I cannot help it: I call them babies. Though most of them are only a year younger than me, the new freshman class has swarmed the campus with positivity, orientation commitments, and lanyards around their necks. And some of them are lucky (or unlucky…) to be my friends specifically, as we just finished a week in the woods and are bonded like superglue. And perhaps I call them babies because I just finished 11 months of being a baby myself, and I am full of enthusiasm for these kids and the great year they have to expect.
My freshman year was wonderful and unexpected in every way, and it is strange to think that 365 days ago I was just becoming friends with the girls I now live with. While last year we were asking each other questions like where are you from? and what’s your major?, this year we attempt to schedule Target runs and spend hours in our common room goofing off and reminiscing about all the crazy things that have happened. The transition is unbelievable. And while it produces some nostalgia to think that my time as a freshman is over, I am mostly looking forward to the next three years and the growth of these friendships that literally get me up in the morning.
Some of the multi5 fam
Pre-orientation last August was where I met many of my best friends (Multi 5 lives on!), so leading a trip this year provided an entirely new perspective. I remember the anxieties and tensions that come along with being a freshman, so watching my group develop into a tight knit circle of buds was awesome to see. Not to mention that backpacking is one of the coolest and most intense things you can do, and though poison ivy got the best of me this time, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the trip.
So now, wrapping up my year of blogging for the Class of 2015 freshmen page, I struggle to find any meaningful way to end it. If this summer taught me one thing, it is that there is more meaning in the journey than in the destination. I am so fortunate to be attending this university, living in this beautiful building (Charles Commons!) with these beautiful people, and even having the opportunity to continue chronicling my adventures in my own sophomore blog starting this fall. Hopkins has provided me with more lessons and experiences than I ever could have imagined last year, and one piece of advice for the babies? Hold onto your hats; your next 11 months will be quite unexpected, but in the end, your freshman year will truly be a wonderful thing.
When I was little, all I wanted was to be a cleaning lady – which, to be honest, probably should have been a source of concern for my parents. I used to follow our cleaning lady around the house and watch her as she measured out cups of powder detergent for the laundry; take measured leaps on my tiptoes across the wet kitchen floor and leave a constellation of small dry spots with the pads of my feet. I thought it was the coolest job in the world: going from house to house, tidying, ironing, rearranging the tangible minutiae of the lives of complete strangers.
Clearly, I was destined for greatness. That, or I was just a really weird kid.
In second grade, I upgraded my career goals to being a doctor, without realizing that the basic prerequisites for any job in the medical field include a stomach for flesh wounds and a minimal tolerance for needles…neither of which I possess – at all. I mean, obviously now I can suck it up and deal with it – even if it’s only because it’s not socially acceptable to ask for a lollipop at the doctor’s office past the age of six.
I’ve wanted to be an actress, a singer, Harry Potter’s girlfriend, a lawyer (thank you Elle Woods for giving girls everywhere unrealistic expectations for both hair and law school acceptance rates), Shania Twain, and, knowing me, probably much more.
Now, I occupy smaller and decidedly less ambitious spaces. In the span of nearly two decades (eek!), I’ve gone from being a wannabe cleaning lady to a student here – one of the most prestigious research universities in the nation. And in the span of a year, I’ve gone from an excited freshman receiving countless words of advice to the (somewhat) more experienced sophomore giving it.
I’ve gone from marveling at all of my college “firsts” – first CharMar sub, first roommate (hi Jane!), first day of classes, first hangover, first FFC Late Night, first internship – to marveling at the “firsts” that continue to present themselves regardless of seniority. There is no end to the amount of firsts that can be shared amongst a group of people. Our experiences depend on these details, these firsts, anchoring us and reminding us of who we used to be, even if our innocence has already begun to slip away.
My SAAB loves – miss you Marina!
First dinner in the apartment – chicken stir fry and fruit salad
Sometimes (see: most times) we match impeccably
Ice-skating over Intersession with Julia!
