BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of 93 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Economics and Urban Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I am in the Concert Choir, it’s about 70 kids and meets twice a week. I do 180 Degrees Nonprofit Consulting, which is an international student volunteer consultancy group and Tufts has a branch. I am in the Men Against Sexual Assault Club. I [work with] the Tufts Wilderness Orientation. I also am part of the Tufts Dance Collective, so there are 15 or so student choreographed dances you apply to and each dance is like 25 people. You practice once a week and then at the end do two shows.
Did any of your extracurriculars have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The two I’d pick are the Wilderness Orientation and 180 Degrees. As a first year, I went on the Wilderness pre-orientation trip and I found that it was a really important part of my college experience coming from a small private school where I felt pretty grounded. Going into college with so many unknowns, I found that the wilderness program was a great way to enter college knowing a few familiar faces. Getting to know the eight other first years and two upperclassmen leaders was something really special for me. [Since joining,] I’ve found the people on staff are really wonderful and it feels like one big community.
180 Degrees was something I got into my freshman year. I had to apply to it, most clubs at Tufts you have to apply to and a lot of them are pretty selective. It was great because it opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. [It’s great] to be able to engage with a bunch of organizations and be able to make a tangible change. The coolest project I did was I got to work on the domestic marketing strategy of a clean-tech startup incubator or do data analysis of their current startups.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I’ve spread out my Sociology classes over my time, so last year I took two Sociology classes: Sociological Theory and Health Policy and Inequality. There is a lot of reading and a lot of writing and just general research. A unique thing about Tufts that I’ve noticed is a lot of kids strive to take the most difficult classes. They’re not looking for an easy way out. I find a lot of the people at Tufts are very interdisciplinary in that they have multiple interests and passions.
Is there anything you feel the Sociology department does especially well or poorly?
Personally, I have had a very positive experience with the Sociology department, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I think it really depends on what kind of learner you are. It’s very reading intensive and is a lot of in-depth analysis, so if that’s not your style then I might look to do something else.
In terms of Tufts, all of the professors I’ve had have been really wonderful. They make themselves available for office hours at least two or three hours a week, which is very helpful.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Tufts is unique in that it’s a top-notch academic institution, but I find that it’s really not competitive at all. People are always looking to help one another in whatever way they can. People are more competitive with themselves to do well rather than competing with other people for certain grades.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Sociological Theory. My professor was an awesome guy and a really great lecturer. There were 40 people in the class but it was still very discussion based. Going into the class I was nervous because sociological theory is very dense, but he made it so understandable and really broke it down. It was also helpful to have a bunch of classmates who all worked together because it was so hard to break down
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Globalization and Social Change. I thought the material was very interesting, however, I wasn’t happy with the way it was taught and structured. I felt that it was very disorganized and there wasn’t a lot of explanation of concepts and terms.
How accessible have your professors been?
They have been pretty accessible. I personally didn’t go to office hours a lot, but I know that professors offer them at least once or twice a week. There are some students that go regularly.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I went into college thinking I wanted to study sociology. I’ve always been very interested in the study of society and people and the way we work as communities and societies. It also ties into a lot of my interests because I did a lot of diversity and social justice work in high school. I tied together Sociology and my minors, Economics and Urban Studies, to go into the urban planning or development field. Tufts doesn’t have an Urban Studies major, but [I feel combining my major and minors] has broadened my scope, so I’m satisfied how that’s worked out.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Hill Hall with one roommate. The building is a little isolated from the rest, but it has the biggest rooms so I liked it.
Sophomore: Haskell Hall in a suite of ten with a shared common space and I was in a double room.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
On campus is super safe. There is a lot of security around and it’s a pretty small campus. I have never felt unsafe, it’s common to see people walking around at all hours doing their own thing.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Being able to go to Boston is super nice. Tufts is kind of like a Goldilocks school, it’s not too big or too small, it’s not in the city and it’s not in the middle of nowhere.
Pros and Cons of being in Somerville/Medford, MA?
Pros: (1) You’re not in the middle of a city, so you get that college town vibe.
(2) Public transit in Boston is awesome. You can get anywhere you want without a car easily.
(3) There are a lot of really cool restaurants in Somerville. Somerville particularly is a really up and coming area and has a lot of cool things to do.
