In his four years at Tufts, graduating senior Jason Mejia has become beloved by so much of the Tufts community, simply by making it a priority to get to know as many people as possible.
“I expected to know some people, but I didn’t expect to become the notable campus icon that I’ve come to be, apparently. You don’t realize how many people you know until you get put into a situation where you see everyone, like at senior dinner — I could have named at least 70 percent of the people there, and there were probably like 100 people there at least,” he said.
Mejia explained why being so social is important for him.
“I always want to make sure that people are feeling happy and feeling up. Because for me, honestly, internally I’m more always down on myself and thinking negatively, and I’m more melancholic than I give off. But I’m always going out of my way to try to make people laugh, because if I can brighten up someone else’s day, it makes me feel better about myself,” he said.
For Mejia, this entails more than just waving or saying hello.
“I will stop whatever I’m doing, unless I’m literally rushing somewhere,” he said. “I will try for five minutes and be like, ‘How are you doing? What is going on in your life? What’s stressing you out? Are you good? Is everything okay?’”
Mejia has also made it a priority to diversify his social circle beyond people with similar backgrounds.
“I feel like you can’t grow as an individual unless you diversify the type of people that you actually interact with and hang out with on a semi-regular basis, and actually try to interact with one or two people that will challenge you in some way, shape or form with your beliefs, your ideas, or challenge you intellectually,” he said.
In the fall of Mejia’s sophomore year, he began working in Mail Services at Hill Hall. He quickly developed a reputation on campus as the “mail room guy.”
“Do you know how fun it is to go to a party and have people come up to you and be, like, ‘Oh my god, you’re the mail room guy?’ I don’t like being known as the Mail Services guy because I don’t work there anymore. But when you work there for two-and-a-half years and work like 15 to 20 hours a week, I understand where the development of the moniker came from,” he said.
In addition to befriending the students who frequented the mail room, Mejia explained how his co-workers made it such a positive experience.
“The actual Tufts workers were some of the funniest people that I’ve met here. Working there is one of the things that has given me respect for what the actual behind-the-scenes workers do,” he said.
Mejia’s Tufts experience has also been largely shaped by his passion for music, which he hopes to pursue professionally either as a music historian or an ethnomusicologist. He graduates with a music minor, has written for Melisma Magazine — Tufts’ music journal — and also co-hosted a radio show for WMFO Tufts Freeform Radio, in addition to serving on the WMFO board.
“You meet dope people, you get to do music stuff and music has been my passion. Music has been something that I’ve always loved — like concert-going and just learning about music and working with it — since [before] high school. It just slowly got to work its way into helping with my Tufts career,” he said.
Mejia explained how being a first-generation college student has also impacted his time at Tufts.
“Being first-gen has been a major part of my identity here as a student, because it’s helped me find other people with similar backgrounds like my own, and I was able to develop a sense of community for my four years here with these people that I’m able to still call my friends,” he said.
Mejia considers his own experience a bit different for him than for other first-generation students.
“I have two older brothers who were able to go to school before me, so I was able to get some guidance and advice from them. But when it came to actually trying to figure out what I wanted, I couldn’t really talk to my parents about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go or just figure out my life,” he said.
Mejia described the legacy he hopes to leave behind after graduation.
“I feel like as long as there’s at least one person who would say that I’ve had a positive impact on their life, that’s all that really matters to me. I don’t really care if I have a mark on Tufts history or a blip or whatever, because in the long run, what matters most to me is the impact that I’ve had on individuals, not on an institution itself. The ghost of the mail room guy is not going to haunt Tufts campus for decades to come,” he said.