Still hope your summer is treating you well. I apologize, but I do promise that this post ends with a point; it’s not just me going off on tangents.
Yesterday morning, I opened my e-mail when I got to work. Scanning my messages, I immediately noticed that between 2-4am I had a crazy number of messages from my parents. That was odd, I thought, since one or two messages throughout the night is much more typical. Confused, I opened the newest of the messages, from my mom, and learned that my dog, Ralph, had died during (my) night. I won’t elaborate on what happened immediately thereafter.
Ralph had been with my family since I was four years old. I am an only child, so, though it may sound odd to some, he was in some senses more of a brother than pet to me. I never had a brother to get into trouble with, but I did have Ralph, my always-dependable partner in mischief. Better yet, he was always game for anything, especially if there was the promise of a few Beggin’ Strips involved.
I’ll admit that I thought the dog-pesky kid sort of bond was uniquely American. Maybe it’s the (perhaps corrupted) vision of the American Dream I’ve painted in my mind: white picket fence, a barbeque, lemonade, and a large, green lawn in front on which a kid plays with his dog. But that’s not entirely true.
I don’t always do bad news very well, and, yes, the second I could leave work, well, I did. I went down to a lounge in Parliament where everyone hangs after work. There, I had a few conversations with some people I didn’t really know too well – some regulars I’d seen around the place before, what have you, but also my roommate’s boss, Sam.
Sam’s Scottish, and he was curious as to why I (apparently) looked like hell and wasn’t in the best mood. I told him why, and, somewhat to my surprise, he was able to relate: he had a similar go-around maybe two years ago, and during then, he told me, he felt the same.
Sam and I weren’t alone at the table; my roommate’s colleague, Jessica, was also there. She grew up in Spain, though, as she told me afterward, she’d lived across Europe as her family travelled for work. When she was growing up, her dog, Sadie, had travelled from country to country with her and her family, just as Ralph had travelled from state to state with my family and me as we moved. Needless to say, it was nice to be able to relate. But moreover, upon reflexion, I noticed that, in this regard, there’s a bit of universality on this matter: regardless of culture and country, there are always more commonalities than one would expect. Thankfully, this is one of them.
Another is something that I’ll admit I didn’t expect too entirely much in a building void of doctors (but certainly not lawyers). I’d been inside for far too long, and after Sam, Jessica, and I had reached a bit of a slow point in our conversation, I headed outside for a few minutes to get some air. There, I saw a friend of mine, Liam, who is also working here. He was with his boss, who is from Northern Scotland. I didn’t know his boss, so I introduced myself, said that I was from the United States and said that I was here for the summer before I return to university. He, typically trying to maintain the small talk without reverting to the weather, asked where I’d went to school. Of course, I replied Hopkins.
At first, I thought his ears somehow misconstrued ‘Hopkins’ for ‘Harvard’ or ‘Oxford’ based on his reaction. I was really rather confused at first, because, again I’ll admit, I didn’t know Hopkins had that sort of international esteem. But it apparently does. The next day (today), I gave him my resume as he asked. Before I told him of my university, he wouldn’t have read it. But after I told him, he asked for it.
Now where does universality come in here? Pretty simple, actually. I don’t like to name-drop that sort of stuff, because I, well, think it’s sort of silly. But here it actually made a difference. In the United States, Hopkins calls a good reaction, but I had no idea that it would in the UK. What I’m getting at here is that Hopkins does have a reputation that gets you something that a lot of other places don’t. Moreover and interesting to note, I was in a bar full of Oxbridge alumni. What I’m not getting at, however, is that you should pick a school solely because of its reputation: I was lucky enough to have been admitted to a school that is respected and that fits my academic and social wants, needs, goals. A lot of my friends were wooed by third-rate state schools because of cost, and those schools do indeed have their place, but they’re aren’t for everyone, and if one has an opportunity to attend a school that’s right for him/her and is positively reputed, well, that’s something more to consider. It does have benefits that you wouldn’t expect or imagine.
Oh, and I even made it clear that I am primarily studying history, not something related to pre-med.
I hope that everyone is having a fantastic summer.
In my previous posts, I’ve written about a lot of stuff: security on campus, what I happened to do one weekend, etc. I’ve taken a look at what I’ve written in the past – when I wrote my first post in September, when I wrote about going home, spring break, blah blah – and in reading and recollecting, I don’t think that I’ve hit one single, main topic throughout the past year. This is a pity, since there certainly is one: I’m lucky to be at Hopkins, and the more I realize this, the more I appreciate it – the faculty, my fellow students, the facilities, the University in general and what it can provide. I apologize, but it may take me a few paragraphs to show my point.
