Prioritizing, Strategizing, & Dealing with Stress

College can be just a tad stressful at times. As an avid Hopkins Interactive blog reader (as I’m sure you all are!), you probably get a sense of how involved students can be. In all honesty, it’s hard to find a friend or student that’s not involved in at least 2 things outside of class. Combine these extracurriculars with a desire to do well in classes, and (big surprise) you end up with a lot of stressed out students!

While I am no exception to this generalization, I’ve found that a few useful tricks have kept me from going completely crazy (for the most part, I think that my friends might argue otherwise!)

-Prioritize. I love writing out everything that I have to accomplish for the day. What do I love even more? Checking off everything on my list! Prioritizing can be done with your assignments in terms of deadlines, but it’s also extremely useful in prioritizing all aspects of your life. Since you’re likely to be at least a tad overwhelmed in that you probably can’t complete every single task for the day, it’s important to rank all of your activities in order of importance for you. Here’s a look at how I’ve spent my time over the past 2 years at Hopkins…As you can see, the sleep priority has definitely taken a hit over the past year!

-Utilize every moment that you have. This is also where prioritizing comes in since you’ll want to know exactly what to work on first! For me, I like to multi-task when at all possible. Although slightly embarrassing, painting my nails while listening to Biology lecture podcasts, reviewing my notes for my 9am class while curling/straightening my hair every morning, and sometimes bringing orgo reaction mechanism sheets to the gym are some of my weirdest habits. If multi-tasking isn’t your thing, you can still make the most of your time by setting time limits on the amount of daily unproductive activities. In my case, my biggest, most unproductive activity is definitely watching the cheesiest show on television- the bachelor! To make the most of my time, I try to limit myself to watching the show only when I’ve accomplished something awesome- like going to office hours, or taking a big test, or finishing all of my homework for the week.

-Plan ahead. Being involved in a bunch of extracurriculars is super fun and rewarding, but an extracurricular can easily fall by the wayside if you simply do not have any more time to devote. The last thing that you want to do is sacrifice your grades for an extracurricular or two, and that’s where planning comes in. Everyone’s different, but in my opinion, planners and wall calendars are the way to go in terms of scheduling out future events.Participating in recruitment week for Phi Mu was a great way to test my planning skills since the time commitment really escalated so quickly! While I still felt a bit overwhelmed, doing the majority of my assignments ahead of time allowed for me to devote enough time to Phi Mu! I even scheduled out enough time to make the recruitment video -- check it out!

httpv://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=UMGZqimZi5w

Phi Mu Recruitment!

-Keep your life relatively in order. Maybe it’s just me, but I truly cannot function in a messy room. Cleaning and organizing (especially your school papers and books) can save you a lot of time in the long run since you’ll be able to find things easily (and not become frustrated instead). 

-Stay inspired, stay positive. It’s easy to fall into the habit of being hard on yourself, especially if you have high expectations and goals for yourself. You work so hard, but it isn’t good enough! Sound familiar? I don’t know about you, but in my case, negativity doesn’t get me anywhere. Luckily, I’ve found some pretty inspiring mentors, ranging from my trusty pre-med advisor to my wonderful and truly inspiring mentor at the JHU medical school. Whenever I meet with these two women, I feel recharged with renewed motivation, and I know that everything will be worth it in the end. Along with mentors and helpful advisors, I think it’s important to surround yourself with positive and supportive friends. In my case, I’m extremely fortunate to have 2 rocks- my best friend Kaitlin and my boyfriend Virgil. I do not know where I would be without these two, and I truly appreciate them dealing with my usual stressed out state!

That’s all for now! Have a stress-free day :)

Kaitlyn

Winding “Up”

Me and some friends at a party

 

So, we have two more weeks of full classes. Then, two (ish) weeks of review and exams. Then, I have a ten day backpacking excursion on the Appalachian trail, and finally it will be summer. The general feeling around campus is that things are winding down, but for some reason, I can’t make that phrase mesh with where I am. I keep thinking, I’m not winding down, so I must be winding up! But where is this feeling coming from? I guess the past couple of weeks have just instilled some sort of excitement in me.

