Looking back

 

The frustration I’ve seen expressed regarding the decision of commencement speaker and end-of-the-year activities has caused me to reflect on our administration during my years at Tufts. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but my unhappiness is not just the result of a selfish desire to have the best last month of undergrad possible. It’s more about the fact that it leaves me conflicted about my time here in general. And it’s emblematic of the tension I’ve felt about my home for the past four years. In comparison to other schools of our caliber, we have an unusually small endowment. I think this is in large part a result of hundreds of complaints like the ones that I am making falling on deaf ears for years because I, for one, know that I feel pretty ostracized by the administration. We pay so much money to go here, and I don’t see that money going into my experience on campus. My freshman-year dorm was a s–thole. Carpet was duct-taped to the floor, fire alarms were hanging off their hinges, huge holes in the wall would stay there for weeks only to get plastered over in a color that didn’t even match. I’m a weirdo, so I found a perverse sense of enjoyment in living in a cinderblock eyesore of a building that looked like it belonged in the Soviet Union. But there is no way that I felt as if my living accommodations were equal to the amount that I was paying for them. And it wasn’t just my dorm: All around campus there are windows that stay open through the winter because they are broken, auditoriums in which the tables on the sides of the chairs can’t swing up because they hit the row of chairs in front and dining halls that say they are open until 9:00 p.m. but really stop serving food at about 8:15 (which is unfortunate, considering how many students have class until 8:00 or 8:30). It seems as if the only thing the university does consistently spend money on is seasonal landscaping. I know this is just one of many issues that are endemic to our university administration, but at the end of my time here, I can’t help but be disappointed about the fact that we pay so much for an environment that doesn’t seem to measure up.

But I took it all in stride (and, for the most part, continue to do so) because I am getting the best intellectual experience that I could have hoped for at college. I’ve had professors that push and challenge and inspire, and I’ve had courses that have changed my entire perspective on life. I love the academics at this school, although you definitely have to work to seek out the good classes. And, for the most part, I love the students. I learn so much from the events hosted by various student organizations, and I wouldn’t trade my time in my sorority for anything. Now, as a senior, I’m not sure where that leaves me. I find myself wanting to buy another Tufts sweatshirt so that people know where I came from, but not wanting to stand publicly for a school whose administration is so frustrating. I want people to come to Tufts so they can get to know the professors who have changed my life, but I don’t want them to be disappointed by the lack of investment in their surroundings. I want to find a way to support the professors individually without donating to a school that I’m honestly still a little mad at. I’m not proud of my university, but I am damn proud of my education. I just don’t know what to do about it.

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