Tag Archives: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Why Alia Chose Boston (and Tufts!)

In this multi-part blog series, we will be exploring why current #TuftsGrad students chose to pursue their graduate education at Tufts University. Today, we hear from Alia Wulff, Cognitive Psychology Ph.D. student, in part 4 of our ‘Why Tufts?’ series.

Written by Alia Wulff, Cognitive Psychology Ph.D. student

When I was in high school my favorite show was Leverage. The characters in that show moved to Boston in the second season and stayed there for three years. For some reason, the location stuck with me. I fell in love with the brick buildings and the old-world charm. I enjoyed listening to the accents and seeing the strange combination of historic architecture and modern skyscrapers. I decided that I would enjoy living in Boston, and if I ever had the chance I would move there.

Fast forward about seven years and I was accepted to Tufts, a school only minutes away from the heart of Boston. I was so stressed by the challenge of moving that I barely thought about my high school dream. So it wasn’t until I was finally in my apartment, lying on a yoga mat and bemoaning the lack of central air, that I realized that I was finally there. Boston was my home for the next five years.

There is something special about Boston. My hometown back in Washington State was founded in the 1870’s. It’s actually older than Washington itself, as that was only made a state in 1889. But both of those places seem like they were founded yesterday when compared to the history of Boston. Boston was founded in 1630, a full 240 years before people even began settling in my hometown. Boston has a thread of history that runs through the streets. While I’ve lived here, I’ve walked on roads that were present during the American revolution. I’ve seen buildings older than my state. I’ve explored areas of the city that have been inhabited since before calculus was invented. The history of Boston isn’t only stored in museums and written on plaques. It is in every brick that was used to build this town.

Of course, Boston isn’t only about what happened in the past. This is a bustling city, after all. There is a thriving art scene, supported by the dozens of galleries and museums within the city. You can find food from anywhere in the world, made traditionally or with a modern flare. And every time I venture into the city I find a locally-owned bookstore tucked away amongst the tall buildings, waiting for me to come in and spend inordinate amounts of money on books I (probably) do not need. I’ve spent many afternoons wandering in the Boston Common, drawing all the dogs I see and enjoying the sunshine. I’ve seen weird art shows with my friends, wandering through Park Street to see the imagination of the people here. I’ve visited the year-round farmer’s market, then gone home and made pasta with fresh, locally-grown ingredients. No matter where I go I always find something to enjoy.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t miss Washington. I miss the trees and the rain that doesn’t soak you to the bone and the mild fall weather. And I don’t like some things about Boston, such as the humidity and heat of the late summer and the fact that I’ve never had a public bus arrive on time. But Boston does its best to make up for the flaws. My undergraduate advisor always told me to pick a graduate school for the advisor, not for the location. He was right, of course. However, even though I didn’t come to Tufts because it is in the Boston area, I am happy that I ended up here.

Why Ece Chose Tufts

Written by Ece Gulsan, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student

In this multi-part blog series, we will be exploring why current #TuftsGrad students chose to pursue their graduate education at Tufts University. Today, we hear from Ece Gulsan, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student, in part 3 of our ‘Why Tufts?’ series.

Tufts. 

T-U-F-T-S. 

Great, but what does that stand for? 

Although many of you grew up with the dream of being a part of one of the best universities in the country, Tufts was a name that I had to explain over and over again to my parents back in Turkey. I knew how prestigious Tufts was, because I did my homework before I applied to grad schools. However, my parents needed to hear a lot more about Jumbo before being convinced to send me to the other side of the world. So here is what I told them about Tufts from an engineering perspective, and why I did not choose to go to any other place for my graduate studies.

Location, location, location…

Tufts is located on top of the hills of Medford, very close to beautiful reservations and lakes, and also only a 30-minute subway ride away from the city center. If you missed my previous blog post about why I chose Boston, check it out here!

