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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Jumbo’s Journey: Staring at the blank page before us (Year 1 reflection)

A Jumbo's Journey.png
Graphic by Rachel Wong

Wow. Look at us. The academic year is almost over. That’s a crazy statement to think about. It’s almost over; those 7 a.m. lawnmowers, the slow walkers and the hospital lights are going to be nonexistent for the next four months. Especially as a freshman, this is a tremendous moment. And, as a mature, rising sophomore (I can say that now), I will spend my last column publication dissecting it.

Firstly, I want to speak on this column. When I first pitched A Jumbo’s Journey, I never thought it would end up like this. I initially pitched this as a silly, dubious column wherein I could yap away. However, this column has turned into so much more. I have been praised for my introspection, bullied for my corny jokes and solicited by salespeople trying to get me to sponsor their “newest findings.” In the end, I hope this column can act as an insightful resource for prospective first-years at Tufts and beyond. I hope that there was at least one piece of substance that stuck with you (or at least one joke that you laughed at). I also want to thank all those who have made this column feasible from the Daily editors who probably hate me to my readers who have been fortunate enough to read my work (jk). Thank you to everyone who has been a part of me on this Jumbo’s Journey.

Now onto my patented introspection. It has been a hell of a year. If I traveled back to my nervous self in August and told him what I have done and who I am today, he would probably start crying. The dichotomy is immense, and that is probably the same for every single person here. If not, something went wrong.

I’m on a ski team with zero ski racing experience before this year; I decided to change my minor to  gulp  computer science; I’m on the managerial staff for a prominent DJ duo ( on insta, you should go check them out). If I told myself these things to my naive high school self, he would not have believed me. Coming into this year with a ‘yes’ mentality definitely shaped my year in a positive way. These experiences have changed me as a person, and along with the memories I have made, will stay with me forever.

An aspect of college that surprised me was the people. In August, I was nervous that I wouldn’t find a group of friends and I would be all alone. However, the community here at Tufts is astounding. Everyone here is kind, sweet, empathetic and friendly. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people, and I am glad that I get to spend four years with them. It is such a heartwarming feeling to know that I’m appreciated and that I have met forever friends.

Overall, this year has been amazing. Sometimes at night I stare out the window of my dark, lonely single at the so-called free-willed people standing in line for General Tso’s chicken at Hodge, and I think about how fortunate I am. In those moments, I reflect, and I always come to the realization that I wouldn’t change a thing about this year. Not even my darkest moments. Every experience, every person and every moment is a unique part of the academic year and has positively impacted me. I can see why people say these are the best four years of your life. This year is definitely up there.

Now, since I am a rising sophomore, I can give some advice (maybe not to you seniors in the retirement home). My advice to any incoming freshman today or in the future is to not worry. There are so many stress and anxiety inducers, but it truly isn’t that deep. It may sound harsh, but nobody really cares. Sure college is hard and scary, but it’s just college. I like to think of it like an intricate crayon drawing. As a whole, the drawing is a multifaceted, complicated work of art. However, beyond the stigma, it’s just crayons.

Before this year I was asked if I was scared. Back then, I said yes. And yeah, I was nervous, anxious and beyond scared of what lay ahead of me here at Tufts. I was recently just asked that same question. I said no. It’s not because I have all these new experiences or because I think about crayons, it is because I know that this is where I belong and I know that no matter how high the highs get and how low the lows go, everything will be okay. And, that is what I learned this year: we are exactly where we are supposed to be and everything will be okay. Even though the next page is blank, I know that it will be filled with unforgettable, wonderful memories. This time next year, we will be looking back, reminiscing about all those good times. But right now, we are all just staring at the blank page before us. Unwritten.

*Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield starts to play. Goodbye, freshman year, you will be missed.*