Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020

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February 27, 2017
by Katie D.
1 Comment

A Poem about Woodberry Kitchen and Why I am not a Writing Sems Major

So this time I wanted to try my hand at being a writing seminars major for about 30 minutes. I thought it would be a good way to shake up the blog and try out my capacity as one.

As most of you know, I am having a love affair with food (Don’t tell my new year’s resolution). So when my mom came to visit, we couldn’t help ourselves, we had to go to one of the best places in town, Woodberry Kitchen. So I took this decadent experience as inspiration for a passionate poem to express my affection towards my forbidden love. Needless to say, it did not go well, and being a writing sems major is definitely a lot of work, and takes a lot of talent. I really admire the way that they can express so clearly their own passions and loves, while I usually just eat mine.

So now, without further ado, here is my poem, in all its glory.
Please enjoy.

I love food
I love oysters
Oysters with snake oil hot sauce and lemon juice
They taste like you imagine the ocean to taste like
Clear, Salty

I love food
I love entrees
Slow cooked beef shin
With wild mushrooms and grits
Reminds me of slow cooked meals
At home, with the $4 crock pot
But instead it’s 30 degrees

I love food
I love dessert
Crust made out of pecans
With lemon custard and blackberry
White Coffee ice cream
Sitting astutely, and then slouched
Melting into café con

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February 23, 2017
by Jonah K.
Comments Off on Winter Isn’t Coming

Winter Isn’t Coming

As a Los Angeles native, I’m used to sunny days and warm weather. Rain is a rarity for me, snow a pipe dream. For the first 18 years of my life, I didn’t own a winter jacket, boots, or gloves. So naturally, I feel right at home here in Baltimore.

Wait, what?

Despite the fact that it should be the middle of winter right now, these past few days have been as pleasant as any I’ve experienced back home. Take today, a 70 degrees cloud-free stunner, with a light breeze that rustled the branches of the still-denuded trees.


  You could say it was nice outside

One thing became clear throughout the day; when the sun comes out, so do the Hopkins students. Campus bustled with activity; students crowded the beach as music blared in the background. Frisbees flew and footballs spiraled, hammocks were hung and tank-tops were donned. People roamed the quads and walkways, looking for any excuse to stay outdoors.

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                       The beach was poppin’

Simply put, it was spring in February.

As I walked around in the untimely warmth earlier today, two thoughts struck me.

“Wow, this is awesome.”

And it really was. The weather lifted my spirits, along with those of everybody around me, and made the stress and worry of a busy second semester fade away. My attitude improved dramatically – I felt great.

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  A rare image of Hopkins students outside of                                           Brody

“This seems wrong though.”

And it really did. It’s supposed to be winter – especially here on the East Coast, where there actually is winter. The average daily temperature for Baltimore at this time of year ranges from 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Today, it was 72 by noon. Although it was sunny and warm outside, the birds didn’t sing, and the flowers didn’t bloom. There were no leaves on the trees or bees in the air. Everything seemed artificial – it wasn’t supposed to be Spring. The early onset of Spring is a clear warning sign of global warming – and today I experienced it first hand.

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           These poor guys seemed confused

While this last thought sunk in, it reminded me why I study what I study – Global Environmental Change and Sustainability (GECS). The GECS program provides students with the scientific background of climate change – touching on philosophy and culture along the way – and provides them with practical knowledge of related policies and sustainable practices. The professors are experts in their fields, and are truly passionate about their subject matter. Unlike with most majors, that passion extends to the students, who are truly invested in what they learn. There is an air of devotion and purpose in the classroom, which, when combined with (in my opinion) truly fascinating subject matter, creates a one-of-a-kind equational experience. If you couldn’t tell by now, I love my major, and as today’s weather reconfirmed, believe that its more important than ever.