BIGGLEZ AND I – take one
Sometimes I play in boxes instead of doing real things during Move-In
With my favorite people at RA Sushi!
Alpha Phi PA’s during Move-In!
Summer summertime with the boyf
It goes without saying that time flies. It goes without saying that so much can change in a year. But it also goes without saying that, as we project ourselves into the future, those firsts become reference points that ground the innumerable ways in which we can and will dovetail and diverge in the time we have left.
I still sing (in the shower, at least). Sometimes I still wish I were a cleaning lady (like when I look at the appalling state of my closet right now…I look like I belong on “Hoarders”). Although I’ve accepted the fact that I will never be Shania Twain, I’m still holding out for Harry. And God help us all if I ever become a certified medical professional.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, looking back, the future has a strange way of fulfilling itself. So in my very last post as a freshman, I’d like to look back in an attempt to look forward. Here’s to a great year with (and without) some of the most amazing people I know. Here’s to a school, city, major, and group of friends that I’ve come to both know and love. Here’s to all of my ridiculous childhood dreams (and my parents’ unfailing support – love you!). Here’s to sophomore year.
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!
It’s been exactly one year since I first set eyes on my tiny third floor single in the AMR’s, ate my first grilled chicken sandwich at the FFC, and felt genuinly intimidated by every single student that seemed to know their way around campus. Since that first day, I believe that I’ve acquired quite a deal of knowledge in regards to life as an undergrad at Hopkins. The majority of the lessons that I’ve learned have resulted from personal experience, and while my mistakes often led to entertaining escapades, I thought that I’d impart some of my newfound “wisdom” with you.
Also, after reviewing my blogs from this past year, I’ve come to the realization that I’m somewhat of a “moral” writer. No, I’m not terribly concerned with the principles of right and wrong in my blog entries; rather, I tend to point out a moral or a lesson in each of my blogs. For those of you that have followed my blogging efforts over this past year- first of all, thank you (I really appreciate it), and secondly, I apologize if my blogs seemed to resemble Aesop’s Fables in that I usually managed to stick in a moral somewhere. All of this being said, due to my blogging pattern, I thought it appropriate to dedicate my final freshman blog entry to some of the lessons that I’ve learned over my freshman year.
The inspiration behind this blog post. Such a good song!
Wait until the end of the year to find out about Pete’s Grill. Seriously though, they have the BEST brunch menu, and it’s within walking distance.
Avoid professors’ office hours. Surprisingly, a lot of professors are far less intimidating during their office hours than they seem to be during their lectures. It’s always helpful to come in with a few questions or thoughtful comments, but even if you don’t, usually, the professor will just be glad that you stopped by and will share some useful information.
Say no to being set-up with your friend’s friend. JHU_Nick set me up with his friend Virgil, and we’ve been dating for a few months now! (Thanks Nick)
Attend a party/formal the night before an exam or assessment of any kind, even if you have covered grades first semester! (Exception to lesson #3).
The night that I thought it would be okay for me to attend a "date party" before my chemistry midterm...
Be afraid to approach completely random people the first couple of weeks of school. I remember the very first day of classes I couldn’t find the Bloomberg building for physics, and this super nice upperclassman actually walked me all the way there!
Leave an assignment (especially for physics or calculus) to do the night before it’s due. You’ll end up: a) Hating yourself and pulling an all-nighter in MSE, which is sometimes deliriously fun, but I would not recommend it. b) Not getting it done. or c) Finishing it at a reasonable hour (which usually results in a poor grade).
Only sign up for 1 club. Try to go to the Activities Fair at the beginning of the year and get on the email lists for a few of the clubs that you’re somewhat interested in. After you attend a couple of the first meetings, it’s usually pretty easy to pick which ones you’d like to pursue long term.
Applying to be a part of SAAB was one of the best decisions I made during my freshman year!
Sign up for too many clubs. (Opposite of Lesson #7) It might be tempting to pack your schedule with meetings/practices/rehearsals, but you need to set aside time slots for studying and office hours as well!
