I type this blog entry from Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida, as I await my flight to Lima for winter break. To be completely transparent, I’m at a little bit of a loss for words. I know I turned on my laptop hoping to pen down a semester reflection, but it’s just so hard to decide where to start.
So much has happened over the past 4 months - it seemed like just yesterday when I was moving 5 oversized suitcases into my double at Houston Hall, brimming with both excitement and terror at what lay before me. And in a blink of an eye, my first semester at Tufts is well and truly behind me – my notes and worksheets for the semester have been filed, finals season is (thankfully) over, and all the incredible people who have become my new family at Tufts are now scattered across the world, making the most of this month-long winter respite before it starts all over again.
I wrote a lot about the struggles I’ve gone through this semester in a previous blog entry (College is Beautiful but Hard), so instead, I thought it’d be fun to adopt a more light-hearted approach in reviewing the past 4 months of my life, by highlighting a specific memory which I cherish from each of the months I’ve spent in Tufts.
August: Where it all started. Honestly, this should barely even count since most of my August at Tufts was spent off-campus, in the wilderness of Vermont for Tufts Wilderness Orientation. But that in itself was one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had in college thus far. It was 5 days of intimate bonding, making friends I know I’ll keep for a long time, incessant amounts of laughter and so much learning about my capabilities. I wrote about it in a previous blog which you can read here! (An Experience TWO Remember)
September: The first full month of college. This is kind of where everything started to feel real – classes started proper, homework started piling up and club applications were just coming at me in a relentless onslaught. It was truly a month of change and adjustment, and it took a lot out of me initially, learning how to negotiate all this change and figure out a routine that worked for me. A memory I’ll always keep close to heart from this past September would have to be the Bed, Bath and Beyond run I did with two friends midway through the month. It was an #adulting moment for us – as we crammed pillows, quilts, comforters (all of which we foolishly forgot to bring on move-in day) into our Uber back to Tufts, we had a momentary pause as we looked at each other in the eye, realizing that this was it. Life in college has started and it was time for us to take ownership of our lives.
October: At this point, I had begun to settle into life at Tufts, which then prompted me to explore Boston more. I remember going out to eat a lot more in Boston this month which gave me some of my fondest memories. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that food can bring people together, and the many food experiences I shared with my friends from Tufts have since become some of the most fun times I’ve had in college thus far. Specific shoutout here to ‘The Shabu Squad’ – the bunch of folks who I went to eat shabu shabu with on Homecoming Weekend who have since become my go-to pals for gastronomic escapades in Boston. We now continually share links to new restaurants and food events in the Boston area and I’m so looking forward to exploring what more that Boston food scene has to offer with them in the semesters ahead.
November: November felt like a blur. I think this was when club commitments really started to kick in, busying my days and making time speed right by. Most notably though this was the month of the first snow! Coming from tropical Singapore, experiencing the first snow for the first time in my life was something I’d been looking forward to since the day I stepped foot on campus. Sure, having experienced the bitter Boston cold for the past month, its novelty has been somewhat lost on me, but that first snow was as magical an experience as I could’ve hoped for. It was the night right after Thanksgiving break when everyone was returning to Tufts. It was like a second homecoming, meeting up with friends I hadn’t seen in a week, and coupled with the scenes of thick white flurries covering the campus, our collective excitement rose through the roof. I remember us rushing out of Houston Hall at 10.45 pm, grabbing anything we could fashion into a sled – a yoga mat, an air mattress, a cardboard box which we unceremoniously ripped apart – and launching ourselves down the President’s Lawn. For hours in the cold, we tumbled, rolled over one another, face-planted and giggled like school children. For those hours, all our concerns (read: impending finals) melted away and we were just little precocious freshman, deep into our first semester of college, having an absolute blast. As I sped down the hill on my last sled run, my heart felt almost painfully warm, bursting at its seams for the love I had for this college I feel so lucky to be in.
December: This was a rough month, mainly due to the behemoth that was preparation for finals. Yet, through all the hours I spent in Tisch Library and the all-nighters I pulled at Eaton Hall, my peers and I bonded over our, for lack of a better term, shared suffering. Reading Period was memorable in so many different ways and brought about a mixed bag of emotions. But through it all, I found an immense amount of solace knowing that my friends here at Tufts were going through it all with me. One day of Reading Period, my friends and I spent 14 straight hours in Tisch Library ‘grinding’, and as tough as it was, sporadically looking up to meet the gaze of the family I’d created here gave me great comfort. Over our collective stress, we shared survival snacks, cracked jokes and took leisurely ‘walks’ around the library during our study breaks. I came away from December knowing was that in spite of how hard college will turn out to be (and it will be), everyone here is looking out for you, willing to toil it out with you, work with you through your problems or goof around with you when you need it most. And I’ve experienced this lovely, homely feeling time and time again during my first semester here at Tufts.