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Hello 2014!

Greetings Class of 2014! Congratulations on getting into Tufts!

I remember when I was in your shoes last year and I really had NO idea of where I wanted to go to school. But after I went to the Tufts April Open House and contacted some peope I knew at Tufts I started to gain a better sense of Tufts philosophy. Tufts is an extremely open environment – receptive to any idea. Every single student I have met is passionate about something – or many things – and let their interests shine. So, if you love to volunteer, dance, write, read, or even mime, Tufts is an excellent option.

In hindsight, I really had no idea what I wanted in a school. But, now at Tufts, I know that it has a wonderful undergraduate environment.

My advice: Come visit. Contact people you know from Tufts and ask them questions. and COME to Tufts!

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Good to be back.

Another great aspect about Tufts: the month-long winter break. It is glorious to have a whole month to read, relax, sleep, explore, or travel. We got out on December 18th and classes began again last week, January 21st. The break gave me some time to unwind and get pumped for a second semester in Medford!

While I did not do anything spectacular over my vacation, there are lots of different programs that students can take advantage of. There were numerous service/research trips ranging in places from Guatemala to the UAE. There are really lots of options. Next year, I’m planning on doing some traveling but this break I read lots of books (The Nine, Dan Brown’s new book, and some others). While I love reading I never seem to have enough time to sit down and read a book on campus; there is always so much else to do…

SO back to school. I must admit that I am extremely happy with this semester’s sceduele, classes, and professors. I’m taking Intro to International Relations, which I’m excited about. My professor is J. Talliafero and he is a total character. He has a loud, booming voice and pretty much typifies my imagination’s “college professor” ideal. The class takes place in the Fletcher Graduate School, which is really inspiring because the graduate school is flooded with brilliant/worldly students that are ready to solve the world’s problems after graduation..

Tonight I’m going to see a lecture by Phillip Bobbit @ Tufts. He’s suppose to be a brilliant foreign policy advisor…and it going to talk on the future of the war in Afganistan. Look for another post later this week 🙂

ALSO for you prospective stuents: The days are getting longer in Boston; don’t fear the dreaded New England winter!

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Snow, Snow, Snow!

What a beautiful day in Somerville, Massachusetts! The sun was out and all of the trees & buildings were frosted with newly fallen snow. Last night we got our first serious snowfall. Throughout the night students were sliding down the President’s lawn on cafeteria trays! What a great induction into the holiday season.

But….finals are quickly approaching! This is the last week of classes and then the following week is finals and then it’s holiday break. I’m incredulous at the fact that the semester is so close to being over.

Yesterday I went into Boston! Even though it was a little rainy – pre snowfall – it didn’t really matter because I was inside the Museum of Fine Arts. I’m so glad that I finally made it over to the museum because I get in for FREE as a Tufts student and the museum has a great collection of artwork. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.

Tufts is definitely starting to get in the holiday spirit!

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Post-Turkey Day

Can it already be December? It seems like I just arrived in my dorm at the end of August. All of my professors are starting to talk about finals and the “end of the semester” which seems so weird! I have two more weeks of classes, three finals and one paper, and then it’s holiday break. Time is a confusing concept in college!

I had a great Thanksgiving break. I went home to New Jersey and had a very simple thanksgiving dinner with my parents and younger brother. It was super nice to sleep in my bed and eat homecooked food! However, at the same time, I kind of missed the independence that college allows. You don’t really realize how cool it is that you can go to random lectures or movies on odd nights of the week….

Tuesdays are my super-busy days. At least compared to the rest of my week Tuesdays are the most jam-packed! I have two classes in the morning, I rush over to Central Square, Cambridge for LIFT, come back to Tufts for a yoga class, and then finnish off the night with an econ recitation. Tonight, after my recitation, I went to Hotung cafe to watch President Obama’s speech about the deployment of more troops. I thought it was a great speech and the President really spoke to all types of Americans. After the speech there was a debate/discussion about Obama’s speech that was sponsored by the IGL (Institute for Global Leadership). A lot of the students there were fairly critical of the speech and it was very interesting/educating to hear about their opinions of the war overseas and what Obama failed to mention in his address. There always seems to be something to learn!