I will be candid: there were days when I wasn’t happy at all at Hopkins. Most of them were in the fall. Maybe it was schoolwork, maybe it was a problem with a friend, maybe it was just a headache, but I certainly had those days when I was just totally put-off when I saw a Hopkins shirt or something like that. And, yes, there were one or two days that I had quite a think about leaving. For a bit, I feared that I was unique, that everyone else I knew in high school was getting along brilliantly and with a smile on their faces. But that wasn’t true. My friends and I, we all have had trouble transitioning, and it’s just a matter of time before you find your niche, get comfortable, and really begin to enjoy yourself – socially and academically (a balance of both is CRUCIAL, I think). I had a bit of trouble finding this at Hopkins, but when I did, I became as enchanted with the place as I was when I stepped on campus as a newly-admitted Class of 2013er in April 2009 – and I was pretty stoked then, by the way.
This summer, as I’ve said, I’m spending my time in London. Being 4,500 miles away from home and 4,000 miles from my ‘new’ home was a bit difficult at first. This was weird; I didn’t really too bad of a problem adjusting to life away from home when I came to Hopkins, so it was odd being ‘homesick’ over the summer. I’m not certain why I was/am, to be honest. Though I was by no means a loner, I didn’t associate too often with my classmates in high school, and because of this, I don’t have as many ‘bros’ from high school as a lot of my peers (that is literally the first time I’ve used that word, by the way). But I still didn’t have a longing for Arkansas in September like I do now for Baltimore.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can be a bit stoic at times, and I’ll admit that I am, but when I left Hopkins for London (I had to fly direct from there, no stop at home, to make my program on time), I was legitimately sad to leave. I was moving out of my room on my last two days in Baltimore, but even while that was going on, I was trying to see all of my friends at least twice before I left. Luckily, I saw most of them at least thrice. Not to sound too sappy, but there have been times in London already when I’ll run my credit out on my phone during an impromptu call to the US to talk to friends. I like it; my credit card hates it; the guy who sells me a top-up downstairs certainly loves it.
I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the social scene when I came to Hopkins. In a not so brilliant move, I started to research Hopkins’ social scene when I deposited on CollegeConfidential. That site offered a viewpoint that scared the beejebus out of me: I thought I was going to a place where everyone lived in the library, drank two glasses of milk with their meals, took their vitamins and made their bed in the mornings, and thought a discussion on Thoreau was racy enough for a Friday night. Thank God, that ‘all-knowing’ site was wrong. At Hopkins, I have met people that I truly care about, think about, and want to see. They’re amazing. I’ll conceit that there are some perpetual library-dwellers (and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my scene at all, truth be told), but when you look your head around the corner, Hopkins is a place where you can have a LOT of fun. That’s why I love it: there are people whom I want to be with, in a city where one can see some cool sites and have some massive nights, in an environment that still fosters some fantastic ed-u-ma-kation.
This morning, I went to work. Outside my window, Big Ben is about 50 meters away. I have a blast-proof window to see it through. For my job, I have to go down to the floor of the House of Commons on occasion. I handled an original Act of Parliament given Royal Ascent by King Henry VIII. I’m now working for an MP, and I’m now also volunteering at David Milliband’s Labour leadership campaign. I’m writing this in the library of the London School of Economics, where I’m a student this summer. I’m also 19, and I’m also from rural Arkansas. Besides the whole age and place thing, none of that would have happened without me going to Hopkins. I truly do owe this summer to that University. It has a name recognition that gets my CV looked at, yes, but, more importantly, what I’ve learned there – and who I’ve met there, how I’ve learned to interact with people of many nationalities, too – has allowed me to not be an idiot walking around here. And, in simple terms, I’m lucky to have had the experiences I’ve had at Hopkins, because they’re already working in my favor, and I’m even luckier to have met the fantastic people that I’ve met at Hopkins. Not to be repetitive, but my total experience at Hopkins just makes me feel fortunate, lucky to be there, and for that, I’m grateful – grateful that I can go there, that I do go there, and that I did decide to go there. It’s my new home.
So, everyone, I hope you all are having an amazing summer. I’m still in London, and work is really starting to pick up — both a great thing and a ‘eh’ thing, since I both love my internship and to sleep. But c’est la vie. I’m having a great time here, and everyone in my flat and program are amazing. This weekend, we went to see Fedde le Grand at the Ministry of Sound, and it was amazing — totally worth the day after (of course, we were just sluggish because we were at a rave from like 11 – 6am, that’s all). I’m working about 3.5-4 days a week, split two ways between Parliament and David Miliband’s Labour leadership campaign; both have been great thus far.
