As a first-year student new to Tufts, I’ve had quite the series of adjustments and surprises during the first few weeks of school. To share these new experiences, I thought I’d turn to a game called “Rose, Bud, Thorn” that I played with my pre-orientation group. Essentially, a “rose” is something that you have enjoyed; a “bud” is something you are looking forward to; and a “thorn” is something that was a struggle or challenge for you. Now that we are all well acquainted with this game, we can get to the part you are anxious to hear about as a prospective Tufts student: what about college is awesome and what about it is not so great (but most of it is awesome, so never fear).
First up, rose: as cheesy as it sounds, the community at Tufts is like no other. Never in my life have I been surrounded by people that are so open to speaking about their beliefs, while being simultaneously accepting of others from different backgrounds. In just my pre-orientation group of 8 first-year students, we have someone from as far as Nigeria and someone from as close as Medford (it’s me, guys, I’m the person who literally lives in the same town that Tufts is in). We also have a combined degree SMFA student, an applied math major, a few pre-med students, and a civil studies major. We all have completely different interests, yet we all discuss our hopes and fears very candidly. And that diverse, inclusive, and tolerant community very clearly branches out from just the eight of us; I have had so many discussions---ranging from favorite movies, to thoughts on the Impossible Burger, to what countries everyone comes from---with people I have only spoken to a few times. That ability to ask and to share openly is my best snapshot image of Tufts as a whole, and definitely my “rose” of the first few weeks.
Second, choosing just one “bud” is hard because so many opportunities for classes, clubs, friends, and social events await; I have so much to discover and explore. At the moment, though, I’d have to say the biggest “bud” I am looking forward to is exploring the various classes Tufts offers. Coming from a relatively small high school, I had few options of what classes to take up until now… when I suddenly find myself confronted with hundreds of classes that all seem fascinating and completely different from your typical core subjects. For example, I am currently enrolled in a Javanese Gamelan music class for my first semester. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry---neither did I until recently; at Tufts, though, I can easily find classes I’ve never been exposed to before and get to learn new subjects as part of my curriculum. I cannot wait to find ~budding~ interests through new classes!
Lastly, I’ll end with my “thorn”---something I struggled with in these first few weeks. (Don’t worry, we’ll get right back to the positive momentarily). I’ll be completely honest with you: adjusting to college life is definitely a challenge. The first thing that I was concerned about was living in a triple; I was randomly assigned to both my roommates and the room we would be sharing, so I was naturally quite nervous to move in. However, they are both so kind and considerate of my needs (as I said before, the Tufts community is a different breed of nice). Still, having to go through my daily routine with two new people around is an adjustment because I always had my own room and privacy. So, for all those wondering, yes, living with new people can be strange and a little stressful. However, aside from actually getting used to sleeping with two other people in the room, having roommates is a wonderful thing; they are people you form connections with, and people you may even become best friends with during your time in college. Overall, I can’t find any “thorn” that hasn’t passed quickly... showering with shoes is weird the first time, but fine after that; classes throw a lot of homework at you faster than expected, but it only takes a few days to figure out a schedule; trying to meet friends is awkward at first, but you make some wonderful connections despite cringy first encounters.
College is undoubtedly an experience like no other, especially if it is your first time living away from home and somewhat independently. There is no shame in admitting that there are challenges that can be stressful, but it is also very useful to remember that there are always upsides; there are abundant opportunities for meeting lovely people who will brighten your college journey---especially if you end up at Tufts!