Another one of the biggest reasons why I chose Tufts is the fact that Tufts values research and provides a wonderful environment for us to communicate our ideas with like-minded folks across departments. Science and engineering require multidisciplinary approaches, and the Tufts community is well aware of this. You can easily join informal group meetings with other graduate students or researchers having similar scientific interests, and share your ideas with them for feedback. Faculty members are very accessible and always happy to help students. Class sizes are relatively small, which allows for better communication with professors and other researchers. Tufts also has very strong connections with other excellent schools in Greater Boston Area; you get to know eminent researchers and are able to follow all the hot topics in your field. Moreover, you are not limited by your undergraduate background here. As long as you are willing to put effort and learn, you are always encouraged to perform research on a topic that you are passionate about. For example, during my time as an undergraduate, I used to work with applied catalysts, but I have now switched to metabolic engineering and started working on human microbiome studies thanks to the endless support of my advisor, colleagues, and department.

No matter how much you love what you are doing, your working environment is what actually shapes your overall experience. Tufts is known to be a “quirky” school – and nothing could describe the Tufts community any better. You will be sharing your lab space or office with extremely intelligent folks who have very interesting hobbies and passions. Those people have an excellent work-life balance and inspire others to learn new skills and start exciting hobbies. Also, Tufts welcomes a lot of international students, and it is really cool to have close friends from all around the world. 

If you want to strengthen your skills and improve your scientific knowledge, be challenged to become an independent researcher and work with awesome people, Tufts is the place. If you had asked me where I would want to be in the future, I would have described exactly where I am today. 

Why Amanda Chose Tufts

Written by Amanda Wang, Innovation & Management M.S. 2019

In this multi-part blog series, we will be exploring why current #TuftsGrad students chose to pursue their graduate education at Tufts University. Today, we hear from Amanda Wang, Innovation & Management M.S. 2019, in part 2 of our ‘Why Tufts?’ series.

Why did I choose Tufts to continue my studies after four years of college life in Hong Kong? Let me tell you!

I decided that I wanted to attend a prestigious university with great resources for students in a vibrant city in the United States. For international students like me, it is generally very hard or even impossible to go to a school for an Admitted Student’s Day or to do a campus tour, but making the decision to attend Tufts was easy and straightforward. I knew the professors from my admission interviews and studied their profiles on the school’s website, I searched for news on the school, read student comments, and talked to the students who were already in my program. I found Tufts to be that amazing university with an attractive location near downtown Boston, and it became my choice without any hesitation.

However, if I am asked the question of “Why Tufts” again, I now have a more adequate answer after having experienced my first two semesters on campus. 

The resources that Tufts provides for its students are great. Top-tier classes, a huge alumni network, digital and physical resources in the library – everything you need is right at hand. Tufts encourages students to innovate and become real problem solvers, not only for personal and business life, but for the world in a larger sense. Alumni are always ready to help, and if you do not know how to kick-start your networking process, the Career Center is there for you to seek advice. Plus, many alumni give great speeches at campus events, which further broaden my horizons and areas of interest. The Tufts community encourages me to always dream big no matter how difficult it may seem, and to be courageous and fearless to overcome obstacles while searching for my own meaning. 

Tufts always tries to make sure that every student is studying their favorite subject. I am in the M.S. in Innovation & Management (MSIM) program, a full-year program focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, and business management. Within the program, we learn business through real-world scenarios such as interviews with our potential stakeholders or building a business model from scratch – with the goal of changing the world to a better one starting with the smallest innovations. I chose this program to explore marketing and social innovation. Now after having finished two semesters, I can say I have explored these fields and gained  significant personal growth thanks to my professors and the flexibility of the MSIM program. As a member of a cohort of 30 students, we helped each other through the program with non-stop encouragement, feedback, and inspiration to make the most out of our year together.

I believe the location of the university near Boston is essential for personal development. I can easily explore urban life in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States while enjoying a campus surrounded by trees, birds, and bunnies. Tufts students even have free access to the Museum of Fine Arts! I always enjoy the breathtaking art collections and avant-garde exhibitions in the museum. Great food places spread all over Boston, and the freshest lobster from Maine is always on the top of my list. With a long history, Boston is a city full of culture, arts, technology, and diversity.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “There are a thousand ways to interpret Hamlet.” Similarly, every Jumbo may have a unique answer for the question “Why Tufts?”. As for me, Tufts is the best place to improve myself, to find my path, and to make real changes in the future. If I could make the decision again, Tufts would still be my choice. 

