(Re)Capturing Moments of a Longtime Friendship

Seniors Daphne Garcia and Ayesha Lobo recreate a photo from their first day at Tufts and reflect on their lasting bond

On the last day of classes for Tufts seniors Daphne Garcia and Ayesha Lobo, the two friends stood on Latin Way across from President’s Lawn—on the exact spot where they stood on their first day on campus in 2020—and took a photo with poses to match their position four years earlier. For Garcia and Lobo, the series of photos illuminates their longstanding friendship as well as the growth they’ve experienced during their four years at Tufts.

Biology and biotechnology major Garcia and Lobo, a major in biology and fine arts, grew up together in Ashland, Massachusetts, and have been friends for years, including during their time as Tufts undergraduates. 

Now, they’re preparing for Commencement on May 19 and to set out on their next adventures. Starting in the fall, Garcia will be pursuing a Ph.D. at Cornell University and Lobo will be working toward a master’s degree at Harvard Medical School.

Tufts Now spoke with Garcia and Lobo about the significance of the photo they recreated on their last day of Tufts classes and about their lifelong friendship has evolved during their time together on the Hill.

How did you meet?

Lobo: We met through our families as kids. Our families both lived in Norwood, Massachusetts when we were born. Then, my family briefly moved to Canada, and our families didn’t keep in touch during that time. We moved back to Massachusetts after a couple years, and one day, when we were about five or six years old, we stumbled across each other at the Boston Public Garden. Both our families ended up living in Ashland, and Daphne and I have stayed friends ever since.

Garcia: Both of our families are immigrant families, and they’ve moved around a lot. Given that, to have had a friend for my whole life is special.

What is the story behind that 2020 photo?

Garcia: That photo was planned. Freshman year, because of COVID, Tufts only allowed people onto campus in waves; students who lived further away moved in earlier, and students who lived in-state moved in after classes had already started. On my first day, I got here, set up my room, and then my parents left, and I almost immediately had a Zoom class. It was crazy.

Since we live in the same town, my mom drove both of us to campus that day, and we put on our Tufts t-shirts and our best backpacks and took the photo. Then, we went onto Prez Lawn with a picnic blanket and attended our virtual classes out there, to feel like a part of the Tufts community.

What inspired you to recreate the shot on your last day of classes as undergraduates?

Lobo: Neither of us originally planned to come to Tufts! In fact, as kids, Daphne and I would say that we would run away to the circus! It just so happened that we both ended up deciding to come here, and I feel that both of us have gone through a lot of growth during our four years at Tufts, both personally and academically.

I was with Daphne's mom a couple days ago and she was showing us that picture of our freshmen selves, and I thought, “Wow, we've changed so much since then. We should take another one in the same place to remember the before and after and see how much has changed.”

How would you say your friendship has changed since that initial photo?

Garcia: The biggest change is now I can walk to her house instead of asking my parents to drive me there. That has been really, really nice.

Our friendship hasn't changed, but the context has. Now, we're adults. We go over to each other’s places and we cook and get really excited about household appliances. It's been so nice to experience adulthood with my best friend.

Lobo: It's very different, the things that you're able to talk about when you're independently living versus at home. Our parents’ houses are constructed in such a way that, no matter where you were, someone else would be able to hear what you're saying. Now that we're completely independent, I feel that the things that we've been able to talk about and bond over, such as our heritage and culture and how it impacted our growing up and how we’re moving forward, are things we didn't discuss much before because we couldn't, really. I feel we've just started exploring adulthood together in that way.

Speaking of that, how would you say your heritage and culture impacted your lives, from growing up together to your time at Tufts?

Garcia: Both my parents went to college in Mexico, and for college there, you don't really go away. My parents lived at home with their families until they got married in their thirties. So, they were very upset that, at 18, I was moving to a dorm, but they were glad that I had Ayesha there. Tufts is so large and diverse, and it has been both easy and hard at the same time to find people who you connect with in a way that reminds me of home.

Lobo: I sought to find people out who I could relate with culturally at Tufts. In that pursuit, I ended up learning a lot about diversity even within my culture. Daphne and I developed friendships and relationships with others who are also identified as Latin American, but seeing the differences in the way that they grew up versus what we grew up has opened my eyes to how even diverse and expansive a singular identity can be.

What’s your favorite memory together during your four years at Tufts?

Garcia: I remember freshman year, both of us and some of our friends worked in Hodge together. One night, it was particularly snowy, and we went out and took a bunch of pictures. I also remember Tufts Field Fair our sophomore year, which is when we started to find our groove at Tufts and learn more about the activities that Tufts has to offer.

We also enjoy taking classes together. We’re both bio majors, but for some reason we've pursued opposite corners of the major. Sometimes we do have overlapping classes and it’s always a lot of fun.

Lobo: Sophomore year, we had friends who had a TV in their room, and we used to do karaoke nights and it was so much fun. It was a mixture of karaoke and dancing—someone would sing and someone else would dance along to the song. We also had some extensive game nights as well.

What will you miss most about Tufts? What piece of advice would you give to incoming first year students?

Lobo: I'm going to miss how dynamic the activities are at Tufts. And being within walking distance of so many friends is amazing; I don't know where else you get that experience.

My advice for current freshmen or prospective students is to use this time to enjoy yourself. A lot of Tufts students are so academically driven, but there is so much here for you to enjoy as well.

Garcia: I’m a resident assistant, and my advice I like to always tell my freshmen is join a club that in no way helps your major. I think it's good to have that separation from academics and to do something fun for yourself.

How has knowing each other changed you?

Lobo: I don't have any other friends like Daphne. She is my best friend who has seen everything in my life. We’ve pretty much lived in the same town our whole lives, but never went to the same school until Tufts. I always knew that if I ever needed anything that she would be there. There have been lots of ups and downs in my personal life, and she was always there to comfort me and be there for me so that I could keep moving forward.

Academically, I've always been in awe of what Daphne does and what she puts her mind to do. She's taken classes that I would never imagine taking. She's worked in so many different labs, and I am in awe of her ability to reach out to professors and do the research that she does. And all very, very humbly. She doesn't talk about her accomplishments or things she does in a way that you would ever see the full picture of how high-achieving she is, and that inspires me. She pushes me to be a stronger student and scientist.

Garcia: Being around Ayesha inspires me to be better. Sophomore year, she was working 30 hours per week in the lab and traveling to the SMFA every single day. She was also somehow keeping up with a rich social life with her friends, her family, and her boyfriend. She makes it seem like there are 30 hours in a day and everything she’s accomplished is incredible. I think she's the poster Tufts student with everything she's been able to do here. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her.

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