Cons: Rent is really high.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to go to parties and do fun stuff. Social life at Tufts is kind of a mixed bag. There are Greek life organizations, and there are a lot of off-campus houses and clubs that have parties. At the same time, it can be hard to find things to do on campus. There is always something going on, but sometimes you either can’t get in or you don’t know anyone there or you’re not involved in the club that’s doing something. I find that, especially for underclassmen, it can be kind of stagnant sometimes. If you are involved with things and have a diverse set of friends, you’ll find yourself with things to do. [See Tufts Observer article, “Where did all the parties go?”]
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
I usually go out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tuesday night is pub night, so people go to The Pub, which is near campus. Thursday nights people go called The Burren in Davis Square which has live music and stuff. Friday and Saturday are mainly on campus, so house parties, frat parties, and other things like that.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Say it’s a Friday night, you’d go out and grab dinner with your friends, probably around 8:30 get together and hang out in a dorm room, and then around 10 or 10:30 go to a sports house or a frat. That’s where freshmen tend to congregate because they are always throwing parties. The frats have become a lot more strict because of their probation, so it’s become a lot harder to get into frat parties if you don’t know anyone, so most freshmen now go to sports houses on campus.
What have been your favorite days or nights at Tufts?
One of the best days of the year is Spring Fling, and it’s the last weekend before reading period, which is the study period before exams. They have a big concert on the quad, and it’s one of the few times where I feel like there’s an excuse to start drinking in the morning which is fun. It’s also one of the few days where all of the campus comes together. This past year Ty Dolla Sign came.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Tufts? Is there anything you would change if you could?
For me personally, I’m happy with it. As long as I get to hang out with my friends if I’m happy. There are options to go out to if I want to and I take advantage of those. [When I was choosing a school], partying wasn’t a number one priority and I think that holds true for a lot of people at Tufts. If I could change anything I would make things more open and inclusive. I feel like the social life is kind of divided between groups at times, but I think that happens naturally.
Another thing I’ve noticed about social life is that it’s directly tied to the weather, which is not something that does not bode well for us considering the winter here lasts like five months of the time we’re here. When it’s nice out the social life is happening, but when it’s cold it’s harder to find an excuse to walk outside when it’s like 20 degrees [Fahrenheit].
How did you meet your closest friends?
My wilderness pre-orientation trip, a few of my really close friends happened to be on my trip and we stayed close. Once I got involved in the wilderness pre-orientation program, I met a lot of people who are really great friends. Then I also met people on my freshman hall.
How would you describe the social scene?
I think there’s a little bit of something for everyone. There are a bunch of different things going on held by the university and students that cater to people that don’t drink. There are a bunch of performances and artistic things. There are different parties hosted by the campus, and there are a lot of things going on outside of Tufts sponsored things. Also, Boston has such a good social scene. There are so many young people. I know a bunch of my friends will go to Harvard and MIT to party there.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think it is much more mixed in terms of sexual orientation than racially. Tufts is a very diverse place. There is a high percentage of international students and a whole mix of different races and ethnicities, but I think they don’t always mix as well as they should. But, I understand it, it’s natural to want to be with people like yourself. [About 11% of undergraduates are international students, 13% are Asian, 7% are Hispanic, and 4% are Black.]
How would you describe the student body?
The student body is really nice. Everyone’s super cool, bright, and interested in many things. Rarely do you meet someone that just sits in the library all day, everyone has lives outside of academics and is interested in different things.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Tufts before you entered as a freshman?
I don’t think I realized how cold it gets. It gets really cold. In terms of general advice, get involved in things like clubs and not just academics. That’s where I found a lot of my friends and how I came to feel really secure at Tufts.
What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I think on visits it’s really hard to capture the student body. I find that at Tufts the student body makes a big difference and is really open and accepting.
Reasons to attend Tufts:
1) The location is really, really good.
2) The student body is open, welcoming, and very kind.
3) It’s a collaborative academic atmosphere.
4) There are a bunch of different clubs and extracurriculars you can get into outside of academics.
Reasons to not attend Tufts:
1) It’s really cold.
2) Social life can be kind of divided. On top of that, things can stagnate socially sometimes.