Why Michael Chose Tufts

Written by Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020

In this multi-part blog series, we will be exploring why current #TuftsGrad students chose to pursue their graduate education at Tufts University. Today, we hear from Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020, in part 1 of our ‘Why Tufts?’ series.

Tufts University was the first school that accepted me twice. I was admitted into the Biology (MS) and the Bioengineering (MS) program. I was ecstatic because Tufts was also my first official graduate school acceptance. I can remember anxiously sitting at home when I got the email that a decision had been made on my application. During this round of graduate school applications, I had applied to about 20 programs including an international university in Tel Aviv. I had been working at Boston Children’s Hospital as a research technician in a regenerative biology lab for nearly 2 years to prepare myself for a graduate education in STEM. After countless hours of discussion with other engineers, friends, and my partner I decided to remain in Boston and pursue my engineering degree at Tufts.

Ultimately, I made my decision to attend Tufts School of Engineering based on two important economic factors: proximity to the Boston biotechnology ecosystem and the earning potential in the Boston area. In other words, I was concerned with how difficult it would be for me to enter the job market and maximize my earning potential once I gained experience. 

According to Glassdoor and LinkedIn, entry-level Biomedical Engineers in the Boston area have a much higher earning potential than in other big cities like New York City and San Francisco where salary might be higher, but so is the cost of living. I am originally from Los Angeles, California (the land of eternal summer), and knew that San Francisco would be a change, but I like living in the Northeast too much. Boston is a college town so there are a lot of college students here which means the quality of conversation is always engaging and challenging (no shade to my LA friends that work in the film industry … well, maybe a little). 

Despite the ‘frigid’ stereotype of Bostonians, I have really found a great community here of scholars, entrepreneurs and scientists. Bostonians, and New Englanders in general, have truly warmed up to me. 

GSO Spotlight: Graduate Student Sports Organization

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) always welcomes proposals for new Graduate Student Organizations (GSOs). The Graduate Student Sports Organization (GSSO) was recently started by a number of students. Their first year has been very successful, and they’ve even been awarded the honor of Outstanding Graduate Student Organization of 2018-2019. I recently sat down with Rachel Owyeung, President of the GSSO, to chat about their experiences.

Brenna:  Could you tell me a little bit about why you wanted to start the GSSO?

Rachel:  Because day-to-day grad school responsibilities can be draining, we weren’t satisfied with many of the events planned for us that involve thinking about stress inducing activities, like finding a job after graduation, learning a new coding program, etc. These events are all extremely useful and they do a great job at facilitating a well-rounded graduate school experience, but when you’ve just done experiments for the entire day or spent the whole day writing or editing a paper, sometimes the last thing you want to do is to attend an event that requires extra thinking power. We soon realized that there was a real need for fun activities that kept us active after sitting at our desks all day. We were always planning get-togethers on the weekends to play Spikeball or Ultimate Frisbee, so we figured it would be nice to get funding for these meet-ups and expand these events. Thus, we created the GSSO. We’ve received a surprising amount of support from a diverse group of grad students spanning many departments. Our events have become a great way to meet other students that love sports and staying active throughout their degree. 

Brenna:  Was it difficult to start a new GSO?

Rachel:  Starting a GSO was extremely easy. You can boil the whole process down to three essential steps: 1) You make a constitution, 2) you remember to apply for funding each financial quarter, and 3) you attend monthly GSC meetings (free dinner!). I would encourage everyone to start or join a GSO.

Brenna:  What are your most popular events?

Rachel:  This is our first year as a GSO, but people loved our ski trip to Gunstock Resort in the White Mountains. We were able to secure funding for lift tickets, including rentals, which made it accessible to people who had never skied before. We had 2 new skiers on that trip! We’re hoping to make it an annual event because of the positive feedback we received. We also recently held an archery tag event, which people loved. There are a lot of unique ways to stay active in the area, and we’ve got our eyes set on axe throwing next!

Brenna:  Do you have any events planned for the summer?