 

 

So what has been going on? A few things. For once in my blogging career, I will be using a list!

1) Formals and Date Parties. A great thing about Hopkins? Even if you choose not to join a sorority or fraternity,  you can always check out some of the fun parties they throw with your friends! In the past few weeks, I have joined many of my friends at their fraternity and sorority events though I didn’t rush this semester. It’s a great way to get to know new people and relax, and some of the parties are even during the week which is a fun way to break up your routine. I definitely recommend checking out what Greek Life has to offer when you get on campus!

Kappa Date Party

Theta Tau Formal

2) Hopkins Lacrosse Games. Two weekends ago, my group of friends and I went to the Hopkins lax game vs. Maryland. Before hand we went to a tailgate sponsored by the university where they had free things like spray tattoos and noisemakers. Though the game was an unfortunate loss for Hopkins, we had a great time!

Hopkins Lax Game!

3) Spring Fair! This three day event is one of Hopkins greatest charms, and this past weekend I got to experience it for the first time! I spent my time tanning on “the beach”, eating chicken on a stick, looking at the many vendors, and hanging out in the kids section doing some arts and crafts! It was a blast and definitely something you should look forward to during your years at Hopkins.

At the kids' section at the fair!

Spring is a very active time at Hopkins! I guess my enthusiasm must come from my fellow students who are also excited for summer and enjoying the many events around campus like I am! Though it is strange to think my freshman year will be over in a few short weeks, at this point I’m thrilled about my time at Hopkins now and the many fun things to look forward to in the future!

 

 

 

Why Hopkins: “Work Hard, Play Hard”

“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously,

but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard” -Colin Powell

     When I applied early decision to Hopkins in late October of 2010, I had more than a few preconceptions of how my college experience would turn out. I had visited a couple of campuses at that point, I had gone through undergraduate admissions websites memorizing statistics and common FAQ’s, and I had even watched my fair share of ABCFamily’s “Greek” and the movie “Animal House” to give me some sort of idea as to what to expect (FYI I would not recommend these strategies…). Eighteen months later, I’m reporting back to say that my preconceptions were almost completely wrong.

     I’m not going to lie, I had a ton of fun in high school, especially senior year. Not to get the wrong impression, I studied by butt off for exams, and I was always super busy with tennis and my other extracurriculars; however, I definitely made time to go out with my friends. I was lucky enough to have  had an extremely social, close-knit group of girls and guys to hang out with on the weekends, so I considered myself to be a pretty social person. When I told my friends that I applied to Hopkins early decision, I got a similar reaction from almost all of them- Why Hopkins? Don’t you want to have fun in college? This got me thinking. I wanted to go somewhere that would really challenge me academically, somewhere that I would be proud to call my alma matter, somewhere that I could continue on with tennis and my extracurriculars at, somewhere that all of my hard work had led up to. I was pretty sure that Johns Hopkins was that “somewhere” for me, but I couldn’t help but think that my friends had a point. Was I trading in fun for choosing to go to an academically rigorous school?  The rest of my senior year, I attempted to have as much fun as absolutely possible. In my irrational thinking, I assumed that I had already reached the peak of fun and good times in high school, and that my college experience would be on the downward slope.

Some of my closest friends from high school!

     Before this thinking scares you off, let me let you in on the spoiler- I was completely wrong! My preconceptions about college, ranging from a huge week-long Greek tailgate to a bunch of smiling, pristine students effortlessly keeping up with their studies and extracurriculars, were all off. Hopkins students have more than enough fun both inside and outside of the classroom, but we also have more than enough problem sets, essays, reading assignments, and projects that are rather not so fun; yet, all of these assignments, no matter how fun or not so fun there are,  have the potential to push you to your absolute personal limit, but that’s the point at which you realize that you can keep going. Picking yourself up and becoming even more proactive and engaged in your studies allows for you to grow as a student, and more importantly, as a person. The lessons learned from the hard times over freshmen year will undoubtedly serve me well in my next three years at Hopkins, and even into my next few years in medical school. I think it’s absolutely necessary to go to an academically rigorous school and work hard. Not only does it provide experience, but it builds much needed character for the real world.