Register for an 8am section on Friday mornings. I was among the high school students that did not realize that Thursday was a popular night to go out in college, hence my being half asleep every Friday physics section (and yes they took attendance).
Eat more than 2 FFC cookies a day. Just don’t do it! (I heard a rumor at the end of last year that a single FFC cookie was around 150-200 calories)
Forget an umbrella (or rain boots). Baltimore is notorious for its unpredictable weather! Be forewarned, you do not want to be in the midst of your morning walk to class when a thunderstorm seems to appear out of nowhere. You also do not want to loose a flip flop or shoe in the rain puddles, and yes, I am speaking from personal experience.
Go to the Rec Center around 6 or 7pm- it’s packed! Try to work out in the early morning or later in the evening if your schedule permits.
Be afraid to go through sorority/fraternity recruitment. It starts in the spring, and honestly, even if it’s not your thing, you’ll be glad that you gave it a shot and saw what it had to offer.
Take your friends for granted. The friends that you make in college feel like your extended family since you’re seriously around them all the time. Friends are what make college so memorable, so don’t forget to make them a priority!
My best friends- Carolyn, Carly, and Kaitlin. I'm super excited to live with them this year!
Forget to call your parents. College can be pretty overwhelming at first, and it’s nice to know that you have a support system back home. They’ll be happy to hear from you!
Be afraid to venture off campus, especially as a freshman. The city of Baltimore has such a plethora of things to do and see, don’t wait until your second semester to take advantage of it!
Leave your dorm walls blank. A few posters and pictures can completely change the feel of your tiny dorm room.
Sit in the back in any of your classes, especially the big lectures. Professors take notice of the students that sit in the front! Plus, it’s much easier to hear the professor, see the board, and pay attention if you’re in the front row.
Sleep through an exam. If you do though, don’t panic! I actually slept through one of my chemistry midterms last year, and lucky for me, my professor let me take the exam without any sort of penalty.
Be afraid to be a little out there. It’ll make a great story later.
That time I dressed up as a princess for physics lecture during secret week...
Forget a fan if you’re living in the AMR’s. During the first three weeks of school, it can get pretty toasty in the AMR’s. I would even suggest two if at all possible.
Let other students intimidate you. Typically, the students that are always bragging about their grades and the amount of time (or lack of time) that they spent studying are the ones that are trying to overcompensate for their insecurities. Every student has their own study habits and patterns, and you shouldn’t let others try to scare you.
Attempt to do all assignments by yourself. Unlike high school classes, some Hopkins courses definitely require group work.
Group studying in the AMR's... physics of course!
Underestimate yourself. If you were accepted at Hopkins, the highly qualified admissions committee fully believed that you would be able to succeed in this environment. Selling yourself short or being negative will only hurt you. Set your goals and self expectations extremely high, and even if you don’t make it quite there, you’ll know that you gave it your 100%.
Forget to have fun! We only have 4 years at this amazing university, so we need to enjoy every second of it!
I just got back from visiting my huge family in India. I also just got over three days worth of jetlag, which is equally exciting! The trip was incredibly fun and I am so glad I got to see all of my relatives after so many years!
Some of my cousins and me in front of India Gate!
In exactly fourteen days, I will officially be a sophomore. It hasn’t even hit me yet. A year ago at this time, I was freaking out, trying to figure what to pack and what not to pack. And because I was an indecisive little pre-frosh way back in the day, I made sure to fit my entire closet into a red suitcase, my entire bed into a blue suitcase, and my entire bathroom, dresser, and refrigerator in multiple cardboard boxes. I sincerely apologize to the orientation “move-it move-it” volunteers because I clearly wasn’t thinking. And I know I’m a year late, but I have to thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart for carrying all of my luggage BY HAND and climbing three flights of stairs to deliver them safely to my dorm room. To show my appreciation, I am packing much lighter this year:)
orientation volunteers on move-in day!
