If you walk around campus on a sunny day, you are guaranteed to see at least a few Tufts students sprawled out on the President’s Lawn—doing homework, playing games, or just spending time with friends. The grassy hillside, which stretches out in front of Ballou Hall (the university’s first building) and Goddard Chapel, is impeccably maintained; it also becomes a popular spot in the winter, when a coat of fresh snow makes for some great sledding on anything you can find—carboard, plastic storage bin lids, or even kayaks!
I have been sledding down the lawn, but it took me until the start of my senior year to have my first study session out on the President’s Lawn. I suppose I always thought I’d be too distracted out there, but these days, especially with the warm summer weather slipping away, I think everyone’s looking to spend a little extra time outside. Which is how I found myself, complimentary picnic blanket in tow, en route to the lawn last week.
And I must say: it was wonderful. I claimed a shady patch under a large oak tree and got to work with emails, readings, and note-taking. Honestly, it hardly even seemed like work. Every now and then, I took a moment to take a deep breath (through my mask) and look around me. Yes, things look a little different this semester, but there are still (socially-distant, masked-up) games of Frisbee and Spikeball, meetings between friends in the colorful Adirondack chairs that now dot our campus, and chance encounters with classmates passing through. The Tufts community was out, if not in full (physical) force, then in full spirit. The familiar friendly energy and enthusiasm were just as palpable that afternoon as they had been when I visited campus during high school. It was a reminder, and an especially good one this semester, of why I choose to keep coming back to Tufts, and I am grateful to have the opportunity reconnect with the physical space of our campus.
I went back to the President’s Lawn the next day, and it’s now a place that I associate with the crispness of an approaching fall and getting to infuse some relaxation into my daily grind. As I walked back to my room, things felt just a little more normal. The sunny, warm New England days left in this year might be numbered, but you can bet that I’ll be one of the first back on the President’s Lawn in the spring. Until then, my picnic blanket will bide its time, patiently waiting for our next trip to the lawn.