It’s been exactly a year since I first arrived at Hopkins.
Just 365 days ago, I was a nervous freshman staring up at the white ceiling of my dorm room for the first time, nervously wondering what kind of adventures the upcoming year would bring.
And what a year it was.
While my year was defined by some pretty big and exciting moments, including when I moved to the U.S.A. for the first time or when I worked in a paramedic ambulance, I think it was the smaller moments that really made it one of the best years of my life. All of those small moments were completely unpredictable, short-lived and may have not even meant anything to anyone besides myself. Looking back, it was almost too easy to skip over appreciating those smaller moments; thoughts of exams and my aspirations for the future did occasionally obstruct my appreciation of my immediate surroundings. I decided to share two examples of such moments, one at the start of the year and one at the end because this is my last freshman blog for Hopkins.
During the third day of freshman Orientation, I got trapped outside the library while it was pouring rain because of Hurricane Irene. It was absolutely miserable and I didn’t really know any other way to get back to my dorm besides walking across the quad, so I decided to just bolt in the rain. While I jogged across the freshman quad, with my shoes getting more and more soaked with every step, I bumped into a group of 5 new freshmen doing the same thing except they were all crowded under a single umbrella. Despite the fact that they clearly could not fit another person under the umbrella, they made a bit of room and we made it across the quad together laughing. It was a great welcome to a new community and a new country for me.
During my last day in Baltimore, before heading back to Italy for vacation, I realized I had a leftover $10 bill in my wallet and nothing to spend it on. As I was outside of the train station, I saw a homeless man and decided I’d make his day by giving it to him. I walked away and he instinctively said thank you, without noticing what denomination the bill was. As I was about to walk through the doors into Penn Station, I turned around and saw he was behind me with tears in his eyes wanting to shake my hand. Apparently he had not had money to eat for 2 days and the $10 would concede at least a few days’ worth of bread to him.
If there is any point I am trying to make, it is that some of my best experiences were the ones I could not possibly have planned or foreseen. I see my freshman year as a product of those moments, not the times I excelled on an exam or exceeded in performing what was expected of me. The lazy nights I spent in my dorm with my friends are my favorite memories from last year, not some of the crazy times we had out in town.