Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I purchased my cap and gown at the Tufts bookstore today! I also received embossed graduation announcements and a brown and blue "08" tassel.

So, now, the pressure's fully on: I better graduate!

It's a pretty hectic time at Undergraduate Admissions right now, what with high school students beginning the college search process and admitted students still deciding among colleges.

But there's an even bigger change: Bendetson Hall has undergone a major renovation. For the past month, prospective students and their families have gone to Dowling Hall, the Student Services building, for information sessions and tours. As of this week, we are once again greeting visitors at Bendetson Hall!

Walls were knocked down and repainted and all of the old furniture was replaced. Gone are the chairs with the elephant-print fabric. In their place, swanky (and super comfortable) chairs and settees in muted tones of brown and blue have taken over the lobby. The new interior design accommodates more visitors and enables them to have discreet conversation clusters.

We hope you enjoy the new and improved Bendetson!

Monday, March 31, 2008


A very big congratulations to the students who received their Tufts acceptance letters today! We hope you join the Class of 2012 on the Hill!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who You Gonna Call? TUPD! (Not Ghostbusters)

On Saturday night, my friends decided they wanted to go to a bar in Kenmore Square, near Fenway Park, to meet up with some acquaintainces who live in Boston. However, I live on the opposite side of campus from their off-campus apartment, and I didn't want to walk 20 minutes to their house in the 20 degree temperature at 11 pm and risk pneumonia. What to do? I called the Non-Emergency hotline of the Tufts University Police Department and requested a police escort--for the first time in my time at Tufts!

Promptly, a police officer picked up the phone and asked me where I would be heading. Within a few minutes, a snazzy brown and blue TUPD police cruiser rolled up to my abode. A few minutes after that, I arrived safe and sound at my friends' apartment.But this isn't an anecdote about the responsiveness of the TUPD or safety precautions on campus. Rather, it's just another vignette that illustrates how friendly the staff members are at Tufts University.

In the span of my 4 minute car ride with Officer John Murphy, I learned the following about him: that he has worked for Tufts for the past 10 years; that his younger brother graduated from Tufts and majored in Economics; that he is waiting to hear which musicians will perform at this April's Spring Fling; that he was getting off his work shift in 10 minutes; and that he loves his job.

In turn, he had learned my class year, my majors, my career plans, my hometown, the story behind my freshman year knee dislocations, and where I was heading to in Boston that night! By the time we rolled up at my destination, he shook my hand and said that it was a pleasure to meet me after all my years at Tufts.

I'd said it before, and I'll say it again: the people at Tufts--be they students, professors, faculty members, or support staff--are genuinely friendly, and that has made my college experience all the better. Strangers will open doors for you or volunteer to help you out. In the span of 4 minutes, you can strike up a conversation with someone you've never met.So, I'd like to dedicate this post to all those unsung heroes at Tufts. I'd like to thank Lina, the Dining Services lady who swipes students' ID cards in Carmichael Hall and who shouts "Sweetie!" and "Bella!" to the freshman girls whenever they enter the building.

I'd also like to thank Kate Nash, Program Director of Advising and Scholarships, and James Ryan, Coordinator for Programs and Special Projects, the amazing duo that coordinates Freshman Orientation each year.

And, if you're ever at Bendetson Hall, be sure to thank Ellen Mounteer, the dedicated Campus Visit Coordinator who greets visitors to the reception area! Admissions wouldn't be the same without her.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Medford and Its Historical Significance

