Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020


September 25, 2017
by Kaylee Z.
1 Comment

It’s About the Little Things

Sometimes, when you work so hard to achieve something, after you finally attain it, the achievement doesn’t feel that big or great anymore. It simply becomes a part of your regular life.

That’s kind of how sophomore year started for me. I have been joking with my friends that “we’ve done it all already,” which obviously isn’t true, but after having been at Homewood for a full year already, being a Hopkins student no longer is the grand title that it once was when we were first handed our acceptances. If you had told me two years ago that one day I would be living in Charles Commons, attending class in Gilman or Bloomberg or Hodson, and giving campus tours as a Hopkins undergrad, I probably would have screamed and cried with excitement (for a really long time).

And being here honestly really has been that exciting, only it also became a part of my daily routine and lifestyle.

When classes get hard and midterm season comes rolling in, it can be a bit hard to step back, relax, and think, I am proud of myself for what I have already achieved and I can’t believe that I get to be a Hopkins student.

Instead, it’s easy to just feel the full effects of stress and complain here and there.

But, lately, I’ve come to realize that, while it is a pretty difficult expectation for myself to always be super bubbly and happy about everything just because I go to Hopkins, what instead is rather achievable is to really relish the little things in our daily lives as Hopkins students that really keeps us all going.

So here’s a tribute to the little things about my life at Hopkins that I cherish:


Having Iggy’s pizza five minutes drive away from us. It’s literally the best pizza ever and you’ll probably find a different group of Hopkins students celebrating a birthday there every weekend.


Having my fave girlies, Jenna, Courtney, and Nita, in my life. <3


Alpha Phi’s Red Dress Gala in October.


The random bake sales and one dollar pizza sales that just pop up all over campus. This pic is of my bestie Nita Nair on the Hopkins Breezeway about to devour her delicous cupcake (after she swore to me she wasn’t going to eat more sweets that day).


Getting to live in a single in Charles Commons as a sophomore. I’m on the tenth floor and the view is beautiful.


Finding a friend like Nita who appreciates succulents and pumpkins as much as I do and having this giant window to place all of our plants in front of.


Our proximity to the Baltimore Harbor. It’s just a ten minutes drive away.


I had been craving sushi burritos for some time now and this whole past year I thought the closest sushi burrito place to Hopkins was Buredo in D.C. Then I found out they have sushi burritos at R House, which is only a ten minute walk from campus, and my life changed thereafter.

I hope that when you visit Hopkins, you will also find your own little things about Hopkins that you love.






Untitled 2

September 25, 2017
by Jack G.
Comments Off on A Bit of a Breather

A Bit of a Breather

It’s hard to believe it’s already been four weeks since I gathered up all my belongings and headed back to Homewood. This semester has definitely been flying by, probably because—at least relative to my previous two and next three semesters—it’s a bit of a breather. I’m still taking 16 credits, but I really only have 4 full classes.

I’m going to enjoy the break while it lasts—the next few semesters look to be the most work-intensive ones yet. My schedule is considerably more balanced compared to last year; I have 2 classes MWF and 2.5 classes TTh. I’m still not sure whether I prefer stacking all classes on MWF and having all of TTh to work, but my packed schedule the next few semesters will probably not leave me much choice.

Sophomore Fall Course Review

my sophomore fall schedule

my sophomore fall schedule


Italian Elements I

Prof. Audrey Fastuca / 4 credits / Areas: None

Quite a different sort of class compared to my upper-level physics and mathematics classes, introductory Italian is definitely the most easygoing course I’ve taken at Hopkins. The homework isn’t too bad, probably only four hours or so a week. As part of the Classics major, we have to achieve intermediate-level proficiency in French, German, or Italian. For me, this was an easy decision, as I’m a big Andrea Bocelli fan. Combined with the fact that Italian is the closest Romance language to Latin, I find that I already had a pretty good grasp of Italian vocabulary.

Intermediate Latin

Prof. Michele Asuni / 3 credits / Area: H

In Latin this semester, we’re reading the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman author who lived in the first century AD. That’s it. I like this course structure much more than Elementary Latin’s rote grammar memorization, though that structure is probably necessary for an introductory course. The readings are much more enjoyable, since they detail real historical events from the perspective of a leading Roman statesman.

