Lasts and Firsts

On the very last night of freshman year, a bunch of friends and I were talking about all our “lasts” — the last time we would eat in the FFC as freshmen, the last time we would swipe into AMR 2 saying hello to the security guard, the last time we would all be living in the place that brought us together. When change is coming, it’s natural to thing about all the things you’re leaving behind and all the things you’re experiencing for the last time. I think leaving for college is similar in that many people focus on all the “lasts” without looking forward to the “firsts.”

Me and my roommate Claire!

As much as the “lasts” of my freshman year were hard to let go of, I am beyond excited for all the “firsts” that sophomore year entails. I’ve been back on campus for just two days and I’ve already experienced quite a few!

After giving my first tour of the year this afternoon and accidentally introducing myself as a freshman Economics major, I realized that for the first time I would be introducing myself as a sophomore from here on out.

It was also my first time grocery shopping for all the delicious food Claire (my roommate!) and I will attempt to make this year.

our first meal -- arugula salad!

I joined Claire and her family for dinner at Woodberry Kitchen for the first time; it’s one of the best restaurants in all of Baltimore! I’ve been wanting to go since I watched the “Learn More, See More, B’more” episode about all the exciting restaurants close to campus!

Today (after an orientation meeting in Shriver Hall) was also the first time I subconsciously made my way to the AMR’s before realizing I don’t live there anymore.

Yesterday I saw the absolutely incredible Brody Learning Commons for the first time with JHU_Ian and Claire. We tested the comfortability of every chair in the place :) For those of you who don’t know, Brody Learning Commons is a brand new addition to the Homewood campus with state of the art study space for undergraduates!

Checking out all the chairs in Brody with JHU_Ian!

I’ve been back in Baltimore for only two days and already sophomore year is off to an amazing start!

For those of you who have read one, some or all of my blogs this year I can’t thank you enough. It means the world to me that even just one person enjoys my entries. This is indeed the last time I will be posting an entry on the Class of 2015 Freshman blog, but stay tuned for my sophomore blog coming to Hopkins Interactive very soon!

As always, thank you so much for reading.

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

Some Things Won’t Change

Since reading all the submissions for the summer blogging contest, I’ve been reminiscing about last summer before I left for Hopkins trying to conjure some advice for any anxious pre-frosh. I remember that at this point last year every conversation with friends and family seemed to remind me how much would change in the next year: how I would be living across the country from my hometown, how I wouldn’t know a single person my first day, how I would be living in a dorm without the comfort of my mom’s cooking and cleaning. Needless to say, these things weren’t exactly comforting when I secretly had anxiety about these things and more.

So to any 2016ers reading this, I want you to know one thing. Everyone this time of year is reminding you how much changes when you start your life at Hopkins, but what everyone fails to mention before you leave is that some things won’t change. Soon enough you’ll be moving to an entirely new place, testing the limits of your academic preparation and having the time of your life with the most amazing friends. But before you experience all these wonderful things, calm yourself down by remembering that among all the excitement college brings comes the familiarity of things that won’t change while you’re away.

So despite all the change that accompanied my first year at Hopkins…

I know that my brother Matt is always down for a trip to the beach.

I’m certain that my dad loves when we visit him at the firehouse.

I’m certain that no matter how old we get, I can always count on my amazing cousin Lily for a fun night of monopoly in our jammies.

I’m sure that my mom will vacuum my room incessantly even though she knows it drives me nuts.

I’m certain that my car will always smell like crayons.

I’m positive my dad will tease me for how many consecutive hours I can sleep.

And I’m sure that no matter how many cooking lessons my mom gives me, I’ll always call her to ask, “can you refrigerate lemons?” and “how much garlic do I put in the stir fry?”

 

I recognize that a lot has changed this year but I also realize that with all those changes remain the familiarity of some things that will never change.

I hope this blog calmed some anxiety for you 2016ers! Can’t wait to see you during move in!

As always, thanks for reading.

