I had few goals for the summer following my senior year in high school. I wanted to get a decent tan, to take lots of pictures, and to make a conscious effort to enjoy my first (and probably last) truly work-free summer.
I did just that.
For the three months between my high school graduation and my Hopkins orientation, I read books for pleasure (instead of AP English), I worked on projects that excited me (instead of college applications), and I looked forward to my future (instead of complaining about my AP workload).
It sounds cliché, I know, but for me, the summer of 2012 was no less than magic. I only thought of school and class and assignments in the context of a Hopkins-future for which I was extremely excited, but that was still relatively far (with time here measured in lazy, sunny summer days) in my future. If someone had asked me to write another essay comparing works or literature or analyzing rhetoric, I would have laughed at them and explained that each minute I spent thinking in MLA format was a minute that I wasn’t driving around with the windows down blasting Call Me Maybe (forever the song of the summer) or saying goodbye to my friends.
It was in this state of mind – a combination of contented laziness and procrastination – that I found myself, on my last day at home before the big move-in, looking at a SAAB application and a very empty Word document. I had been a loyal follower of Hopkins Interactive for years, but questioned whether or not I really wanted to spend my last afternoon writing sample blog posts; what were the odds that I would even be chosen, anyway? Writing sounded a lot like work, and work was something that, for the summer of 2012, I was vehemently, vehemently against.
Obviously, you’re reading these words here on the Class of 2016 (no longer freshmen) Blog, and you readers know me as JHU_Alexa. I pulled it together, that afternoon almost a year ago, and I put my best effort into completing an application that reflected my enthusiasm both for Hopkins and for Hopkins Interactive. On a Sunday morning during Orientation, I sat at a table while I was interviewed by a panel of current SAABers (and tried not to laugh as they all introduced themselves as if I hadn’t been reading their life stories for years). That Sunday night, sitting at the FFC for dinner, I received an email informing me that I had been chosen. I screamed – my dinner mates looked at me a bit strangely – and thus began my involvement in one of the best experiences I’ve had at Hopkins. If I haven’t made this entirely clear already, I love being JHU_Alexa.
For those who don’t know, SAAB stands for the Student Admissions Advisory Board. We answer questions on the Hopkins Forums, on Facebook groups, and in person at campus visit days. We make videos. We tweet. We Instagram. We meet weekly to discuss new recruitment projects. We (sometimes) order Chipotle. Perhaps most notably, we write and maintain blogs in this space, but above all else, we love and represent Hopkins.
My job on SAAB has been both immensely satisfying and immensely fun. On a daily basis, I get to interact with prospective students and help them to understand just why I love my school. I get to talk with members of our incoming Class of 2017 about everything from which dorm is the best (AMR I, obviously) to whether or not the FFC has Hopkins waffle irons (yes, and they’re fantastic). I get to do all of this with my fellow SAABers, an eclectic group of really, really awesome people (if I do say so myself).
Being a part of SAAB has opened doors for me. Not only has it made me a better communicator, both verbally and in writing, but the connections that I’ve made with other members have given me the confidence to pursue other activities that are now an integral part of my Hopkins life. I probably wouldn’t have gone through rush if it weren’t for some of the women of SAAB that helped me get past my misconceptions about Greek life, and I definitely wouldn’t have applied for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship if it weren’t for my exposure to the amazing research that JHU_Tess, JHU_Noah, JHU_Ruthie, and JHU_Caleb were able to complete. I proudly list my blog on my resumé.
I’m only a few months out of my freshman year (only a few days if you count my adventure in summer classes as an extension of it), and already I’m feeling nostalgic and reflective and a little bit sad that it’s over. I’ve thought a lot about my time so far at Hopkins, and the events and activities that have shaped my experience. If I had to choose one decision that had the greatest (here meaning both largest and best) affect on the past year of my life, I would say that it was submitting that SAAB application last August, and I would answer without hesitation.
I suppose this blog post is really for you, Class of 2017. Soon, the application for our new class of SAABers will be released. I urge you to take a few hours of your summer and complete it. We can’t wait to meet you.