Special Relativity and Waves

Prof. Nadia Zakamska / 4 credits / Areas: EN

Spec. Rel. is the first “real” physics course you take in most physics programs. Every simple equation and law we’ve learned thus far doesn’t quite work anymore, as moving close to the speed of light can make all sorts of paradoxes occur. For example, if you’re moving fast enough, you can fit a 16 ft. ladder completely into a 8 ft. long shed! I’m enjoying the challenge of diving into the first truly “new” physics since high school.

Introuction to Algebra

Prof. David Savitt / 4 credits / Area: Q

Despite the very elementary-sounding name, Intro to Algebra is, like Spec. Rel., the first “real” math course I’m taking at Hopkins. I’ve completed the introductory sequence of Calc I, II, & III, LinAlg, and DiffEq, and Algebra is one of the two branches for further math study. We consider everything about the structures of groups, which are sets of rotations, reflections, numbers, geometrical properties, pretty much anything. By analyzing the intricacies of the structures, you can categorize all sorts of seemingly disparate mathematical ideas into their respective groups. I’m not a huge fan of mathematical proofs, but the ones in this course aren’t too intricate.

Contemporary Physics Seminar

Prof. Natalia Drichko / 1 credit / Area: N

Contemporary Physics Seminar is a short, 50 minutes/week seminar on modern physics topics. Each week, a group of students in the class give a mini-talk on some interesting topic, ranging from black holes to exoplanets to superconductors. It’s not at all an intensive class, which is certainly welcome compared to the time commitment for my 1-credit physics labs last year.


September 24, 2017
by Lauren P.
Comments Off on Back at It

Back at It

Today marks 1 month since I’ve been back at Hopkins, and it’s already going so fast! After a couple relaxing weeks home, I came back to campus early to help with freshman move-in, and got to relax a bit during orientation week before the start of classes. Now, classes are in full swing and I’m getting ready for my first round of midterms, and overall I’m really enjoying all my classes. Last year I always did a review of my courses at the start of the new semester, so I figure we might as well continue the tradition this year!

My schedule is a bit odd this year, because even with a full 16 credits, I only have class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Don’t get me wrong, these days are super packed and I’m still not sure how much I like only having a 3 day week, but I do like having time on Tuesday and Thursday to work at my lab down at the med campus. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m taking this semester!

Genetics – This year, I’m finally getting in to the core MolCell classes, and I’m loving genetics so far. Dr. Hoyt is a great lecturer and really cares about teaching and getting his students excited about genetics. Whenever I have a professor that is so passionate about their subject, I’m automatically more interested and engaged in the material. The course requires a bit of outside work to really gain proficiency, but I find reading the textbook to be entertaining because the material is so interesting. We have 3 non-cumulative exams in the class which make up 90% of our grade, and the final 10% is online homework.

Introduction to Social Psychology – Fun fact: prior to the start of the year, I didn’t have any S credits. These are courses in the social sciences, and most Arts and Sciences students need 9 credits as part of the distribution requirements. I kind of like this though, because even though I have some familiarity with psychology from high school, a lot of the material is new. Dr. Drigotas uses a lot of examples in his lectures, which highlight interesting research in the field and make lecture more exciting.

Biochemistry – Biochemistry is another one of the core biology classes, and is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken. I love biology and enjoy chemistry, so the combination of the two has been a lot of fun. This course is taught by a team of 4 professors rather than just one, so each professor gets to lecture on their area of specialty. Right now, Dr. Hilser is our lecturer, and I absolutely love his teaching style. He emphasizes developing intuition instead of memorization, and helps us develop this feel for biochemistry by asking a lot of clicker questions during class. We have 4 exams and a cumulative final, but only 4/5 are counted towards are final grade. Exams are 96% of the overall grade, and 4% is homework and in-class problem sets.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish – For my Spanish minor, I still need credit at the Advanced 1 level, and since I placed out of Advanced 1, I get to take Spanish Literature instead. I’ll be honest, reading in Spanish has never been my strong suit, and literature analysis has always been difficult for me to grasp. However, I’ve enjoyed this class so far, and I already feel like my reading skills have improved. We use an anthology textbook, and read poems, short stories, novel excerpts, and plays, both from Spain and Latin American authors.