In this post,I’d like to recap my blog posts from this last year. For me, it’s been interesting to look at some of them again – makes me think of how I was feeling when I wrote them, what I’ve been up to these past few months, etc. For me, pretty cool. I don’t keep a diary or anything, so this is about as close as I’m going to get J.
Okay, not quite as new-to-college me as the first, of course, but this was when I was just discovering that Hopkins really did have a social life (I lowered my hopes after reading some good ol’ fashioned fibs on things like collegeconfidential) and when I was just starting to get in the groove of this whole college thing.
[update: all libraries are created equal, I feel, so I’ve relocated to Trafalgar Square at midnight, watching people drunkenly attempt inline skating. I’m consequently laughing. A lot.]
First time going home. This was my attempt to share what I was feeling at the time. It’s the first of my less topic-oriented posts and was more just me talking. That said, the preceding posts weren’t me trying to write a research essay J.
I wrote this en route to Italy over winter break. I was bored at the time – it was a long flight – and it was just before the January 1 application deadline, so this is me trying to offer advice on the essays. They were by far my least favorite part of the college admissions process – wait, those AND standardized tests. Together, they may have been the bane of my existence.
My final post of 2009, this was me reflecting on the past year, what’d changed, and what I sort of thought would come. It was interesting to write. I was in Italy with my parents on vacation, and we’d been talking a lot about my first semester, so this was interesting to write.
A recap of what’d been going on between intersession and then, this post also covers – wait for it – SNOWWEEK, also known as SMOWOMG, SNOWMAGEDDON. You get the point. Oh, and no biggie, but the Winter Olympics had been going on. They’re sort of my World Cup.
You know when you’re trying to procrastinate so you will do anything to avoid real work? Well, I do, and it’s the story behind this post: I had a lot to do, so naturally, I decided to offer more information about my class schedule than anyone may ever need to know. Oh, and when I was writing this, Muse played Bmore. MUSE MUSE MUSE MUSE.
Wooooo. Riding a mechanical bull. Studying. Cooperative feasts cooked in friends’ apartments. That was the end of my second semester at Hopkins, and it’s what you can hear about should you read this post.
Earlier this summer, I had a political study visit to Scotland. We ran around the Scottish Parliament and, later, sung Lady Gaga in a pub in front of a live band. AWESOME all around. Check it to find out more.
Well, that’s all I got for now. Since I’ve sort of gone through my entire year, I thought it appropriate to post my class’ flag in this post, since it’s what I did in my first post.
Daniel here. It’s been quite a bit since my last post, and a lot’s been going on for me since then. Right now, for illustration, I’m heading back from Edinburgh to London, where I’m at for the next three months, after touring the Scottish Parliament. I’m living in London until mid-August, working for an MP and taking some courses at LSE. All in all, it’s starting to be one great summer, if I may say so myself.
The Castle at Edinburgh -- SO GORGEOUS
I have four flatmates: Mary Rose and Brendan are from U W Madison, Matt’s from UC Berkekey, and Doyeun is from, wait for it, Hopkins. In my programme are also a few other people from all around the world, including places like Korea, Poland, Georgia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. They’re all really a lot of fun, and we’ve been up to a few shenanigans already. Last night, for example, was our last night in Scotland, and we found a pub that does ‘bandaokee,’ which is like karaoke with a live band. And yes, I rocked the Lady Gaga – Celtic style. It looks like we’re hitting Amsterdam soon, with Paris not long after that, and a few raves in London. Sweet =].
My flatmates, Doyeun and Maryrose, and me in Scotland this week
I finished up my school year while in London, taking my Elements of Microeconomics exam at LSE and finishing a paper here, too. I’m not going to lie: it was a major bummer doing this. I had to take/do them here because, for my programme, I had to leave early. But that’s okay, because I’m NOW DONE WITH MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE, YOOOOO. That makes me quite happy.
I don’t know too much about what I’ll be doing for my internship, but I’ll know a lot more when it starts on Tuesday. I should be starting sooner, but Monday’s a Bank Holiday here, so I don’t have class or work. Whatever I do, I’m sure it will work out and prove to be quite a positive experience. Oh, and for the spellings, I’ve had to do a bit of typing here already, and for class I have to use British English, so I switched over to UK English on my computer, and I really can’t be bothered to switch back (that and I just don’t know how to; if you know how to do this, totally leave a comment =]).
My Group with Ken, a Labour MSP, in the Scottish Parliament
Anyway, with that, I’m going to let some pictures speak for themselves, as they can do themselves far more justice than I can. Hope everyone’s having a great summer and are enjoying themselves. To the Class of 2014: Be sure to totally enjoy your summer before finally arriving in August!
