Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020


July 21, 2017
by Jack G.

Guide to Intro Math and Physics

If there’s one thing that Hopkins certainly doesn’t lack, it’s introductory Math and Physics courses. There are multiple levels of every class from Calculus I to Differential Equations, some focused on biology applications, some on engineering, and some Honors level courses where you dive deep into the pure math.

And math has nothing on physics: there are four levels to General Physics I & II. Yes, four entirely separate tracks for learning classical Mechanics and Electromagnetism.

Seeing entire pages of just introductory physics on SIS can be a bit daunting, so I hope this guide can help choose the best class for you.

yes, this is just calc I and II

yes, this is just calc I and II


There are four levels of general physics:

  • (AS.171.101-102) General Physics I & II for Physical Science Majors
  • (AS.171.103-104) General Physics I & II for Biological Science Majors
  • (AS.171.107-108) General Physics I & II for Physical Science Majors Active Learning
  • (AS.171.105-106) Classical Mechanics I & Electricity and Magnetism I

Obviously, based just on the names, one can guess that the target group is a bit different for each class.

AS.171.101-102 and 107-108 are targeted to pretty much everyone who isn’t a Biology/BME/ChemBE major (or any of the other 100 biology-infused majors we seem to have at Hopkins) or a Physics major. These classes are going to cover your standard general physics content, from kinematics and Newton’s laws to basic orbital mechanics and mechanical waves in the first semester, and from electrostatics to optics in the second. 107-108 is the active learning variant, where information is presented via guided problem solving rather than your typical lecture style.

AS.171.103-104 are targeted to anyone majoring in a biological science. You’ll still have a rather standard physics curriculum, but with an infusion of biology applications, e.g. discussing fluid dynamics’ application to the flow of blood in the circulatory system.

AS.171-105-106 are designed especially for physics majors. We dive deeper into the content, and as is standard in physics departments worldwide, jokes about biology and engineering being inferior will be made weekly. Since we have entire courses on Thermodynamics, Optics, etc., we focus more on the fundamentals. For example, we didn’t touch the topic of fluid dynamics in Classical Mechanics last fall, but the other general physics courses certainly did.

Another option for physics majors who scored a 4/5 on both AP Physics C exams is to skip the first year of physics altogether, and go straight to Special Relativity. I really wouldn’t recommend this unless you had a world-class physics education in high school. If your high school physics taught in detail how to solve mechanics problems using the theory around first and second order differential equations, vector calculus, and basic wave mechanics, then I’d consider this. However, getting a taste for Hopkins-level physics before diving into Einstein’s theory is probably a good idea.

What class should I take?


intro physics flow chart

pdf link


There are many courses in the intro math track:

  • (AS.110.105) Introduction to Calculus
  • (AS.110.106-107) Calculus I/II for Biological and Social Sciences
  • (AS.110.108-109) Calculus I/II for Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • (AS.110.113) Honors One Variable Calculus
  • (AS.110.201) Linear Algebra
  • (AS.110.212) Honors Linear Algebra
  • (AS.110.202) Calculus III
  • (AS.110.211) Honors Multivariable Calculus
  • (AS.110.302) Differential Equations

Introduction to Calculus reviews topics generally covered in high school Algebra II and/or Pre-Calculus classes. If you’re not confident in your knowledge of algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, and functions, this course will sure up the foundation before you start calculus.

Calculus I/II for Biological and Social Sciences are targeted to biology and social science majors. Since many students in these majors are unlikely to take more than 3 or 4 semesters of math, this track is a bit more all-encompassing, and will give a basic level understanding for a broader reach of subjects. Additionally, applications to bio/social sciences will be covered, e.g. probability topics in clinical trials.

Calculus I/II for Physical Sciences and Engineering are the “default” calculus courses. They cover everything in the standard single variable calculus curriculum: limits, derivatives, integrals, and Taylor series.