Protein Engineering and Biochemistry Lab – For my major, I need to have credit for Biochemistry Lab, and at Hopkins there are two options: regular biochem lab or PEBL, which is a project based lab where we are given a mutation in the protein SNase, and our job is to purify and classify our protein. This is really exciting because we are the only people who have studied our particular mutation!

So that wraps up my fall semester. I’m excited about all of my classes, and have already had a great start to sophomore year!


September 1, 2017
by Katie D.
Comments Off on The Blog I Should’ve Written Two Months Ago

The Blog I Should’ve Written Two Months Ago

So the first week of school is officially over! And I should have written this blog when it was due in the summer… in July. But the deadline came, and I missed it. Aw well! But before the school year really kicks in and I have a million other things to write about, I might as well take a look back at the last 3 months and cherish them one last time.

IMG-3195 (2)

1. The beach is definitely something I missed a lot. I remember when I toured the school for the first time one of the tour guides saying that you could sit on the front quad of the university, lay back, close your eyes, and pretend the sound of the cars going by on Charles Street were actually the sounds of waves. And even though the beach on campus is an amazing place to relax and socialize, it’s not like seeing the actual ocean. I was so lucky to have it so close during the summer. I had been missing the sand and the shells, the great tans, and even the seaweed. I definitely made the most out of it during my summer. But the MUCH more important part of this picture, is the girl in between me and my sister, Allyson. She’s our god daughter and she is literally the best baby I’ve ever met. She’s cute and she’s super smart, plus she loves to eat (just like me). She was born before Sam and I got out of school for summer break, but we definitely made up for that time. It was amazing to finally be able to see her, and just to see the beginning of someone’s life. I can’t wait for our next summers together!


2. Through out the summer I also worked at an internship back home with the State Attorney’s Office. I did the internship with a great friend of mine and so everyday, even if I only closed cases or archived files, was an adventure. It was an amazing experience, one in which I could finally get a taste for what the legal field would be like. We were not confined to the jobs we started out with. As I progressed, I was given more difficult and more interesting tasks. By the end I was researching through case dockets and electronic files to find out important information for closing more difficult, complex cases and I was given more and more responsibility and recognition for the work I did. Also, we were allowed to go to the courthouse across the street to view cases whenever we wanted to. It was an internship that focused on giving us both practical work experience ourselves to build off on as well as further knowledge of the way our legal system works in real time. Seeing lawyers doing their jobs, on either side inspires me to keep trudging along through the next 6 years of school.

I also got a job that paid me too! I worked at J. Crew over the summer and that was definitely a big learning experience as well. It was my first retail job and it forced me to come out of my shell, be more social and less awkward, since that was part of the job description. It also taught about the importance of customer service and everything that goes into it. It was fast-paced and also forced me to think on my toes and make decisions quickly, since everything in retail is based on the customer’s time frame, which usually means rushing around and coming up with solutions for the customer’s dilemmas as quickly as possible. That hands-on learning will definitely help me now in my classes; most are discussion based and require you to make logical, coherent argument about something in the moment.



3. During the summer, I also made new friends while visiting old ones. We spent Fourth of July together, birthdays, and beach days (of course). It was great to see everyone again and finally get to catch up. Some friends I had barely seen over the course of the rest of the year, some not at all, so it was great to finally all get back together again! I’m so grateful that I got to see everyone again, who knows when the next time will be. We all have these crazy, different lives, but no matter what I will always cherish the memories we made this summer.

IMG-3236 IMG-3235

4. Exploring was probably one of the best parts of my break. I was able to revisit a city I love and find something new. Miami has so many things to offer, from its own beach to a rapidly growing arts scene, amazing food and as many skyscrapers as any other big city. But I was only able to visit one of its newer additions, the Pérez Art Museum. It focused on Latin Art and Cuban works more than any other museum I’ve seen. Even though it had some pieces by classically recognized artists of the modern era, it mainly focused on new, upcoming artists and their visions, rather than getting stuck in the past. The museum also boasted amazing architecture, drawing inspiration from the old stilt-city houses of Biscayne Bay. It had amazing interactive sculptural pieces as well massive hanging gardens that definitely set it apart from the regular form of art museums.