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

 

 

Summer then Sophomore

My summer has continued the trend of being absolutely wonderful. Last week my brother returned back to the States after a two-month long trip abroad, and we’ve been spending time together in Santa Barbara. This past weekend we road-tripped to San Francisco to spend time with our brother and my parents came down from Elk Grove. Needless to say, I’ve loved all my recent family time. It also worked out perfectly that my boss gave me time off while he is away from the office as well.

My internships have been absolutely incredible this summer and I am so grateful to work among such thoughtful, helpful people. I’ve learned so much about myself as a professional and I’m slowly figuring out exactly what kind of career I want after Hopkins.

This summer my friends are scattered across the globe pursuing their passions and applying their academic interests.

I’ve alluded to it many times before, but my absolute favorite thing about Hopkins is the incredible friendships I made this past year. All of my friends have done incredible things this summer and I’d love to share what a few of them have been up to!

My friend Jasmin is always pursuing amazing opportunities related to her major, Global Environmental Change and Sustainability. During the school year she juggles volunteer and intern positions at Baltimore-based nonprofits and companies in the industry and I love that she’s so passionate about her studies. Through her summer internship, Jasmin recently attended the Outdoor Nation Summit in New York City, a conference for young people interested in the environment.

The participants broke up into groups and were given the task to develop an idea of how to get people outside and overcome common barriers people face with engaging in outdoor activity. Jasmin’s team came up with the Outward Challenge, a Facebook based group focused on paying forward different outdoor experienced to young people nationwide. Outdoor Nation gave them $1,000 of grant money to put their idea into action so they can give prizes to the best challengers and continue the program!

Jasmin is 2nd from the left!

Jasmin loved the experience and has met people from every corner of the globe including North Face athletes and corporate team members. Jasmin’s definitely a go-getter and that’s one of the things I admire most about her. I’m 100% sure she’s going to make a difference in the world and I’m glad she’s such a good friend of mine. (Also, I’m super excited because she’ll be living right down the hall from me next year!).

Jorge is one of my dearest friends having an incredible summer as an RA for the Hopkins Summer Program. I was thrilled when he found out he got the position as an RA earlier this year because he is so considerate, easy to talk to and relatable; I knew he’d make the BEST resident advisor. Jorge has loved planning programs for his residents, including: visits to the BMA, trips to the Inner Harbor, movie nights, jam sessions, trips to DC and Hershey Park, cook offs, sports, Rock Band or Nintendo 64 competitions, community service, dances, relaxing on the beach, trips to Towson, going out to eat, and the list goes on!

Jorge's the one in the middle with the fan :)

I know Jorge is the best RA to the kids in the program this summer because he’s the ideal role model of a college student and I’m certain he’s making an impact on so many of them. I hope they know how lucky they are to have met Jorge. I’m just glad I get to spend three more years at Hopkins making memories and going to more country concerts in Baltimore with him!

Claire is simply wonderful. This summer Claire is working as a senior counselor at a day camp in Connecticut that she attended as a child and teenager. A lot of rising sophomores work at the camps they attended as a child over the summer and they all seem to love it! Claire is so sweet and hilarious that I completely understand why her campers adore her as much as I do!

so precious!

Claire lived in Baker house with me last year also and we immediately became friends after move in. We even sat next to each other at the first Baker house meeting (awwwww). I’m beyond excited to live with Claire next year and you’ll get to know her very well if you continue reading my blogs next year since she’ll probably be in every single one :)

My friend Peter is a Biomedical Engineer spending his summer in Belgium doing research on a Hopkins grant! I’ve loved hearing about all his crazy adventures abroad and I am so proud of him for pursuing an international internship in an industry he’s passionate about!

Peter in Belgium!

Peter is originally from Atlanta and was JHU_Joseph’s suitmate this past year in McCoy (I’m pretty sure that’s how we met). We became really good friends when we spent four hours together on the MARC train and at BWI before our respective flights left for Thanksgiving Break and we’ve made so many memories ever since. Peter is so energetic and I love spending time with him! Also, he’s an excellent cook so I’m hoping he’ll make me dinner when my incompetent cooking skills leave me hungry at night.

I can’t believe fall semester is just a month away and I’m looking forward to getting back to Homewood for my sophomore year!