Rachel:  We are always hosting small scale get-togethers to play sports. We’ll be hosting many Spikeball tournaments throughout the summer, among other sports, like soccer and frisbee, to name a few. We’ve also been discussing hiking, axe throwing, and going to a Red Sox game or another sporting event. Keep an eye out!

Brenna:  What’s the best way to find out about your events?

Rachel:  Keeping up with the GSC calendar is the easiest way, as we are extremely diligent about submitting our event info there two weeks prior to our events. We also have a newly created GSSO Facebook page that we will be using to advertise our events.

Where to go? A grad student’s guide to her favorite spots on campus

Written by Amanda Wang, Innovation & Management M.S. 2019

Since I spend a lot of time on campus, I try to find the places where I feel the most comfortable. I am writing to share some of my favorite spots on Tufts’ campus, and hope this post will inspire you to find your own spots here as well.

School of Engineering Complex Building (SEC)

As a graduate student in the School of Engineering, my daily activities are mainly around the SEC. The building is already lovely from the outside – a combination of the past and the modern times with both old and new blocks within the body. There are always exciting events happening in the SEC, so it is the ideal place for me to spend time on campus.

  • Kindlevan Café

Seriously, Kindlevan Café has the best smoothies on campus! Tropic Kale is always on the top of my list (also on many of my friends’ lists). When you don’t have time to have a full meal in the morning, you can find assorted bakery choices here for a quick breakfast or brunch. Under a glass ceiling with spacious areas filled by couches and tables, Kindlevan is a beautiful indoor place for me to do some work or to meet with friends. It is never too loud or too quiet in the day, with very generous sunshine entering from all sides of the building.

  • MSIM Studio

Located in the connecting part of the old wing and the new wing of Anderson Hall, the MSIM Studio is the place where I spend most of my time with my classmates. What is most exciting is that a lot of the projects that start here, actually go on to influence real people. It is a very innovative and creative studio, where you will feel collaboration is comfortable and fun! Since orientation, this place has gradually become my second home. 

  • Random Space

There are also plenty of chairs and couches on the upper levels of SEC. While still being able to enjoy the bright natural day light, you can find a quieter study area if you need to concentrate, or if you need a huge white board to keep track of all your new ideas.

Tower Café

Sometimes I go to Tisch Library if I need some books or some good coffee. I study in Tower Café often, as it has great coffee and a cozy vibe. Tower Café provides the latest magazines and newspapers for you to stay tuned with every corner of the world, and a full shelf of books among which you can find very interesting stories. Tower Café is usually open till late at night, so it is also the best place to refuel yourself during the long finals period.  

Campus Center

This is the best place to take some mental rest between your busy schedules. I play billiards and table tennis with my friends on the upper level – it is the best spot around campus to play games with your friends. There are also plenty of big and soft couches near the game room, where you can rest while watching TV. On the other side of the floor is the Rez Café, a student-run café at Tufts. They have amazing coffee and tea drinks with beautiful names, and I have difficulty making decisions every time since there are so many choices. Downstairs there are places like the Commons or Hotung Café where you can grab some snacks and a seat at a table to enjoy your time. 

574 Boston Ave (574)

As a student studying innovation and management, I am always looking for inspiration and an entrepreneurial environment. Therefore, I go to 574 very often either to meet my teammates in a well-equipped discussion room or to find a quiet but open area to do some work. On the first floor of the building, there is a coffee vending machine, so no worries finding hot coffee around this area. Plus, the Semolina Kitchen and Bar is right next to 574, and they have a crazy good menu with freshly-made elegant sandwiches starting from $10.  

The Lawn

We sometimes ignore the invaluable but free natural resources around ourselves. Summer is almost here, and all the lawns on campus are back to their green, fresh, and lovely status. Small animals also come back to us who are invisible during the winter. No digital devices needed this time – just get ready to freshen your mind. I love to sit and simply watch bunnies and squirrels jumping and running around or listen to the birds chirping around me. 

Oh the Places You’ll Go (With Your Tufts ID Card)

Written by Ruaidhri Crofton, History & Museum Studies M.A. 2020

As a graduate student, being able to save money is important. But at the same time, being able to take some time away from your studies to visit a museum, go to a movie, or grab something to eat is a great way to change up your routine and ensure that you’re not burning yourself out from working nonstop. Finding a balance between saving and going out to do something fun isn’t always easy, but thanks your handy dandy Tufts student ID card you have access to a number of things that will allow you to decompress, explore, and learn something new without spending too much, if anything!

