I was the high school senior who committed to college on the last day possible. Besides being excited about my future education and life, I was really indecisive, to say the least. I received a few offers that I continued to compare and question for weeks on end, which was a difficult yet rewarding process. Whenever I got too anxious about making a decision, I reminded myself of the privilege of even being able to attend a college and how my ultimate choice will surely be one that allows me to learn and grow. I think in spreadsheets and flow charts, so I treated this decision-making process as an assignment of its own.
First, I identified the factors that I firmly believed would be essential towards providing me with an environment that I would be comfortable in and could openly contribute to. Those different categories included: sufficient financial aid resources, a strong pre-medicine program, study abroad opportunities in the Middle East, countless research/ internship opportunities, close proximity to nearby towns or cities, and a medium to large size institution. Second, I scoured different college websites, called admissions officers, and got in contact with current students to find out if each institution I was considering satisfied my various categories. This step helped me get rid of a couple of options from my list, which was definitely much needed progress yet still not enough. Third, I trusted my gut feeling. This step was the hardest for me because of the underlying sense of uncertainty. The truth is, however, that making an official decision requires eliminating a lot of good options.
I realized that the reason I was taking so long to make a final choice is because I wanted to revel in the feeling of endless options and opportunity. I, like many of my peers and thousands of students across the country, worked really hard to get into Tufts and other amazing institutions. On top of this feeling of accomplishment, I am the first person in my family to attend college, an achievement that I am very proud of. The various college options I had in my hands were a strong testament towards all of the hard work that my family and I asserted in order to get to where we are now. College had always been a dream, never a reality, so that act of making a final decision for an institution of higher education was simply too foreign to me. I revisited my categories, thought back to conversations I had with people from each institution, and trusted that inexplicable voice inside me that was strongly pulling me towards my final decision, which was to attend Tufts.
Looking back on my first year at Tufts— three-fourths in-person and one-fourth virtual— I am so glad I chose to come here. One of the categories I forgot to include when making a college decision was kindness, which is my best one-word description of Tufts. From compassionate students who worked tirelessly towards starting the Tufts Mutual Aid that continues to help those who are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in our community to professors and faculty members who are offering extensions and creating new syllabi to accomodate the needs of their students, kindness is in every corner of Tufts. Sure, I did what I wanted to do, such as become literate in Arabic, secure a public health research internship, and plan for a study abroad opportunity in the Middle East. What I find rewarding, however, is what I didn’t plan for, such as all of the lifelong friends and mentors I have met at Tufts. I initially chose Tufts for the academics, but I continue to choose Tufts for its kindness.