My amazing sorority "pham" and I. My Big x3 (far left) is a senior and already has an investment banking position lined up! (Hopkins has definitely prepared her for the real world!)

     All of this being said, I’m happy to say that my college times have been even more fun and memorable than my high school memories.Yes, I have spent Saturday nights hammering out Physics and calculus problem sets, but I’ve also spent Tuesday nights dancing around with my new sorority sisters at our date parties. Hopkins abounds with a various Greek events, a multitude of bars and restaurants close to campus, a ton of campus wide activities such as Acapella concerts, dance shows, and multicultural celebrations, not to mention the enormity of things to do in Baltimore.

At a fraternity's date party.

     The bottom line is this: Do not choose to go to an easier school because you think that you’ll have more fun. If you’re truly a fun person, you’ll be able to have fun wherever you go. It’s just different at Hopkins because those fun people are actually putting just as much energy into their work as they are into having an awesome time (whether that’s by going to a fraternity party, exploring the inner heart of Baltimore, or even meeting up with your favorite professor). If this sounds like you, I think that you’ve found the right school.

Congratulations Admitted Students!!!

Congratulations to the Class of 2016! Let me be one of many to congratulate you on this enormous achievement. Applying to Hopkins and enrolling were possibly the two smartest decisions that I’ve ever made. Not only have I grown as a student, but Hopkins has definitely helped me become a more well-rounded, insightful, and passionate individual. All this being said, I want you to know that Hopkins is a ton of fun! These past few months have literally flown by, and I know that my next three years here will be gone before I know it. I thought that I’d show you a few pictures of my spring semester to get you all excited about all the fun you’ll have at Hopkins, please enjoy!

httpv://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=4qPudwJn-DM

Also, you should really check out the rest of the Hopkins Interactive site. We have an insane amount of archived and current student blogs about their daily Hopkins life, our “Hopkins Cribs” videos for the dorms, a ton of pictures on Flickr, our “Learn More, See More, B-More” videos, and a lot more!!

P.S. If you feel that you’re somewhat overwhelmed by the site and have some questions, please feel free to post a question on my forum, here. I’d also love to answer any questions that you have concerning Hopkins or really anything!

Again, CONGRATULATIONS!!

It’s All Greek To Me: Fashion Edition

Picture a typical Thursday night. I might be working out (I just got a Fitness Pass at the Rec Center for the semester – which means that I now have an excuse to dance around like a complete idiot twice a week in Zumba), nomming on some Freshii froyo with friends, swinging by the FFC, or, if I’m feeling really wild, doing homework in the library (it’s BYOB – bring your own books). Never would I have ever expected, though, to be huddled outside Shriver Hall with 48 other girls, freezing in all-white dresses and wearing heels that make me walk like a dying gazelle.

I’m kidding about the dying gazelle thing, but in all honesty, if you had asked me in high school about joining a sorority, I probably would have laughed. As much as I love hanging out with my girlfriends, I’m no Elle Woods. In the interest of full disclosure, the thought of anything overly pink, sequined, or sparkly is a little nauseating. But, as my new Alpha Phi sisters (!!!!!!!!!!!!) JHU_Tess and JHU_Allysa have already posted about in their blogs (which you should check out here and here), Greek Life at Hopkins, like many other aspects of campus that I’ve come to know and love, defies stereotypes.

Over the course of the past semester and during the week of official recruitment, I’ve gotten to know so many girls with such diverse interests and backgrounds that by Invitation Night (the last night of Recruitment Week), I was not only convinced that I wanted to be a part of Greek Life, I had also ranked Alpha Phi as my top choice and haven’t looked back since. My floormates Maia, Julia, Alora, and Emma are all New Members in Alpha Phi, and two of my childhood best friends are actually in Alpha Phi at each of their colleges, as well (coincidence?!). Where else could I find a group of girls who look after each other with such automatic selflessness, who send me flowers on Valentine’s Day, who I can sing A-Teens and bond over my absurd cat obsession with? The more I find out about each sister, the more lucky I feel to be a part of a sisterhood of such hilarious, talented, and down-to-earth young women who I can look up to and who make me proud to be in Alpha Phi.