My flatmate, Brendan, and I singing "Sweet Caroline"
My friend, Fabrizio, who's from Uruguay, singing "La Bamba"
We stayed at a B&B in Edinburgh -- and this is the breakfast we were given daily. HOW IS EVERYONE THERE NOT OBESE?!?
It’s the end of the school year – some real exicting stuff, eh?! I’m writing final papers right now and am studying for a final, too. Summer’s nearly here. For me, that means I’m about to board a flight for three months in London. I’m really stoked about this, though I’m worried, because I don’t have my visa here and because it doesn’t look like I’ll get it in time. Oh, and by the way, if anyone has any connects at the British Consulate in LA, now’d be a great time to hook me up! =]
To be honest, I’ve been hit with a tidal wave of nostalgia in the past few days. I mean, my freshman year of college is pretty much over – I’m out of here this week, and my finals are right around the corner. I know this sounds cliché, and I apologize, but I just can’t come to accept that it was in August that I first came to Hopkins. I mean, seriously, if you would ask me, I would probably say that it feels like just a few weeks ago I got my keys and J-Card after driving from Little Rock. A lot’s changed, and I’ve met a lot of great, new people, and, to tell the truth, I’m really quite grateful. It’s been one amazing year, and I can only begin to anticipate what next year will bring. But let’s hope I don’t get in a rush right now: I’m having so much fun, and I just want the recess to continue. (That said, I’m in the libs, writing this, inter alia.)
There was a mech. bull on the beach Saturday. I lasted 6 seconds. This is JHU_Cate trying to beat me at it...
In high school, I lived by a single rule: ‘In every school, there must be recess.’ When I came to Hopkins, I sort of lost track of that idea and became consumed with school work, and, to tell you the truth, that really bummed me out. I made a goal to ensure that I fit some fun, memorable times in my days here at Hopkins, and I’ve really been successful thus far. I had a great weekend that was as impromptu as possible: I spent 72 hours with people I didn’t really ever know, and we all had the times of our lives. We had a dance party at night, went all night long, and cooked some amazing food in the process. It was a lot of fun, and it was a spectacular way to put an end to classes, which ended on Thursday for me. I have another friend coming in on Thursday, my last night in Baltimore before London (assuming some reader of this post makes some calls for me =]…sorry for the shameless plug!), and I’m looking to some memorable times before heading off for the summer. It’ll be great, and I’m really excited to see what the night will bring.
The dinner I tried to make...
The dinner I tried to make…
Congrats to all the high schoolers on finishing your AP/IB exams, if you’ve done so already. They were a massive bummer last year, but those AP credits are oh-so-valuable here – it’s a really nice thing to get credit for some classes (puts you further ahead, so recess can come, too!). Have a great end of the year, seniors, and enjoy your last day with people you probably won’t see for a long time, if ever. And have a great graduation, and make some memories!
Hey, guys. Daniel here. I feel inspired by Carl Weathers.
This weekend, I was at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California. Tickets were really expensive, so since I’m on a limited budget, I was pretty much the cheapest guy there ever (save the In and Out Burger visits; you can’t mess with an addiction). For example, my friends and I stayed at the most sketch motel ever – about 35 miles away (LONG time when you leave a place such as this) in the middle of the desert on the shores of the Salton Sea (which, per environmental concerns, is entirely fenced). To spend one less night at said hotel, we made an epic drive back to LA (where I was staying before coming back to Bal’murr), getting back really, really early (I got stuck with this task….probably because I speed a lot – see my cribs vid to see my wall of insurance horror). Anyway, while I realize this sounds like a corny TV commercial, I’ve got to say that the transportation we’ve got at Hopkins and Baltimore really did help me save money. I spend $7 dollars on transportation in Maryland. How? The JHMI shuttle and the MARC trains.
Penn Station is near the Peabody Conservatory and is on the way to the Hopkins Medical Campus, so Hopkins provides a free shuttle along this route – the JHMI (I pronounce it ‘Jimmy’). It runs every day and pretty much all the time – until like 11 or something like that. It’s pretty handy, since it drops you off at Penn Station, which you can either take a train from or take a one minute walk to get a crepe and a movie at Sophie’s Crepes and the Charles, respectively. It’s entirely free, which I love, and its price – rather lack thereof – makes it my preferred method of transportation.
When I jet in and out of there, I always try to make it on weekdays, which is when the MARC train runs. It’s commuter rail and connects Balto with DC. Since BWI is south of here, the MARC hits it. To get from Penn Station to the BWI stop, it costs me $3.25 each way – it’s a little bit higher in actuality, but at the beginning of the year, I bought a Student Advantage card – something you should really do – so I get a student discount. Tickets to DC cost $5.50, by the way, and the ride’s about an hour, while it only takes about 15-20 minutes to get to BWI. I lived and worked in DC for a bit, so I try to get down there pretty often – it’s nice being so close and having a cheap way to visit.