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Perhaps one of the most exciting perks of being a Tufts student is free (yes, that’s right, FREE) admission to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)! Located right next to the Tufts Fenway Campus, the museum is easily accessible both via public transportation and the university shuttle. Though visitors typically pay as much as $25 to enter this renowned cultural institution, you have the opportunity to peruse its seemingly endless galleries and corridors as frequently as you like for no charge. Explore vast collections of art from around the world ranging from Roman pottery and Egyptian mummies to Colonial Era American paintings and modern art from around the globe. Home to nearly 500,000 pieces of art, I have never found myself able to see everything there is to see, even after multiple visits. However, even if you were to manage this impressive feat, the museum’s array of temporary exhibits and public programming will hopefully keep drawing you back over and over again!

The Royall House & Slave Quarters 

A mere 10 minutes walking distance from the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus, The Royall House and Slave Quarters preserves the 18th century home of the Royall family, the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts, along with the only remaining slave quarters in the northern United States. Visitors are welcome to visit the site from mid-March to mid-November where they can take a guided tour of both the mansion and slave quarters to learn more about the property’s role in the history of race, class, and slavery in North America. Though the stories preserved and interpreted by the site can be troubling to hear, a visit to the museum provides an impactful means of learning about this country’s past and its significance today. Admission is typically only $10, but Tufts students are able to visit for free.

Theaters

Taking the time to see a cool new movie on the big screen or even attending a play or concert can make for a fun night out. However, the cost of seeing a film in theaters alone can often cost nearly $20. That being said, several movie theaters in the Boston area offer discounted showings and student rates. Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline is a popular independent theater known for showing a wide variety of mainstream and independent movies, as well as being affordable for students. Even the AMC chain theaters in Boston and Somerville offer a fairly substantial discount on tickets (though they can vary from location to location). Although I haven’t seen a formal student discount at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square, it’s $11 ticket prices certainly beat out other theaters in the area and it’s only a short walk away from campus!              

Groceries, Shops, and Restaurants

As a graduate student, finding time to cook and eat can definitely be challenging. Having the luxury of going out to eat isn’t always possible, especially on a tight budget. However, many restaurants, shops, and even grocery stores in Davis Square and elsewhere near the Tufts Somerville/Medford campus offer discounts to Tufts students to make eating out a bit more affordable. Perhaps the most well well known among Tufts students is Yoshi’s Japanese and Korean Cuisine, which offers a 10% discount to students who show their ID. B-Fresh Market, a grocery store in Davis Square, similarly offers a 5% discount on groceries at checkout to students (just make sure you use a regular checkout and not a self-checkout to get this discount). Multiple other businesses also offer similar discounts so make sure you keep your ID card with you and your eyes out for signs promoting these deals! 

So Much More!

Though these are just a few examples of some of the deals you can get with a Tufts student ID, there are plenty of other museums, restaurants, events, and businesses in the Boston area that offer discounts and promotions for students. Make sure you always keep your ID handy to take advantage of these offers, and make your experience as a graduate student just a bit more affordable and fun! 

So you’re ready for a job: Resources to take your employment search to the next level

Written by Michael Ruiz, Bioengineering M.S. 2020

This week I want to address a different aspect of life here at Tufts: that period when you are preparing to finish your program and enter the work force. That’s why we came to graduate school right? To graduate. As a graduate student currently applying for post-graduation positions, I want to share my experiences and the resources at Tufts that will bring your job search to the next level.

When reviewing resumes of potential employees, approximately 98% of companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) and/or some form of a cognitive aptitude tests. I have found that the ATS can be both interesting and frustrating. It’s meant to streamline leading talent to the top of an application pile, but may make it difficult for companies to locate diversely qualified candidates without proper user input specifications on the front end. In other words, the potential to screen out qualified candidates can be high without proper ATS software training. 

