When you were young, you maybe had a dream. You were going to fly to the moon, pass EC 5, cure cancer. Then, you grew up. You cut your hair, chose your major, changed your outlook. You changed a lot, but did you change your dream?
Over winter break, I didn’t have much to do, so I spent the time sitting on my couch, pacing in the kitchen and fretting about the vast unknown of the future. One lethargic afternoon, I summoned the willpower to unlock my phone screen, and I noticed a post calling for columnists in the Tufts Class of 2020 Facebook group. The exact advertisement read: “Have you always dreamt of being sued by the Mooch? Now’s your chance! Write for the Tufts Daily Opinion Section.”
Actually, I haven’t always dreamt of being sued, but I had always dreamt of writing. Someone else would fly to the moon, someone else would cure cancer and I have actually passed EC 5, but darn it, I want to have a stack of books in my house one day to which I can point and say, “Look, mildly impressed grandkids! I wrote these!”
And I don’t even want to be lying. I would, however, be lying if I claimed that I had ever considered writing a column, but the opportunity arose, and I decided to investigate what my fellow students dream of doing. I submitted my proposal for an opinion-free column to the editor of the opinion section, and she redirected me to the features section, thus confirming that I knew not the slightest thing about journalism. My devoted editor whose gentle insight has humbly shaped every features piece this semester welcomed me onto his talented team, and I started brainstorming.
What would I title my maiden column? “Elefantasies?” No, too lame. “From Medford to the Moon?” No, even lamer. “The Tuftonian Dream?” What’s that? I gnawed my fingernails to stubs before realizing that ultimately, the content of the column would matter more than the title. For good content, I needed good characters, and the subjects of this column have risen to the occasion magnificently.
The interviewees have spoken with passion and sincerity. Seven of them mentioned the word “help,” always in the context of offering assistance to others. Six of them included the word “world,” inevitably referenced in the modest sense of finding their places in this great, wide web of life on Earth. Two of them haven’t declared their majors; two of them are best friends, and to listen to all of them was to continually affirm my faith in humanity.
This semester, 10 students shared with us their aspirations. They shared them over meals and under stress, before club meetings and after classes. They shared with us their stories, and one day, they will unquestionably share them with the world. This semester, I happened to write about 10 particular students, but I fervently believe that I could have written this column about any random sample of Tufts students. We all have stories, and we all hope to help the world. For us, it seems, that’s the Tuftonian Dream.