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As I sit here drinking tea…

What a great week! There was so much going on these last couple days so it feels indescribably nice to sit at my computer, drink tea, and blog. What’s more it was a balmy 60(!??!) degrees this afternoon. I went outside around noon and was completely blown away by the warmth of the sun. Perhaps Global Warming isn’t such a bad thing ..?

To be honest, the beginning of this week was stressful. I had two midterms (English and Econ) and a Community Health paper due. While in high school tests were important they didn’t hold the same significance as midterms hold in college where one test is 25-30% of a final grade. It can begin to be unnerving, and a little scary.

As someone who is very conscience of grades, I have had a difficult transition coming from a high school environment where getting good grades is substantially easier. In college, and especially at Tufts, everyone is smart. Everyone works hard and wants the better grade. While Tufts is definitely not a cut-throat atmosphere, there is certainly competition. I’ve recently been reminded of a short story/essay by Anna Quindlen called “Being Perfect.” She says something along the lines of that trying to be perfect and do everything is analogous to carrying a backpack filled with bricks day after day. In short, “perfection” is a silly goal. In college, I have felt some pressure to do everything and live up to my own expectations for myself. But, I have realized that college is about a lot more than good grades it’s completely ok to mess up sometimes.

So, to balance the bursts midterm stress, I have been doing two yoga classes a week and a Pilates class. They are excellent and a great release from school work. I paid $35 for a semester of yoga and I think it was money well spent. The instructor is very chill and always says really calming, and almost corny, things like “you are your own pillar while your daily stresses are just oscillating winds.” I definitely recommend the class if you’re up for trying something new/you’re into yoga at Tufts.

Now that the semester is drawing to a close, I’ve been trying to select my favorite activities at Tufts and what clubs/extracurriculars I really want to get involved in during my next 3.5 years here. At the end of September, I began volunteering for this non-profit organization called LIFT. For this non-profit, I’ve been taking the T(the Boston subway) into Central Square, Cambridge every week to meet with various individuals across the Boston area who have recently been evicted, fired, or simply need help applying for health car. I go in to the office for 3 hours and have already met with a wide range of clients. This volunteer work has been so interesting and really has forced me to get into Boston. Not only do I feel like I am helping others improve their livelihood somewhat but I am also slowly learning about the complexities of insurance, taxes, and resume writing! This experience is a great non-academic education that I have been able to take advantage of 🙂

Also, I successfully registered for classes next semester!! Even though my registration was an ok-time (12:15pm) it right, smack in the middle of my Econ midterm. Great timing, right? But, nevertheless, I ended up getting most of the classes I wanted. I wrote this in my previous post but I’m taking Reinaissance and Reformation (I’m taking this because I heard the professor is excellent and I wanted to take a history class this semester), Jane Austin Novels and Films (I heard we read all of Austin’s novels and then watch Clueless and Pride and Prejuduce. I’m very excited), Intro to International Relations (I’m excited to take this class because I’m thinking of majoring in IR but I’ve heard very mixed reviews about the professor. Apparently he gives out a lot of sub-satisfactory grades), Spanish 22 (Another good teacher and I’ll get 3/4 of the IR language requirement done after this class), and then a class called Engagement for Active Citizenship (or E4AC; it’s a program through the Tisch College and meets for 3 hours on Fridays…this will be a change from no-class fridays this semester).

Lastly, somewhat shamefully, I went to the midnight screening of New Moon last night with two friends. While I do confess to reading all the books and seeing the first movie, I would not classify the Twilight series as “literature” 🙂 However, it was great fun going to the midnight screening at the Boston Commons with low expecations for the quality of the acting/screenplay. It was also entertaining to see the HOARDS of adolescent girls who made the pilgrimage from all locals of Boston to congregate for this pop-culture sensation. Midnight movies are a freshman-year must. To read more about the screening, check out Carolyn Pruitt’s blog called “The Freshman Perspective.”

I have some work to get done this weekend so I can enjoy Thanksgiving at home next week!!! Happy Weekend!


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Courses Chosen :)

I chose my spring semester courses this afternoon! I’ll be taking Renaissance and Reformation, Spanish 22, Intro to International Relations, Jane Austin Novels & Film, and a class on active citizenship (E4AC).

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