I am a little nervous for this year’s classes. I guess my nervousness stems from the fact that I am not taking classes from a survey of departments as I did freshman year. Last year, I took classes from all over the place: math, chemistry, physics, writing seminars, romance languages, classics, art workshops, and art history. By doing so, I learned a LOT about myself (my likes/dislikes, my strengths/weaknesses) and was able to firmly decide on a major. This year, I’m taking classes from a more related set of departments: chemistry, chemBE, physics, and art workshops. The good news is that I now have a fitting major, on which I am able to focus a majority of my class time! However, having spent my entire freshman year exploring different classes and gaining broader perspectives, this will be my first year taking classes from my major, technically marking the beginning of my academic journey (eep!).
I do, on the other hand, feel relaxed about returning to the ever so familiar lifestyle of the college student: easy mac dinners, sleeping over at the library, last-minute laundry runs, treating Thursdays as part of the weekend, calling home every day during that 10 minute walk between your second and third class, and lastly, playing the nose game with your suite when it’s time to clean the bathroom.
This is my last time blogging as a freshman on the shared Class of 2015 page. Thank you to everyone who read my blogs this past year:) I will continue to blog as a sophomore and I look forward to my first sophomore blog post!
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. (Nelson Mandela)
There’s something about spending the summer in a place called Mechanicsville that makes everything seem both hopelessly boring and oddly soothing. It’s a small town (actually, according to Wikipedia we’re technically a township – whatever that means) where front porches and colonial-style shutters reign supreme in each subdivision, where the humidity comes at you in blasts from cracks in the sidewalk after a thunderstorm, where deer and TEA Party signs sprinkle the roadside, and where you have to make your own kind of fun because everything closes by 9 p.m.
Having moved several times throughout elementary and middle school, I don’t really feel a deep sense of connection or belonging to any particular place. I miss people more so than places; geography is just kind of a technicality. So for me, summer means being rooted to a place that I haven’t ever really considered home.
On one hand, I don’t mind it at all. It’s a nice break from the intense schoolwork, and having plenty of downtime means taking day trips to Virginia Beach with old friends, spending a lazy weekend on the Potomac at my friend Taylor’s river house, re-visiting local eateries in Richmond, tackling my summer reading list (I just finished Bossypants by Tina Fey and The Hunger Games Trilogy, and want to read Toni Morrison’s new book, Home!), and working part-time to save up some money.
On the other hand, I can already feel myself getting restless. This is the kind of place where the Southern charm and ridiculously low crime rate can lull you into a sense of complacency – which I suspect is part of the reason why most people don’t go out-of-state for college and why, around this time last year, I was itching to get out. A good number of people here have never even heard of Johns Hopkins – and I’m not trying to condemn or ridicule them, because that’s just the way it is.
What? It was Cinco de Mayo
Now that I’ve been back for almost a month, I’ve been able to suspend the general feeling of disbelief that accompanied the end of freshman year. Going from a quiet, conservative town to the eclectic city of Baltimore and back has made me realize how lucky I am just to be able to do so. My freshman year at Hopkins has taught me so many things – how to get a 4.0 (yes, it really is possible), join a sorority, find internships, make cookies in the microwave (again – you can do anything if you set your mind to it), and live with four random people (five, including my suitemate’s boyfriend – Hi John Doyle!) who you not only get along with but will genuinely miss.
When I look back at freshman year, I remember late-night talks with my lovable and brilliant roommate Jane, who always left the light on for me after a night out, spending a ridiculous amount of time in Sonu’s room and stealing coffee from Julia’s Keurig (hehe sorry!), propping open my window to talk (see: shout) to Joy across the open alcove in Wolman (I could see her room from my window, and vice versa), and running around Homewood with JHU_Tess and my bigbig Annie in sombreros.
