Before I get into the meat of this post, I’d like to start by saying I am a senior graduating with a degree in electrical engineering this spring. I’ve also been a tour guide at Tufts since my freshman year, and if you know anything about Tufts’ tours, you’ll know they usually conclude with the guide sharing why they chose Tufts. My tours were no different, except as I grew older my “Why Tufts?” changed from being why I chose Tufts, to what I currently value the most about Tufts. So, as the title may suggest, this post explores why I initially chose to attend Tufts, why I currently enjoy attending Tufts, and how I see my Tufts experience benefiting me in my future.
Like I already mentioned, I study engineering, and this is something I knew I wanted to do when I was applying to college. I also knew that I wanted to stay close to home in New England. So, this narrowed my list of schools to ~10 schools. I toured all of the schools and I did not fall in love with any of them right away (Tufts included), so I applied to all of the schools and decided to narrow the list by seeing which schools accepted me.
Fast forward to me being accepted to the Tufts class of 2020. Hooray!! Even at this point, I wasn’t too sure whether I wanted to attend Tufts. Luckily, I had the opportunity to attend an in person Jumbo Day (I’m sorry you don’t have this opportunity) and the Jumbo Day sealed the deal for me for a few reasons:
1. I got my first exposure to the school of engineering, something I did not get when I initially toured Tufts. One thing that appealed to me most about the school of engineering was how small it is. For example, my class of electrical and computer engineers is only about 25 people, which is super small compared to other schools. I liked the idea of a small program because I felt that it would create a community in which I would get to know my fellow students and professors very well. Which has definitely been the case.
2. I liked that Tufts had a strong sense of tradition. On my initial tour I learned about traditions like painting the cannon, Jumbo, sledding down the pres-lawn, and even getting dinner with the president. When I came back to campus for Jumbo Days I was reminded of all the traditions and saw myself taking part in them.
Tufts is a prestigious school. Many people won’t cite this as a reason they chose Tufts, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t a consideration for me. Tufts was the “most prestigious” school I got accepted to. For me and especially my parents (immigrants), attending a prestigious school was a factor. I won’t get into my personal feelings on this, I just want to state that it was a part of my decision at the time.
So why did I stay at Tufts, and what did I find to be the most impactful part of my Tufts experience?
Tufts really challenged me! But, not necessarily in the ways I expected. For starters, I did not feel challenged academically in my first year at Tufts. I’m probably not in the majority on this, a lot of students feel very challenged academically right away. I’m fortunate that my high school experience prepared me for a rigorous college curriculum. Instead, I was challenged socially and emotionally in my first year. I came into Tufts thinking I had it all figured out, and then everything came crashing down as I was forced to make new friends, join new clubs, and interact with people from very different backgrounds than I was used to. Something my high school did not prepare me for!
I think I would have experienced the same challenges no matter where I went to school. However, something that I appreciate a lot about Tufts is that even though I was challenged over and over, there were always resources to help support me along the way. The way I look at it now, my confidence was shattered, but then I got to rebuild myself and become a much more confident and thoughtful person than I was when I started. So being challenged is important, because it encourages growth, and college is all about growth.
As a senior about to enter the real world, I feel prepared because I know that it will bring a lot of new of challenges, and this time I will be more prepared to take them on!
I believe that the connections and friendships I have made will be the most important things I take away from my time at Tufts. I believe this because I got my first internship, and subsequently full-time job offer, not because of my grades or classes, but because of a connection I made with a senior when I was a freshman. I think the classes you take and what you study can influence some of your decisions, but ultimately when you graduate with a degree in _____, thousands of other people will also be graduating with that same degree in ______. So I think the connections you make end up being the most important thing you have, and trust me when I say that the connections you make at Tufts will be strong ones. The students and alumni always want to help each other out and the community is filled with very thoughtful, friendly, and intelligent people!
I chose to attend Tufts because of the people at Tufts. Going forward, I think the connections and friendships I have been able to make with a lot of these people will prove to be the most rewarding part of my Tufts experience.
I know you have a very difficult decision ahead of you, made even more difficult given the circumstances, but know that no matter where you end up, the biggest factor in determining the quality of your experience is you!