“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.” (JRR Tolkien)
Well, guys – it’s official. I am now 19 years, 10 days, 58 minutes, and 32 seconds old (so I keep forgetting to reset the birthday
countdown on my desktop, so what?). My birthday conveniently fell during the last week of Intersession and during Baltimore Restaurant Week (restaurants around Baltimore offer 3-course meals for only $20 or $30!), and my friend Maia took party planning to a whole other level. My suitemates decorated my door and desk, and all of my girlfriends planned a surprise birthday dinner for me at McCormick & Schmick’s, an upscale seafood restaurant right by the harbor!
In the midst of the production that was my birthday, however, the nice and mildly alarmed waiter at dinner (the plastic tiara might have been a little aggressive) forgot to bring out a candle with the dessert I ordered as per my friend Sonu’s request. While I can safely say that I wasn’t too torn up about it (let’s be real – having a group of people serenade you while the entire restaurant stares is awkward and weird for everyone), I realized the other day that because I never technically blew out a candle, I didn’t get to make a birthday wish. First world problems, anyone?
But in all seriousness, with a week of spring semester under my belt, I can already feel things starting to revert back to the familiar bustle and grind. Intersession was fun and relaxing in so many ways, but the disgusting amount of free time that I’ve gotten used to having has made adjusting to the new semester harder than I anticipated. To be honest, I’m a little apprehensive. I feel like there are so many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them, and without the safety of covered grades this semester, I’m taking all of the birthday wishes I can get.
Although I am tempted to wish for something completely ridiculous and unnecessary like superhuman powers (fun fact: if I could have a superpower, it would be to be able to read people’s minds!) or my cat, I can’t really complain about my life as it is right now. I’m plopped on Sonu’s bed with Julia, resting up after the first day of Rush Week (officially known as “Sorority Recruitment”) and warming up Pepperidge Farms Soft-Baked Snickerdoodle cookies in the microwave – what can I say, we’re culinary masters in the making.
What I’m most worried about is the future, and the kinds of changes that this coming semester will bring:
1. Recruitment – Official recruitment started today (!!!) and a few of my friends and I are bracing ourselves for the next week. Sorority recruitment is a weeklong process that occurs in the Spring (other schools sometimes have it during the Fall), and Hopkins girls go to all four of the Panhellenic sororities (Phi Mu, Alpha Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Pi Beta Phi) during the first of four rounds. Even though it’s only just begun, I can tell that this experience will be both overwhelming and unforgettable. More to come!
2. Interning – Over winter break I sent out some resumes and cover letters to different companies for a spring and/or summer internship position. Just a word of advice for prospective and admitted students: if you thought applying to colleges was hard, think again! Applying to internships is a frustrating and long process; start as early as possible! I started looking around for potential opportunities around November/December, and many places will either never contact you at all, or tell you that you’re too young/don’t have enough experience. If you score an interview, sometimes you don’t hear from them again, even if you follow up with a thank-you card or an email. As for me, I’m currently in the process of filling out the necessary paperwork to start a spring internship off-campus, and can’t wait to get started!
3. Spring Events – I am SO excited for everything that’s going to be happening on campus this semester! Spring Fair (the largest student-run fair in the country!), Homecoming (yes, we structure our Homecoming around lacrosse season), and lacrosse games (hopefully I’ll be going to Charlottesville for the Hopkins vs. UVA game to see all of my Virginia friends) are all coming up soon. Julia and I are training for a half marathon in May, and Vision Xchange is planning Date Auction this semester also. For admitted students, SOHOP (Spring Open House and Overnight Program) happens in April, so I hope to see you guys around campus as well!
With a jam-packed semester ahead, my only birthday wish is to find a good balance between all of the highs and lows that are bound to come. This is just the calm before the storm, I guess – it hasn’t really hit me yet that in three short months, I’ll have finished my freshman year, be half a year closer to being 20 (?!), and be a quarter of the way through my Hopkins experience. While that thought is absolutely terrifying, I’m also determined to find some sort of middle ground between the craziness and the quiet Saturday nights like these. Keeping my sanity is a tall order for a birthday wish, but as the quote says, all I have to do is figure out how to fill the days, hours, and minutes that are given to me, right? We can only hope – or, in my case, wish!