February 21, 2017
by Jenna M.
1 Comment

The Reality of “Collaborative Environment”, “Hands-On Experience”, and Other Admissions Buzzwords

I am a big fan of words. As someone who loves writing, I’ve always paid a lot of attention to words – maybe too much attention. In the college application process, I focused even more heavily on word usage. After many tours and information sessions, I found my brain swirling with repetition. I would fall asleep with “holistic” softly whispering in the back of my mind. I would space out in class with “real-world experience” buzzing in my head. I would sit at dinner and stare at my food, pondering the meaning of “collaborative environment”. I couldn’t help but wonder if these words were all just fluff, just fragments that once had meaning, but lost their validity somewhere along the college process. I started to let those words go in one ear and out the other, not remotely factoring them into my applications. Now that I have experienced a full semester of college, I’ve rethought these seemingly meaningless words.

1.“Collaborative Learning Environment”

At Hopkins, we love this term. A lot. I swear I heard it at least six times between my info session and tour, and it truly did not sink in. The thing is, collaboration really is a key aspect of the Hopkins experience. No, we aren’t constantly holding hands and singing “kumbaya”. But both in and out of the classroom, we learn from each other. We study together in the Brody group study rooms and let our minds spill out onto the whiteboard walls. We work on projects together, tackle problem sets, and edit each other’s essays. And because of our diverse student body, this brings new perspectives to everything we do.

2.“Holistic Review”

I remember hearing this phrase in almost every single information session I attended while touring schools. And I toured a lot of schools. Each time I heard it, I felt myself sarcastically repeating them in my mind and scoffing, ignorantly thinking that there was no way they cared about anything other than my test scores. In reality, Hopkins really does review our applications thoroughly and holistically. So many of my friends here say that they have “no idea how they got in” and I realized that was simply because we all assumed that numbers were the only factor in our application. In reality, admissions officers here are caring people (wow! what a concept!) who take their jobs seriously. If you think they don’t read your essay, think again – and check out these essays that admissions officers loved and learn why they loved them.

3. “Active Both In and Out of the Classroom”

Here’s a little tour guide fun fact: there are over 300 clubs and activities on campus. And with 10 people and a signature, there can easily be 300 more. I remember at every single school I toured, I felt this number increasing dramatically, as if they were bidding against other schools. And frankly, I thought they needed to chill with the figures when it came to clubs. I didn’t care about quantity; I cared about quality. I wanted to know what schools had clubs that did more than just sit around in a circle and eat snacks (although if snack club is a thing, sign me up). I wanted to know how involved the students were, how passionate they were about not only their majors, but also social issues or sports or activities. At Hopkins, clubs and activities are just as much a part of students’ lives as school. Everyone I know is involved in at least one thing outside of the classroom, and it is not something silly like just eating snacks in a circle. I was shocked to find out just how many things on campus are completely student run, like every event run by the HOP, all of Spring Fair, JHUMUNC (which I am a part of!!) and the symposiums, which have featured speakers like Bernie Sanders and Nelson Mandela. Clearly, students put a lot of effort into their endeavors outside of the classroom. And that makes this campus a better place.

4. “Hands-On Experience”

As the nation’s first research university, Hopkins obviously has a lot to offer in terms of hands-on experiences. I never really paid attention to this aspect of colleges during my search. I never really saw myself as someone who would do research – it seemed so dry. But when my intersession instructor mentioned that he could use research assistants in his lab, I jumped at the experience. I loved the information I was learning in my class, and the idea of diving deeper into it was so exciting to me. So at Hopkins, “hands on experience” for me means doing psychological research in attention and perception through assisting in performing EEGs. For others, that means working in a biology lab and dissecting mice brains (shoutout to these people; I am far too queasy to ever do that). For some, hands-on experience can simply mean a class like the B’more intersession courses, that have field trips galore and give real-life meaning to the course content. I will definitely not be the first person to tell you this, but hands-on experience is easily the best form of learning out there. You cannot really know what it is like to work in a field until you are physically doing it. And truly, hands-on experience is what college should be all about.