Thanks for reading!

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

 

Here We Go Again

The summer before my freshman year at Hopkins was filled with anxiety, excitement, nerves, excitement AND MORE EXCITEMENT. I was beyond ready to start this part of my life and I assumed that it would be a long time until I felt this strange mix of emotions again. I was completely wrong.

Move in day is so welcoming!

I am about to start my sophomore year and I have the exact same mindset this summer because despite my familiarity with the campus, my friends and the academic load, I know I still have so much more to learn.

Lately, I’ve been reminiscing about the beginning of freshman year: move in, orientation, college classes, meeting friends, everything! I remember the moment I moved in to my dorm so clearly.

This blog is for all you incoming freshmen who will be moving into the AMR’s, Wolman, McCoy, and the Buildings in just two months time.

cars line up for move in!

Unlike most families pulling up in a car, my parents and I wheeled my nine suitcases (yes, nine. I was blissfully unaware that I didn’t need my whole closet) across the street from our hotel on move in day. Unfortunately it started raining precisely when we crossed the street onto campus and I arrived at my room to meet my roommate for the first time soaking wet in a dress and flats. My flatironed hair was now a curly, wet mess. My dad and I were hysterically laughing because right when we got to AMR 2 the rain stopped.

You might be lucky enough to be greeted at your car by President Daniels!

For those of you who don’t know, Hopkins has this incredibly convenient system so you don’t have to move a thing into your new living space. Current students volunteer to be Orientation Ambassadors to move all you incoming freshmen into your dorms so you don’t have to lift a finger and they make you feel so welcomed!

Orientation Ambassadors completely unload your car and put your belongings in your room!

My friends and I are incredibly excited to be Orientation Ambassadors in the fall!

Baker House, my home at Hopkins :)

It will be so strange seeing new freshmen move into Baker House in AMR 2 because it truly became my home at Hopkins.

I'm definitely going to miss Baker 114

The excitement of starting sophomore year is just as, if not more exciting than starting freshman year. Hopkins really is my home and summer feels like a vacation rather than a return to my former home.

I suppose the point of college isn’t to figure out everything freshman year and then the next three years you just float in that familiarity. Every year I want to be challenged, I want to start over with the mentality that I am going to build on the foundation I have already created, that I am going to expand my community of friends as my skills as a learner grow and change with my experience.

To all you Class of 2016ers, I can’t wait to see you in the fall during move in!

Thanks for reading!

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

Whoa!

For those of you who don’t know, this summer I am living in Santa Barbara, California interning at two very different places. I just ended my first week of work and whoa, I have already learned so much and I feel like I’ve lived here for months. I knew that transitioning from college (dorms, classes, friends) to the working life (apartment, work, work and more work) would be completely different and give me a taste of the so-called “real world” that I will enter in three years time. But there are a few things about this summer experience that I didn’t expect at all, and actually I am already planning things I want to do in the fall to further prepare me for a career (but more on that later).

By the way, I am writing this blog from the balcony of my apartment (not actually mine, but my brother’s) with an incredible view.

But back to the things I’ve learned after being an intern for a week…

1)  Be genuine. For a quite a while this has been my mantra for life. People respond to others who express genuine interest in a conversation, project or task. Naturally I’m a fairly exuberant person and so far both of my bosses have mentioned that it’s refreshing to see in someone so young.

2) Ask questions. I am absolutely obsessed with being prepared and if my first week taught me anything it’s that you can’t always prepare, but you can be really good at taking things one step at a time and you’ll find that even seemingly unrelated experiences have prepared you more than you think. I wasn’t expecting it but my experience as a SAAB member has prepared me so much for the projects I’m working on at a social media marketing firm. Also, anyone you work for understands that you’re young and they want to teach you, so let them.

3) Create relationships with the people around you. I think so many students focus on “networking” for the sake of getting a good recommendation for a future job, but I think it’s more than that. It’s important to get to know as many people as you can to make the office more personal and learn from coworkers with all different backgrounds and experiences. I make an effort to get to know Grace in the copy room, Kyle who works at the desk next to me, Lydia at the front office, etc. because I enjoy the work so much more and I’m directly learning from an entire office rather than just my boss.