Honors One Variable Calculus is intended for students with a strong ability in math, who want to learn single variable calculus in a more theoretical complex. While not proof-based like, say, Honors Linear Algebra, proofs will be presented. If you hated those 10 minutes your teacher might have spent talking about the delta-epsilon formal definition of a limit, then this class is not for you, as you will spend hours calculating limits using this rigorous process.

Linear Algebra is all about the theory behind vectors and matrices. It’s highly applicable to computer science and programming, but also serves as a basis (pun intended) for Vector Calculus and Differential Equations.

Honors Linear Algebra covers everything regular Linear Algebra does, but delves further into the theorems and proofs underlying the algorithms and methods you learn in regular LinAlg. This is the first proof-based course that most math majors take, so it’s a good training course for the advanced proofs you see in Advanced Algebra, Real Analysis, and other 400 level mathematics courses.

Calculus III consists of extending everything you learned in Calculus I to 3-dimensional space. Since we live in 3 spatial dimensions, this is obviously very important for pretty much every single major that deals with modelling the real world, from Comp. Sci. to MechE to Physics.

Honors Multivariable Calculus is (was?) a course that approaches Calc III topics more theoretically. I took this course last fall, and while it was incredibly interesting, I found that generalizing to n-dimensional space and learning everything from this general sense took away time from really nailing down my 3-dimensional knowledge. I heard speculation that the math department was no longer going to offer the course, in part for this reason. I suppose that is indeed what they chose to do, seeing as HMVC is not offered in Fall 2017. I wouldn’t recommend taking this course unless you have already taken a vector calculus course in high school or at a local community college.

Differential Equations is all about solving problems where you only know how some variable is changing. Heat moving through a steel rod or a swinging pendulum are examples of this. This class, while a 300 level course, definitely “feels” more like Calc BC/Calc II, where you’re just learning a bunch of methods to solve various different integrals. In DiffEq, you learn how to diagnose what type of ordinary differential equation a given ODE is, and then using a method suited for that type. Much of the material, especially later on in the course, builds on concepts learned in LinAlg and Calc III, so I’d recommend taking them before or at least concurrently with DiffEq.

What class should I take?

intro mathematics sequence flow chart

intro mathematics sequence flow chart

pdf link

Doubling Up

Theoretically, LinAlg, Calc III, and DiffEq can all be taken in any order. However, I wouldn’t suggest all pairings:

Very doable:

  • LinAlg and DiffEq. DiffEq uses a lot of matrices in the latter half of the course, but you learn many methods to solve problems using matrices before or at the same time in LinAlg.


  • LinAlg and Calc III. Calc III uses matrices, but in a limited capacity. Having already completed LinAlg will help you make more connections early on in Calc III, but it’s not 100% necessary.

Not recommended:

  • Calc III and DiffEq. Systems of differential equations use very similar math as vector calculus, e.g. the Jacobian, the Wronskian, etc. DiffEq moves quickly through these, so it might be difficult if it’s your first time seeing them. Calc III gives a good foundation for these chapters of DiffEq.

July 19, 2017
by Jenna M.

Life Lessons From Ten-Year-Olds

This summer, I’m a day camp counselor for a group of 10-year-olds. Does this have anything to do with my major? Nope. Is this giving me hands-on experience for my future job? Definitely not. But am I learning, experiencing new things, and growing? Absolutely. And for that simple fact, I’m pretty darn grateful that I’m not just getting someone’s coffee in an office to impress a super important person that likely would never learn my name.

Being a counselor is challenging, but so worthwhile. Sometimes, kids just don’t want to listen. Sometimes, you struggle to put their needs before yours when you’re having a rough day. Sometimes, they’ll make fun of you when you can’t do more than 10 push-ups in a row (just a super random hypothetical, of course). But sometimes, they’ll be wise beyond their years. They’ll see the best in other people, or in a hard situation, or in life. Their simple life view will make you alter yours, and question why things ever got so complex in the first place. I’m lucky enough to have experienced 4 special weeks so far with 10-year-olds, and I’d like to share some of their wisdom with you:

Dream big.

