Exploring the Explorations Program

The Explorations program, run through the ExCollege, is one of the many exciting opportunities on the Tufts campus that allows you to share your interests and contribute to the active learning initiatives that are so strongly stressed in our greater educational goals. The program brings a pair of upperclassmen together to teach a classroom full of eager, excited, and intelligent Tufts first year students. As Explorations Leaders (the official title) you also serve as student advisers to the incoming freshman class.  My co-leader Laney and I taught our class, titled Sustainability Redefined: Lessons from Uganda, to fourteen incredibly unique and engaging first year students. We began the semester welcoming them to Tufts and helping them navigate the crowded dinning halls, sleepless dorms, the stressful process of registering on SIS and the growing pile of readings and problem sets. We then dove into our teaching topic and continued to serve as advisers throughout the semester.  We had students from California, Massachusetts, Nepal, Morocco, and India. The diversity of knowledge, experience and interests contributed to the success and effectiveness of our in-class activities, specifically in-class discussions that were all together strategic, insightful, and enlightening- discussions that challenged us and stretched beyond anything Laney or I had anticipated.  Having had this experience as a teacher, I can safely say there is no better way to learn than to teach. The flexibility of the Explorations Program allowed Laney and I to do what we do best- EXPLORE! If there is a topic that is not taught at Tufts that you are interested in, what better way to learn about it than to teach it yourself. I would in no way consider myself an expert on Sustainable Development, perhaps even less so after teaching the class, but have nevertheless expanded my knowledge. It’s like some famous philosopher said: “For every answer, there are two more questions,” or something like that… Anyway, that is just what this program is about! It is about guiding first year students to ask their own questions (especially the ones that can’t be answered), and to blaze their own trails not just in the classroom, but also throughout their four years at Tufts. I often fall back on this quote for many things, but once again it proves applicable. “A ship is safe in the harbor but that’s not what ships are built for.” Breaking out of that comfort zone, pushing intellectual limits, and becoming life long learners and teachers- that is what the Explorations Program is all about.

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