Bus rides: Reflection, Spurts of Wisdom, and Slight Nausea

By Erica DeBarge

It has been roughly eight months since we left our 1+4 host sites, and I’m currently on a bus from Hartford to Cambridge after a relaxing winter break. During my bridge year, I spent so many hours on buses, that if I didn’t look up every once in a while, I might forget that I’m actually in Connecticut.

Yes, time has passed. But I don’t find myself forgetting. Not the important stuff anyways. There is no way the terrazas and golden streets of Madrid at dusk, the constant buzzing of el Retiro, the shrieks and cackles of my host sisters, or the salty, wholesome taste of tortilla could ever slip from my memory. And if I do happen to do a little forgetting, I always have the “a year ago today” Google Photos notifications to remind me of the gorgeous cities I was galavanting exactly 365 days ago (as I sit in the library).

I’ve done my fair share of missing, but now I find comfort in my future. Madrid was an inexplicably beautiful experience, but college has begun! I can now study and live and laugh with my closest friends (who are also gifts from 1+4). Some people struggle freshman year to find their people, but I’m lucky to have already located mine.

My first semester back to school went rather swimmingly, but it wasn’t perfect. Something that bothered me and served as a source of stress was my low number of clubs and activities. In September, I was focused on my studies and getting back into the swing of academics, and I was afraid to stretch myself too thin my first semester. Therefore, I didn’t join as many clubs as everyone else had.

Over winter break, I decided to address my dissatisfaction. I scoured the 2020 and 2021 Facebook pages to join e-lists and apply for e-board positions in organizations that looked fascinating to me. I liked pages, researched websites, emailed professors and community service organizations, and became very close with Student Information Services. I can’t wait to get back to campus, get involved, and take charge of this semester.

The moral of the story is that everyone goes at their own pace. Stay present, stay golden, and don’t freak out!

My 1+4 Story: Aberdeen Bird

Hello world it’s me, writing a personal blog for the first time in a long time.  What am I up to?  Currently I’m laying on the president’s lawn at Tufts enjoying the 80 degree weather (so long as I pretend our planet isn’t dying) with a new friend I made this semester.  First semester here I saw a lot of people around campus that I wanted to be friends with but never reached out to so my social goal this semester was to approach everyone I had a “friend crush” on and try to befriend them.  So far it’s worked out swimmingly.  I used to approach situations from the standpoint of “Oh no… they’re too cool for me…” but I realized that’s ridiculous and if someone thought they were “too cool” for new friends then I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with them anyway.  I’ve worked to surround myself with people I enjoy being around- people I want to make happy and people who want to make me happy, largely my 1+4 friends, because being emotionally content is just as important as doing well academically and I think I solidified that life outlook last year.

Continue reading

Cultivating Connections and Creating Opportunities

After eight or nine months of a year that are spent doing social impact work, Tufts 1+4 fellows hope to be able to continue similar work throughout their college careers. The motivated and inspiring collection of students that are now or soon to be 1+4 alumni are doing just that. This bridge year experience allows students to make life-long connections to their host communities and the many people who work to make an experience like 1+4 possible. This summer many of our Tufts 1+4 alumni have exciting internships and jobs that have resulted from connections they have made through 1+4. From internships in New York City to a fellowship in Rwanda to research in Japan, the 1+4 alumni are embracing their ability to make a difference both domestically and around the world.

Continue reading

My 1+4 Story: Steven Schwab

Being back on the Tufts campus now, I can know that taking a bridge year through Tufts 1+4 was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far! I am certainly doing a better job at being authentically “me,” I’ve gained a better understanding of who I am, what this world is, and how I want to impact it! I feel more comfortable in knowing where some of my passions lie and how I can use them to fuel the rest of my life. I know that I want to let my curiosity take me around the world, letting my newfound experiences guide me! Besides that, my bridge year has given me the chance too to share my amazing stories with friends, gain a new fluency in Portuguese (one that I am furthering here at Tufts!), and take advantage of all the resources Tufts has to offer!

Steven is now a first-year student at Tufts, where he plans on studying biochemistry and community health.