Now, in my fourth year of work at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I feel as though I’m able to recite arcane Tufts knowledge in my sleep—while walking backward, like a diligent tour guide! However, as much as I enjoy reciting the saga of Jumbo the mascot for the umpteenth time, I also love learning new facts about the Tufts campus and the surrounding areas.On two occasions, I’ve visited the Isaac Royall House, located 5 minutes from the Tufts campus at 15 George Street in Medford. Royall, a rum distiller, slaveholder, and trader of Antiguan slaves, owned over 500 acres. George Washington and his generals stayed in the main house during the early months of the Revolutionary War. Today, visitors to the grounds can peruse a public museum, the Royalls’ home, and the site of the oldest standing slave quarters in New England. Indeed, in February of 1782, a slave named Belinda, who had toiled at the estate for 50 years, spoke before the legislature of Massachusetts to courageously petition her right to a fraction of the late Isaac Royall's inheritance.Born in Medford, Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was an outspoken novelist, journalist, abolitionist, and advocate for the rights of women and Native Americans. However, she is best remembered for her 1844 poem entitled, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day.” We now know it as the Thanksgiving song, “Over the River and Through the Woods.” The title refers to the Mystic River. Grandfather’s house is still located at 114 South Street, just a few blocks from the Tufts campus, in Medford. In 1976, Tufts purchased and restored the site.Did you know that “Jingle Bells” was also composed in Medford? James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) composed the seasonal tune in 1857. At the time, men used “cutters”—also known as “one horse open sleighs”—to race the mile-long route between Medford and Malden Squares.If you’re walking along College Avenue, you’ll see the massive Cousens Gymnasium complex. In the mid-nineteenth century, this land was the site of the George L. Stearns Estate—and a stop on the Underground Railroad. In the 1860’s, Stearns, a local merchant, operated a safe house, assisting enslaved individuals to escape from the South to the North. Stearns was also one of the “Secret Six” who lent his friend, John Brown, financial support for his 1859 anti-slavery raid on Harper’s Ferry, VA.One of my majors is American Studies, so it fascinates me that Medford has been home to slaveholders, enslaved African Americans, male and female abolitionists, and fugitives on the Underground Railroad. As a history buff, I love that the greater Boston area is rife with sites of historical significance. Visiting places like Lexington, where the colonists' revolt against England began, and the textile mills at Lowell has helped me attain a better grasp of social struggles in the United States.

Boston may be remembered for its Tea Party, but only Medford inspired Thanksgiving and Christmas songs that are beloved to this very day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

College Tour Etiquette

This week, prospective students and their families have descended upon the Tufts campus in droves. If you're a sophomore or junior, you may be commencing your college tour process. Pack comfortable shoes and sunglasses: you're going to need them!I've been a tour guide at Tufts for the past 4 years (and have averaged 8 tours per week over the past 2 summers)! However, way back when, I was the younger sibling who tagged along with my sister and parents on a tour of every college in the United States.

I completely commiserate with individuals who are attempting to navigate the murky waters of this process. After a while, the statistics start to swim in your head and the college campuses morph into the same vague image of a quad with some brick buildings around it.

So here's my take on college tours:1) Think of this as a movie theatre. Turn off your cell phones, put away your snacks, and please keep your comments to a minimum or just whisper them discreetly, at the very least. Over the years, I've had people conduct business meetings via cell phone, eat sub sandwiches, and make loud comments while I try to walk backward and scream fun facts about the School of Engineering. One of my fellow tour guides even encountered prospective students making out in the middle of her tour! Please be considerate of the other people on your tour. Most tours are an hour in length, so please refrain from disruptive activities.

2) Duck out quietly. Look, sometimes you're going to arrive at a college campus and instantly know that it's not the place for you. Good. Trust your gut reactions. However, sometimes you'll be halfway through a tour when you realize that you're just not gelling with the school. Just traipse off from the tour group without causing a scene. My family and I did this at a school that didn't mesh well with my sister. No harm, no foul.

If, however, you know in advance that you'll need to cut your tour short--you have to drive to another school, for example, or you need to meet with an athletic coach on campus--please inform your tour guide before the tour begins. That way, he or she won't take it as a personal slight.
3) Pay attention. Sometimes, prospective students base their opinion of a school entirely on whether or not they like their tour guide. Remember, this tour guide is ONE student out of the X people who attend that school and is in no way representative of the entire student body. So, while your tour guide is talking, take a few moments to find hidden "clues" about college life. Look at the other students walking around the campus. Do they look happy? Would you fit in with them? Look at the posters and signs. Is the campus vibrant and active? Look for blue lights and electronic call boxes. Is the campus safe? Sometimes, nonverbal signs are as telling as the script your tour guide is projecting to the crowd.

4) Record the memorable aspects of your visit. Whether that means taking photos, jotting down notes, or creating a folder filled with information packets from the colleges you visited, organize your personal recollections. Frequently, visitors to Tufts also take tours of other schools in Boston and the entire Northeast in the same vacation. If you're organized, when you return home, you'll be able to sift through the information and objectively compare and contrast your college choices.

5) Thank your tour guide! Chances are, he or she is an unpaid or minimum wage worker who genuinely loves his or her college. If you loved the tour, shake his or her hand; it'll brighten his or her day! Inquire about tour guide evaluations back at the admissions office.

6) Follow up. If you are genuinely interested in the school, ask for the tour guide's email or mail a thank you card to him or her care of the admissions office. Feel free to call the general admissions telephone number for detailed or personal inquiries.

