August 24, 2022 was a very, very hot day. Humidity isn’t something I know well, being from the Bay Area, and I was sweating and red-faced as I waited in line to check in for my pre-orientation trip. The line was mostly students, but family members hung around next to them, procrastinating their goodbyes. My mom was one such parent, though I had to approach the line alone as she went to park our rental car.
I was filled with nerves as I looked around at the unfamiliar students. I felt out of place, as a transfer student in a long line of first-years. My first week of college was nerve-wracking the first time, at my previous university, and I couldn’t believe I was doing this all over again. I was excited for the fresh start, but nervous to make new friends.
A family standing in line in front of me was trying to fit all three people into a selfie so I offered to take a picture of them. The father smiled and handed me the phone. I took some pictures and handed the phone back to them. The student in the family started talking to me and next thing I know, we were chatting and laughing like old friends. My new friend — Bijin — and I talked about how we were both nervous and super excited for our pre-orientation trips. We talked about high school, how it felt to be a new student, where we were living, and our hopes for the year. It was a long line, so we had a lot of time to talk!
When my mom came to meet me after parking the car, she gave me a knowing smile which said, “See, you’ve already made a friend!” It turns out my mom and Bijin’s parents are both from Ohio (because, of course, the world is small). While Bijin and I talked with each other, our parents chatted next to us and before I knew it, it was our turn to check in. By then, I barely noticed how hot it was and I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was just focused on my excitement; twenty minutes in and I already had someone I felt comfortable talking with!
I added Bijin’s contact to my phone with a description for the last name, so I would remember. “Bijin pre-o line friend,” it read. Bijin and I ended up being in the same Intro to Psych class that semester and I felt comfort in knowing someone in a large room of people. We would bump into each other around campus and stop to chat. Now, a semester later, I see him walking around or we grab lunch, laughing about how nervous we were that first day. It only took getting to know one person for me to feel immediately comfortable at Tufts.
Bijin’s contact is still “Bijin pre-o line friend” in my phone and I’ve added a lot of new contacts since last semester, typing in reminders of how I met them: “english class friend,” “lives in my hall,” “boxing club partner.” It was so much easier to make friends at Tufts than I’d anticipated; I didn’t even make it into the building that first day before I’d already met someone! This experience isn’t an anomaly at Tufts — many people I’ve talked to made some of their closest friends on their very first day here. Everyone is eager to meet people and, while I feel lucky to have met Bijin as my first friend, I know with confidence that anyone I approached in line that day would’ve been just as friendly and excited to chat. That’s just the vibe at Tufts!
My recommendation to anyone coming to Tufts: just talk to the first person you see and you’ll understand how easy it is to make friends here. I assure you that everyone you meet will be just as excited to talk with you. Who knows? You could make one of your best friends waiting in line to grab your IDs on the first day!