How I Decided To Do Tufts 1+4

Excited to share a post from one of our new 1+4 fellows!! Leo will be spending his bridge year in Brazil, and wrote this great piece about why he chose the program for the Admissions Blog this spring!

by Leonardo Ruiz-Sanchez

When posed with the infamous question: “So, what do you plan to study in college?”, many of my peers do not hesitate to answer because somehow, they have their life figured out. They say they want to triple major in International Relations, Economics, Linguistics, and minor in Computer Science and German while also studying abroad in Paris and Japan for 2 years (I’m exaggerating). Then the question is asked of me and I answer with, “I’m still trying to figure it out.” I often wonder how people can readily and confidently state college plans that will greatly influence their overall life. My fear of firmly latching to an area of study without knowing confidently what I want to pursue in college is the main reason why I chose to take a bridge year.

All throughout high school, I learned to play the game—the game of success. I’ve gotten pretty good at conforming to what high school wants me to do—take the harder class, write the better essay, do this and that. By setting up guidelines, the American education system has thoroughly taught its students to follow instructions. Students are expected to follow a vague, narrow pathway to college. The thought of taking time off before starting college is still something that people don’t even consider. Flung straight into college after high school, many students often have trouble picturing their career paths and where their passions lie. By taking a transformative year after high school exploring an unknown location and actively volunteering, students become better prepared for the challenges of college. Students will walk into college life and see clearer goals through a worldly lens.

I first heard of Tufts 1+4 when I visited Tufts during their Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience program and the more and more I thought about the opportunity, the harder and harder it was to deny its benefits. I looked forward into the future, not 4 years, but 20 years and I asked myself how I would feel with my decision to defer college for a year to learn a new language and to gain new perspectives. The choice was obvious. I decided to jump off the traditional pathway created by society and into a world in which will undoubtedly learn more about myself and have experiences that change how I perceive the world around me.

Back Home

by Mikel Quintana

After a seemingly eternal journey back home, that provided almost too much time to reflect and get emotional about my 9 months in Spain, we arrived in Boston. Passing through security a TSA officer said welcome home Mr. ‘Quintana’, crudely mispronouncing my last name in a very Bostonian accent. It was a subtle yet strong reminder I was back in the US.

When we arrived on campus we were joyously received by the Brazil fellows, signalling the start of the retreat. Being on campus with the other fellows, Jessye, Mindy, and other familiar faces, all interested in talking about our time abroad, created a small bubble that removed us for a few days from our new reality; being back home, being back in the US. It was helpful and at times emotional to reflect on our 9 months with people who went through similar experiences, but was also a perfect time to share fun and crazy stories from our 9 months. We were able to reconnect with fellows from other countries and reinvigorate an important bond that will surely connect us in some way during our time at Tufts and beyond.

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Dear Seattle

by Jiyoon Chon

Dear Seattle,

How are you? It’s been so long. A little more than eight months, to be exact. I’ve thought about you a lot. Back in August, I was so excited to leave. I didn’t think you had much more to offer me. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t satisfied with myself and blamed you for my inability to break out of my shell. I wanted to leave and see the world, to find a different, exciting, and passionate self.

And so I did. I experienced a whole new world, and I changed.

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How to Pack Your Suitcase

by Jordyn Voss

1. Dig Out Your Suitcase

No one likes living out of a suitcase. When you fumble through asking your host parents where you may have put that huge bag (honestly, where could it have gone in a house this size?), set it on the floor of your bedroom and open that sucker up.

2. Regret Choices Made by a Stressed Out, Eight-Month-Younger Version of You

Seriously, why did you think you needed four full, gallon bags of feminine products? You still have a bag and a half left. And why did you bring three sweatshirts to Brazil when you knew you would be there during the summer? How come you didn’t bring more mosquito spray? August you was an idiot.

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Me, a Teacher??

by Jiyoon Chon

Throughout the past eight months, I’ve been constantly reflecting and thinking about the usefulness of my presence in my volunteer placement. To be honest, a lot of the times I actually didn’t feel that useful at all. A lot of the times, especially towards the beginning, I just sat on a chair off to the side of the classroom watching as the teacher gives class. During English classes was definitely when I felt like I could contribute the most—I jumped up at every opportunity I got when it seemed appropriate for me to get up and help. Even then, it was difficult finding the right balance between giving useful help and creating a dependency on my help. This was more apparent when I was in the first grade classrooms: some kids were brilliant and only needed a small clue to continue on their own, whereas others were completely clueless and lost all of the time. This got better as I got to know the children better, but I also had to learn how to see past the mischievous manipulation of some of the kids (a lot of them fake not understanding something so that I would help them and are REALLY good at it).

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