So there was my summer blog. Two months late. However, I still wanted to post it to let people know that you can still go home for the summer and having the adventure and interning and new experiences. Don’t be afraid to reach back to your roots and your home. I think there is the misconception that it’ll hurt your chances or ruin your resume. You can have both the comforts of old friends and family as well as interesting things to do and see and learn from. It is definitely not impossible to have both.


all the generations in one pic!! #familia


August 28, 2017
by Varun K.
Comments Off on Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle

After spending most of my summer at Hopkins taking Physics and Organic Chemistry, it’s safe to say I was more than excited to finally return home to Seattle. My family had booked a two week trip to Europe (I’m currently writing this while on the flight over to Amsterdam) which meant I would only have 8 days in the uncharacteristically sunny pacific northwest…challenge excepted. Here’s a summary of the wild and hectic time that was my week back home.

Day One: Saturday 8/5

  • I landed at 7 pm and my friends from Portland, Hersh and Yesh, who I hadn’t seen in about a year, surprised me at the airport
  • Portland squad and my friend Carson in tow my brothers and I went to target to pick up a basketball; which we then used 20 minutes later to play some late night hoops
  • At 11 all of us drove down to the city to meet up with my friends Alex, Adi and Noah, and our first stop was the famous late night burger joint, Dick’s Drive in
  • To cap the night we then went to the street of houseboats and after some *legally questionably* maneuvering and tiptoeing down docks so as not to be heard by sleeping residents we were in the middle of Lake Union with a breathtaking view of the skyline

    This trashy iphone picture doesn't do justice to the breathtaking view from the dock

    This trashy Iphone picture doesn’t do justice to                the spectacular view from the dock

Day Two: Sunday 8/6

  • My friends from Portland and I woke up at around 9 and we headed down to the park to play basketball
  • In the afternoon we headed out to Seattle and I treated Hersh and Yesh to two Emerald City Classics, Bahn Mi (a traditional Vietnamese sandwich) and bubble tea
  • After Hersh and Yesh went home to Portland my family and I headed to one of my best friends Shobhit’s house for dinner
  • After a nice, wholesome home cooked meal I came back home and my friend Carson and I played Settlers of Catan and Playstation until 1 when I fell asleep

    Solid post-Catan pic w/ Carson ft. the ironing board

    Solid post-Catan pic w/ Carson ft. the                     ironing board

Day 3: Monday 8/7

  • I woke up at 7:30 to renew my passport in preparation for the Europe trip
  • I went shopping at the mall with my brother and bought a couple new pairs of shoes and a bunch of clothing
  • At night I hung out with my other best friend Allie and we went to a local bubble tea joint and played more Catan. Afterwards we drove all around the eastside (the area east of Seattle where my friends and I live) and unleashed our inner child by going on see-saws and swings and just generally horsing around

    Allie and I getting our Catan on

    Allie and I getting our Catan                        on

Day 4: Tuesday 8/8

  • Allie and I went to brunch at a local favorite, Couzin’s Café, and immediately after I went to my dentist appointment
  • Following the dentists (which was surprisingly emotional since it was my last ever appointment and he went through 15 years of patient visits, shared his favorite memories with me, and gave me life advice/told me to visit) Allie Shobhit and I played Cards Against Humanity and had a blast laughing our tails off
  • I then headed to the gym and following some pickup basketball came back home to a delicious meal of spinach and cheese stuffed Indian bread
  • At around 10:30 I headed to my friend Sohrab’s house, where me, him and Shobhit played FIFA and watched Rick and Morty until we fell asleep

    Brunch at Couzin's Cafe

        Brunch at Couzin’s Cafe

Day 5: Wednesday 8/9

  • I woke up at 11:30 and went home, and after lunch I picked up Allie and we headed to Downtown Seattle to get some errands done
  • After I picked up my passport and Allie got the textbooks she needed to pick up, we met back up with Shobhit and we all played Cards Against Humanity again
  • We then watched Shobhit’s basketball game and immediately after we went to the local wing place for Unlimited Wing Night.