I know these are very specific moments that apply to an even more specific circle of people at Hopkins. But these are also the moments that point to something even bigger and broader about Hopkins – like looking around during one of your lectures and realizing that every single one of your classmates is going to do something amazing someday. Hopkins fosters a community of people that makes you want to aspire to bigger and better things, simply by being your friend, professor, roommate, or teammate. There’s a healthy social pressure that compels us to live up to others’ expectations of who we are and who we could be.
In high school, I had a teacher who tried to impart some wisdom. He told me never to think that I was irreplaceable, because I wasn’t. He said that nobody is really irreplaceable. To a certain extent, I guess it’s kind of true – maybe in the corporate world, or maybe in Mechanicsville. Then I think back to my personal experiences, and it’s also blatantly false. Not about me, per se, but about everyone I’ve met in the past year. In my mind at least all of those people – all of those moments – are irreplaceable.
Hopkins hasn’t given me any more of a sense of belonging than Mechanicsville has – I stick out in both places for different reasons. I still miss my high school friends while I’m in Baltimore just as much as I miss my Hopkins friends when I’m home for the summer. But if I had to sum up my freshman year in one sentence (or blog post…oopz), I’d say that it’s taught me to embrace that feeling, because it means that I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone, carving a space for myself in this network of irreplaceable people.
“He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.’”
My friends Catherine and Joe in Jordan. The three of us we were known as the "Three Musketeers"
I can only start my final freshman blog by looking back at my first blog post, written a year ago, “Midway on Our Life’s Journey”. In it I compared my college application process to Dante’s Inferno, revealed that I had no idea what I was going to do in college, and made a lot of jokes about going to a Catholic high school. The blog ended like this:
“No matter what I decide to do, I will forever be one of the lucky ones. I will make the absolute most of what I’ve just been handed: a four-year golden ticket to wherever I chose. I’m not stuck in Limbo anymore. I know where I’m headed next.”
When I wrote that blog, I had no idea how weird my friends would be.
When I wrote that I had no idea what this year would be like. I had no idea that I’d make so many new friends in every team and extracurricular I joined. I had no idea that I’d ride down rapids. I had no idea that I’d be writing a blog trying to explain what my freshman year was like as I finished up three final essays and projects, packed my things into storage, and shopped online for clothing appropriate for a summer in Salalah, Oman and a fall in Washington, D.C..
I suppose one could make the argument that this time last year I didn’t know where I was going, and that in writing the blog I was simply being an optimistic little 18 year old who had, truthfully, no idea what she was getting herself into. I only found out I was selected as a State Department Critical Language Scholar and going to Oman this summer in mid-March, and only found out in mid-April that I received an Aitchison Public Service Fellowship in Government and was going to be living/interning in D.C. this fall instead of staying on the Homewood Campus. One can further argue that I don’t know where I’m studying abroad in the coming semesters, that I don’t know if I’ll try to apply to the 5 year BA/MA program with SAIS, that I don’t know where I’ll be after graduation or even after lunch today.
The Class of 2015 bloggers at the beginning of the year.
Knowing where one will be in the physical sense is admittedly tricky. Especially at Hopkins, there are so many paths to take and so many places to explore that I’m quite certain you can go wherever you want. The bloggers at Hopkins Interactive will be spread all over this world this summer. JHU_Tess is going to be in London, JHU_Kate in France, JHU_Lauren in Africa, JHU_Ian in Italy, JHU_Erica, JHU_Allysa, and JHU_Cate in California. I have little doubt that when we all arrived at this school we never imagined where we would be physically this summer, but I think we all knew mentally where we were heading next and knew that by coming to Hopkins we were already there. We knew that by going to this school we were going to be mentally ready for anything that came our way. We knew that no matter where we ended up, we were going to try our damnest to be successful. We knew that wherever we went, we’d be able to take our experiences at Hopkins and know that regardless of how often our physical location changed, we’d always be able to say, “Mentally, I’m already where I want to be.”
