On Friday night, my suitemates and I rolled out our paint brushes and canvases and put on a Bob Ross video in preparation for a long-awaited paint night. In fact, some of us actually became friends freshman year during an impromptu paint night in a dorm common room, so it was only appropriate that we should start off a year of living together via a night of (slightly messy) creativity and fun. Our art talents range from a Combined Degree SMFA art student, who actually understands what Bob Ross says, to me, a person who just enjoys playing with colors and seeing where it goes. Regardless of how our paintings turned out, we knew it would be such an enjoyable night because it would be a time of bonding and properly settling into our new home.
I wanted to share this now yearly tradition of paint night with you all because I think it very well represents how you can find home at Tufts in the most unexpected of ways. Last year, I tried to go to an official paint night organized by Tufts, but unfortunately got there just after they’d already reached capacity. Luckily for me, I ran into some friends who were having the same issue, and we started brainstorming what we could do instead. Mind you, at this point in time, these friends were people I really enjoyed to hang out with, but we were by no means close yet.
After standing in the middle of Pro Row in the middle of campus for a few minutes, we started thinking: why on earth would we make other plans when we could improvise our own paint night? We ended up making the trek to Carmichael Hall, where my friend had some extra art supplies and paint… the only question was where we would all have enough space to paint. Ultimately, we all decided to simply sit in the middle of the common room among other people going in and out of the building; we turned on Bob Ross, and did the best we could with the materials we had. At the end of the night, I remember thinking that night did not turn out even remotely close to what I had expected and planned, but that it had actually ended up in a much better way. I formed a community and strengthened my friendships that day in the Carm common room, and to this day, I live with some of the friends I hung out with that night. It’s funny and quite incredible looking back to think that a small change in plans my freshman fall ended up having such a big impact on my sophomore year.
These little moments of building community truly turn Tufts from simply a college into a home. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming making the transition to college or even coming back to college after such a long period of time at home, but planning (or accidentally happening upon) moments to connect, bond, and treasure the friendships you have makes for many warm memories for years to come. For me, paint night is a time to destress, enjoy getting creative, and most importantly, spend time with my lovely friends in our sophomore year home—one that’s about to get decorated with very cute landscape paintings!