I am privileged to say that college applications feel so distant to me at this point. I still have the Google Doc that my mom and I made my senior year with a list of schools accompanied by the attributes of each that felt important to compare. I recall the hours of pouring over universities’ websites and blogs looking for something that drew me in. I was searching for a school that would support me during the many transitions that would undoubtedly come about, as well as somewhere that I could learn alongside driven and kind individuals. I applied to Tufts because I felt like this school best incorporated these wishes, and I knew it was a place that would challenge me (whether I liked that or not). Tufts is more than 2000 miles from my home in Livingston, Montana and boasts a hugely contrasted environment to the one I grew up in. Leaving my 3-stoplight town to come to this school was a leap towards something new and big. Cliche as it may be, I strongly believe that in order to grow you must remove yourself from your comforts. I wanted to do just that.
While I miss the people and places that make Livingston home, these past semesters in Medford have provided many distractions. With Boston nearby and public transportation at my disposal, I have had opportunities to explore new ways of living and learning. On campus, I have tried new activities and participated in truly unique classes. The place that was so strange and somewhat intimidating in September has come to mean much more to me through these new memories, people, and lessons. The icebreaker conversations of Orientation Week have passed and the conversations about Common App essays are few and far between, but it’s still interesting to listen to how people’s impression of Tufts has evolved during their time here. I was recently asked a new question amidst a similar conversation: Why Tufts now? Why stay here and what does this school mean to me now? I’ve since put thought towards my answer, and assembled some of the puzzle pieces of my first year at Tufts.
During my birthday weekend in November, three of my friends and I took a trip to New York City to make some fun. Our trip was a whirlwind of delicious treats, live jazz, multimedia museums, and a stellar rooftop view. It was a refreshing escape from campus life and exciting to explore the city with my friends. Nonetheless, when our bus rolled into Boston’s South Station, a peace of mind that I hadn’t realized was absent came over me. After a familiar Red Line ride and a bumpy commute on the Joey, we were back at Tufts. This trip was the first time I had been away from Tufts since the beginning of the year in September. I realized that I was beginning to associate this place as a home base.
I returned to Livingston over winter break. It was wonderful to see my family and friends, and to capitalize on the outdoor access to skiing, hiking, skating, and releasing. The reprieve from school work and lacking mountain views gave me time to relax and think about my shifting self-orientation. It was strange to be in the most familiar places that I know, but feel like I was missing somewhere else as well. Since returning to campus, I have taken trips to the Tufts Loj in New Hampshire, and to New Orleans for spring break. Each time we come back, calming familiarity returns as I settle back into my dorm room and prepare to restart school routines. Similarly to the time when I came back from NYC, I feel comfortable at Tufts in ways that are new to me. While they are very different places, I now feel a sense of duality in regards to what I associate with home.
So why Tufts now? College requires creativity, versatility, and perseverance, all of which are difficult to sustain at times. Yet, I feel driven to do just that, at this school, in this new home. I can’t wait to see what the coming years may hold.
Photo Credit: Anna Miller, Tufts