BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with about 100 students in my graduating class.
Majors: Double Major in International Relations and Russian and Eastern European Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I was pretty active in the Russian Club on campus
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
Most of the International Relations courses at Tufts consist of Political Science courses, so it’s mainly reading and then you have a written exam. It’s mainly a lot of reading.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
The thing that most people dislike is that the International Relations program doesn’t actually have its own department, it’s just a mix of classes from the Political Science department, the Economics department, and a few from the History department too. It makes coordination a little tougher.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I would say Tufts is pretty collaborative overall.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
U.S. Foreign Policy and Public Opinion
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Probably this class I took on [Fydor] Dostoevsky for my Russian Major
What is a fun class you’ve taken outside of your majors?
I took this class to fulfill a science distribution requirement, it was called Big Bang and the Human Kind, it was pretty cool.
Why did you choose your combination of majors?
I came in with the sense of wanting to do either International Relations or Cognitive Brain Science. Then I took a few I.R. courses and liked it. I had already taken some Russian classes in high school, so I continued with that because it pairs nicely with I.R.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Lewis Hall on Packard Avenue with one roommate.
Sophomore: I lived in a single in an off-campus house for graduate students called Fairmont House
Junior: I lived in Hillside Apartments with five other suitemates
Senior: Latin Way with three suitemates
What was your favorite living situation?
My favorite living situation was this year. I think it’s nice to live with a smaller group of people but also have that single room with a common space.
Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
Tufts is super safe. If you go down Boston Avenue into some neighborhoods it can be a little unsafe, but it’s fine for the most part. I’ve never felt unsafe walking around Somerville.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Hokkaido in Harvard Square, it’s a Japanese place that serves ramen and stuff. It’s really good.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I like to go down to the Charles River area near MIT and walk around.
Pros and Cons of being in Medford, MA
Pros: (1) It has fewer distractions and a little quieter than Boston.
(2) it has a pretty decent food scene for its size.
Cons: (1) It is sort of a suburb.
(2) It’s harder to get around.
(3) There’s less to do than in the center of Boston
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There isn’t a ton of nightlife on campus anymore, especially because they shut a bunch of the fraternities down. When I go out, I usually go out to a local bar or sometimes a club in Boston or something. I usually just go out Friday and Saturday. I think that’s pretty true with most Tufts students. I don’t think it’s a school where people go out more than two nights a week.
What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There are some culture houses on campus. Sometimes they throw parties, which are a pretty good alternative to Greek life.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Greek life used to be pretty big at Tufts and was kind of responsible for all the parties on the weekends. They’re pretty dead now. There are only like one or two fraternities that are active and able to throw open parties. [8 of 18 fraternities and sororities are deemed as being “in good standing” by the university.]
How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Ideally, the whole university would be closer to Boston. Before I applied I thought it was a lot closer than it was. I didn’t realize that it could take up to an hour to get to the center of the city if you’re going to take public transportation. Having Boston there is a great opportunity to go out and do some stuff.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met both of my closest friends through a person I went to high school with. They lived in his dorm, and I lived in a neighboring dorm.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say Tufts is pretty white overall. I think mixing differs a bit based on the racial or ethnic group. I think international students tend to keep to themselves and Black students typically have their own circles. The Asian-Americans seem to mingle a little more with everybody else. [About 55% of undergraduates are White and 13% of undergraduates are Asian.]
How would you describe the overall social scene at Tufts?
I would say it’s acceptable, but getting worse.
How would you describe the student body?
Academically serious, pretty liberal, and I think everybody’s pretty nice at Tufts. There are a lot of strange kids, and I guess that would be a trade-off with everybody being so nice.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Tufts by senior year?
Yeah, I think most people are decently happy. I think few people have super serious regrets.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Tufts before entering as a freshman?
I guess I wish I knew a little bit more about the student body. Basically, just all the things I told you: [academically serious, pretty liberal, and I think everybody’s pretty nice at Tufts. There are a lot of strange kids, and I guess that would be a trade-off with everybody being nice]. Also, I wish I understood Medford and how quiet and far away it is from Boston. [Without traffic, a drive from Tufts to Downtown Crossing is about 15-minutes.]
What have been your favorite times at Tufts?
Senior week this year was really fun. And just in general the beginning of freshman year was really fun too because everybody was energized and going out all the time and meeting new people.
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I do think Tufts tries to bill itself as a school that’s way more diverse than it is. I think especially minority students and other students of that nature should be aware of that.
Reasons to attend Tufts:
1) It’s generally prestigious.
2) All the departments are pretty strong
3) The people are good and nice, even if they are a little strange every now and then.
Reasons to not attend Tufts:
1) There are comparable universities with a more active social life.
2) It lacks the brand recognition that some schools that are on par or even inferior have.
3) The dormitories leave a little bit to be desired.