    Chowin on wings with chopsticks ft. shobhit's waffle fry smolder

    Chowin on wings with chopsticks ft. Shobhit’s                                waffle fry smolder

Day 6: Thursday 8/10

  • I woke up early in order to hit the gym, and after coming home to shower and eat breakfast I went to my doctor’s appointment
  • I then visited Carson at Chipotle, where he works, and after chowing down on a burrito I met up with Allie and Adi to play Catan and Frisbee, and we also tried some delicious dessert from the Chinese restaurant where Allie works
  • Following Frisbee we met up with Shobhit and Noah and all five of us went mini golfing which was a blast, as we didn’t keep score so we just messed around and hit the balls around the course as hard as we could
  • After mini golf I headed back home, ate dinner, and watched the mariners game with my family at home
  • After the game I headed to Sohrab’s house where my friends and I got together for a party

    L to R: Allie, Shobhit, Noah, and Adi showing their moni-golf might

    L to R: Allie, Shobhit, Noah, and Adi showing their mini-                 golf might

Day 7: Friday 8/11

  • The next morning Allie, Alex, Adi and I woke up and went to IHOP for some pancakes (my order is and always will be chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes with extra chocolate chips)
  • In the evening I played baseball with Carson and then Alex, Noah, Shobhit and I went to the Mariners game which was awesome even though they took the L, as you youngins say nowadays
  • After the game we chowed down on Seattle Dogs (Hot dogs with cream cheese and onions) from my favorite stand and then All of us headed down to Alex’s and met up with Allie for a smaller, laid back party

    The squad :)

                                     The squad 🙂

Day 8: Saturday 8/12

  • Allie and Shobhit woke me up at 8 to say their goodbyes (spoiler it wasn’t actually goodbye) and after I went back to sleep for another couple hours I drove out to meet my friends Emma and Prieuer
  • We got lunch and explored the nearby city of Everett and planned our eventual roadtrip to Canada for sometime in the near future
  • I came back home and after a nap started packing for the family Europe trip on Sunday
  • At night Carson and I played Catan before I got a text from my friend Sahil that he was coming into Seattle from USC at midnight
  • I picked up Allie (Surprise!) and Sahil and we romped all over Seattle until 4:30 AM when it was finally time to call it a night
  • I headed home and mentally prepared myself to wake up in three hours for our Europe trip; my week back home had come to a conclusion

    Sahil and the city

                        Sahil and the city; the perfect                                       conclusion to a perfect week


August 23, 2017
by Kaylee Z.
1 Comment

On Going Blonde, Self-Discovery, and New Beginnings

First, I want to address the blonde. It was a complete accident, and quite the tragedy at first. I went to my usual hairstylist, Jackie, who I had been trusting with my hair (and what feels like my life) for years. It was a few weeks ago when I walked into Jackie’s salon with my dyed light brown hair, looking for some change. I told him that I wanted my hair ashy. No more orangey, brassy tones. I wanted a darker, but grayer shade of brown.

Somehow, I came out blonde, even platinum blonde at the ends. I didn’t even realize how light it was in the salon. I walked out feeling great, not too different. It wasn’t until I got home to parents gawking at me that I realized something must be off. I ran to the bathroom where it became clear to me that I was, in fact, blonde.

I spent the next few hours figuring out how I was going to get my hair back to being a comfortable and familiar shade of brown. I had already spent 200 dollars and 5 hours of my life bored out of my mind sitting in a chair for my hair. It felt like the biggest waste to not be satisfied.

I don’t know if it’s just my personality or if I’m honestly a little crazy, but the next day, I woke up realizing I loved being blonde. I’ve always been weird about my likes and dislikes. I can hate a song at first, but end up loving it after a few more listens. I think that’s basically what happened with my hair too.

And now, I’m thinking I want to stay blonde forever.

This summer has been a turbulent one of ups and downs. My relationships with a few important people in my life got extremely confusing. I realized (and posted about earlier this summer) that I suddenly came to the conclusion that I don’t really have a clue what I really want to do with my life, academically or career-wise. Some issues in my life that I had previously chosen to ignore were coming back up at me, hard. I was unraveling, to say the least.

So, I started a journey to heal. I began unpacking some disappointment and sadness that I never wanted to address before. Even though it has been extremely difficult, confronting my fears and my anxieties has been an extremely positive experience.

Sometime this summer, along the way of trying to improve my life, I learned that for some time now, I have been struggling with some severe forms of anxiety. I never really had a name for it before, but now that I know what it is, it actually feels so much more manageable, because I know specifically what it is that I have to tackle now.