The thought of leaving the security of the Homewood Campus for Washington, D.C. so early has definitely made these last few weeks of classes much more poignant. This is not just the last Arabic class of my freshman year, it is the last time I will sit in a Homewood classroom for at least ten months. The night of watching Rome with my friends wasn’t just the last time we’ll hang out freshman year, but the last time I’ll live in the same building with them for at least ten months, maybe even until our junior year. By the time I’ll come back to campus, the Brody Learning Center will be done, my friends and I will have to look at apartments, and I’ll officially have to declare my major.
So, to all the people along the way that made this year what it was – my friends at Hopkins and from back home, my professors who asked me what a girl from Las Vegas was doing on the East Coast, my teammates and coworkers who didn’t let me quit, my family who went months without seeing me, a certain mayor of NYC who gave me the scholarship that allowed me to come here in the first place, the team of SAABers who picked me to share my stories – thank you.
I guess I’ve almost survived my freshman year of college. There’s still quite a bit of moving around to do in my future. I stepped into the Road last August by coming to Hopkins, and there is no telling where I’ll be swept off into. Going out your door, going across the country for college, and going across the world for a summer are all dangerous businesses because there’s a chance the adventure might not go as planned. Maybe you don’t go to your first-choice college. Maybe you get homesick because you haven’t seen your family in four months. Maybe you don’t speak the language or know the culture. Maybe you don’t know where the Road is taking you.
But maybe that’s what makes it interesting. Maybe all the pressure and all the work and all the nights you spend wondering what the heck is going to happen next make you mentally strong to the point where no matter where you are, you’re always exactly where you’ve always wanted to be: ready for a challenge.
“At dusk the three of us encountered an elderly lady and her beagle hiking toward us. Teetering along on a walking stick, she wore a motoring cap and held a bunch of wildflowers. I said hello and asked her where she was going. She replied in Welsh, ‘Rydw i yna yn barod.’ We looked to Erica for a translation. ‘She said, “I’m already there.”’”
-“A Ramble in Wales,” from National Geographic Traveler
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!
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!)
And earlier this week we celebrated my friend (and Baker housemate!) Jorge’s birthday at the Inner Harbor!
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 :)
So, for what is likely to be my penultimate blog of the year (!!!!!), I’ve decided to start winding down. Or winding up, to use the ever-positive JHU_Zoe’s terminology! Anyways, I’ll save all the mushy reflection-y stuff for later. For now, I want to talk about junk.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way things got to the places they are. Why is the word for “Bus” the same in Farsi as it is in French? Why is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so ridiculously complicated? Why are there sugar packets placed neatly on the floor?!
As I looked around my room, I got to thinking along these lines -- I’ve accumulated so. much. junk. A lot of it I throw away or lose or whatever, but I’m also really sentimental, and will save the oddest things for literally no reason. They say you can learn everything you need to know about a person by looking through their trash — with that idea in mind, just think about what we could discover about my year through my entire room? I’m ready to dive right in!
A bunch of weird stuff
The part of my room that really exemplifies this idea is my colorful wall of junk. This is just stuff that I picked up, thought was too cool to throw away, and tacked up instead! Now this is a lot of stuff, so I’m going to break it down a little:
So what do we see?
The right side of the wall
2 booklets from each of the symposiums on campus: We have the Milton S. Eisenhower symposium in the fall, and Foreign Affairs Symposium in the spring, and they bring really cool people to come speak! This year I went to a few of their events, such as when they brought Aziz Ansari, David Axelrod, Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, and a panel from different Occupy groups around America. They were awesome!
The heart from a Valentines day candygram: Thanks Kathleen! I wuv you too buddy!
An “I <3 JHU” button: I wear that on Open House days so prospective students (That’s you!) know they can come up to me and ask questions.
A letter from my Tutorial Project Organizer: It was tutor appreciation day, and so my absolutely wonderful organizer wrote me a letter of appreciation on a green piece of construction paper with a picture of me and my tutee on it. I love the Tutorial Project!
