Pause. Take a moment. Think about where you are right now. And I’m not talking about the path next to the Cannon between Ballou and Goddard as you get ready to say goodbye to your family and friends who helped you move in this morning. No, I’m talking about this exciting new stage in your life.
Some of you are first-years while some of you are transfer students. Some of you spent your entire childhood in the same town while, for others, moving was common practice. Some of you drove 20 minutes down I-93 to be here while others flew halfway across the world. I make these distinctions because many of you likely took a few minutes over the last hour to scan the crowd of your new classmates while sitting through Matriculation, wondering who will become your closest friends.
Between pre-orientation groups, your hall or suite, classes and extracurriculars, there will be plenty of opportunities over the next few weeks to figure out who you’ll spend your free time with. You’ll likely see eye-to-eye with many of them — after all, friendships do tend to form from a common ground. But I would be lying if I said you won’t meet at least a handful of people you disagree with as you settle into Tufts.
And so I challenge you to challenge yourself and have a conversation with one of these people. Whether it’s with a classmate as you’re leaving your Intro to IR recitation, a friend of a friend sitting at your Dewick table or the person you wind up next to at your first GIM next week, there are many opportunities to engage in civil discourse at Tufts.
Yes, it’s hard to hear something that goes against our beliefs and values, but it’s also important to keep an open mind and hear different perspectives on issues facing our campus and the world today. This allows us to reflect on the many sides and complexities every argument entails. I’m not encouraging you to change your mind through these conversations, but I am encouraging you to engage in a broader discussion with others, even those you disagree with. Whether you end by agreeing to disagree is up to you.
The Tufts Daily is committed to representing the diverse perspectives held by members of the Tufts community on an array of issues in our opinion section. I hope many of you will take advantage of the space we provide for students to articulate their views by submitting an op-ed, and I hope many of you will also attend our upcoming general interest meetings. We offer a range of opportunities to Tufts students interested in journalism, regardless of the experience you bring to the table.
I also hope you will contact the author when you read an opinion piece you disagree with, as we aim to provide an additional platform for civil discourse through the content we produce everyday.
So before you decide where to go next, I leave you with this: Enjoy these next few weeks as you begin to discover how you will prioritize your time at Tufts. But don’t be afraid if you find yourself somewhere you thought was unthinkable even a couple of weeks ago. Have conversations, ask questions and don’t be afraid to disagree. Because, if nothing else, you’ll have a better sense of your class and your community at Tufts.
Best of luck in your first semester, and The Tufts Daily and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.