One major anxiety I have is separation anxiety. This anxiety comes out especially strong whenever I am about to embark on a major change, for example, starting college or moving back home for the summer, or in the current case, moving back to school for sophomore year. Learning about separation anxiety has helped me to piece many confusing pieces of my life together finally, like why the concept of packing has always stressed me out so much.

I’ve always been a thrill-seeker and hunting for the next adventure, but the week or so before major trips always psyched me out, but beyond the level of the average nervousness one might experience before taking flight or something. My fears have always felt both baseless and uncontrollable and manifest into me simply not packing or preparing.

That’s what happened last summer before freshmen year. I literally did not pack a single item until the very morning of move-in day. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to go to college. I was really looking forward to it all senior year. But as the date drew closer and closer, I just couldn’t bring myself to think about college anymore or do anything to get ready for it. As I result, I ended up being late to checking in with my RA because I started getting ready so last minute at my house.

It has always been a very conflicting and confusing phenomenon for me–I love meeting new people and experiencing new things, but struggled immensely with the preparation period. I have a very type A personality too and I do not have a hard time committing myself to reaching goals, so it just never added up for me. Not packing went beyond procrastination for me, it was deeply rooted into something that I never had a name for until I learned about separation anxiety.

At this moment in my life, going blonde is more than just that for me. Going blonde, by accident, and then adapting to it proved to myself what I should have known all along, that this, blonde Kaylee on a whim, is who I have always been at heart. I can be an impulsive person and by nature that makes me not fear change, but rather welcome it. My anxiety over moving into college is just my anxiety, but not who I am as a person, and it is extremely relieving to realize that.

I will never be that person who will pack a month in advance for a trip, but I am also going to stop being that person that pretends like nothing is coming up when something big is right around the corner. Instead, I will pack a bit earlier than I have been for a while, and that marks the start of a new beginning for me.

Pinpointing your fears and your anxieties is key to resolving them. This summer has been rough at times, but also full of self-discovery. And with self-discovery comes new beginnings that I am so very excited for.

I wish everyone the best school year.





August 18, 2017
by Jack G.
Comments Off on Going for Three

Going for Three

There were many, many reasons why I chose Hopkins, but I still remember the four words spoken during my campus visit that piqued my interest most on that sunny day in late May 2015:

No General Education Requirements.

Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a Renaissance man when it comes to studies, but AP Chem. and AP English Lit. were enough chemistry and English for me; I was not looking forward to slaving through Chemistry or English 101. Every school I visited touted their “flexible curricula”, and compared to the old-school notions of gen. ed. requirements, flexible curricula they were. Nevertheless, they all had their quirks. All except one: Johns Hopkins.

And while this policy was but one positive in a sea of them when I applied, one year in, it’s become the defining feature of Hopkins for me.

Here are our non-major specific graduation requirements:

  • 9 credits in humanities courses
  • 9 credits in social sciences courses
  • 9 credits in science/math/engineering courses
  • 12 credits in writing-intensive courses

That’s it.

One thing you notice at Hopkins is that if you ask someone their major, they’ll often respond with more than one. These lax distribution requirements cultivate that. After being accepted into Hopkins, I looked at the requirements for some other majors, and saw that a math major only requires 4 additional courses than I was already going to take while completing my physics degree. (this is apparently realized by most of the physics department; it seems like at bare minimum 2/3 of physics majors pursue a double major with math, applied math, or comp. sci.)

So I was now a double major, but completing these two majors only required 66 credits. What was I to do with the other half of my college curriculum?

I have always had a bit of a fascination with ancient Greece and Rome. Perhaps due to the many hours I sunk into Civilization III as a kid, perhaps due to Discovery Channel. So I dived into the classics department, and took two semesters of Latin my freshman year. And I binge-listened to the History of Rome and History of Byzantium podcasts. And I subscribed to multiple Roman battle history YouTube channels.

And I began to feel similar when learning Roman history as when I first dived into Physics five years ago.

And thus Classics was added as a potential major. Thanks to Hopkins’s curriculum, I can complete all three majors and the distribution requirements while averaging only 16 credits/semester.

How many other schools can say that?


