In the words of 2000s pop icon Hannah Montana, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” In my case, days were entire semesters spent sorely mistaken. This fortnight I’m shedding light not on the greatness of “Hannah Montana” (2006–2011) and other such defining shows of Disney Channel’s golden age — they need neither defense nor endorsement to be enthusiastically and unapologetically appreciated — but on the naivety of first-year me, who on any given day unhesitatingly answered with undue confidence “Dewick” to the age-old question of one’s dining hall preference.
Having now seen the error of my ways, I hope to prevent future Jumbos from repeating my mistakes by highlighting two of the purest possible pleasures to be found on this campus that I previously have denied myself not out of shame but ignorance. At first glance, laundry and Carm appear to have no connection, other than the outside entrance to the latter always smelling delightfully of detergent and dryer sheets. Both, however, are things I initially misjudged but have since come around to and couldn’t imagine my life at Tufts without.
The viscosity and scent of detergent, the meditative act of folding (and the chance to show off my mad fitted sheet folding skills), the routine and rebirth and resetting of it all is why I don’t simply love Laundry Day but live for it. Before beginning college, laundry was a chore, something to put off until it couldn’t possibly be put off anymore. Overwhelmed by the uncertainty and stress of starting school far from home during a pandemic, I instituted Laundry Day: a set day to do my laundry every week. Its magic is in more than the physical laundry — it’s about the day being an event sacred in itself and dedicating a weekly space for reflection and opportunity for renewal. It’s easy to lose track of yourself (and your laundry), and though with their subterranean setting and scarcity of washers and dryers, dorm laundry rooms can feel more like a battlefield than a haven, so my number one piece of advice for incoming students is to have a Laundry Day.
My second is to not discount Carm — frequently cast (unjustly) as the inferior dining hall. In spite of our rocky start, I fall more in love with Carm every day. From its yellow and brown pillars that will never not seem giraffe-like (and reminiscent of my giraffe-like roommate) to me and the meatlessness of its Mondays, to its windows delivering natural light, vitamin D and greenhouse vibes, Carm is the gift that keeps on giving. Without gluten or nuts, it manages to always serve immaculate energy and a fantastic brunch. Every time I step into Carm’s embrace, I’m reminded of the friendships I’ve cemented under its auspices.
Though these are the underrated pleasures that have made my Tufts experience, it all comes down to knowing yourself. This column aspires to facilitate the discovery of the places and practices that bring peace, comfort, joy, but that is ultimately a project each of us must undertake for ourselves. In determining the innocent pleasures that restore your soul, look within and defer to your own judgment. But if you’re looking for a shortcut to happiness, Carm berries will almost assuredly get you there.