When buzzwords are thrown at you left and right during the college process, it is easy to lose track about what you care about most. But don’t just let these words go in one ear and out the other. Instead, examine them with a critical eye. See if they really are just fancy buzzwords, or if the school genuinely cares about these aspects of their institution. And with that information in the back of your mind, you will have the power to find the best fit for you.


February 20, 2017
by Katie D.
Comments Off on Being More

Being More

B’More classes occur during the last week of intersession, and are only open for freshman to enroll in. These are classes that cultivate a new awareness of Baltimore, in all different senses. There are a variety of B’More classes. This year there were B’more classes about urban planning, homelessness, the environment, photography, among others. I, trying to channel the artistic creativity of my past high school art classes, decided to take the photography class. Not only did I learn about the basics of photography, but also so much more about different parts of the city. There was no pressure even though I did not know anything before hand about photography or even how to frame a good photograph. All B’More classes are one credit and pass/fail. That way I could learn something without worrying about how well I would end up doing it, which is good since a lot of my photography, especially in the beginning, either came out completely over or underexposed. Together they look like a flat checker board with either too wide or too thing of squares. Either way, by the end of the week I learned so much about Baltimore… Here are some places I found to explore:

Greenmount Cemetery 

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Many prominent citizens of Baltimore’s past, including the Johns Hopkins himself are buried here. The cemetery, as Howard (our professor) put it, is really a sculpture garden. These grand monuments are built to reflect the prominence of families or individuals in their lives. It’s their last attempt at making their wealth visible. And it is there forever. It is a somewhat creepy but beautiful place. It is also close to the Arts District of Baltimore, centered around North Avenue. Close by, beyond the stone and chain-link fence, many studios and murals are clumped together as the artistic spaces of Baltimore, which also includes places like the communist coffee and book shop Red Emma’s, The Windup Space, and the new Johns Hopkins Film School that was made in conjunction with MICA.


Fort McHenry and Federal Hill

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Federal Hill is usually known for its great view of downtown, but I got most of my interesting shots at the American Visionary Art Museum, right down the hillside. The texture of its outside pieces reflect off their environment in unique ways and are very thought provoking because of that. It was also because of the museum that I was very late for the bus. Whoops! Federal Hill also has a great park for anyone with little brothers and sisters… or anyone who just really likes swings no matter what age. Fort McHenry is a place of historical importance since it is the birthplace of the national anthem. However, for me, It’s natural beauty could not be missed. It has a great view of the water, the contrast of nature and man with the artificial hillsides of the fort and beautiful little flowers and auburn grass. These are both definitely places that feel a little less “city-like” where there is a bit more room to see the beauty of Baltimore, just by taking a step back and seeing the big picture.


Mount Vernon

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In Mount Vernon we explored the Peabody Library and the Walters Museum. The Peabody is an exquisite building, with beautiful, ornate architecture, done on a grand scale. Also the lighting in there is very interesting. There is this mix of blue light coming from the all glass ceiling and the old yellow lamps of the library. It was interesting to test out different white balance settings in such a space. It’s also quite peaceful in there. It is quiet and serene. The Walters is unlike most art museums in Baltimore in that it focuses mostly on are of the past, with works from all around the globe, from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Europe, the Middle East, and even places like Nepal.


Fells Point

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Fells Point is the most well preserved part of historic Baltimore. Many of the buildings and homes there are centuries old. It is a popular place to shop around and eat, with a great mix of eclectic boutiques, oyster bars, taverns, bakeries, and gelato spots. Here, as in most locations, I focused more on the close up beauty of things, somewhat taken out of their larger context, whether it was the shadow of lights and hats in a hat shop, stringed up pieces of mirror and glass hanging from a shop sign, or a stained glass light from underneath. The cobblestone streets and just oldness of this part of town is an oddity for Baltimore, and it is a great place to visit to see a mix of the old and the new.