4) You’ll quickly know what you like and what you’d change. I absolutely love my internships but for very different reasons. I’ve quickly learned what I really like about my workplace, coworkers, type of work, etc. and also what I would rather change at both places. Any summer experience that refines the idea of what you like in a job experience will be so helpful when the “real world” is getting closer!

5) Dive in to where you are. This may not apply if you choose to work/intern in your hometown, but I’ve never lived in Santa Barbara so it’s been a lot of fun getting to know this wonderful place. It’s enriched my intern experience and it’s nice getting recommendations from co-workers for places to eat, shop and visit.

6) Know what helps you unwind. When I felt exhausted at school I would always nap. It was nice getting all that sleep in, but I’ve realized that it’s much better (for me, anyway) to refrain from sleeping at weird hours and instead do other things that help me unwind. Personally, this includes shopping, getting my nails done, watching tv and movies (I actually watch an insane amount of shows), listening to music (always) and walking on the beach. Even on days when I’m exhausted, I feel productive after work if I do any of these things rather than sleeping!

I’m absolutely loving my internships and summer in SB, but as always I’m looking forward to going back to Hopkins in the fall!

Thanks for reading!

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

Until Next Time…

Moving out of AMR 2 and finishing my freshman year was certainly bittersweet, but now it’s summer! Woohoo!

It would have been too emotional for me and my friends to just move out of the dorms and all leave for our respective summer destinations, so we prolonged our time together by 10 days with trips to Westport, Connecticut (my friend Claire’s hometown) and NYC. It was actually the best way to end an incredible year and we had a blast!

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

in Westport!

New York with my favorite ladies!

It was such a fun trip, but now I’m excited to be home for a short bit before leaving for Santa Barbara to start my two internships! My short time at home has been amazing. I definitely appreciate driving, California weather, my mom’s cooking and my room a lot more now. Since I’ve been home I’ve done the following things:

  • sleep
  • learn to cook
  • sleep
  • drive everywhere
  • meet tons of new babies that were born while I was at school (I have a HUGE family)
  • sleep
  • watch tv (current obsessions: PARKS AND REC (always), Criminal Minds (always), PLL (don’t judge))
  • read books! yaya
  • spend quality time with my cat Thomas
  • and see friends of course!

I’m BEYOND excited to live in Santa Barbara for the summer and my internships are going to be wonderful :)

my view!

I have so many exciting plans coming up and I can’t wait to share them with you all! So until then…

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

Every Moment

It’s unbelievable that one year ago today I was preparing for AP exams and graduation, driving around Elk Grove (my hometown) and getting anxious to leave for Baltimore. I remember enthusiastically packing my suitcases two months prior to leaving because I was just didn’t want to wait. I was ready to start my highly-anticipated transition into college and now my first year is coming to a close so I am again packing up my things for the next adventure!

Graduating with my cousin/best friend Konner :)

I am incredibly excited for the summer because I’ve made plans to see my Hopkins friends, travel, return home for a short bit and do two internships in Southern California. With so much to look forward to, I can’t help but feel incredibly grateful for everything I’ve been able to experience this year and all the friendships I’ve made in just nine months.

On a less reflective note, these last few weeks at Hopkins have certainly exceeded my every expectation. A major highlight was SPRING FAIR! Hopkins’ Spring Fair is the second-largest student run festival in the country (behind Coachella) and it was an absolutely perfect weekend. The entire campus turned into a food, music, entertainment, shopping festival! The vibe on campus was so relaxed and of course the Beach was filled with students enjoying the warm weather :)

The kickoff event featured an incredible fireworks show and live entertainment. It was the perfect way to get excited for Spring Fair!

Incredible fireworks show on the Mason Hall Quad!

At the Spring Fair kickoff event!

Hanging out with friends on the Beach!

Spring Fair memories!

JHU_Ian filling up my "Spring Fair 2012" mug with homemade rootbeer!

