Close Menu


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Linkedin Email to a Friend Send SMS

The plane having touched down slightly after its initial arrival time, I make haste to the baggage claim, afraid to miss any more of the program orientation than I had already. Trying to exude confidence so as to not let my nerves take hold, my eyes scan the baggage claim station for a figure wearing a “white STAFF [shirt] and a blue Tufts lanyard,” before locking eyes with a girl with a high, loose bun and thin-rimmed glasses. Her outfit true to the description that I was given, she waves me over as I exhale in relief, ambling over awkwardly to initiate my first interaction of the trip.

I learned a few things about Chrissy in the short time I was with her: 1. She was a student at Colby College; 2. She moved from Beijing, China; and 3. She used the LINE app for communication (with whom, I didn’t ask, because it was none of my business, but I recognized the notification alert immediately). Anyways, I liked Chrissy. I didn’t feel like I had to try hard to talk to her, in the way that I did when I was touring other colleges and trying to appear personable, and she responded comfortably to my awkward statement-questions.

Tufts is like that. When people tell you that there’s a place for everyone–a place where you’re encouraged to be yourself and love the self that you are there–you don’t believe it. Yeah right, you think, because who is actually themselves, ever? You can’t even imagine wanting to be in a place with other people of shared interests, because all you’ve ever known is competition and toxicity.

But if there was a place that could prove your predisposed notions wrong, it was Tufts.

Tufts, with its roster of revered professors, all as dedicated as they are passionate in the topic that they teach. Tufts, with its mighty Jumbo statue standing proudly outside of Tisch College. Tufts, a university of overwhelming talent and intelligence, of diverse and sociable students.

And you knew all of this to be true–this wasn’t just a glamorized fantasy your brain was committed to–because you experienced it in the fleeting two weeks you spent there as a resident of Houston Hall. You partook in lectures led by professors such as Anjuli Fahlberg and Kimberly Dong-Breen on “Framing Social Problems as Violence” and “Racial Health Inequities” respectively, lectures that almost felt too interesting to be labeled as “lectures” (that word had become a red flag in your mind).

You passed by Jumbo every morning on your way to the Starbucks in the Joyce Cummings Center as the designated coffee-getter. He stood there, frozen in time, his presence providing a great sense of security and confidence as you carried three cups of coffee back to your dorm, ignoring the numbing sensations of having held the chilled drinks for too long.

You made friends, too. Not colleagues–not acquaintances–friends. Friends that each had their own unique qualities and traits, who all had something extravagant to offer in the plethora of discussions you engaged in. Friends who never seemed to tire of your presence and introduced yourself to a new “you” that you loved.

You found a place where you were encouraged to love everything about yourself. And starting from Chrissy, and then Charlotte, and Hudson and Ruth and Teagan and Amanda and Javlyn (not jav-lin) and Ben and Veer and Ryan and all the people that made Tufts, Tufts, you found an extension of the “you” you grew to love. And you believe it now.