When I first started my job search, prior to studying the ATS and utilizing my resources at Tufts, I sent out countless resumes with little to no response, and did a few first-round interviews with companies that didn’t go any further. Follow up emails didn’t produce results and employers didn’t provide feedback. In short, it’s a tough time to be on the job market, and I wondered what I was doing wrong. 

I visited Tufts Career Center and, with help from the staff there, spruced up my resume and cover letter template. I used Big Interview to practice my responses for job interview questions, and I also learned how to use LinkedIn to conduct informational interviews. On my own, I also decided to utilize a different, experimental approach to finding a job. In one week, I carefully crafted a handful of job applications with custom resumes, cover letters, and a few short essay prompts for four categories of jobs in which I am currently seeking employment. I used a word cloud search approach to scan job descriptions and found commonly used words in the different categories and made sure to strategically integrate those words (where appropriate) into active and achievement-oriented highlights of my career experience. 

Within the first week, I received seven invitations to interview. After another week and going to those initial seven interviews, I was called back for several second- and third–round interviews. 

As new graduates, we can find ourselves facing more barriers to entry than previous generations. Therefore, it is very important to be creative and utilize as many resources as you have available to you, and Tufts provides those resources for graduate students. While I’m currently continuing to send applications and waiting for the right offer, I am working with a Tufts professor of the practice (professors of the practice are faculty members from non-traditional academic backgrounds, often senior-level executives from top companies across a number of industries in the Boston area, who teach at Tufts) to improve my resume and interview skills. Wish me luck! And good luck to all fellow job seekers. 

Why I chose Boston (and you should too!)

Written by Ece Gulsan, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student

If you are new to Boston and have no idea what to expect from this beautiful city, chances are high that you are already confused because there are many different views about Beantown. Some people will tell you about the wicked cold winters and some will claim there is nothing to do here, but a considerable amount of Bostonians will try to prove to you that Boston is the best city in the entire world. For me, it was love at first sight. The historic red brick buildings, Fenway Park, beautiful public gardens, wide variety of restaurants, and iconic identity stole my heart. I had a chance to live in many different countries, but Boston is by far the only place I feel home away from home.

First of all, it is not Beantown: it is Braintown. The greater Boston area hosts many world-class colleges, which means thousands of smart, well educated, and intellectual people live within a couple of miles. While hanging out at your favorite brewery, you can meet someone who might be curing cancer for a living. You will learn a lot from your upstairs neighbor who is getting her Ph.D. in a comparative study of Turkish and Japanese Occidentalism. Or you can see a stranger reading a book about Marxist Histography on your subway (locally called the T) ride back home. Everybody is passionate about something, and the variety of their interests is mind blowing. Boston is obviously the learning capital of the world; living in such city always challenges you intellectually and keeps you stimulated.

Speaking of people, you might have heard that Bostonians are not as friendly as people from other parts of the country – which I strongly disagree with. Most of them are nice, say “thank you” and “excuse me,” and are happy to help you whenever you need. They say “stay warm!” during the winter as a way of saying “goodbye”, and I think this is the cutest and the most Bostonian thing ever! They just do not always look friendly from the outside, because you cannot possibly smile and survive a New England winter at the same time. Everybody minds their own business, which is pretty fair, but once you get to know people, they’re kind and helpful.

Fun fact: GQ once ranked Boston as the “Worst Dressed Town in America”. In my defense, I love wearing my Red Sox cap and Tom Brady jersey together, knowing that people will not judge me by what I wear, but by who I am. Plus, in the winter, it is way too cold to care about what I wear anyways. The first thing my Bostonian friends taught me was that layers are your best friends.

You will always see people going for a run early in the morning, and a snow storm is never an excuse to skip leg day. My 6:00 a.m. Rise and Shine yoga classes are always almost full, and I think this is refreshing. Boston locals are very health-conscious and it is very inspiring to live in such a community.

If you enjoy trying out new restaurants and bars, the city has a lot to offer. From authentic Vietnamese to hearty Mediterranean cuisine, you will find anything that you are looking for. Still not satisfied? New York City, the gastronomic capital of the East Coast, is just a bus ride away. 