After an exhausting (and incredible!) Spring Fair weekend, everyone winded down with the always-fancy Sterling Brunch at the FFC featuring gourmet food, live jazz music, and classy decorations.

Sterling Brunch at the FFC!

Shrimp Cocktail anyone?

This past weekend I also went to Sweetlife, an amazing food and music festival in Maryland. Hopkins organized transportation for us because so many students showed interest in going and it was definitely a highlight of my freshman year!

The lineup (on the back of my shirt!)

At Sweetlife!

And earlier this week we celebrated my friend (and Baker housemate!) Jorge’s birthday at the Inner Harbor!

at dinner!

The group at the Harbor!

With finals approaching and spring semester coming to a close, I am sad to pack up my things and move out of AMR II but excited to see what sophomore year has in store. I know I will love living in Charles Commons with Claire, being an student organizer at the Tutorial Project, continuing my work with Admissions, and taking more exciting classes next year.

This is my final blog as a freshman, but be sure to check out Hopkins Interactive for my sophomore blog as I chronicle my second year as a blue jay!

Thank you for reading this year! And to the class of 2016ers reading this, be prepared to love every moment of your Hopkins experience :)

All my Hopkins love,

Erica

 

Spring Fever!

As the spring weather sets in, final exams approach and the end of freshman year draws near I can’t help but feel grateful for the friends and memories I’ve made, sad that my first year is coming to a close, and excited for summer (and of course next fall!). Getting to know so many admitted students throughout April has really made me feel old, because I feel like just yesterday I was visiting campus for the first time and participating in the SOHOP program for the Class of 2015.

Despite my extremely busy schedule, I’ve had so much fun the past few weeks making memories with friends, helping with the SOHOP program for the newly admitted class, giving campus tours to amazing visitors, and of course looking forward to Spring Fair  and end of the semester festivities!

Spring semester is definitely living up to the hype! SOHOP last week was a blast and I loved hosting two admitted students (Ella and Sekura) in my room! They were so wonderful and I’m happy to hear they’re both enrolling at Hopkins in the fall :) I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them around campus next year.

Sekura and Ella!

SOHOP is always so fun (for both the hosts and hostees!). Us current students all love telling others about our experiences at Hopkins and talking to admitted students who are getting excited for college to start! Hallway gatherings are a MUST when it comes to hosting :)

Baker House Hallway Party!

Hannah, my roommate Veronica and their hostees!

After SOHOP, I went to the big lacrosse game against UMaryland and the tailgate beforehand! My friends and I had an absolute BLAST.

At the tailgate on the freshman quad!

The Hopkins-UMaryland rivalry is the oldest in the sport of lacrosse!

 

Me and my future roomie Claire and I at the game :)

And finally, tutoring Cedric with the Tutorial Project has been incredible this semester and I can’t wait to get back in the fall and continue tutoring him as a newly-promoted third grader!

If you’re an admitted student, welcome to Hopkins and look forward to all the festivities in the Spring!

All My Hopkins Love,

Erica

P.S. Spring Fair is coming up this weekend and I’m SO PUMPED! All of Homewood campus is going to turn into a festival with Passion Pit performing, food vendors everywhere, and shopping galore!

Why Hopkins?

Throughout the month of April, Homewood campus is inundated with visiting admitted students, parents, and the consistent flow of prospective students. As a tour guide and a member of SAAB, I have interacted with so many admitted students in the past week who will make up the Class of 2016!

Yesterday I had lunch with four admitted students, each of whom were enthusiastic about Hopkins, excited about their majors, and eager to learn more about student life. You’d think that interacting with so many admitted students on a daily basis, I would have a memorized a monologue that answers the question: Why Hopkins?

But the truth is, every time someone asks me why I love Hopkins as much as I do, I struggle to articulate a concise list of reasons. I love Hopkins because of my friends, the campus, the staff, my classes, and because Hopkins is my home in every sense of the word. It’s become my university, and everything about Hopkins is personal so it’s difficult to take a step back and not just ramble about my incredible memories (although most visitors love to hear some anecdotes!).

