Why Hopkins: My Experiences With JHU!

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!!

While thinking about what to write, I became incredibly reminiscent of all the events leading up to how I ended up here at JHU. I toured the campus in my senior year of high school and instantly fell in love with the overall positive and motivated attitude of the student body and professors, and not to mention the beautiful campus!

Now that I am officially a Hopkins student and have almost completed a whole year, the greatest thing I have come to appreciate about this school is the amount of opportunity: opportunity to learn, opportunity to do, opportunity to teach; there is an endless amount of ways to get involved and gain exposure to the field of your interest.

As a super math and science nerd in high school, I have always for the main part pictured myself practicing medicine and doing research in a lab. I’ve also pictured myself riding a vespa past gorgeous gardens and cobblestone villas while sipping cappuccino every morning on a balcony that overlooks the riverside.  A large portion of my adolescent life has been spent playing punch buggie with Ferraris, stalking Rafael and Da Vinci on ARTstor, listening to Andrea Bocelli sing “O Sole Mio” a thousand times on constant loop, and trying to convince the world that tiramisu is possibly the greatest thing they will ever come across in their life. Yes, I do secretly wish I was Italian. And by the time I was a senior in high school, I set a goal for myself: After I got my MD, I would become the proud owner of a vespa and set up a practice on the Italian Riviera so I can occasionally paint landscapes of the riverside if time allowed.

As crazy and farfetched as my dreams appear, it’s definitely worth working towards them. To my extreme fortune, Hopkins encourages that. Hopkins knows that every student here pictures big things for themselves, whether it is to become a hospital manager in Honduras while simultaneously working to refine irrigation in Africa, or to become the most renowned brain surgeon on earth and win the nobel prize in medicine, or even the next great fashion-designer/lawyer/adult fiction writer of the century. (Those are real goals set by real people here and they are well on their way!) We have an excellent network of alumni, professors, and advisors who are always supportive of their students and are whole-heatedly willing to help them achieve in every way possible.

Image of a mouse neuron. Courtesy of Ryan Patterson, my neuron-obsessed floormate!

When I told my academic advisor in the fall about my doctor/artist/Italian goals, she suggested I start by taking general chemistry and focus on fulfilling my premed requirements first. (Don’t worry, I have prioritized!) She then told me to set aside some time in my schedule to work towards a Homewood Arts Certificate for visual arts by taking art classes of my choice. And finally, if I must be Italian, she suggested I try taking Italian elements, which has conveniently taught me to become proficient in reading an Italian menu. I feel so grateful to be able to receive so much support and guidance from a school that is genuinely interested in helping me work towards my very specific goals.

I am also very grateful to go to a school that gives me such great preparation for my subject of interest. Science at Hopkins is perhaps the biggest reason I decided to come here. Although the science courses are very rigorous, my friends and I have all agreed that we have learned a lot (like really, a LOT). I remember walking into chem lab on my first day and having to pick my lab station. I was in awe at the rows and rows of lab stations that took up the entirety of Mergenthaler first floor, for I had never seen a lab room this huge! I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of my lab experiences, but my hip-hop dancing friend has documented the squid dissection unit in General Biology Lab and was nice enough to let me use her picture! I never got a chance to do the squid dissection since I am not enrolled in gen bio, but from what I’ve heard, it was a very interesting experience.

So much cooler than the pig dissection in high school. Courtesy of my hip-hop dancing friend!

The gen bio class is very interactive. Some of their assignments require them to go on field trips to the Maryland Zoo and even the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor! I may or may not have (but definitely have) pretended to be a gen bio student and tagged along on the aquarium trip…

Me (left) with my hip-hop dancing friend and crazy-awesome lab partner (who are actually gen bio students) at the aquarium!

Reflecting upon my freshman year so far, I realize that I have learned so much more academically than I ever thought I could. I’ve learned so much chemistry in such a short amount of time; I’ve learned what it really means to be in Lab; I’ve learned CPR and have become EMR certified through HERU; I’ve even had the opportunity to become AHA Instructor certified to teach CPR at the Johns Hopkins Hospital! On top of all that, was still able to pursue art and Italian, which I hope to pursue in my next three years as well. I’m really glad I came to Johns Hopkins; I never would have thought to get involved this much and make use of all these opportunities if I had gone anywhere else.

4 thoughts on “Why Hopkins: My Experiences With JHU!

  1. Good Job Purna on this blog! Sorry didn’t catch this one back in April :) :(

  2. “I’ve also pictured myself riding a vespa past gorgeous gardens and cobblestone villas while sipping cappuccino every morning on a balcony that overlooks the riverside.” hahaahaha i love you purna