important to see Tufts from other angles than just the academics. Yes, I think Tufts should be a top choice for students who want to learn, but I also think a good education can be found at other schools. What has distinguished Tufts for me this semester has a lot more to do with the kind of people I’ve met here and the fact that I’m blown away daily by the happiness I experience in this school, rather than with the (excellent and super cool) classes I get to take. I never thought I would get so attached to people I’ve known for four or so months, but here I am, not ready to leave them for even a month of vacation. I have wanted to go to Tufts since I was 10 years old, so being here is already a dream come true. The part I never could’ve dreamed up, though, is finding so many loving friends who make me so happy and ready for another whole semester, even though I’ve just barely finished this one.