Anyway, guys, that’s all I’ve got on that. I’m going to Burger King to get a refill. Before I do, thought I’d throw up a few pics of the weekend – it was a ton of fun.
So sorry for being a bit late on this post. It’s been a hectic few days for me, but I’m back for the attack! Wherever you choose to attend college/university, midterms will be stressful, and Hopkins is absolutely no exception in this case (though I will make a shameless plug and say that our history program is exceptional *cough cough).
Little Rock's 'River Market' sign -- visit and you'll see it
Apparently at Hopkins Interactive, there comes a time when I’m supposed to show off my awesome room and stuff. And I’m told that time is now (we’re never told to write on a particular topic save this one, by the way), so here goes nothing:
I live in Wolman 2 East. What’s that mean? Well, it means I live on the second floor of the East wing of Wolman Hall. Why do you care? Because it’s awesome, or at least I think so. As the only blogger who lives in this building, I’d better make this post count, eh?
Earnie Biggs piano bar, where my friend, David, plays. Note my car (silver limo) in front...
WHY I LOVE WOLMAN AND WOULD NOT WANT TO LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE THIS YEAR:
I wasn’t kidding when I said Wolman is the South Kensington or the Beverley Hills of Hopkins Freshman housing. I love living there, and here are a few reasons why:
1) ELEVATORS!!!!!!!! Though I live on the second floor, I do really, really like that I have elevators in my building, since laundry facilities are in the basement. For some reason, Wolman and McCoy are the only freshman housing options that have this feature (if you live in the AMRs or in Buildings A/B, you’re going to get some lower body strength, or so I’m told). We have two elevators per wing of the building, which is conjoined on the first and basement floors. Other than that, to get from one hall to another, you’ve got to cross through the second floor (when, say, for example, you’re going from 2 East to 6 West).
Wolman Elevators: Among the best aspects of living here
2) SUITE STYLE LIVING!!!!!!! I’m totally not making this list in order, I’ve decided, since my favorite feature of Wolman housing is that it’s a suite-style arrangement. This is the same as Buildings A/B and McCoy (which, I’ll admit, is Wolman v.2.0, but you should bring that up with Joe; he lives there). Every suite is home to four students. Most suites have two doubles, though some do have two singles and a double. I’m in the majority, having two doubles. My roomie, Akif, is from Dubai, and my suitemates are from Maryland and New York.
3) SEMI-PRIVATE BATHROOMS!!!!!!! For the four of us, there is one shared bathroom, which is a pretty good deal, I think. You won’t get that in the AMRs, but you’ll find it in Buildings A/B and in McCoy. It’s nice because this arrangement affords greater privacy and potentially a smaller chance of having to wait to shower (yes, however, my suitemates/roomie have taken showers at REALLY inconvenient times…like when I’m trying to race to get ready for class). Next year, it gets better, with one bathroom being shared by two people. The bathroom, as you can see, is pretty typical: sink, toilet, shower, and some storage underneath the sink. Really, there’s nothing exciting to report here, so I’ll move on.
4) KITCHEN!!!!!!! Let’s not be coy about this: I am a broke college student. You will be, too, I’m sorry to share. It’s not that my parents don’t love me and won’t send me money, and it’s not that my boss in Admissions doesn’t pay me. It’s just that I spend money where I probably shouldn’t (hey, who wants to go to a concert in DC…now?). Also, I live for coffee talks, so I’m giving most of my money to Carma’s or to Starbucks or to Café Q. Anyway, I can’t always afford the convenience of going to Subway or Chipolte when I’m hungry at odd times. Luckily, we have kitchenettes in Wolman, so residents can cook meals when needed. For example, last Thursday night, it was a little after 12, and I had an inexplicable desire for breakfast. Since you can’t find breakfast at midnight around here, I was able to make bacon, eggs, and toast in my kitchen – WIN. Our kitchenettes have a stove and sink, and I bought a toaster oven for the other stuff. It works out. ONE COMPLAINT: The smoke alarms in Wolman are a little crazy. Without burning anything, I managed to set a smoke alarm off twice, winning the favor of my neighbors and suitemates. But I still got my breakfast.
With that, I’m going to let my video speak for myself. On Spring Break, I was in Little Rock, visiting my family. Since it’s highly likely you’ve never seen Little Rock save a news piece on either Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee, I thought I’d throw in a few pictures to share, so enjoy! Oh, and I threw in two pics of my cats, Stanley and Oliver…
My adorably obese cat, Stanley
Another of my pets, Oliver -- often mistaken for dust bunny
In my previous post, I mentioned my class schedule in brief – that I am taking two history seminars and that I am consequently reading a lot this semester. In this post, I would like to expand/elaborate on my current coursework, which I’ve been very pleased with thus far. This could be because I only have two midterms, and they are two weeks apart (Note: Cate W, fellow blogger, had like sixty in a day or something insane like that; I felt/feel bad for her).
