Monthly Archives: April 2011

47. Competitive Complaining

My life is way harder. This I promise you.

Every Jumbo’s got that one friend who never wants to go out on the weekends because they have a test on Monday. You generally like this friend, but griping is just not a great way to pregame pregaming and you don’t usually see them much outside of class or Tisch.

To catch a glimpse of the Perpetually Stressed Friend, just look around campus the second week of December or the first week of May. Or better yet, look in the mirror. Around finals week, we all become this friend. Yes, the one that flakes out on friends to reread Bio 13 notes. Yes, the rando classmate that asks you for all the notes you took on Comparative Politics last year.

You may be thinking to yourself, “No! It can’t be! I’m not that douche bag!” False. We all get stressed at least twice throughout the school year. Here is one way to realize you’ve made the transition from Normal You to Finals You: competitive complaining. People like to hate on Tufts sports, but competitive complaining is an activity every Jumbo’s good at. Some people participate more than others, but its presence on campus grows exponentially during midterms and finals. It sounds a little something like this:

“This is weekend is going to be absolute hell. I have an econ problem set and two papers to write.”

–“Ugh, I know. I have three research papers and it’s gonna take hours to finish all the programming I have to do.”

“Whatever, at least your thesis isn’t due in like, three days.”

–“Oh yeah? Well four of my professors decided to schedule their finals five days in advance. Plus I have eight theses underway, I have to translate three Chinese novels into Swahili, and I’m performing in the Mongolian Culture Show for peace in the Middle East. Step off.”

This exchange is quite popular in the Tisch Conversation Area, Eaton, Dewick, and Carmichael, all places where stressed out Jumbos go to “relax” with other stressed Jumbos. Even though we may not want to admit it, competitive complaining is part of Tufts life. Let’s be real. Even if we had a stress free weekend with perfect weather and zero percent chance of finals, we’d still find something to complain about (i.e. “WTF The Roots? I don’t pay 53 grand a year  to watch Jimmy Fallon’s house band.“).

This post was suggested by Katie Boland (’11). Make your own suggestion by emailing or tweeting at @tuftslikesthis


46. Prefrosh

Please be impressed by my ability to walk backwards

Prefrosh, prospies… whatever you want to call them, pre-freshmen (committed future Jumbos) and prospective students (interested, haven’t committed) are great. We love ’em. Why? They give us a reason to subtlety brag about how great we think our college lives are.

Ranked in the Princeton Review for having some of the country’s happiest students, Tufts houses some of its most vocal students as well. For Jumbos who  are obsessed with Tufts: We like showing off our pretty, pretty campus. We can’t wait to spout off a list of activities we’re involved in. And regardless of how we feel about a capella, we secretly enjoy showing off the Bubs and their mainstream accomplishments. In addition, prefrosh and prospective students give us a chance to justify our decisions to ourselves. In a way, hosting a student or giving a tour is a way to ensure ourselves we made the right choice by coming here.

Prefrosh and prospective students also give us the rare opportunity to feel authoritative. The fact that these students want to learn with us is flattering and it’s nice to be on the other side of the college admissions process. Don’t lie to yourself: it’s self-gratifying to be able to say “don’t worry” when an overzealous high school senior freaks out about his B- in AP Calculus and whether or not this will affect his chances at admission.

In fact, are you doing poorly in an IR class right now? Dragging through sophomore slump? Do yourself a solid. Stand outside Bendetson and point frenetic prefrosh to the campus center. BAM. Instant confidance booster.

Regardless of how you feel about Tufts, it’s hard not to get invested in the lives of visiting prefrosh. After the most selective year in admissions yet, current Jumbos can’t help but be curious. We want to know who are future classmates are (read: do we have any B-list celebrities). Are they smarter than us (numbers say “yes)?  And what about them makes our admissions officers cry? Since we’re in the heat of April Open House, now’s the time to meet these creatures and find out.

45. Hating on SIS

I can’t uncurl my fists, so I’m just typing with my nose. NBD.

Late fall and spring are beautiful times of the year. The seasons fold into one another and students notice a change in temperature, wardrobe, and most importantly, SIS traffic.

Regardless of what your orientation leader tells you about, SIS is the website from which all Tufts students plan their frenetic lives. SIS is where we track our transcripts, deliberate over whether or not we’ll make the Dean’s list, and grumble over our plummeting GPAs. Most importantly, SIS is where we all register for classes during the late fall and spring.

Although you will be notified of registration period via email, it’s easy to pick up on the change in campus atmosphere this time of year. Jumbos are glued to their laptops during class, monitoring the rise and fall of class sizes. In between periods, Jumbos carry those thick course booklets with a heightened sense of awareness, circling blocks of seminars in red marker as if to say, “I’M PREPARED. HOW ABOUT YOU.”

Even though no one actually cares, everyone will start conversations with “What are you taking next semester?” This conversation starter is a BAD IDEA. Mainly because it invites the other person to list every single problem they have with their scheduling. Here are a few examples:

“Oh my god, I have such a shitty registration time. Which is totally unfair because I had one last year, too”

“Math of Social Choice already has a waitlist! I’m so not gonna graduate.”

and most importantly…


Hating on SIS is just part of the registration process. The sooner you come to terms with the fact that a) SIS is a temperamental shrew and will only operate on select few Internet browsers b) SIS likes to take its sweet time logging you in while spots in highly coveted classes fill up  and c) SIS sucks, you will be a happier Jumbo. In the meantime, go ahead and accept being on the waitlist for 4 classes; it’ll all work out in the end.

44. The Tufts Daily Comics page

"What's a five letter word for phallus?"

Since NQR has been banned, there have been laments about the fact that Tufts people don’t participate in  enough campus-wide activities. This is false. The Tufts Daily creates a campus-wide activity every day through their comics page.

If you say you’ve gone through your entire Tufts career without attempting to blaze through Sudoku in the middle of a lecture, you are a liar. And if in fact you are telling the truth, you cannot deny that you have, at one point, spent half an hour struggling with a seven-letter word for “Sturgeon yielding expensive caviar” during a solo lunch in Carmichael.

By making us look like we’re busy and don’t need friends, the Daily’s Word Jumble is also a wonderful resource for avoiding communication with classmates.  It’s just mind tickling enough to distract from the awkward silence of an empty classroom, but not so challenging that you end up in tears.

And if you really feel the need to break the ice, you can always chortle at “Married to the Sea.” Hopefully this will invite someone to ask you why the hell you’re snorting into the newspaper (this is a classic pickup line that has been used many a time at Tufts and it is the reason for many of the relationships you see around campus).