August 17, 2017
by Jonah K.
Comments Off on 17 Tips for O-Week 2017

17 Tips for O-Week 2017

Well, here we are. After a long summer away from school, Orientation Week, or O-week, is nearly upon us. For an incoming first-year student, that should be exciting news – but it can also be a bit daunting. What is O-week like? What do you do during it? How can you make the most of it? With those concerns in mind, I put together a little list of – you guessed it – 17 tips for O-week 2017, with the hope that they will prove helpful (and, ideally, entertaining), to any incoming first-year student who stumbles upon them. Enjoy!

1. It’s gonna be hot, yo.

And I don’t mean hot as in lit or poppin’, I mean hot as in the temperature kind.

2. And humid

If you’re from the East Coast or the South, you probably already have some idea of the ungodly humidity that awaits you in Baltimore. If you’re from the West Coast (represent), though, or anywhere else where walking outside during the summer doesn’t feel like slogging through a sauna with your clothes on, you’re in for a treat.

3. With that in mind, don’t wear your best shirts outside during the day for the first month or so.

If you sweat even an average amount, your prized concert tees will become your prized concert towels. If you don’t usually sweat, you will.

This is a bitmoji I used in my first ever blog - about how hot it was at Hopkins

This is a bitmoji I used in my first ever blog –                    about how hot it was at Hopkins

4. Also, stay hydrated

Yeah, that too.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask O-week volunteers for help!

O-week volunteers don’t get paid to be there (that’s why their called volunteers) – they’re there because they want to meet you and want to help you. If you have questions about move-in, scheduling, logistics, or anything else under the (very strong) sun, ask them! Even if you don’t have a question and just want to chat, O-week volunteers are at your service.

6. Check out the O-week events calendar (and then go to some events).

Take advantage of what O-week has to offer! For a personal example, last year I went to Rec-center night during O-week to play dodgeball and basketball, and had a blast. I also met a few people that turned out to be good friends of mine (even after I hit them in the face with a rubber ball).

7. Start thinking of ice-breaker responses now, like right now.

  • Two truths and a lie: I have an entirely fake front tooth, I am deathly afraid of both prairies and dogs – but not prairie dogs, I cannot sit cross-legged. Now guess.
  • If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be? Immersion blender, easy.

Trust me, you’ll need them.


  Ok, not this kind of ice-breaker, but you get the idea.

8. Get some sleep, please.

You’re going to be out in the sun all day, running from place to place, and doing activities – you’ll need to be well rested. A good eight hours will also help you avoid the dreaded Freshman Plague (although to be real, you’ll probably still get it at some point).

9. Wear dark shorts/skirts/dresses/pants (but probably not pants) during O-week.

This sounds like an odd point, but stay with me. There will be a lot of sitting on the ground during O-week, usually in circles. Ground means dirt, and dirt means stains on your butt, and light colored clothing means even more pronounced stains on your butt. Wear dark clothing to avoid this whole situation.

10. Carry a map with you.

You will get lost (repeatedly) during O-week, and most likely throughout your first month on campus, so a map is vital. You can get one on your phone, or carry around a paper version to be cool and retro. If you’re like me, it will also be vital for the following two months, and probably still useful entering sophomore year.


                                                                                       Here ya go

11. Talk to upperclassmen.

When you do get lost, and don’t feel like pulling out your map, ask somebody who looks like they know where they’re going for directions. I can virtually guarantee you they’ll be friendly, and will usually throw in a good fact or tip for you (if these seventeen aren’t enough). You can, and should, also ask upperclassmen about anything that’s on your mind, be it related to classes, dorm life, extracurriculars, or what have you. You’ll find that people at Hopkins are super helpful – and its always good to have friends who’ve been in your shoes before to help you out if you ever need it.

12. Go to the student involvement fair.

This actually takes place a week or so after O-week – September 8th, from 2-5 PM to be exact – but it’s a really great way to familiarize yourself with campus life, and get involved with some awesome groups and clubs. You don’t want to miss this.

13. Take a trip outside of your comfort zone.

There will be numerous opportunities and events throughout O-week and beyond that might not seem up your alley at first glance. Rocky Horror Picture Show – what’s that? A bunch of people standing on the beach playing corn-hole – seems weird. Fight that initial instinct and try things that you might not normally be inclined to try. I’m not saying that you have to force yourself to jump at every opportunity that comes your way, even if you know you’ll hate it, but if you were planning to sit at your desk and watch YouTube for an hour and a newfound friend invites you to try out the rock-climbing wall at the gym, you owe it to yourself to harness-up.