I began this semester with the average load of fifteen credit hours, which translates to five classes, a typical load for a student here at Hopkins. All but one of my classes, Elements of Microeconomics, is writing intensive, giving me a really hectic March and May (in particular) to look forward to. Realizing this, I decided to drop one class, Introduction to the History of Modern Philosophy, to allow myself to more fully invest in my other classes. Some people have seen this decision to drop as a sort of weakness, laziness on my end, but I believe it will result in a happier GPA come May, better retention of subject matter, and generally a more lax me – and I do care about my sanity. I must say, however, that I did quite enjoy philosophy, and I hope it will find its way into my schedule come another semester.
Without further adieu, here are the classes I am taking this semester:
Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II
Stephen Kampa, Instructor
Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II (IFP) is the follow-up course to IFP I, which I took last semester, and is offered in the Writing Seminars Department, our creative writing branch, if you will. Greco, fellow blogger, is also in my section. The course’s objective is to have students understand the methods and thought processes of celebrated, recognized authors and poets as they write pieces of their own. Each section is taught by one instructor and is capped at no more than twenty students, if that.
The course is divided into two sections: one on fiction and poetry. At present, we are wrapping up our unit on fiction. For homework, we have many, many reading assignments, and we spend class time either discussing the reading assignments in terms of how we can adapt writers’ strategies, or we workshop each other’s works, a process I find very useful, since it is often beneficial to have many eyes view something like fiction or poetry. The class’ format, I expect, will not change as we transition from fiction to poetry, since the end remains the same.
In addition to writing assignments, which we currently have bi-weekly, we are expected to maintain a journal of sorts, in which we write page-long entries on matters assigned to us. To give you a better idea of what is expected, I have included a few of our actual journal assignments below:
(1) Collect ten exemplary first sentences. They should be a mixture of sentences you have found and ones you have written.
(2) For your second journal entry this week, I’d like you to write a description of your fiction aesthetic. What do you look for in a story or novel? What do you strive to do in your own fictive work? What are some of the things that make you put a book down immediately? What are some of the things that you (think you) will never do in prose? Try to be as detailed as possible in your analysis of your own tastes and preferences.
(3) Compile a list of twenty-five contemporary slang words and/or expressions. They can range from the cute to the crude. The goal here is to amass a working vocabulary of the living language so that [a] your writing does not become lexically moribund and [b] you have the raw material for believable contemporary dialogue.
(4) Write a brief anecdote in the voice of your favorite movie.
Overall, I do enjoy this class a lot. IFP is a great way to explore yourself creatively and emotionally; it is really the only academic opportunity to write on matters that are near and dear to me, etc. Also, my instructor, Stephen, is great, which makes the experience all the better. If you are ambivalent about taking the course should you enroll here, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
Elements of Microeconomics
Bruce Hamilton, Professor
Kati Simmons, TA
Elements of Micro (henceforth called just ‘Micro’) is a general survey class taken by many, as it is a required course for several majors, including International Studies and, of course, economics. Consequently, it is very large, with somewhere around 400 students, making it by far the largest class I will ever have at Hopkins (I also believe it may be in the running for largest class AT Hopkins, too). A lot of my friends are in it, including JHU_Keith and Miranda, fellow blogger, to name a few. It is my only class with a teaching assistant.
Because of its size, Mirco is broken up into two segments: lecture and section. Twice a week, Professor Hamilton gives the class’ lecture in a large hall, Hodson 110. The other class meeting, which we call section, is referred to as section. Section is much smaller, normally at or below ten students (my section, for example, has about six) and is led by a teaching assistant – mine, as the header suggests, is Katie, who thus far has been great.
Since the class is so typical, I really will not give as much detail as I have, say, given for IFP. As you may expect, there are two midterms and a final – nothing terribly exciting – as well as the odd quiz. Overall, Micro is not my favorite class, but that may just be because I do not care too much for the discipline, etc. It is not a class I am taking for academic exploration but one for general knowledge, etc. That said, I am not like hating on it.
Freshman Seminar: Abraham Lincoln and His America
Michael Johnson, Professor
Right now, one of the things I love most academically about Hopkins is the option to enroll in freshman seminars, classes designed for and exclusively offered to freshmen that are taught (normally) by full time professors. They are a great way for freshmen to have an opportunity to interact with a full-time member of the faculty and are a breath of fresh air from the at-times large general survey classes we all will have to take. Notably, freshman seminars are capped at about fifteen students, which helps to create an intimate classroom environment. By the end of one, you cannot help but know everyone in the class.