Why would you ever settle for something? Your achievements are only limited by your goals. If you want to be a dolphin trainer who lives in the Sahara, you’ll just find a way to commute. If you want to have 20 kids, maybe you’ll just consider adoption. But it’s all possible, right? And if you want it, why not go get it?

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Life’s too short to be so serious all the time. Find your inner-goofy, and embrace that wholeheartedly. Dance like an idiot, even if people are watching. Always participate in the cotton-eyed joe (you know you want to). Stop worrying about what other people think. Play with your food. And definitely don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself – it’s the best kind of humor.


Don’t be afraid of the unknown.

When you’re ten-years-old, bugs are scary. The dark may be scary, and thunderstorms could freak you out. But these are all things you know. They’re familiar, maybe even things that occur regularly. And you’re scared of them because you were taught that they could hurt you. But you’re not scared of the future. In fact, you want the future to come fast. You want to get a head start on your goals of being a dolphin trainer in the Sahara with 20 kids, because the unknown is exciting. You’re not scared of not knowing what people think of you, because you know what you think of yourself, and that’s all that really matters.


I cannot wait to go back to Hopkins with this new mindset, and allow it to stretch my goals and help me achieve them. I can’t wait to find joy in the small things and learn to appreciate the unknown. And despite the fact that this summer has not taught me how to exceed 10 push-ups, it definitely has taught me a lot about life.





July 18, 2017
by Alyssa W.

What I’m doing this summer

For the past month I’ve been working at a medical education company in Virginia called Clinical Care Options as an editorial intern. It’s my first real nine-to-five, business-casual office job, where I have my own desk and computer and everything. The editorial team oversees all the modules, recordings, and slidesets that are published to the company website, and I’ve gotten to help out with a lot of interesting projects. Here are a few of the things I’ve done so far:

-Written a newsletter for faculty who speak at the Contemporary Management of HIV conferences, a series of lectures that doctors, nurses, and other care providers can attend to improve their practice and gain credit

-Compiled feedback from Contemporary Management of HIV attendees and organized it by topic

-Edited workflow audit spreadsheets and uploaded them to the website

-Created a number of drug pipeline reports, which are compilations of all the current and future therapies for a disease or condition, including their brand name, manufacturer, mechanism of action, and an outline of current clinical trials

-Helped organize community service projects for CCOcares, including a sandwich-making party to make PB&J sandwiches to be donated to a local nonprofit organization

-Copyedited several slidesets and Clinical Thoughts, which are short interviews from a medical professional about a specific topic that users can comment on and respond to

-Shadowed the recording of a video module, for which a bona fide camera crew came to record a panel of 2 pathologists and 2 oncologists discussing a new cancer drug

Plus a lot more! My job as an intern is basically to do whatever small tasks the editorial team has for me, as well as a few bigger projects over the course of the summer. I’ve learned a lot and gained a variety of new skills, and the experience has gotten me interested the business side of public health. Although I’m close enough to Hopkins to visit on the weekends, I’m super grateful to have had this off-campus, real-world experience before classes start back up again in the fall.

July 17, 2017
by Lauren P.


They say the best way to make sure you accomplish your goals is to write them down, right? So, that’s what I’ll be doing for today’s blog. I’ve always been a very goal oriented person, and the satisfaction of checking something off a to-do list cannot be compared. Some of these things will be pretty short term and specific to my current Hopkins life, but some will be more general, in the hopes that you, reader, and I will be able to get ~inspired~ to get stuff done.

1. Start reviewing for my orgo exam.

Summer classes are most challenging because of the pace. What normally is taught two or three times a week over the course of a 4ish month semester is compressed into a 5 week whirlwind. The fact that our professors are fantastic makes it worth it, but if there is one rule, it’s don’t fall behind. And I’ll admit… I may have fallen a bit behind this week. This will mean a little bit of extra work today and Tuesday, but I’m confident I’ll be able to get it done, even if my brain hurts from pushing electrons.