7) HAVE FUN! When you tour colleges, you're basically window-shopping for the insitution of higher learing that you will attend for four years. It can be just as helpful to rule out schools you don't like as it is to find schools you do. In the process, you'll learn more about what makes you tick and what type of environment will best help you flourish, academically, socially, and personally.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Unleash Your Inner Pollock

If you've ever been on a Tufts campus tour, you've probably seen the cannon outside of Goddard Chapel. The city of Medford donated this replica of a cannon from the U.S.S. Constitution to Tufts. Many people allege that the cannon is aimed in the direction of at a school or two in Cambridge--cough, cough--but it's actually pointed at nothing in particular!

Also, you may be familiar with the grand student tradition of painting the cannon at night and guarding it until the sun rises. Since 1977, generations of Jumbos have decorated the statue with messages of protest, event promotion, birthday wishes, and marriage proposals. I've painted it on two occasions, including the August 2007 Freshman Orientation, as seen above.

However, if you happen to be miles away from Medford, minus 5 cans of spray paint, and would like to virtually join in on the action, you can visit this amazing website...


...and procrastinate by decorating a virtual cannon. Warning: this is highly addictive.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baby Jumbos

My friend Chloe (who is also a tour guide) text messaged me today from Florida. She's in Sarasota for Spring Break and, while visiting the Ringling Circus Museum, she came across an exhibit on Jumbo the elephant!

Sometimes I sit in the Ginn Library at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and pretend to write my American Studies paper while actually Googling images of "baby elephant" instead.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Walden Pond and the College Search Process

A few weeks ago, I visited Walden Pond for the second time. In my freshman year at Tufts, I took Environmental Geology, so my classmates and I scaled the rock formations and discussed the impact of industrialization and encroachment on Henry David Thoreau’s former home.

Currently, I am enrolled in Boston Radicals, an English class devoted to the long tradition of activist writing in the New England area. We read Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and “Walden Pond” and made a Sunday morning trek to Walden.A winter storm had blanketed the pond with snow, and my friends and I were able to walk out across the frozen waters and enjoy the tranquil scene. As rough as it was for me to wake up at 9:30 on a weekend morning, I’m glad I took the time to revisit a historic site that has become synonymous with contemplation and solace.

While at Walden, Thoreau wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” Whether you’re a senior in high school and waiting to hear back from the institutions to which you applied, or a sophomore or junior embarking on the torturous college search process, it’s critical to your sanity that you take a step back and breathe. Picking your future college is stressful, and, unfortunately, the influence of parents, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and so-called college “guidebooks” can sometimes further compound students’ anxieties.At the end of the day, trust your own intuition and try not to base your self-worth on a single application or decision. You are so much more than a SAT number or AP score. As Thoreau noted, “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” Admissions officers pass judgment on words and numbers in manila folders—not on individuals. If you have something unique to offer the world, it will become apparent in some form no matter which institution’s name is stamped on your college diploma.As you navigate the murky waters of your junior and senior years, stay connected to friends and family members. Find healthy outlets for your academic stress. (I’m not advocating that everyone should build a one-room shed in the middle of the forest like Thoreau, but, hey, whatever floats your boat!)

Admissions Counselor Jon Godsey advocates “yoga, meditation, and scented candles” to survive the competitive application process. In his information sessions, Assistant Director of Admissions Davin Bergquist encourages high school students, “If all else fails, take deep, cleansing breaths!” I think Thoreau would agree.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Erin Go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In 1737, colonial Boston was home to the first St. Patrick's Day parade in what is now the United States.

Boston is infamous for its historic Irish American population. As an individual with paternal ancestors from Ireland, I'll most certainly be adorned in green today.

The Burren is a renowned Irish pub and restaurant in Davis Square. Its St. Paddy's celebration replete with traditional Irish bands, foods, and drink begins at 8 am. So I'm off to bed now to ready myself for the day...

Best of luck to you this holiday and with the entirety of your college search process!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Tufts has several quirky fixtures on the Medford/Somerville campus. Visitors to the Tisch library lobby often look up at the ceiling and see this:Although this installation looks like something out of "The DaVinci Code," it's actually a sculpture printed with binary code. Sarah Hollis Perry and Rachel Perry Welty, two School of the Museum of Fine Arts students, designed it in 1997. The binary code spells out Philip Larkin's poem, "New Eyes Each Year."