February 20, 2017
by Lauren P.
Comments Off on On Motivation

On Motivation

Around this time last year, I was a second semester senior in high school, and already committed Early Decision to Hopkins. Motivation was low. AP tests loomed in the distance but didn’t seem to matter, and as all my friends began receiving their acceptance letters and finalizing their college plans, the collective morale to study hard and enjoy learning was almost nonexistent.

I wish I could say such a lack of motivation is something only confined to senior year of high school, I think we all know we are kidding ourselves in that regard. Everyone struggles with motivation every now and then, whether its struggling to study for a quickly approaching, to finish a paper, or to write a blog post. As for me, I have all of these things coming up this week, and I thought I’d share a few tips to keep you (and myself) motivated.

Take care of yourself. Sleep is important. Rarely will motivation spark when you are struggling to keep your eyes open because of a lack of sleep. There is no use wasting time when you could either be working or sleeping, and if work just isn’t happening, then sleep it is. That being said, it is important to make sure you strike a balance between everything on your plate, and make time for yourself. Whether this is simply a walk around campus, a coffee break whilst in the library, or a yoga class at the rec center, taking the time to do things you enjoy will put you in a much better mindset when it comes time to grind.

Make a plan and stick to it. Whenever I find it difficult to get my work done, I always sit down and make a plan for how I’m going to get it done. For instance, I have a Physics Midterm coming up Thursday, and I have a very difficult time understanding a lot of the concepts. Instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed by the fact that relative motion in two dimensions just doesn’t work in my brain, I devise a plan to make myself an expert on the topic. Typically, this just means planning to spend an hour each day doing practice problems, and I know that by the time of the exam, I’ll have 5+ hours experience working with the material, and will be ready to take on whatever problem is thrown at me.

Remember your purpose. I am all for living in the moment, but when you can’t find any motivation, it doesn’t hurt to look into the future. Whether you want to be an author, doctor, engineer, entrepreneur, or anything in between, reminding yourself of your long term goals can help you get your short term goals accomplished faster.

I hope that helps you (and me) get motivated. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some physics!

my spring schedule

February 19, 2017
by Jack G.
Comments Off on Ad locum ubī īnsum rediī

Ad locum ubī īnsum rediī

“I’ve returned to where I belong” for those of you not currently studying a language that has been dead for over a millennium.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed last semester. However, my brief foray into the History department, while successful, was a bit more work and writing than I would prefer. This spring semester, I wanted a workload balance that would allow me to get ahead on problem sets, rather than having to do them the day before they were due. I wanted Tuesday not to be perpetually a stressful day due to Cold War journals and papers. This semester, I’ve achieved all these wishes.

Freshman Spring Schedule Review

my spring schedule

my spring schedule

General Comments

Mondays can obviously be a bit of a marathon, what with having all five classes. Nevertheless, I don’t have to do any work on Mondays, since I have all of Tuesday off. I’ve found that I prefer stacking 3+ classes on M-W-F, though this is something that definitely varies from person to person. After your first semester, you should have some sort of idea what you prefer.

Taking two math classes and a physics class maybe certainly isn’t most people’s idea of a perfect schedule, but as a math and physics major, I couldn’t ask for a better class combination.

AS.171.106 – Electricity and Magnetism I

Prof. Charles Bennett / 4 credits (+ 1-credit lab) / Areas: EN

E/M is the second course in the introductory physics track. It’s analogous to AP Physics C E/M, so my experience with that class will surely help as I move through the course. Prof. Bennett has an extremely impressive resume; it’s an interesting experience to learn such basic concepts as charge and current from one of the world’s leading experts on mapping the cosmos. As someone who has taken AP Physics 1, 2, and C in high school, the first half of this course dealing with electrostatics doesn’t come across as too challenging, but I’m sure that will change once we introduce magnetism. Truly understanding all of Maxwell’s Equations will be exciting progress.