You will never run out of things to do in Boston. If you are interested in art, the museums have a lot to offer, not only because they have magnificent collections, but also because they organize a lot of great events regularly. Check out Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where you can learn how to make a Venetian mask or craft a Caribbean cocktail. Go to movie nights on Fridays at the Museum of Fine Arts. Are you more into self-development? Attend public courses organized by local universities. Attend Harvard’s mini-med school program for the public and participate in discussions with brilliant professors. Become a member of MIT Waste Alliance and meet ecologically conscious people. 

If you need a change on weekends, Boston’s location is hard to beat. Do you want to see fall foliage? Head to Vermont for a romantic weekend getaway, and stop by an apple farm on your way back home to pick some tart Granny Smiths. Do you want to ski? The mountains you hiked in September in New Hampshire turn out to be a fantastic ski resort. Is it starting to get warmer up here? Hop on the commuter rail to visit Rockport and take long walks right by the ocean. Is it beach time already? Cape Cod is waiting for you with its beautiful coastlines and amazing seafood, only a two-hour drive from Boston. 

Before I conclude, let me describe my perfect Sunday in my favorite city. Have a long brunch in Cambridge with your loved ones, and head to the Harvard Book Store to wander around bookshelves. Go downstairs for the used books section, leaving your expectations behind. Once I ended up buying a book about the feelings of octopuses, and now I know way too much about them. Stop by Tatte Bakery to grab a cup of coffee, and find a spot to enjoy your new-old book. Visit Somerville Farmer’s Market on your way home to buy some fresh produce for the week. 

You never know what you will find in Boston, but I am confident that you will love it here as much as I do. If you’re very lucky, you might even meet philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky while waiting for your coffee (trust me, I’ve met him!). 

Beyond Tisch: The Best Study Spots Around Campus

Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

With finals week rapidly approaching, finding the best nooks and crannies around campus is crucial for cozy and efficient studying. Over my years at Tufts, I’ve searched for these spots and I’m happy to share them here.

The OG: Tisch Library

I can’t ignore the good old library on the Medford campus. To me, there’s something special about libraries that make you feel more productive. I think it’s probably all the other people working around you that makes you feel guilty for getting distracted. There are plenty of carrels on the bottom floor of Tisch and lots of great tables for group work. One of my favorite things is that there are quiet areas where you can go for extra focus. There is also a late-night study room that is open until 3 am most nights. Not that I condone pulling lots of all-nighters, but sometimes you have to. Oh, and to fuel those late nights, Tower Café is open until 1 am on weeknights!

Grad Students Only

Did you know that we have not only one, but two on campus graduate student lounges? These are located in West Hall and Curtis Hall and are open 24 hours a day; accessible with your Tufts ID. Both locations have free printing and mini cafes with snacks, coffee, and tea. In West Hall, there are now seven brand new carrels for extra focused studying. Curtis Hall can also be reserved for graduate student events like meetings, board game nights, and ice cream socials. The best thing is that these spaces are only accessible to graduate students. So, when Tisch is getting too crowded with undergrads, head over to a lounge.

New Hot Spot: The SEC

The Science and Engineering Complex, abbreviated SEC, is a new building on campus that houses teaching and research labs and several departments. Contrary to its STEM-focused name, there are plenty of communal spaces that anyone can use. The atrium of the building is a beautiful space with plenty of natural light and lots of tables. Kindlevan Café is also located on this level which serves up delicious smoothies, hot lunches, and snacks. If the atrium is too crowded, head up to one of the other levels which has even more tables and white board walls!

Cafes Around Campus

If you like to work off campus, there are plenty of great cafes within walking distance. Tamper is located right on Boston Avenue. It’s your classic hipster café with communal tables, tasty lattes, and good vibes. Tamper also serves delicious food; when your brain needs a boost I recommend the chicken pesto sandwich. A little-known fact—Tamper is open for dinner on Wednesdays and serves delicious craft beers. Who doesn’t need a beer every now and then to complement their work? Finally, if you’re looking for a classic, Starbucks in Davis Square is a great option. It’s pretty much a standard coffee shop, but there’s an added bonus of a fireplace! This is absolutely perfect for when the weather gets chilly. 

Hopefully these options will give you plenty of options to make your finals week a success!