2. Learn to cook. Actually.

When I pictured myself staying in Baltimore over the summer, I had dreams of making healthy, home cooked meals with my friends that were worthy of the most picturesque foodie blog out there. Plot twist: I eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta, and frozen broccoli. Though I have learned how to properly cook chicken, I can’t say my culinary expertise has grown significantly. That’s why, in these next three weeks of Baltimore life, I’m going to really try to make some new recipes.

3. Find a new, great restaurant.

Coming to college in a new city was exciting, because there was so much new to explore. New restaurants and fun neighborhoods were at every corner, but now, I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit stuck in my ways. Though my favorite eateries will always be go to options, I’d like to get out of my rut and explore some new places around Baltimore.

4. Make up my mind about taking a gap year.

I’d love to go to medical school after graduating, and that’s been my plan for a pretty long time. I’ve always been anti-gap year, as I’m the kind of person that likes to keep the momentum going. But now, after talking with some med-school bound friends and a few pre-med advisors, I’m starting to consider a gap year or two to travel or work as a good option. Though I still have a ton of time to figure this out, I’m making it a goal to really nail down some tentative plans within the next year or so.

5. Fall in love with learning again.

Dare I say it, I may be a little burnt out. Orgo has been hard, and sometimes I feel like I’m in such an exam tailspin that I don’t have time to slow down and really enjoy the process of learning. So, after my break in August, I’m making it a priority to let myself enjoy the learning process without putting so much pressure on myself to learn only for the exam. I’m really excited for my classes this fall, and I can’t wait to see what sophomore year holds.

So there you have it, a few things that I’m working towards accomplishing in the coming future. And now that I’ve told you, I have that little extra accountability to help me get there.


July 17, 2017
by Jonah K.

Death And Taxes, And Chemistry

Taking classes during the Summer is a great way to get ahead on your credits or explore subjects that you would not otherwise be able to fit into an already-packed schedule. It is also, in my experience, a very not great way to spend a Summer.

As a GECS major, I am required to take Introductory Chemistry 1 and Chemistry Lab. For someone who becomes catatonic at the sight of basic algebra and can under no conditions be relied upon to perform precise measurements or calculations, those courses act as a virtually guaranteed GPA killer. So, taking Chem and Chem Lab during the summer at my local community college – where the lack of a Hopkins GPA made the courses essentially pass-fail – seemed like a perfect option for me.

Spoiler alert; it was not the perfect option for me.

For the past four weeks, my life has been entirely consumed by chemistry. Virtually all of my waking hours consist of learning chemistry, studying chemistry, and complaining about chemistry. To give you idea of just how much time I spend on chemistry, here is a quick breakdown of the course.

  • 5 hours a day
  • 5 days a week
  • 25 hours a week
  • 6 weeks
  • 150 hours total

You read that right, five hours a day, every day of the week (excluding weekends), for six weeks. Those numbers don’t even include the amount of time I spend studying and preparing lab-reports and pre-labs, which I would estimate to be around four hours a day. So, the updated tally of hours looks something like this.

  • 9 hours a day
  • 5 days a week
  • 45 hours a week
  • 6 weeks
  • 270 hours total (!!)

270 hours – thats 143 hours longer than James Franco spent stuck at the bottom of a ravine before he had to cut his arm off. Other periods of time that 270 hours is longer than include;

  • 11 days (264 hours)
  • The number of flying hours required to become a commercial airline pilot (250 hours)
  • The longest continuous length of time spent awake (264.4 hours by teenager Randy Gardner in 1964)
  • The amount of time it would take to drive across Canada and back, and then across again (around 240 hours).