AS.110.302 – Differential Equations

Prof. Richard Brown / 4 credits / Area: Q

Another class with the best professor here at Hopkins. Along with Linear Algebra, DiffEq is one of the last courses in the introductory math sequence. Prof. Brown has described it as “Calculus 2.5”, a comparison I’ve found is certainly apt to describe the types of problems we deal with. DiffEq is all about studying situations where you know the rate at which something is changing, but perhaps you don’t know the original function. There are a ton of different methods to solving the differential equations that can be solved, and even some for making sense of the ones which cannot. In this way, it is somewhat similar to AP Calculus BC, in that you’re primarily learning methods to solve tricky problems, rather than learning a whole new, 3-dimensional language like in Calculus III.

AS.110.212 – Honors Linear Algebra

Prof. Caterina Consani / 4 credits / Area: Q

Honors Lin Alg is, in my opinion, the first true math course I’ve taken. Linear Algebra is an abstract course to begin with, and the Honors version even more so. Everyone, even if they don’t know it, has used a small part of linear algebra before. Those short, linear systems of equations you solved in high school Algebra I? The underlying structure of those problems requires linear algebra to understand in its full beauty. Honors Lin Alg is my first proof-based class; proof-writing, while daunting, is an important skill to learn for higher level mathematics. All in all, Honors Lin Alg is definitely my toughest class this semester, but the challenge is worth it.

AS.040.108 – Elementary Latin

Prof. Ryan Franklin / 3.5 credits / Area: H

This class is pretty much exactly the same as last semester. Same professor, same textbook, same classmates, I’m ready to continue to delve deeper into Latin literature. Even in the three weeks so far elapsed, I’ve noticed that my Latin translating skills are already much improved from last semester, a welcome development. We’re finally getting to the point where we can look at writing by the great authors of antiquity, like Virgil and Caesar, and comprehend the gist of the sentences. That’s a very fulfilling feeling.


February 17, 2017
by Alyssa W.
1 Comment

Texts From My Mom

Now that I’m away at college, I no longer see my mom every single day. This means that we’ve been texting each other a lot more often. Most of our conversations are pretty routine–she’ll ask how everything is going, I’ll text a one-word response back, and that’ll be the extent of our communication for the day. But some of the texts she sends me are a bit more incomprehensible than others. Since today happens to be my mom’s birthday, I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

After I asked her to send me pictures of the Massachusetts foliage:


Not really sure what your reasoning is here, Mom, but ok


Random picture of a moth. Um, thanks, I guess?






I don’t know what those words mean, Mom.


Um, excuse me?


Mom what are you doing


Please stop


Ok, I’ll take your word for it.


Strange as they may be, my mom’s texts never fail to make me smile, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Thanks, Mom! Happy birthday!


February 10, 2017
by Jonah K.
Comments Off on There’s No Place Like Room

There’s No Place Like Room

What’s in my room?

The question is as much metaphysical as it is physical. Sure, the answer could simply pertain to discreet objects. A chair, a desk, a bed, – a dresser and some posters. But certainly, there’s more that goes into my room than just those objects – something that makes it my room, and no just a room. As I see it, it’s the stories behind the objects that give my room its character, and truly make it mine.

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UCLA merchandise? On a Hopkins blog page? Blasphemous! Despite there heretical qualities, these pennants represent a good amount of my childhood. They represent my hometown, Los Angeles.They represent my love of sports – especially college basketball and football. They represent the dozens, if not hundreds, of Bruins basketball games that I went to with my dad and friends. When I look at them, I see the shiny court of Pauley Pavilion and my dad jumping up and down like a kid whenever our team would score a clutch basket. I hear the crowd roar and the band play after a big win. I smell kettle-cooked almonds and frozen lemonade, peanuts and Sprite. I’m transported back to a slice of childhood happiness – and who couldn’t use that every now and then?