Some yarn: Over my winter break I had a ton of time on my hands and not that much to fill it with! So, I took up knitting! That’s just some extra that I had that wasn’t enough to make something out of, so up on the board it went!
A name tag: This I got during my intersession class, Dancing like Jane Austen, because you should probably know the names of the people you’re dancing with, I guess.
A bumper sticker: Because I don’t have a car to put it on and it was handed out for free!
A flyer from the Witness theater winter showcase: My best friend was in it so a bunch of my friends went out to support her and see the show. She was really good in it!
The other part of the wall!
A Hopkins tag that says “Liquenchifaction”: This I peeled off a water bottle I was given after doing an admissions panel with prospective parents, I thought it was cool.
A flyer from “A Piece of my Heart”: This was a very professionally done Barnstormers play about women in Vietnam. Brava!
My business card: It’s the dorkiest thing ever, but sometimes I like to give them out on tours, just so people know there are places for them to ask me questions about Hopkins. Like my FORUMS PAGE.
A JHope sticker: These were being handed out on the breezeway to raise breast cancer awareness, and I wanted to tack it up!
A train ticket back home: There’s a direct train from Baltimore to my town, so it’s a useful way to travel back for breaks and stuff. I actually have a bunch of train ticket stubs around (I just can’t throw them out for some reason) from trips to DC. They’re super cheap on the MARC train!
A “Make it Rain!” poster: From my successful and unopposed campaign for fundraising chair of Mock Trial team! I had a hilarious speech, lots of great posters, and some great friends to help with the audio-visual effects! That election was a great night and I love having the posters to remember it by.
A letter from my sister: Up in the top corner is one of her letters -- we’ve been doing this CD sharing thing where we send each other songs we like in the mail along with letters and such. It’s been really fun and brought us closer together now that we hardly get to see one another anymore.
A blogging spreadsheet: One thing that I’ve been doing is taking the lead on the Admitted Student Blog! This spreadsheet was all part of the planning stages, but now I encourage all of you to check out the finished product!
2 Dr. Who posters: I got into this show over winter break and I LOVE IT. I now watch lots of episodes by streaming them via netflix through my ipad which I put on the magazine holders on top of the ellipticals. Perfection has been realized.
Memorabilia from home: A poster of a shark from fencing senior night, my high school mock trial superlative poster and a glass painting from italy! Each holds a special place in my heart, full of inside jokes and fun memories.
Lamp decorations: During my first all-nighter of the year, at one point I was so wired on caffeine (around 4am) that I literally couldn’t work, and so spent about a half an hour obsessively braiding some pipe cleaners and arranging them in artistic ways. Most were thrown out, but I liked the way this one looked.
Glee poster: Say what you will about some of the recent episodes and new characters (i want to punch Rory in the mouth and where in the world did Karofsky go?) I love that show to pieces. So for a secret santa gift my friend got me this huge poster! I adore it and her.
And finally, that thing that will tell you a lot about a person, My trash: As you can see, to-go-boxes GALORE. There are a few reasons for this -- first, I’m super busy and rarely have time to eat at the FFC. Fact of life. Second, my friends and I like sometimes to have dinner in my dorm when we do have time, because it’s just a nicer atmosphere. Third, I’ve been looking for jobs as a waiter this summer because I’m oddly enamored with the food service industry, so to-go-boxes offer great practice for carrying trays. Also the contents of these boxes would be the remnants of really healthy meals, as I’m trying to recuperate from all the funnel cakes, twister fries, sodas, and “chicken-on-a-stick”s that I gluttonously ate at Spring Fair!
My spring fair soda cup! FREE REFILLS!
Now that’s just the tip of the iceberg for all the junk stuffed in my room, and all that junk is just the tip of the iceberg of the stuff I received over the course of my year. It’s weird to think about in specific terms, but these are the kinds of things that make a place a home. I guess I haven’t really thought about it until now, but it is going to be really, really hard to say goodbye to this home in just 3 weeks.