Put differently, if I did not have to dedicate 270 hours to chemistry class, I could;

  • Go to the moon on the Apollo 11 spacecraft, spend 148 hours there, and return to Earth
  • Enjoy a relaxing 11 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines™
  • Recruit 11 friends and break the record for the longest hockey game ever played (currently set at 250 hours).
  • Become a licensed phlebotomist (Training takes around 240 hours – leaving me 30 hours to find out what a phlebotomist is).

Instead of all of those wonderful and deserving pursuits, though, I am taking chemistry. Oh well, maybe next Summer.


July 10, 2017
by Kaylee Z.
1 Comment

On Self-Love (Even When You Aren’t Sure Who You Are)

Self-love was never something I felt like I actually needed to actively work on. I mean, I genuinely liked myself. Wasn’t that enough?

When I got to Hopkins, I was filled with the utmost pride to be going to my dream school. Everything I had been pining after for the previous four years of my life were finally becoming true. I was finally a college kid! Freshmen year turned out to be only more enthralling than I had expected. I went out of my comfort zone and accomplished so many things that should make myself feel proud. I joined a sorority. I made lots of new friends. I reached out and got a research position for the next year. I passed difficult classes. Honestly, everything was really, really on track.

So, why, was I suddenly feeling down? It wasn’t the school. It wasn’t the people. I remain absolutely in love with Hopkins. Actually, I am more in love with Hopkins now than ever before. So what is this emotion of dissatisfaction? Where did it come from? Why did it take root in a person as positive as myself? I have always been an optimist. It didn’t make sense to me that I, who is known to everyone around me as bubbly and happy all the time, was experiencing so much turmoil and deep unhappiness inside.

I am the kind of person, who by core nature, can carry on like everything is fine even in times of distress. That’s just how I’ve always been. But all of a sudden, I felt like I was wiling out of control, when I couldn’t even pinpoint what was exactly so wrong. What was out of place? What was it that was really bothering me?

I thought summer would be the cure-all to this annoying, uncalled for angst, for lack of a better word. Maybe it was just not being home in a while that was getting to me, I thought.

Only, when I did go home, my emotional state did not improve.

Instead, I found myself falling deeper in this pit of distress.

After a lot of self-reflection and much needed time alone, I realized that I just have no idea what I want with myself. My school year was fulfilling and fun, yes, but it was also very confusing. There had been a relationship that I was teetering with when I had no idea if I was even ready to have a boyfriend. I was also incredibly insecure about my major choices. I know that I love to write and that it is my biggest passion, but what about Computer Science? I was doing poorly in the CS classes, what if I am not fit for it? This entire school year had been like converging to the fact that I had no idea what my answer to the cliche question, “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” would be.

All of this confusion piled together left me in an intense state of feeling unsettled. I am not used to wondering if I will figure things out–I usually have them figured out. Or if I don’t have things figured out, I usually have this abstract belief that everything will work out. That fundamental personal reassurance, the idea that I will make it–that I will manage it all, simply because I am me–escaped my person.

But I was raised to be resilient and determined. To have confidence and to stay true to myself.

If I don’t know who I am right now, that’s okay. This is the time for that. I just turned 19. I have three more years ahead of me at Hopkins. I can explore my interests. I can learn more about myself. I can use all the resources at Hopkins to really self-discover. I will learn to love myself and be good to myself even when I don’t have everything figured out.

And, ultimately, everything will work out.





July 7, 2017
by Varun K.
Comments Off on My Summer Jams

My Summer Jams

As my friends have constantly been updating me on their bounty of adventures this summer through Snapchat, I have spent the last month and a half doing Organic Chemistry and Physics and internally crying my way through this “break”. In order to maintain my sanity as I trudge through this slightly less than ideal summer I’ve been playing basketball, eating lots of good food, and of course, listening to tons of music. I realized, more so that many other things, that it’s music that has helped me stay focused and complete my work more than just about anything else (I’m actually listening to music as I write this blog, though writing blogs is significantly more fun than doing physics). So, I thought, why not give myself an excuse to listen to all of my favorite songs all while giving a shout out to the tunes that have gotten me through this seemingly endless grind that is summer class. Here is a compilation of my favorite artists right now, along with my favorite current song from said artist, favorite all time song, favorite lyric, reason for liking their music, and finally, a list of all of their good tracks.