Do you sense a recurring theme here?

The week leading up to Invitation Night, however, is an entirely different story. Sorority recruitment is surreal and overwhelming and exhausting. With hundreds (no, literally hundreds – each sorority has around 150 sisters) of girls to meet and countless names to remember, it seems utterly impossible that anyone could know which sorority is best for them after just a week. But by some miracle from above (or just a highly organized computer ranking system…one of the two), you find that most girls do end up exactly where they belong. All the time spent replaying conversations, wondering if you’re allowed to eat the cupcakes they’ve set out (DO IT), and not-so secretly freaking out pays off.

Did we just join a sorority? I'm not sure.

Regardless, hours upon hours of girl flirting, visiting each sorority, narrowing down your top choices, waiting in alphabetical order, and dashing to the bathroom in between parties (or, in my case, stuffing my face with Poptarts and granola bars) means a tiring and stressful week. I found it extremely helpful/fun to plan my outfits for each round in advance with my friends (I have this thing that makes me get annoyingly excited about any and all fashion/shopping/clothing related activities…it’s called estrogen). It’s one less thing to stress about, and at the very least makes for a good conversation starter!

The dress code for Recruitment Week is pretty standard – it just gets more and more formal for each round (there are three total – Icewater, Theme, and Pref). Below I’ve listed some guidelines and helpful tips on how to dress for sorority events and probably life in general (Ha! Kidding, of course).

1. Icewater Round – Cute and Casual. Jeans, boots, and a nice shirt/top is a perfectly acceptable outfit for this round. Personally, I enjoy dressing up, even just to go to class, so I actually had to dress down a little for Icewater. The pamphlet we received at the Panhellenic Info Night said to dress like we normally would, but given that in college everyone’s idea of an outfit is Uggs, leggings/pajamas, and a Northface, I would say to dress like you’re going out to a semi-nice dinner with friends. Dress comfortable – trust me! You’ll be talking to girls and on your feet for at least five or six hours. I wore:

  • An emerald green V-neck (Urban Outfitters)
  • A grey blazer
  • American Eagle jeggings, Medium Wash (aka the best invention EVAR. They look like a normal pair of jeans, minus the whole uncomfortable feeling-like-you’ve-been-shoved-into-a-denim-inner-tube thing)
  • Leopard print bangle (Express)
  • Tan boots (Michael Kors)

2. Theme Round – Business Casual. Dress like you’re going to an interview and/or meeting your boyfriend’s parents, but since this round is also fairly long, it’s okay to bring shoes to change into. You can wear either a skirt and a blazer, or a dress and a cardigan. I wore:

  • White Oxford (Target)
  • Grey sweater-knit skirt (nastygal.com – best place to find cute stuff! I’m obsessed)
  • Black tights (It’s cold outside, so be prepared!)
  • Green wedge booties (Target)
  • Turquoise bangle
  • Tan leather belt

With Maia and Julia before Theme!

3. Preference Round – Cocktail. This is the most formal night. Definitely wear heels with your cocktail dress, but bring shoes to change into as you’re walking from party to party! It rained the night of Preference Round, and I don’t care if I looked completely ridiculous trekking around campus in a cocktail dress and rainboots because it was the best decision ever. Just a word of advice – all of the sisters in the sororities wear dressed that are all black, so I would recommend something more colorful. I wore:

  • A yellow, black, and purple dress that I bought in Taiwan a couple of years ago for high school Homecoming. (I didn’t actually end up wearing it then, but it worked perfectly for Preference Round!)
  • Jeweled belt
  • Nude pumps (Jessica Simpson)

Pref Night outfits!

4. Invitation Night – White. This night is equally as formal as Preference Round, but (as the title says) all white! I just re-used the white bandage dress (Express) that I wore to my high school graduation and wore nude pumps (I’m in love with nude-colored heels, can you tell?). I accessorized with a white bracelet and dangly turquoise earrings. For a pop of color, bright heels also go well with white.

 

Heels = Dr. Scholl's gel inserts. Seriously.