Sloth may be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but there’s also one on my wall. I couldn’t quite tell you when I developed my affinity for the slow, three (or two) toed creatures, but they’ve managed to find a place on a fair amount of objects in my life. My computer home-screen background, my favorite notebook, even a patch on my jacket – all emblazoned with the face of an animal so lethargic that algae grows on its back. Sloths tend to remind me of friends – back in high school, my best friend shared my fixation and we’d spend cumulative hours in chemistry and biology classes editing and sending sloth pictures or memes to each other (give me a break, it was high school). This picture itself was bought for me on a small side-street in Jerusalem by one of my closest friends during my gap year in Israel.


This printout is one of those good ideas that never really takes off. I’m currently taking Arabic here at Hopkins – to fulfill both my International Studies major language requirement and my personal interest. At the beginning of my last semester (each course level lasts for two semesters), I taped the Arabic alphabet up to my wall, in hopes that I’d look it over every night before bed, and quickly memorize the letters. In the nearly five months since, I’ve looked at the sheet maybe twice. That being said, I’ve managed just find to get the alphabet down, so at this point, the sheet serves as decoration as much as anything.


The most recent addition to my wall, this poster displays a quote from Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer and author – and one of my idols. Among Sagan’s many works are two of the most formative books that I’ve read to date – Pale Blue Dot and Cosmos. Aside from mind-blowing information and fascinating stories about astronomy and space exploration, these books convey a universal perspective of life and existence that I find incredibly impactful. To cite the quote on the poster, which comes from a public lecture that Sagan gave in 1994 at Cornell University, “The Earth is a very small stage in a very large arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.” Pretty cool, huh?

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into my life, come by again soon! 

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February 5, 2017
by Kaylee Z.
Comments Off on A Peek into My Writing Class from Fall Semester

A Peek into My Writing Class from Fall Semester

From the moment I learned the alphabet, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And I have never stopped wanting to be a writer since then.

When I was looking for colleges to apply to in high school, I knew that I had to find schools with writing majors, which ended up being a much harder task than I had expected. Every college offers the English major, but way fewer schools offer a major completely dedicated to the craft of writing itself. Lucky for me, I found out about the Writing Seminars major at Hopkins, which became a major reason why I decided to apply to Hopkins Early Decision.

The Writing Seminars major at Hopkins is extremely unique. Being a major that is deliberately focused on creative writing, it really pushes students to produce individual work. That is why many of the required courses for the major are workshop classes. Workshop classes are typically small and capped at about 20 students or less, and have students read and edit each other’s work.

This past semester, I took my first Writing Seminars workshop class called Fiction/Poetry Writing I, or IFP for short. It was my favorite class from this semester. It is a writing intensive class so we had to produce writing pieces every week.

I loved every single assignment from IFP and I want to share with you all what these assignments were.

By the way, even if you are not a Writing Sems major, you can still take IFP (and IFP 2, which follows IFP).

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Poetry Assignment 1

Write a first-person poem in which the speaker is not identical with the author. You might want to base the poem on a childhood experience of your own, or of a fictional character.

Other requirements:

Use at least some figurative language (similes, metaphors, symbols).
Include at least one of the following sensory details/descriptions:
a smell
a sound/noise
a color or pattern
a taste
Include at least one of the following words (they can be singular or plural):

Write the poem in blank verse, as Robert Frost does in “Home Burial.”

Hint: Try to avoid the use of abstract concepts, such as peace, love, joy, etc. These are important ideas, but they mean different things to different people, and therefore require lots of contextualization. If you are writing about an experience of joy, try to evoke this emotion through sensory details and figurative language, rather than relying on the reader’s understanding of the word “joy.”

Poetry Assignment 2

A couple options:

1. Write two 8-line poems, in the first person, from the perspective of the same character in the same situation or conflict or difficulty.  (Make sure you do give the character something specific to be grappling with—anything from taking out the trash to playing a guitar to going on a journey.)  In one poem, give a sympathetic treatment; in the other, suggest a more critical or doubtful reading.  Think of “Theme for English B.”

