When I was younger, I would spend exactly one week in the month of July participating in a summer camp. Whether it was a tennis camp, a hiking camp or an educational camp, the concept was all the same to me: move in, meet new friends, create memories, and leave with lifelong friendships.
As I got older, I had less and less time for summer camps. High school was busy, and my summers were filled with different experiences: work, internships, family travels, and preparing for standardized tests. While I understood the importance of those experiences, a part of me longed for my youthful summers where I didn’t have a single care in the world. I missed eating an unlimited amount of ice cream, singing songs around a campfire, and playing capture the flag in an open field.
During the summer after my high school graduation, I found myself in a limbo. I was no longer a high school student, but I was also not yet a college student. I was in an uncertain transitional phase where I didn’t really know who I was and where I was heading. I decided to spend my days working as a summer camp counselor. I hoped that it would help me rewind my days and relive my earliest experiences. It was never quite the same though, and right when I thought I would never get to experience those memories again, an opportunity opened up for me at Tufts University.
So here it goes… my Pre-Orientation experience.
I signed up for Global Orientation (GO), a program that consists of roughly 50% international kids and 50% domestic kids. As an incoming first-year from Singapore (9,407 miles away from Boston), I was scared out of my mind. Leaving home and settling into a new place was already nerve wrecking enough; on top of that, I was scared that I wouldn’t make friends or find a community. Thankfully, on the first day of GO, I was assigned to a Pre-O group of 10 people with 2 Host Advisors. As part of the global experience, I made friends with people from nearby Massachusetts and New Jersey all the way to overseas countries like Argentina and India.
From exploring downtown Boston to getting drenched on Codzilla, from kayaking in the freezing cold Boston waters to ordering bubble tea in Chinatown, from playing spikeball on Rockport Beach to performing a skit, from running around campus in an Amazing Race to eating way too much food at Quincy Market, GO provided me with many opportunities to create the coolest memories and meet the most incredible people in the world all before college “officially” started. In many ways, it fulfilled my longed for version of “summer camp”, and I was thankful I got to relive a taste of my childhood summers one last time.
Looking back on my GO experience, I’m thankful for what this program has provided for me. Although I hardly ever hang out with my GO group anymore (since a lot of them live downhill and I live uphill— but that’s a whole other story), it’s definitely nice and comforting to see a friendly and familiar face around campus, especially in a school of 6,000+ kids.
So… go do GO! I cannot explain how much joy and happiness this Pre-O program brought me. I was able to meet some of the most unique, spectacular, and amazing individuals, all while preparing for one of the most magical and life changing experiences in the world. As an international student, especially, this program definitely helped ease my transition into Tufts, but it’s definitely not limited to only international kids! Most of my friends from within the United States had an equally amazing time during GO, and I hope that you will too :)
I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. It’s crazy to think how just a little over a month ago, I moved into my dorm and started my new journey here at Tufts. I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my head around how fast things seem to go by here. As the summer comes to an end, and the start of fall is upon us, the start of college marks an end to the childhood chapter, and the beginning of a new, spectacular, beautiful journey. I’m excited for what this journey is going to bring.