During the summer, an email popped up in my inbox describing Pre-Orientation options at Tufts- an opportunity to move-in early and make friends ahead of time, all while participating in an activity you were interested in. Eager to join the Tufts community, this sounded like an amazing opportunity and something I would love to be a part of. As I read through each of the incredible options from a five-day wilderness backpacking trip to a community service based program, the program CREATE immediately stood out to me. CREATE stands for Cultivate Relationships by Engaging with Arts at Tufts Experiences. As a musician, dancer, and artist I could not think of a better way to be ushered into my new community! I applied and heard back two weeks later that I was accepted into the program feeling absolutely elated to know I would be acclimating myself to my new school while engaging with one of my biggest passions; however, my excitement back in summer could never have prepared me for the positive, rewarding experience I’ve come away with now after completing Pre-Orientation. The entire CREATE program was split into six smaller groups of about 20 each led by two upperclassmen leaders that created a close knit group where closer connections were possible. We got to know one another and discussed our various interests in the world of the arts, learning from each other about different areas of discipline as we shared our past experiences, projects, and more. After meeting each other, we headed into Boston for a fun night out where we explored Quincy Market and walked along the Boston Harbor stopping frequently for pictures. After just the first night, I returned to my dorm feeling fulfilled by the new relationships I had already made and excited for the days to come.
One day of CREATE, we spent all day at the Tufts SMFA Campus- the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. Located right near Fenway Park and the MFA Boston Museum, the SMFA Campus offers a multitude of opportunities right at your fingertips. I found the building to be stunning- a magical getaway from the outside world, home to everything ART!! On this day, all of the CREATE leaders held workshops specializing in a specific discipline of the arts. I participated in a music class where my friends and I created our own original song by editing together different sounds we created and recorded on our own. In the photography workshop, I learned various techniques that became my guide as we were told to walk around the nearby Boston area taking pictures to submit to the final gallery collection. Finally, I participated in the knitting workshop-something I’ve always wanted to learn!! It required a lot more focus and patience than I originally anticipated but I eventually got the hang of it and knit a small square that was sewn to all my other peers’ knit projects creating a quilt of all our work. We would later return to the SMFA campus to take private tours of the beautiful MFA Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. As an Arts & Science student at Tufts, I felt fortunate to experience the benefits of the SMFA campus early in my time at Tufts that has made me even more hopeful to take classes at the SMFA campus throughout my time here.
Another day we spent the majority of our day on Medford campus preparing for the CREATE fashion show! We were tasked with using all recyclable materials and transforming them into a runway worthy outfit. It was so much fun to collaborate with my friends and see our final creation modeled down the runway! Throughout my entire experience in CREATE I met people from all over the world who shared similar interests to me, sparking meaningful relationships. Furthermore, having fantastic leaders created opportunities for not only mentorship but also friendship as they shared advice and tips as we started out at Tufts. Looking back on this experience, I never could have imagined the ways in which CREATE would jumpstart my Tufts experience in the best way possible as I walked away with a more familiar sense of Tufts and most importantly incredible friendships!