Lincoln and His America has two objectives: 1) to provide a holistic, whole view of Lincoln’s life and presidency; and 2) to contextualize the life he lived and the America/societies in which he lived. To do this, the course is typically broken down into two sections, which is easy to do because of the class’ schedule: we meet once a week for about 2.5 hours. About halfway through, we take a short, 15-minute break, so it is not a big, sudden change when we switch gears.
Normally, we spend the first half of class working on contextualizing Lincon’s life with the societies in which he lived. To do this, we have a little bit of homework: to read contemporary newspapers and write a short, one or two paragraph response to something we found interesting or learned from the papers. For example, one week I chose to write a response on the typical formatting of obituaries during the period and how that they were more of a death announcement than biography, as they are today. The papers we are assigned to peruse change weekly and are based on the time/location we are studying. For example, when Lincoln was living in Springfield, we read papers from places like Springfield, from St. Louis, or from New Orleans. In class, we go around the table, and every student shares this little bit of knowledge – while we do this, we work on creating a synthesis of the points brought up. Truthfully, this is one of my favorite things I have done here yet in a classroom, perhaps because it is the most creative or the most interesting. It is nearly always interesting to see what someone will dig up.
The Early Caribbean and Atlantic World Seminar
Philip Morgan, Professor
This class is my test case, if you will. It is an upper-level course, listed at .488, and I am the only enrolled freshman. I wanted to take this course because it is on a subject I enjoy and because I wanted to take an upper level history class to see if I like it before formally declaring my major. Like all seminars, it is particularly small, with about 14 people (if memory serves).
The course readings are a pretty even of primary and secondary sources. For example, one of the first reading assignments we had was the voyage records of Christopher Columbus. We supplemented this with a few academic essays on Columbus’ voyage and the hyperbole for which he is famous (allusions to dog-faced people, for instance, in Hispaniola are just silly).
We meet once a week for 2.5 hours and discuss our readings for a majority of the time. Each week, we prepare an outline of the week’s readings, taking note of particular authors’ arguments, observations, etc, that we share and then discuss in class. It is a lot of work, reading and synthesizing these sources, but I am learning a heck of a lot.
Professor Morgan leads the class’ lectures. I really like him and his teaching style, furthering my appreciation of the class. Ironically, he taught me a little least year in Making America – we were assigned to read one of his articles. I find it pretty cool that my professor in a lecture of 14 is the author of course readings.
That concludes my course schedule. One thing that is worth noting is that I only have one TA and that the rest of my courses are 1) capped at about 15 people and 2) mostly taught by full-time, tenured faculty. This is something I did not entirely expect when looking at Hopkins, yet, I’ve found, small courses (at least in my chosen academic path) are really the strong suit of the University.
Something more exciting, though, is that Muse played Baltimore in the past week. I am a huge fan of theirs, and Matt Bellamy is no less awesome live; in fact, he is better. And yes, I do think he’s wearing teal leather pants… It was a gloriously trippy show — SO GOOD. Here is a video of their show in Baltimore (not taken by me; I was three rows of people from the stage haha):
I’m in the middle of spring break right now, so look for a related update when I feel like being productive :)
I cannot believe that spring break is less than two weeks away. Truthfully, it seems like yesterday walked into the first day of spring semester classes, yet the opposite is apparently true. However much time had elapsed, though, it has certainly been a busy, busy time for me, and in this blog I would like to provide a short brief of what has been keeping me uber busy.
For me, as I mentioned above, the semester thus far has been a busy one indeed. I spent the beginning of it working on applications for either summer employment or study, and when those were out of the way, I began working on grant proposals to help fund the programs to which I applied. If you have not yet applied for an internship in government and intend to, you will soon find that a majority do not pay – at all. Frankly, that sort of sucks – hence the grants proposals
One of the grants to which I applied is actually funded by the Second Decade Society of the Alumni Association here at Hopkins. I think the willingness of Hopkins alumni to financially support the endeavors of the University’s undergraduates testifies to the dedication of Hopkins alumni. When I applied to Hopkins, I did not know of such programs, and I must admit it is rather comforting to potentially have the costs associated with one’s unpaid work experience underwritten by a University-affiliated group. Just something to consider.
Thankfully, I was accepted to work in the House of Commons in London while doing a little bit of independent research and coursework at the London School of Economics via the Hansard Scholars Programme. I will be living in London for most of the summer, working and studying for eleven weeks of it. I hope, after my program’s completion, to travel a bit through Europe, but we will see how that goes. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled about my acceptance, and I have already completed most of the necessary visa paperwork, if that gives you an indication of sorts (note: this is an awesome excuse to delay real homework, but more on that later).
