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Céili Hale: not a typical southern belle

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 02:01

hale

Courtesy of Ceili Hale

Hale, a native Mississippian, is excited for life on the Hill.

Incoming freshman and Missisippian Céili Hale was not originally drawn to Tufts for its reputation or rigorous academics. Rather, she was attracted by a certain elephant mascot at a college fair at her high school.

“They came down here with a couple of other schools my junior year. The first thing that caught my eye was the Jumbo mascot,” she said.

After that memorable first impression, Hale researched Tufts and decided it was the school for her. She was accepted in the first round of Early Decision applicants.

Several aspects of Tufts appealed to Hale, including its take on experimental learning and the university’s academic range.

“I like the Experimental College, and I want to study English,” she said. “When I looked at the English courses, I noticed that there were interesting classes. More than just Shakespeare.”

Hale has many aspirations for her career both at Tufts and beyond.

“I want to minor in Film Studies and be a screenwriter for television shows or movies,” she said.

Hale toured the campus over the summer and was struck by the view of downtown Boston from the Tisch Library roof. “It felt . . . like immediately where I wanted to be,” she said.

Hale originates from Gluckstadt, Miss., a very small town about thirty minutes from Jackson, Miss.

“We have a Krystal [restaurant], two gas stations and four stop lights,” she said.

Hale says that she is not a typical Southerner, in that her opinions differ from those of her environment.

“I used to really hate it,” she said. “I actually wrote about this in one of my essays. It helped me learn how to talk to people who are different from me.”

According to Hale, most of her differences stem from her opinions about religion.

“We have a lot of Southern Baptists. I’m an atheist and people really don’t know that,” she said. “Anytime I try to bring it up, people will try to convert me.”

At Tufts, Hale is looking forward to being in a new environment, where she hopes that her peers may share some of her values.

“I know that up North in general is more compatible with the way I view politics and religion,” she said. As one of the few from her hometown who have heard of Tufts, let alone considered applying, the transition from Gluckstady to a city like Boston will be daunting.

“Even though Tufts isn’t right in Boston, it’s close to Davis Square, and I’ve never even been around something that big,” she said.

She said her parents have expressed the usual sentiments of uncertainty at having their child go to school far away, compared with most of her friends who will attend Mississippi State or the University of Mississippi.

“I think that they have always known that it’s something I wanted to do. They’re really nervous. The more they learn about Tufts, the better it gets,” she said.

Although the transition from her hometown in Mississippi to life in New England holds some trepidation for Hale, she seems overjoyed at the thrill of her start at Tufts, and is excited to arrive on campus in fall 2013 and begin life as a college freshman.

“All my friends get kind of annoyed because I talk about it so much,” she said. “I kind of, like, stalk Tufts.”

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