As a Combined Degree student, I spend two full days at the SMFA Fenway Campus and the other five at the Medford/Somerville campus. I really feel as if I am leading a double life and have the best of both worlds.
During the first few weeks of classes, I was constantly ping-ponging back and forth between the Medford and Fenway campuses and was pretty overwhelmed by the experience. At the time I was still adjusting to the late night meetings and early morning shuttle schedules, and it took me some time to adjust - still am adjusting. Now that I am a month in, I can honestly say that I am finding my way around; I almost feel lucky, I get to have my cake and eat it too.
Firstly, let's talk about the campus feel at Tufts. Everyone is familiar, people are smiling and waving at each other and you know that you are bound to run into friends. Sometimes I'll walk past Latin Way and along Pro Row to say hi to some friends if I'm feeling chipper before my 10:30 Arabic on Tuesday, or I might sneak past Tilton and up Packard Ave if I'm low on sleep to avoid the crowd. One of my favorite things to do at Tufts is to walk around and explore all of these precious nooks and crannies. Whether it's to study at the Ginn Library in Fletcher or hang out at the small park behind South Hall, each day is full of discovery.
If you're ever sick of campus and do not want to travel too far, take a stroll to Davis (or catch the free shuttle) and explore. Ice cream at JP Licks, watching a movie at Somerville Theatre or spending too much time (and too much money) at Buffalo Exchange are all fun ways to enjoy your weekend.
But Medford isn't the only place I spend all my time. When I'm at the SMFA, my classes are full day studio sessions which means that one class is six hours with a lunch break in between on the same day. This might sound long, but trust me when I say that because the classes are studio classes the time really flies by. I tend to get lost in my art and before I know it, the day has passed. The luxury of the two-hour lunch breaks is something that I would recommend taking full advantage of. Whether I utilize the hours working in the studio for my other SMFA class or finishing off some psychology notes at the SMFA library, I take full advantage of the amenities available to us. The SMFA library is a great resource we have available to us, whether we use it to take a quick power nap on the comfortable sofas or to actually study. Granted, doing your work in the same place every day can admittedly be tiring. If you're in need of a change of scenery, check out the Boston Public Library. The Boston Public Library is a 12 minute T ride (green E line) from the SMFA and gives you a solid 90 minutes of quiet studying time if that's what you need in between your classes.
If you do want a break from classes and work, these two hours can be utilized in a much more entertaining way--Chinatown. I've been here for only a few weeks and it is safe to say that dumplings in Chinatown for lunch are slowly on the verge of becoming an addiction for me. Chinatown is a few T stops away from the SMFA so if you do want to stay locally in the area, there are loads of delicious and interesting restaurants and scenes to be a part of.
During some of your classes, your professors might take a class trip down to the Museum of Fine Arts. Don't wait for them to take you; use your student ID to get free entry into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or check out the MFA when you have a free hour.
Being a combined degree student is, as Hannah Montana would put it, the best of both worlds. When I want to submerge myself into a bustling city packed with exciting adventures and experiences, I head to the SMFA. When I want a close-knit community full of friends, Medford is the place. My point is, I have the flexibility of both lives. As someone who cannot choose between studying fine arts or a liberal arts curriculum and needs the flexibility, let me be the first to tell you that the combined degree program is the best place to be.