Note: As you’re gonna see by this list I listen to a lot of rap and a lot of catchy music…most of my music isn’t lyrically focused it just sounds good…hate on me if you want but it’s just what I like.

  1. Travis Scott
    1. Current Favorite Song: Butterfly Effect
    2. All Time Favorite Song: Goosebumps
    3. Favorite Line: “For this life I cannot change, hidden hills, deep off in the main, M&M’s, sweet like candy cane, drop the top, pop it, let it bang” – Butterfly Effect
    4. Reason I Like Them: Travis isn’t trying to hide that he’s not the best rapper, but he consistently creates songs that have good flow solid lyrics, and a major catchiness factor. Seriously, half of his songs have been in my head for weeks on end.
    5. Other Good Songs: 3500, Butterfly Effect, Pick Up the Phone, Through the Late Night, Antidote, Beibs in the Trap,
  2. Migos
    1. Current Favorite Song: Brown Paper Bag
    2. All Time Favorite Song: Fight Night
    3. Favorite Line: “Bad Mona Lisa, slide with my people, pink slip for the ride but what’s in the trunk is illegal, came from dimes, no cosigns, you can read between the lines, like a pro skater did my own grinds” – Brown Paper Bag
    4. Reason I Like Them: ALL THEIR SONGS ARE RADIO BANGERS…their actual rap skill leaves something to be desired but Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff make some insanely catchy music
    5. Other Good Songs: Bad and Boujee, Slippery, T-Shirt, Get Right Witcha, Call Casting, What the Price, Look at My Dab, Versace, Pipe it Up, Deadz, Kelly Price, Wishy Washy, Hannah Montana,
  3. Future
    1. Current Favorite Song: How it Was
    2. All Time Favorite Song: Mask Off
    3. Favorite Lyric: “The top come out the Lamb ’cause I’m a super trapper. My pockets on fat Albert I’m a super trapper… I came up from out the apartments where they trigger happy. Bought my girl a brand new Rollie and she still ain’t happy. Got that Cartier with diamonds and I’m laughing at ya 911 turbo Porshe ’cause I’m a super trapper” – Super Trapper
    4. Reason I Like Them: Continuing the trend of catchy rap music, Future always puts together good beats with solid lyrics and he’s a king when it comes to making beats sound more appealing or making lyrics flow better (e.g. the flute in mask off or the rhyming in the lyric above)
    5. Other Good Songs: Low Life, Draco (Another song with good lyrics and catchy rhyme usage), Where ya At, Used to This, **** Up Some Commas, I’m So Groovy, Comin Out Strong, Use Me.
  4. Chief Keef
    1. Current Favorite Song: Hate Being Sober
    2. All Time Favorite: Love Sosa
    3. Favorite Lyric: “Don’t think that I’m playin boy. No we don’t use hands boy. No we don’t do friends boy. Collect bands I’m a land lord. I gets lotsa commas. I can **** yo mama. I ain’t with the drama. You can meet my llama. Ridin with 3hunna. With 300 foreigns
      These girls see Chief Sosa. I swear to god they all honored” – Love Sosa
    4. Reason I like Them: Keef raps with pure energy and passion, it’s apparent how much he cares and I like how his lyrics reflect that. His music is also just really good dance around party stuff
    5. Other Good Songs: I Don’t Like, 3Hunna, Kobe, Sosa Chamberlain

That’s pretty much it for my favorite artists this summer, but that being said I do have a couple songs by different random artists that I’ve been listening to a lot, including Daylight – Matt and Kim (who knew I listened to stuff other than rap), RAF, Day N’ Nite – Kid Cudi, Drop in the Ocean – Omi, Unforgettable – French Montana and Swae Lee, Up Up and Away – Kid Cudi, and Self Made – Bryson Tiller.


