Senior Reflection: Geoff Tobia Jr. on student performance culture

Arts Editor Geoff Tobia Jr. is pictured. Courtesy Geoff Tobia Jr.

On-campus activities were undeniably an extremely fulfilling and rewarding facet of my college experience. While I’ll do my best to describe my experiences and navigation through the sea of extracurriculars that Tufts has to offer, I want this reflection to mostly serve as advice. There are two focal points of advice that I have; both incoming classes of Jumbos and current Jumbos of any class can follow them. First, trust the process. Sticking with what makes you happiest and pursuing it will lead you in exciting new directions. Second, take every opportunity you’re presented with and actively seek new ones. These ideas ended up making me feel very fulfilled and satisfied with my time at Tufts, and I hope that anyone that feels lost or uncertain can take these into account and find something they’re passionate about.

That’s what college is about, is it not? Sure, I may still not know what I want to do in terms of a career path (sorry Mom and Dad!), but I was able to narrow down my passions through some trial and error, and a lot of stumbling upon great people. Meeting and getting friendly with people who welcomed me and had fascinating experiences and passions is what led me to some of my favorite groups of people: The Tufts Daily (of course), club fencing and Major: Undecided, to name a few. Without these people who welcomed me with open arms, and who helped create such fun and unforgettable times, I wouldn’t be formed into the person I confidently and proudly am today. Of course, it goes without saying that my close friends, most of whom I’ve known since my first year at Tufts, are my biggest cheerleaders, and they fuel my motivation to both trust the process and actively seek chances to keep fueling and expanding what I’m passionate about.

As a matter of fact, it took years of formation for me to find what has brought me an immense amount of joy: playing bass guitar for my band, Fossil. Sure, the COVID-19 pandemic led me to pick up the instrument in August 2020, but years of molding my music taste at Tufts, as well as the attachment that I grew to music while at Tufts, gave me the drive to practice bass and perform for my friends and for the Tufts community.

What was so rewarding about being passionate about playing bass guitar was the consistent joy I would get just from picking it up to play. And that’s something I know everyone can do, even if they’re not already doing it: find something that brings you a constant sense of joy and time well-spent. There were many examples of songs I wanted to learn from artists I really like, such as Jessie Ware, Masego and Omar Apollo. On top of that, listening to albums from popular artists like Charlie Puth and Dua Lipa, and the way they use bass guitar to make incredibly catchy tunes, inspired me to write bass guitar riffs of my own. So once I got the actual instrument in my hand, I got to work, and it spawned the therapeutic nature of practicing bass on my own and the rush of performing live with my band.

I saw a variety of on-campus shows and Boston-area concerts as a Tufts student, and I was always a little jealous of the performers onstage. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the shows I covered, such as Tool, Tyler, the Creator and Origami Angel. But after interviewing artists like Kota the Friend, Lady Lamb and No Suits, and talking to on-campus performers, there started to grow a desire for me to be the one onstage, performing for my friends and for fellow music-loving strangers. That’s where Fossil took off.

With my good friends Brandon Karavitch, a senior, and juniors Joe Sinkovits and Max Chow-Gillette, we’ve turned the pandemic’s limits on the outside world into a space for us to create. I’m very thankful that, for Brandon and I, we have been able to play in front of live Tufts audiences before our senior year concludes. Little did I know how intensely satisfying the feeling would be as a performer in a rock/metal band. It’s totally electrifying, seeing how people dance to the music you’re playing. That’s a feeling that goes with any live music performance, but finding my place in metal music took lots of feeling out and lots of music-related experiences at Tufts for me to get where I am now. And, man, am I so thankful for where that has brought me.

Any aspiring musicians should make their presence known on campus. Get in contact with groups like WMFO and AppleJam, both of which have the greatest and utmost support for Tufts musicians. They will host your shows, cheer you on and keep you motivated to keep performing for the amazing crowds that Tufts bands draw. And this translates with lots of other groups as well. If you’re passionate about comedy, for example, there are people in comedy groups who can tell you about spaces in the Boston area that are great for comedians to grow their platform. Connections like these are what help turn your dreams into realities. And that’s why I implore people to pursue their passions and get involved with the things Tufts has to offer.

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