2. Write a poem in which you (the speaker?) revisit a place—a school, place of worship, playground—that meant something to you once but feels different now. Think of “Church Going.”

Poetry Assignment 3

Write a poem about an intensely emotional experience using figurative language that sometimes exalts its subject and sometimes brings it down to earth. Think of “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats.

Write a poem employing a symbol or extended metaphor. As you write your poem, use one or two concrete items that help you to convey the emotional and thematic content of the scene. Think of “There are Birds Here” by Jamaal May, or “Persimmons” by Li-Young Lee.

Choose a line from a poem, song, or other work of literature that resonates deeply with you. Parse your associations with the words and ideas of this line, then pull these ideas together into a poem. Be sure to use concrete detail, images and figurative language. Also be sure to cite the line that inspired your poem (you might even consider using it as an epigraph, a line or quotation at the beginning of a poem connected to the poem’s theme).

Be sure to indicate which option you’ve chosen!

Poetry Assignment 4

Ballads are also narrative poems, telling the story of a momentous event or journey.

Write a poem of no more than 24 lines in the first or third person that narrates a single, life changing event.

You are not required to write in rhyme and meter, but are welcome to if you choose. An example of the correct metrical opening might be “As I walked into Gilman Hall” (iambic tetrameter). The second line might read, “a student called to me” (iambic trimeter).

Sonnet Assignment

A couple options (please indicate which you have chosen on your assignment):

1. Most sonnets are love poems. Write one. You are welcome to write about a non-traditional object of affection: travel, interior decorating, amusement parks, auto-repair…. Writing about a person is okay, too. Be sure to engage with the vocabulary of the subject you choose (for example, the vocabulary of auto-repair is probably different from the vocabulary of floral arrangement). Be sure to choose a subject about which you feel qualified to write with nuance and depth.

2. Write a sonnet that address God (or some kind of higher power), as Donne does in “Holy Sonnet 14.”

Whichever option you choose, be sure to write in iambic pentameter and employ one of the standard sonnet rhyme schemes and structures.

Fiction Assignment 1

Choose an item from the list below—one that sparks your memory. Spend ten minutes writing down all the sensory details it evokes. Employ all your senses: what does it look, smell, sound, feel, taste like? Do the same with at least one other item on the list. Turn one of these in.

Next, write a 2-2.5 page scene (do not attempt to write a full story) in which you imagine a stranger experiencing this place for the first time. Bring the physical world of the scene alive through vivid detail.

Porch or patio
Fire escape
Dentist’s chair
Hotel Lobby
Hairdresser or barber
Dressing room
Parking Garage
Neighbor’s living room
Public Pool

Fiction Assignment 2

Develop a character whose public persona is very different from their private self. Write a scene (again, no need to write a full story with beginning, middle and end) in which this contrast is evident. For example, your character might think one thing, but say another. Readers should be able to tell, basically, what your character’s motivation is. 

  • If you used the first person in your previous assignment, use the third person for this one and vice-versa. 
  • Include at least one other character, and at least three lines of dialogue. Remember that this dialogue should contribute to the reader’s understanding of your character. 
  • Remember to include concrete details.

Fiction Assignment 3

Using “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and ” Gusev” as models, write a scene in which two or more characters are stuck somewhere, facing something unpleasant.

As you write, think about how the nature of what the characters are facing affects the details & descriptions you include, their interactions with one another, and the way they move within their surroundings. (“Sonny’s Blues” provides some good examples of this.)

Remember: one or two small, precise details can do more to help a reader “see” the place, person or thing you are describing than an over-worked list of attributes.

Fiction Assignment 4

Expand any of your earlier assignments into a full, 7-8 page story complete with beginning, middle, and end, incorporating the lessons we’ve learned over the course of the fiction unit.  If you feel unconfident about your earlier assignments, you may start from scratch; however, I encourage you at least to try working with material you’ve already created.

