When I started at Tufts a couple years ago, I knew I was interested in the social sciences (psychology, sociology, political science, international relations, etc.), but I was also determined to push my comfort zone and take classes I had never heard of before. I wanted to explore every subject from astronomy to health and nutrition to American Sign Language, and I’d never had the opportunity to do that in high school. As a junior, I am now double majoring in psychology and sociology, I completed the American Sign Language curriculum (and TA for the intro level), and I did get to take that astronomy class! So, how did I do it?
Well, call me crazy, but during the summer before my first year, I took a few hours to sit down and browse through all two thousand or so courses the university offers and looked into each class that sounded intriguing. Creating a class schedule is a lot like online shopping—you have all of the choices in front of you that you can filter as much as you’d like, and when you find something exciting, you add it to your cart. (Side note: I really do recommend skimming over as many as you can but… if you’ve vowed to never take certain subjects again (guilty), then it’s perfectly reasonable to skip over those departments.) If you are as undecided as I was, this can also help you start to get a sense of what major(s) you might be interested in. If all of the biology or anthropology classes sound thrilling to you and you can’t narrow down which ones to take your first semester, then you might be onto something. That was how I realized I wanted to major in sociology and psychology—I added just about every class in those departments to my cart and struggled to pick which ones to take first.
Most importantly, have fun with it! This may be your first opportunity to dive into the niche subjects you love taught by brilliant, passionate professors and get the most out of your academic experience in college, so take advantage of it. One of my favorite things about Tufts is that I finally have a lot more freedom over what I spend my time learning about, and I can focus on the areas I find most interesting and enjoyable. In my first semester, I ended up taking Intro to Sociology, Intro to Psychology, Modern Latin American Lit, Gospel Choir, and two Ex College classes: Gender Inequality in Higher Education and The Fight Against Mass Shootings. (To be honest, I don’t personally recommend taking six classes your first semester when you’re also busy meeting new people, joining way more clubs than you have time for, and enjoying newfound independence, but to each their own.) In one semester, I managed to get a taste of six departments with incredible professors who continue to shape how I see the world. I am so grateful for the wide variety of classes I’ve gotten to take since coming to Tufts, especially when I was utterly undecided, all while staying fully on track to graduate with a double major (and possibly a minor… we’ll see).
Whether you know exactly what you want to study or you’re like me and don’t have the slightest idea, Tufts makes shopping for classes exciting and accessible. No one declares a major when they enroll and Tufts expects students to explore new and intriguing subjects for the sake of a well-rounded education. It was one of the reasons I chose Tufts, and it remains one of my favorite things about Tufts to this day!