Charles Commons -- This is where I want to live next year!
The spring semester of freshman year, I am finding, is a busy time indeed. Most notably, registration for sophomore housing opens soon, and I will know where I am living next year within the month. Unlike freshman year, when an overwhelming majority of roommates are randomly assigned (well, there is a short questionnaire to be taken that gets a few of the basics out of the way: ambient noise preference, sleep schedule, etc.), we choose the people with whom we will live next year. Actually, I will be suitemates with Greco (the other blogger on here) next year.
Academically, this semester is far different than last. For instance, I am taking fewer credit hours at present (12), but my classes are much more involved. I plan to discuss my current coursework in greater detail in another blog post at a later day, but I am in two history seminars this semester. Both of these seminars require an average of 200 pages of reading per week. Needless to say, I am reading quite a lot, but I enjoy the subject matter at least. The thing about these seminars I most enjoy, however, is that they are capped at fifteen students each and that both are taught by a full professor, which I really do appreciate. Funnily enough, I had to read a published article last semester for another class by one of my current professors, Dr. Morgan.
Before I totally bore you with this update, I’ll try to stop while I’m ahead. Thanks for reading!
It’s been awhile since my last blog post – January, actually. And the start of the semester’s been a lot of fun: I’m (currently) liking my new class schedule, seeing everyone (who didn’t come back for intersession) has been awesome, and, oh yeah, we had a SNOW WEEK, during which time (lots of) inclement weather closed the library, resulting in an olympic amount of procrastination. Oh yeah that reminds me: and now there’s the Winter Olympics, which I’m beginning to think I live for (GO, USA/CANADA!).
Last semester, I wasn’t as social as I wanted to be, which, for freshmen, is really, really ‘unique,’ since a lot of my classmates came here with the idea of “INDEPENDENCE, INDEPENDENCE, INDEPENDENCE, WOOO” or some derivation thereof. To be honest, I didn’t. Why? For starters, even with covered grades, I didn’t want to come home for Christmas rocking the 1.7 GPA (and thankfully I didn’t). Besides Hopkins Interactive, I didn’t join too many student groups, not wanting to get spread too thinly and have too many extracurricular obligations. Then what did I do? I went out with and stayed with my suitemates and my floor mates a lot of the time, rarely chilling in the AMRs (though this started to change towards the end of the semester) and never going to Buildings A and B (still haven’t done that, JHU_Cate…), thus not meeting a lot of people out of my building. This didn’t make me antisocial by any means; it just means that I stayed with the group I was most familiar with, my floor-mates. This, in retrospect, wasn’t the best idea, though it certainly wasn’t the worst; it just seemed to limit the people I could interact with and, eventually, befriend.
The first semester of college, it seems now, is a time of transition for the overwhelming majority, and a lot of people, seeking acceptance and friendship (inter alia), jump in with the first group they see. That means roommates, floor-mates, or the equivalent. In Wolman, a lot of floors become really right, in the AMRs, a lot of house-mates become close, and in A&B, the same happens. It just happens – propinquity necessitates friendship, at least when people are living close together. And when these friendships begin to develop and gain complexity, people get attached with one particular group, and when faced with the uncertainty of leaving one group for another, a lot of people don’t make the switch or attempt to blend the two groups. This carries consequences, namely a failure to branch out.
Since I’ve been back this semester, though, I’ve changed who I hang out with the most – not supplanting my friends back at 2East, but just chilling with other people, too – and it’s the best thing I’ve done here yet. For starters, I started hanging out with a lot of SAABers (the bloggin’ people) a hell of a lot more, which has been awesome. Take note of the pictures from our impromptu sledding trip during Snowmaggedon 2010, because they’re awesome (and I really am not photogenic at all when cold and covered in snow, I’ll admit). I’ve joined a few other groups as well, and I hope to start writing soon for JHU Politik, the University’s only weekly-published political magazine. When joining groups and making obligations, though, I was more discerning, making sure what I committed to was something I could do and really wanted to do, and I made sure that any necessary obligations fit my schedule – i.e. homework, other stuff. It’s a terrible mistake, I think, when people overload themselves to the point where their participation in one thing hinders their participation in other things, so I’ve been careful to avoid that.
Me and a few friends after some snoOMG sledding
The result? A lot happier me. I get to chill with people whom I generally have a lot more in common, etc, and I get to participate actively in groups I, well, want to be in. I’d highly recommend it when you get to college, the whole picking wisely thing, since it makes life a lot easier and saves you the trouble of admitting defeat when swamped with stuff to do (like, cough, write blog posts =]), etc.