The First Impression

The first time I visited campus I saw beautiful buildings, brick pathways and grassy quads. It was idyllic and exactly the sort of place I always imagined.

First time walking through campus with my mom

But of course I didn’t choose Hopkins based on the campus alone. After meeting with current students and staff and interacting with admitted students at SOHOP, I immediately understood that Hopkins had the whole package: an energized student body, academic rigor and an exciting city ready to be explored.

The Student Body

Everyone I met during my first visit seemed so genuine and interesting, exactly the type of student body I desired. The Hopkins student body is energetic, intelligent and driven. I’ve felt a sense of community since Day One, and I immediately bonded with friends over things more substantial than the fact that we grew up in the same place.

Baker House bonding at the Inner Harbor!

I love being surrounded by people from every corner of the country and the globe.

(left to right) Hailing from Maryland, California, Nebraska, Trinidad, Italy, DC, and Washington State.

Academic Atmosphere

During my first visit I spoke with professors and staff, all of whom were approachable, personal and warm. I could tell that the academic atmosphere would be supportive and collaborative (and I was absolutely right). My challenging coursework has expanded my interest in Economics and Math (my majors) and everyone here seems to be genuinely passionate about their studies. It’s refreshing to constantly be surrounded by people excited about their classes, their research projects, and their extracurricular activities because it makes for a more engaged, optimistic student body.

During Orientation!

Homewood meets Charm City

I love that Hopkins is a residential campus in an urban setting! Homewood campus can feel like a peaceful, beautiful bubble sometimes because the second you cross North Charles Street you’re in Charm City, just down the street from the Inner Harbor and a short walk away from Hampden. Hopkins has all the amenities of a city with the beauty and comfortability of a residential campus. It really is the best of both worlds.

Whether I’m walking through the Gilman quad saying hello to familiar faces, hanging out with friends in the dorm, eating lunch at the FFC, or laughing with friends on the Beach, I am constantly overcome with a sudden feeling that I love this place and it’s exactly where I’m meant to be. It’s hard to articulate why I love Hopkins as much as I do because so much of it is based on the energy of campus and the compelling sense of community I feel everyday.

To all you future blue jays, congratulations on choosing Hopkins! I’m sure you’ll love it here as much as I do :)

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica

 

My Home at Homewood

Today is a very special day here at Hopkins because the regular decision notifications were released for the Class of 2016! For all you admits reading this, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s strange to think that just one year ago I made the decision to attend Hopkins. Immediately following the moment I officially enrolled at Hopkins, my thoughts were racing. I thought about my major, my classes, my classmates, my professors, being in Baltimore, essentially everything I could think related to college. At the forefront of my mind was HOUSING. What dorm would I live in? Who would be my roommate? Who would be my neighbors? Who would be my RA?

I have to say that living in AMR 2 in Baker house has been an absolutely incredible experience. AMR 2 is beyond social, my RA JHU_Dominique is wonderful, and my housemates are amazing. Now, as the end of freshman year approaches, I’ve realized that my housing arrangement is a huge part of the reason I have adjusted to college so well and the main reason I feel an overwhelming sense of community with my classmates.

Baker House!

Baker 114 has become my home, but more than that it is my daily reminder that Hopkins is my school and everything about it is incredibly personal. The amount of inside jokes I have with my dormmates is in sane and even just friendly conversations in passing remind me that we have bonded so quickly in such a short period of time.

Baker House Bonding at the Inner Harbor!

Exciting News! My friend (and fellow Baker housemate) Claire and I officially signed our housing contract for sophomore year yesterday! We will be living in Charles Commons on the tenth floor and we are both incredibly excited!

Just after we signed our housing contracts :)

It’s exhilarating to think that in less than six months, I will have a new place to call home with one of my best friends, new hallmates to bond with, and a new perspective about how Hopkins has evolved as my home.

So whether you’re a prospective student or an admitted student in the Class of 2016, get ready to find a diverse, always-entertaining community in your dorm. It’s one of the reasons Hopkins is so wonderful.

Congratulations to the incoming class of 2016! You’re going to love Hopkins :)

All my Hopkins Love,

Erica