Op-Ed | Things everyone should do at Tufts (but doesn’t)
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013 16:09
During my time at Tufts, I had some of my best experiences and some of my most stressful ones. Here are a few tips on how to increase the former and help avoid the latter. Everything I talk about, I, or someone I knew closely, experienced.
First, don’t procrastinate when you have something big due. This was my biggest weakness while at Tufts. I was constantly telling myself I would do the reading later or start that paper tomorrow. Did I? No. Instead I would do it at the last stress-filled minute. If you can schedule your time so that you space work out, or find a way that will motivate you to get your work done early, I highly advise it. When I really needed to get something done ahead of time, I told myself I wouldn’t go out or play video games or whatever it was I wanted to do that night until I had accomplished the goal I had set — even if it was just an outline, some research or an intro paragraph.
Second, use some form of contraceptive if you’re going to have sex. It’s all fun and games until someone gets pregnant or your genitals start itching. Unless you know your partner really well, assume that they aren’t using anything, and protect yourself accordingly. Guys, by not using protection, you’re playing Russian roulette with something that could alter your life. Ladies, insist that your partner use a condom. No matter your gender, initiating a conversation to find out if that person you hooked up with a month ago is pro-life or pro-choice is not a fun time.
Third, I have some advice for freshmen. Alcohol is a part of the social scene at Tufts, but if you choose to imbibe, don’t figure out what your tolerance is by getting blackout drunk the first time you go out. Pounding shots is a good way to go to the hospital, whether you’re an experienced drinker or it’s your first time. Some nights I can drink enough liquor to put down a small pony, and other times I have had four drinks put me on my ass. Your tolerance depends on what you have eaten recently, how hydrated you are, your size, what kind of mood you are in and a variety of other factors. Don’t gamble with your health or feel pressured to drink more than you are comfortable with. If I were a betting man, I would put good money on the fact that 90 percent of behavior that gets people in trouble involves alcohol in some way. Alcohol is a social lubricant that can make you feel more comfortable and allow you to blow off some steam, but it is also used by predators to put people in situations that they would not otherwise be in. Also, don’t bring your fake to Hillside Wine & Spirits; they require a Tufts ID with out-of-state licenses, so you’ll probably get that sweet fake ID that you got for 50 bucks taken away from you.
Fourth, (this is for majors in the humanities fields), don’t skip class and then think you can do the readings and be caught up. In general, professors will go over whatever you are going to be tested on in class. If you have to choose between doing the reading or going to class, attend class and take copious notes. I have heard that it is the opposite for STEM majors, but I have no experience with that. Try to avoid bringing your laptop to class unless you are very disciplined. I found that I would just surf the Internet even when I meant to pay attention.
Fifth, and also for humanities people: Be proactive about finding a job. You’re impacted by the recovering economy and the fact that there are a lot of unemployed college graduates. Oftentimes it’s less about what you know than who you know. Fair or unfair, you have to deal with it and start making connections in the real world.
Sixth, take advantage of the gym and fitness facilities. Find out when everyone else goes to the gym and then go at a different time because you will be waiting more than working out if you try to go at peak hours, like right after class at 4:30 p.m.
Seventh, if you really want to take a certain class and it’s at 8:00 a.m., just take it. It’s not going to kill you. However, if you are someone who has trouble getting up in the morning, the temptation to skip it will probably overcome you, so be smart.
Eighth, Dewick and Carmichael serve the same food. Stop arguing about which is better. It’s annoying.
Ninth, if you want to expand your social circle, join a team or get involved in Greek life. It’s the best way to start finding people you share interests with and weren’t just shoved together with through housing.
Finally, keep an open mind and have fun. Don’t let stereotypes about certain groups or organizations keep you from doing something that you want to do. College is a great time to learn and have fun. Don’t waste it. You (probably your parents) are paying for Tufts. If you don’t like something, change it. Tufts belongs to you, not to the alumni or even the administrators, so make your experience what you want it to be.
Sam Chapin graduated as a member of the Class of 2013. He can be reached at Samuel.Chapin@tufts.edu.