WHY TUFTS? This is a question I expect to be asked a lot throughout the next month or so. From the most stressful times in my dorm room studying for three exams, to when I feel most accomplished and am treating myself to a Netflix binge, this is the question I repeatedly ask myself. Being here has taught me a lot. It has taught me how to see myself in a new world, how to code-switch, check my privilege, and see how much of it I lack.
I came from a high school where resources were scarce and I had to take every free outside program I could find to supplement my learning. Now I’m at a school where I finally don’t have to sacrifice my after-school time to trek downtown for academic enrichment programs. I no longer envy my family members’ and friends’ schools for having access to all the resources they did, because I’m finally there. However, I’ll never forget the hours of studying I went through to get sub-par results on national exams and many times just failed because I didn’t know enough and couldn’t. I made a promise to myself to give back and make it clear that Tufts isn’t a reach for students like me. Schools like Tufts are blessed to have us.
I wanted to center my answer to “Why Tufts?” around my actual response to the question when it was 50-100 words:
Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? Why Tufts?
“Touring through Tufts’ virtual tour, I saw Tufts’ Traveling Treasure Trunk group. While watching the group’s goofy antics, I was mesmerized, because this isn’t a regular theater group. Rather, it’s a group that teaches children much needed lessons like the importance of observing the world around them. For me, Tufts quickly became a school where students embrace their inner child, while doing good for others. While rigorously working through essays and studying for finals, students escape through the arts, creating an open-minded environment which encourages learning for everyone.” - Nov, 2017
I wrote about Tufts’ Traveling Treasure Trunk, and I’m not gonna lie, I never tried to join. However, the core of my response was around giving back and that never left me. Tufts in a multitude of ways has allowed me to give back to minority students in many ways. My first year I was involved with the College Access Initiative, where we organized and facilitated campus visits for predominantly minority, low-income high schools. Seeing this happening in front of my eyes for the first time gave birth to my desire to do more.
That year I applied to be a Tisch Scholar with a focus on college access. My placement site was with The Welcome Project in Somerville and my role was helping seniors from Somerville High and Medford High apply to college. The Welcome Project provides a variety of services to the local immigrant population. One of its main focus areas is the Liaison Interpreter Program of Somerville, where high schoolers are trained to become interpreters for community events. A lot of my seniors are in the program and the goal is to empower students and help them create community projects where they organize around something they care about for their communities.
In assisting with projects and working with students through so many drafts of their college essays, I am constantly reminded by the fact that THIS IS WHY I CAME TO TUFTS. Yes, the financial aid package was amazing and it’s a great school, but the fact that I am recognized and assisted through Tisch Scholars and other resources to better the lives of these talented students, this is why I wake up and start my day at Tufts.