I recently had dinner with a first-year whom I first met last semester while volunteering for the Jumbo Days overnight hosting program. I wanted to check up on him, firstly because I wanted to see how he was enjoying Tufts thus far, but more importantly because I know freshman year can get a little dicey around this time of year.
I asked him how he was handling some of the first-year hurdles I’d gone through. We discussed his locational transition from our native California, his social battle to develop new yet meaningful friendships and his academic fight to stay ahead of his 18-billion-page-long to-do list. I was happy to hear that he was holding up excellently. And when we talked about his current concerns toward feeling over-extended, overwhelmed and a little lost, I tried to assuage him. I validated his feelings by sharing similar ones I had during my freshman year. I wanted him to know he was not alone. I wanted him to know I’d always be an ear to talk to or a shoulder to cry on, not just because we’re friends but because I want to be there for him, just as my father was there for me this time one year ago.
It was particularly difficult navigating my way through last year, being so physically apart from my father, my source of advice and comfort. I spent many nights on the phone with him, recounting whatever personal or academic obstacle was weighing me down at the time. While the subject and nature of each phone call varied, he always ended (and continues to end) each conversation similarly. It’s always something along the lines of, “Go outside tonight and stare at the sky. Find the moon. Focus on it. It’s the same moon I’m looking at tonight. I know this is frustrating and difficult for you right now, but know that I am with you. All you have to do is look up and find the moon.”
My first-year friend was curious to see what Wren looked like on the inside, so I showed him my suite after dinner. He peered around our common room, marveling at the spaciousness and “homeyness” Wren suites are known for. I then showed him what my room looks like.
All of a sudden, he’d stopped talking, which struck me as out of the ordinary (he’s a most talkative and sociable fellow). After asking if everything was alright, I learned why he was so silent: “I’m taking mental notes on how you decorated your room. I need some inspiration — my room is so bare!”
He’d actually already seen the majority of my current room décor that one night he’d spent in my Tilton double for Jumbo Days last semester. But, in fairness, I did add some new wall art, like the tapestry that hangs at the head of my bed. I wonder if he noticed the moon hidden on it.