Portfolio Instructions

Your portfolio will consist of these revisions:

1. A short story of at least seven pages in length.

2. Two poems – at least one of which must be in meter.

3. If you choose: a revision of one other assignment, poetry or fiction. This is not an extra credit option—it’s just an option.

Please also include a copy of the un-revised version of each of these revisions. It’s okay if it’s a marked-up copy. Your portfolio will not be considered complete without these earlier versions. I want to see that you have thoughtfully considered how to improve your poems and stories.

Optional: Write a one page (double spaced) portfolio introduction, drawing my attention to any editorial choices you’ve made or chosen not to make in putting together your final portfolio.

Your portfolio is graded on completeness (50%), and improvement (50%).

look at all that free time

February 3, 2017
by Lauren P.
Comments Off on Spring First Impressions

Spring First Impressions

Now that Intersession has ended, the new semester is in full swing. I was lucky enough to get into all the classes I registered for, and so far, I am loving all my classes. This first week has been a bit abridged though, I spent Thursday on a bus to North Carolina for a swim meet, and am spending the rest of the weekend between the UNC pool deck and our hotel. For most of us, this is our last meet of the season, so it is an exciting time to spend together as a team, cheering on the pool deck.

As I am at a swim meet, I find myself devoid of ~creative~ ideas for blog posts, but since I am so in love with my classes, I thought I’d share my first impressions here.

look at all that free time

so much free time

General Physics 1 for Physical Science Majors: Yes, Physics. The Molecular and Cellular Biology major requires it and the MCAT requires it, so there was no avoiding this class. I am not the most mathematically inclined individual, and just scraped by in high school Physics, so I know that I will really need to devote a ton of time to studying for this class. Regardless of how I like the subject matter, I am enjoying the class so far. My professor, Dr. Barnett, seems to really care that we learn the material, and fills the class with a ton of interesting demonstrations. (He even brought his dog into class Wednesday!)

Physics 1 Lab: You can’t quite see this one on my schedule, since its from 6-8:50 on Tuesday nights. But I promise its there!

Expository Writing: Law and Revenge: I took Introduction to Fiction and Poetry last semester, and though I’ve gone through creative writing phases in the past, for some reason I just wasn’t feeling anything I ended up writing. In my goal to fulfill my W credits as early as possible, I decided to go a different route and take an Expository Writing class. These classes center around a certain subject, but their main focus is on teaching us how to effectively write a persuasive extended essay. I chose this particular class because the professor was highly recommended to me by my friend. Turns out, the subject matter is fascinating, and I am loving our discussions and readings about law, revenge, and how justice intersects the two.

Mammalian Evolution: This is the class I was most excited for. Not only does it sound incredibly cool, it actually counts as one of the upper level Biology classes I need for my major, but doesn’t have any prerequisite courses. It is taught by a member of the Functional Anatomy department at the Med Campus, and it is really interesting so far! Back in AP Bio, our teacher had us read Our Inner Fish a book about mammalian evolution, anatomy, and paleontology, so I knew I would enjoy the subject matter. We might be taking a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (my fav Smithsonian museum!) and I’m already looking forward to that.

Medical Spanish: In addition to my MolCell Bio major, I am minoring in Spanish for the Professions. I fell in love with this minor simply because of the idea of this class. The minor requires you to take either Business, Medical, or Legal Spanish, and the vocabulary learned in these classes is incredibly valuable. I know that if I pursue a career in the medical field, I will likely come into contact with Spanish speaking patients, and I want to have the capacity to effectively communicate with them in their native language. The class will be challenging, with a lot of vocabulary and information to master, but I am definitely looking forward to it.

Research: The reason I’m only taking 14 classroom credits is because I’ll be adding on a couple of research credits. I’ll be going into the lab on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and I planned my schedule out with this in mind! Labs usually like you to have big chunks of time available, so my Tuesdays and Thursdays are perfect for this.

So there you have it! My perfect schedule summed up. Though the reality of no covered grades is slowly setting in, I am looking forward to the next 12 weeks!