5. Date Party – Young and Wild and Phi. Okay, so not really (although we did get some awesome shirts on Invitation Night) but date parties are a good opportunity to wear more nighttime dresses and, of course, heels. The older sisters organize “Bear Hugs,” or sister dinners, beforehand so that the new members can meet and socialize with different big/little families. Our first date party was last weekend, and luckily I had bought a dress from Forever21 that I could wear!

First bear hug! AΦ love.


The Twelve Days of JHU Sororities!

It’s been two weeks since I last posted, but I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime! I went through sorority recruitment, attended a ton of late night tennis practices to gear up for the season, added over 100 new girls on Facebook, learned how to make oreo balls,  and pulled my first all nighter at the library! Everyone said that second semester would be busy, but they really weren’t kidding!

So maybe I’ve been around girls for too long, or maybe I’ve spent too many late nights in the library, but lately I feel like songs have taken over my life. So without further adieu, here is “The Twelve Days of JHU Sororities”…Enjoy!

On the first day of Panhellenic Recruitment

The four sororities (Phi Mu, Alpha Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Pi Beta Phi) gave to me-

A glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

{aka Ice Water Round}

On the second day of Panhellenic Recruitment

The PanHellenic council gave to me-

A day off to work on my expository writing paper (analyzing Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter”),

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the third day of Panhellenic Recruitment

Three sororities (Phi Mu, Alpha Phi, and Kappa Kappa Gamma) gave to me-

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes, {aka Theme Round}

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

 On the fourth day of Panhellenic Recruitment

The Panhellenic council gave to me,

A Tuesday to relax and complete my Physics problem set,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the fifth day of Panhellenic Recruitment

Two sororities (Phi Mu and Alpha Phi) gave to me-

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories, {aka Preference Round}

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

Macie and I on Pref Night!

On the sixth day of Panhellenic Recruitment

One sorority gave to me-

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the seventh day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and delicious home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

Sister Dinner!

On the eighth day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A day off to recover from the busy week to work on my formal Chemistry lab report,

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and amazing home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the ninth day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A Sunday meeting to meet our new pledge class (all 48 of us!),

A day off to recover from the busy week to work on my Chemistry lab report,

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and amazing home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the tenth day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A huge pamphlet full of sister profiles and their phi mu families,

A Sunday meeting to meet our new pledge class (all 48 of us!),

A day off to recover from the busy week to work on my Chemistry lab report,

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and amazing home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

On the eleventh day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A “sisters lunch” at Levering to bond with all the new “phi’s” and sophomores,

A huge pamphlet full of sister profiles and their phi mu families,

A Sunday meeting to meet our new pledge class (all 48 of us!),

A day off to recover from the busy week to work on my Chemistry lab report,

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and amazing home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

ΦM!

On the twelth day of JHU Sororities

Phi Mu gave to me-

A super fun date party downtown at “The Get Down” ,{sororities usually have three formal date parties per semester}

A “sisters lunch” at Levering to bond with all the new “phi’s” and sophomores,

A huge pamphlet full of sister profiles and their phi mu families,

A Sunday meeting to meet our new pledge class (all 48 of us!),

A day off to recover from the busy week to work on my Chemistry lab report,

A “Sisters Dinner” with Phi Mu gear and amazing home-made pasta,

AN INVITATION TO THE BEST SORORITY- PHI MU!

An amazing, fun-filled night full of ceremonies and memories,

A snazzy poem about philanthropy, a slideshow about heart disease, secret garden flower cupcakes,

A day off to work on my expository writing paper,

And a glass of water and a ton of girls to meet and see!

Hope that this gave you a better picture of sorority recruitment! In all seriousness, Greek Life at Hopkins has already affected my life here in so many different ways. I think that I’m most thankful to be involved in sorority life here at Hopkins due to the caliber of the girls involved. Not only are they funny, beautiful, and friendly, but they’re also extremely smart, wise girls that I can look up to at Hopkins. As for this song, I promise I’m not crazy, but I do think I’ve had a little too much girl time and not enough sleep time. Tune in next time!

All the Best,

Kaitlyn