I was doing a little math the other day, because that’s what all the cool kids do on their notepads when they’re in a meeting at their internship but aren’t supposed to contribute anything. Check this out:
I began my career as a Tufts Blogger on September 6th, 2011 when His Excellency Daniel Grayson, Eater of Everything, emailed wee freshman Joe in his room, Tilton 217, saying, “Welcome aboard!”
**Sidebar: I was extremely grateful I’d made it, because when I had initially responded to the email questionnaire sent to fellow interested students, I did that thing people joke about the horror of doing, but are never actually dumb enough to do.
I hit reply all.
I’m not even kidding. Dan, Justin, or any of the THIRTY OTHER STUDENTS I EMAILED MY ANSWERS TO will back me up on this. Mortifying. In any case I was very grateful because it would have just sucked immensely to have royally screwed up and not gotten it.**
I will end my career at Tufts, and by extension as a Jumbo Talker, on Commencement, May 17th, 2015.
That’s 1349 days, or 3 years, 8 months and 11 days as a blogger at Tufts.
Half of that is 674.5 days.
Adding 674.5 days to September 6th, 2011 (it was a long meeting) gives me either July 11th or July 12th, 2013 as my halfway point.
Hey, look! That’s what today is! Well, roughly what today is; I’m in New Delhi, which is 9.5 hours ahead of the US East Coast. So let’s just assume it’s one of those two days for everyone at the time I post this.
This is, I think, a good time for a little reflection.
Since I’ve been a blogger at Tufts, two full applications cycles have been completed and two new classes have been added to our big family here on the Hill.
In those two years, we’ve had a very mild winter followed by a mind-bendingly cold and blizzard-infested one, both followed by achingly beautiful springs and summers gently restoring the Hill to the splendor seen in the admissions brochures. Yes, it really is that pretty.
In those two years, I have declared a major, taken more than half of the credits I need to graduate, declared another major, and become very good at navigating the various bureaucratic functions here at Tufts. I've taken large lectures and small seminars (more of the latter). I've developed relationships with faculty members that are actually really cool, PhDs and all.
In those two years, I’ve developed a sense of personal style (including but not limited to a penchant for zip-up hoodies and thermal shirts). I’ve started collecting ties because I’m just weird like that.
In those two years, I have fallen head over heels in love with the city of Boston. I have been enamored with its ethnic food, and I have taken to gazing fondly at it whenever I walk past the Tisch Library roof. I have been heartbroken when a senseless act of violence and hatred brought Boston to its knees, and I have been moved to tears when its people stood with resolve so fierce it bordered on furious, awash in a New England-tinged scoff of “Not Boston. You can’t break Boston.”
In those two years, I’ve become intimately familiar with sides and stories and perspectives I was simply never exposed to when I was younger. From feminists who turn their struggle into conviction to LGBT crusaders, I have been swept up in Tufts’s relentless equality and its unending respect for every voice from every corner of this campus. I’ve even done something I would not have done before coming to the Hill: I’ve stood up to defend my own views, both verbally and through media like this, because I felt safe doing so.
In those two years, I’ve seen or experienced failure, triumph, heartbreak, love, fear, joy, weakness, and strength. I’ve been bent but not broken, held up by people I only met two years ago who feel like siblings of different colors and cultures. I’ve grown to understand what friendship can truly be, and all the forms it takes.
In those two years, I’ve found my voice.
It’s wry, it’s methodical, it’s almost always patient, and it’s honest. Sometimes it’s quick to cut, sometimes it flares ill advisedly, and sometimes it’s too blunt. But it’s me.
Halfway there, that's what Tufts has given me that I think is irreplaceable. Through sometimes-backbreaking work, through adversity that is in equal parts by design and by chance, Tufts is teaching me my strengths by forcing me to dig deep.
Tufts is teaching me who I am by forcing me to rise to the challenges day in and day out. And because I found it for myself, because each step is my own in a place that embraces anyone and everyone who arrives on the Hill, I’ve learned to be proud of it.
When I began my blogging career, I ended my first post with “join me as I set out to discover who I am when I start from scratch. Hopefully it’ll be who I was all along.”
It’s not who I was all along. In fact I’d be alarmed if it was. But it is the next few steps toward who I was meant to be, and I’m proud of who that man is.
And I can’t imagine these two years of growth anywhere but here, on a campus that lives up to its motto more than I would ever have thought possible.
Pax et Lux.
Peace and light. It’s all around us and within us too.
All we have to do is let it in.