June 26, 2017
by Lauren P.
Comments Off on keep on (orgo)ing

keep on (orgo)ing

Summer in Baltimore is in full swing. The temperature pushes 90 by 10am, and the humidity is at a consistent 80%. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, so I am no stranger to the Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity, and the oppressive heat is almost comforting as I spend my first summer outside of Virginia. I never went to summer camps as a kid, as I always tethered to my own town by a rigorous swim schedule, and as I grew older I filled my time with a series of summer jobs. This summer, however, is different. Rather than a repetitive and routine summer job, I’m spending my time at what my professor affectionately calls “Camp Organic,” and it has been both exciting and challenging to say the least.

For whatever reason, I’ve planned on taking Organic Chemistry during the summer since before I came to college. It is a pretty common thing to do, (we have somewhere around 200 students in our class!) the theory being that taking it over the summer A) gets the class out of the way and frees up semester time down the road, and B) allows you to focus all your energy on mastering the stereotypically difficult subject matter. I’ve always enjoyed chemistry, so I figured the fast pace and challenging material would be manageable and interesting. Now that I am 1 week from finishing Orgo 1, I’ve definitely developed a routine, but I’m surprised at how different summer at Hopkins is than during the semester.

One of the obvious differences is simply in the pace of the summer courses. By nature of the summer semester, a typically 14 week class is compressed into a 5 week sprint. Although this means 2.5 hour classes 5 times a week, and I’ll admit, there have been days where I’ve had a hard time staying focused for that long. But luckily, our professor really emphasizes a strong understanding of the material, and knows that lecturing for 2.5 hours straight isn’t the best way to feed us information. Instead, Dr. Falzone really emphasizes in-class problem solving, and we always have a 10-15 minute break that helps break up the monotony of the class. I really enjoy this teaching style, and the in-class questions are so helpful for really knowing what information our professor considers important. Furthermore, Dr. Falzone provides us with all the resources we need to be successful, such as practice problems and previous exams to help us prepare. I should also note that my hexagon drawing skills have improved dramatically!

Another major difference isn’t so much in the classroom environment, but rather my living situation. Hopkins offers on-campus housing options for students taking classes over the summer, but many students choose to sublet a room in a house or apartment to save some money. This is what me and many of my friends decided to do, and this has introduced a new level of independence and ~adulthood~ into our lives. Gone are the days of meal swipes and Meals in a Minute, now, we actually have to buy groceries and cook ourselves if we want to eat! This is one of the things I was most excited about coming into the summer semester. I am a terrible cook, but learning alongside my friends has made it much more enjoyable. Though many days I stick with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch and dinner, our forays into broccoli chicken casseroles, chicken salad, and misadventures with our grill have been variable in success, but nevertheless exciting.

Other than taking orgo and feeding myself, I’ve been clocking some research time down at the med campus. It is a really exciting time, as I’m beginning to start my own experiments, and though I am always worried about messing something up, I’ve found this to be such an incredible learning experience. Learning science in a classroom can only teach you so much, and if you want to really understand and apply concepts learned in class, working in a research lab is the way to go.

This summer has already been rewarding, but it is far from over. Right after orgo 1 wraps up, we go straight into another semester of electron pushing and mechanism drawing – and I couldn’t be more excited.



June 19, 2017
by Jenna M.
1 Comment

One Month Later…

Almost exactly one month ago, I was finishing my last question on my Introduction to Sustainability final. I quickly checked my answers, gathered my belongings, and rushed to the front of the room to turn in the last piece of paper of my freshman year. Immediately after, I walked back to my dorm and started to strip down my dorm of all the personality I spread across its walls. As colors started to drip off of the wall and bed and gather in boxes and suitcases, the room stood barren and stoic. My own room became a solemn stranger, and its foreign air took me back to when I first opened its door with anxious hesitation on August 27th, 2016. If I let my mind go blank, I could almost pretend that the year had never happened. I could pretend that none of the colors ever were splashed against the walls in photos and paintings, that none of the papers were ever scattered against the desk begging to be attended to, that none of the laughter and voices, hard times and wonderful moments had ever crossed this room and stained the air with memories.


