I met Tufts four years ago as a bumbling and confused high school junior, drowning in AP exams and SATs. I climbed and heaved as I walked up the Memorial Steps for admitted students day as a high school senior. I touched the wooden desks of Eaton Hall and cried on the cozy couches of the SEC as a Tufts first-year, going through the tribulations of adjusting. I now celebrate as a sophomore after declaring my major and I laugh as I run from place to place on campus, bumping into friends and professors on the way.
It's been a solid three years since I applied. And it’s been quite a wild ride. Although my reasons for what brought me to Tufts have changed since senior year, where my heart lies is still the same.
Every morning I wake up at a crisp 7:30AM for each of my four 9:00AM classes. Even in the brisk cold of the winter, the cleaning staff in my residence hall never fail to warm up my day. At 8:20AM each day, one of the wonderful members of the cleaning staff of my dorm greets me without fail. He tells me to have a good day and a happy class. I regularly frequent “Hodge” (a to-go take out place on campus) where Sonia (one of the staff members) excitedly talks to me and dances as she prepares my food. She sprinkles my food with a little extra love and blows a kiss to me as good luck for the rest of my busy day. As I walk from Hodgdon to my dorm or to a meeting, I sometimes run into my mentees. I am a peer leader for the FIRST Center, which works with creating a community and supporting first-gen to college, low income, and undocumented students. My mentees bounce around talking about their weekend, their excitement about a professor and class that they love, and their plans for the upcoming weekend. Moments like these where I get to connect deeply with some of the nicest people that I have met have made my experience at Tufts valuable and special.
Since declaring my major in Psychology and double minors in Japanese and Child Study & Human Development (CSHD), I wake up excited to go to class. My “Social Identity, Stigma, and Coping” class has been my favorite class this semester. In a small conference room every Tuesday morning I get to learn about the theories and current work in stigma and identity research in social psychology. Learning about the psychological processes behind stereotyping, stigmatization, and how these affect well-being connects to exactly what I want to research in the future. Plus I get to see all of these topics applied as a research assistant for the Social Identity and Stigma (SIS) Lab! After that I head to Japanese class. Although Japanese class never seems to have a week without a quiz or exam, the funny moments of acting out hilarious scenarios in Japanese and having conversations with people that I’ve been in class with since Japanese 1 speak to why I’ve remained in Japanese for four semesters (and will for future semesters!). I appreciate my wonderful advisors and professors who I can sit with at Tower Cafe and chat for an hour about psychology, research, and random stuff. And the staff at the Career Center, who will meet with me 6+ times just to revise my resume.
All of my friends at Tufts are insanely busy, between classes, clubs activities, meetings, and whatever life throws at them. Every other weekend my friends and I gather in my room, where we munch on oily chicken from Late Night at The Commons and talk as we do jigsaw puzzles. Our collaborative “piecing it together” Spotify playlist can be heard, lulling in the back. We laugh, talk about how our weeks went, share any gossip, and complain about mindless things. The amazing thing is that a lot of my friends share one common interest in that we actively collaborate together through the club United for Immigrant Justice (UIJ). We are in the midst of preparing to host the Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR) conference this semester, so it’s been a bit busy! I value the jigsaw puzzle times, the times spent grabbing a meal with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, or walking out with a new friend that I made from class, or stealing a big classroom on the weekends to watch a movie in, or crashing a friend’s room on a random day at midnight to just talk and relax.
And that’s my “Why Tufts?” And I hope that this gives you a glimpse into my amazing two years, and my excitement for more to come.