Like many others, I started college with a lot of expectations regarding my academics, lifestyle, and experiences. Though I thought I had a fair idea of what to expect, I discovered that it was impossible (in a good way!) to predict every aspect of my first year. With my first year completed, I can pinpoint a few aspects of my Tufts freshman experience that surprised me.
Prior to enrolling at Tufts, I had the idea that first-year students had relatively limited academic options, consisting solely of broad introductory classes (like Intro to Psychology). I certainly did not anticipate having the chance, much alone the flexibility in my schedule, to attend classes on such intriguing, tightly focused issues as immigration, gospel choir, and product design. I've often found that classes like these are so interesting that they don't seem like work! When it comes time to register for classes, I strongly advise you to balance your survey courses with more specialized studies to build a course load that is both productive and pleasant; this will ensure that your learning is both broad and deep.
Also, I didn’t expect I would be able to visit Boston as much as I did. Though the heart of Boston is just under an hour from campus, I assumed that I would only manage to visit only a few times. To my surprise, I have actually traveled down to the city more times than I can count! With the convenience of free rides from the Joey, Tufts shuttle, heading downtown, especially on the weekend, is temptingly easy. It’s easy to explore Sommerville and Medford too, as Tufts is within walking distance from Davis Square T station.
I remember my favorite spot in Boston in my freshman year was the Boston Public Garden. It’s got a nice family-friendly atmosphere and it’s very romantic too. There’s usually live music so it’s a great spot for a picnic with friends. Of course, due to COVID-19 restrictions social gatherings don’t happen as often as they used to, but the Public Harden is a place I highly recommend you visit if you have the chance.
But above all, I didn’t expect the weather to be so cold. Coming from a tropical country known for having amazing beaches and a long-lasting summer all year, I knew I would experience lower temperatures in the New England region. But I didn’t expect temperatures to be so low. In Fall 2018, I went through temperatures as low as -20 °C (-8 °F). Before arriving at Tufts, the lowest temperature I had ever been through was maybe 12 °C, so you can imagine what an adjustment that was.
Looking back at my first year at Tufts, I feel like I experienced so much! I’m happy about my choices and where they have led me. If you have no idea about what college life looks like, don’t panic. It’s hard to predict everything and, in fact, I would encourage you to be open-minded about different experiences, as you will likely go through challenges that you probably have never seen coming.