When something comes to an end, I often have this overwhelming feeling that it felt so short, yet contained so much. When I thought back to the first day of freshman year, wrought with anxiety and excitement, it felt like yesterday. But when I thought of how much occurred, how many moments and memories were shoved between that first day and the last day, it felt like an eternity.


In this 9 month eternity, I have gained knowledge, experience, and an overall better understanding of the world I live in and my role in it. I have made friends who have shown me what true friendship is, who have taught me the difference between having friends for the sake of convenience and having friends who genuinely care about your wellbeing and happiness. I have learned how to get through tough times and still manage to hold my head up high, how to “fake it till you make it” and remember that everything works out in the end. I have learned things that simply cannot be taught, that no lecture hall could contain and no professor could explain. And I am forever grateful for this 9 month eternity.


One month later, I am sitting at my desk in my Bryn Mawr, PA home, texting my Hopkins friend Francesca about planning a trip on July 4th back to Baltimore, to spend a day hanging out with friends back on campus. If you had asked me 9 months ago what I saw myself doing on July 4th, I would never have guessed that I’d want to go back to my school when I could spend time celebrating at home. This summer, I’m going to be a camp counselor for 10-year-olds, and I can only imagine what they’d think if I told them that I miss a place where I learn this much. “Learning is gross!!” “School is icky!!!!” But maybe, they’d understand if I told them that my best friends are there, and everyone is so passionate and kind, and I am able to explore my world both physically and mentally every day (or maybe I should just go with the “you can eat all the candy you want!!!” route).


One month later, and it feels like my last day at Hopkins was yesterday, yet it also feels like it was forever ago. I can only hope that two months from now, when I’m moving into my new apartment and coating the bare room with personality and color, that today will feel like it was yesterday, yet my summer will have contained so much.

2017-05-14 13.15.16

June 18, 2017
by Jack G.
Comments Off on Ode to the PUC Lab

Ode to the PUC Lab

It’s May 10th. Finals are in full swing, and there’s seemingly not a spot to be found in Brody or in the library. Enter the PUC Lab: a 6,000 sq. ft. space located in the Bloomberg Center, the headquarters of the physics department. All physics majors can sign up for access. And though the library may be packed all the way down to D-level, there are assuredly less than 30 people in the PUC Lab.

My workflow, as I’ve discussed previously, is heavily reliant on whiteboarding problems and concepts–be it a problem set, a Latin translation, or studying for a midterm, I need a whiteboard to get my thoughts down. Most of the time, I did all this in my dorm room. But by mid May, that mild exhaustion has set in, and it gets more and more difficult to concentrate when you’re sitting feet from your bed and the convincing allure of procrastination. In these times, there’s something about a classroom setting that refocuses one’s mind. And one-third of the PUC Lab is literally a classroom, so what better place to go?

Classroom Portion of the PUC Lab

Classroom Portion of the PUC Lab

Natural lighting, wall-to-wall whiteboards, ample table space, a lounge area upstairs–the PUC Lab has everything I need. And during that trying period of finals, it was a great way of staying focused on studying, whether I was by myself trying to memorize the relative clauses of Latin or with my friends trying to comprehend the nonlinear analysis methods of differential equations.

view of loft lounge area

view of loft lounge area

some chemistry left on the whiteboards by some non-physics major heretic. to a physics major, chemistry in the puc lab is akin to sacrilege.

some chemistry left on the whiteboards by some heretic. to a physics major, chemistry in the puc lab is akin to sacrilege.