When I was applying to colleges, I felt that size really mattered. I toured some smaller liberal arts schools, but I didn’t like the idea of going to a college that was the same size as my high school. I thought that I would be running into the same people all the time, and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet new people. On the other hand, I really didn’t want to go to a big state school, where I felt like I would never see a familiar face. In my Tufts info session, they described Tufts as a Goldilocks school—not too big, but not too small—and that hit home for me.
My friend, Valerie, is very fond of saying that Tufts is like a giant high school, meaning that while it is big enough that you don’t know everyone, you always know someone who knows someone. This was even true for me and Valerie—she lives down the hall from me and when we met this year, we realized we had a close mutual friend, James! That’s not to say that Tufts is just one big High School Musical, but it is nice to feel connected. Here are some of the perks of going to a Goldilocks school:
1: It helps you feel at home
My favorite “it’s a small world” story is from last year, on move-in day. As a timid freshman, I was worried about making new friends, but right away, I met my good friend Shweta. A friend of mine from home had mentioned that she knew a Shweta who was going to Tufts—she was her family friend’s best friend from home—but I assumed I would never meet her. On the very first day, I saw her name on the door and knocked to introduce myself, and from that moment on, we were fast friends.
2: It makes telling stories much easier
My brother went to Tufts, and right from the start, I began to meet students who knew him too. When I was telling stories about class, I could say, “You know blank right?” which made telling stories much easier!
3: You can name drop
Right now, I am going on “sister dates” with juniors from my sorority and meeting a bunch of girls I’ve never met before. It is sometimes awkward to jump right into conversation with a new face, but I’ve found that when I mention someone they may know, it breaks the ice right away. One girl I met yesterday is on the Tufts cheer team, and I asked her if she knew a girl from cheer who lived across from me last year. She did, and we were able to bond over having a mutual friend. The day before, I met a biomedical engineering major, and when I started listing BME majors who I knew from tap, it started a whole new conversation.
4: There are always nice new people for you to meet
Freshman fall, I met a girl named Aleksia through a mutual friend at lunch. We had a nice conversation, but then we didn’t see each other until the night before we got sent home because of Covid. That night, we met through another mutual friend, Meghan, who reintroduced us. Now, we are both in Theta, and we realized that we have other another very close mutual friend, James (already you can see our friend groups overlapping!) too. This weekend, we are going to go on a walk and become better friends, which is super exciting! It is nice to know that there is always someone new to meet, and even nicer to know that your friends already like them, so you will too.
When you enter college and are breaking free from your established circle of high school friends, it is nice to know that you will soon see a lot of familiar faces, but not know so many people that you can never meet anyone new. My Emma’s Advice for today is to think about how comfortable you are meeting new people and take that into account when making your college decision. If meeting new people isn't your thing, then a smaller school where you know everyone may be perfect for you! Or, if you like the idea of being the only person you know in a room so that you can make new friends, maybe your fit school would be bigger. For me, Tufts was my cup of porridge, not too big, not too small, but just right!
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