14. Also take a trip to the Charmery.

The Charmery is an ice-cream shop in Hampden, a neighborhood that’s just a lovely 15 minute walk from campus. They serve completely amazing ice-cream, and you should definitely try it out.



15. Then take a deep breath.

O-week can get a bit hectic at times, with constantly moving from activity to activity and session to session, meeting a ton of new people, not getting enough sleep (I know you won’t listen to number eight), and adjusting to an entirely new home and lifestyle. At some point, it will be important to take a step back, breathe, and take it all in. Do your best to appreciate and embrace the hustle and bustle, and try to not let it stress you out. Realize that the craziness won’t last forever, and you’ll get in the swing of things before you know it. 

16. O-week does not determine your year.

If things don’t necessarily go as you expected during O-week, don’t fret; who you are during O-week almost definitely won’t be who you are during the rest of the year, and beyond. You’ll befriend people you didn’t even know existed for the first few weeks, get involved in clubs you never heard about, and find a level of comfort on campus you didn’t think possible. That being said, O-week can be – and usually is – a great time, so…

17. Have fun!

O-week provides a unique opportunity to meet your fellow Blue-Jays and experience the Hopkins community, without any of the work that comes once classes start. If you take advantage of the opportunity provided to you, it can be a truly awesome experience that you’ll never forget. You only get to do O-week once, so live it up while you can!


August 16, 2017
by Katie D.
Comments Off on Island in the Sun

Island in the Sun

So Florida is the state where the rest of the nation goes to visit, or retire, depending on how long their stay is. But where do us natives go to get away? The secret is that the best beaches are really on the opposite side of the state from where most tourists would think. Even though I live on the East Coast, I have always been partial to the Gulf Coast Beaches. It’s like a Florida vacations for Floridians themselves. It’s a way to escape, with calmer beaches, softer sand, and less tourists.


For our family, going to the West Coast of Florida is an annual pilgrimage to soak up the sun, collect shells , and to relax completely. On the way there though, you can experience all different aspects of the Floridian landscape on a fabulous 3 hour road trip around Lake Okeechobee. The middle of the state surprisingly resembles the middle of America with cows scattering the landscape for miles, large sugar cane fields, and unending country roads. Without the occasional orange grove, random palm trees, and view of the shrinking Everglades, for most, this side of Florida is unrecognizable. For me, I only see it passing by, but it is a way to really understand what the state really is and a way to see everything that Florida is.

We stay at the same resort every single year, known as Palm Island. For me it is a place that is embedded into my childhood. I have so many memories of playing on the beach, building sandcastles, and riding golf carts on mini-adventures, pretending to be explorers with my sister and cousins. Now it is a place to completely unwind, to read good books on the beach, to laugh and catch up with those same cousins. We’ll make dinner together and play very competitive games of pictionary together and finish 5000 piece puzzles together.


The only bad thing about a Cuban family vacationing on the West Coast is the combination of our already stereotypical tardiness with the concept of ‘island time’. Nothing is ever done when we say it will be. We will be on time for absolutely nothing. The good thing is that we aren’t on a schedule (Thank God). That’s the great thing about taking a break, you get to abide by only your own time table. You are able to create your own agenda for the day and really take your time with everything, and really enjoy everything. It helps us to learn how to slow down and how to be grateful for all the little moments we get to experience.

Now with a refreshing break from the normal routine and a great tan I’m more than ready to go back to Hopkins for Sophomore year, and appreciate every single moment of it.


August 15, 2017
by Alyssa W.
Comments Off on 1000 Sandwiches

1000 Sandwiches

On Monday, August 7, CCO, the company I’m interning for, held it’s first ever Sandwich-a-Thon. For one hour, all the employees went down to the conference room and worked in teams to make as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (and bags of trail mix) as possible, all to be donated to D.C.-based nonprofit Martha’s Table.

One of the several community service events the company holds each year, the Sandwich-a-Thon was planned from inception by my coworker Kelly and I, with some help from several other employees. I learned just how much work it is to plan and coordinate a company-wide event, from drafting flyers and emails to making a supply list to coming up with fun PB&J facts (the first written recipe for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeared in 1901, in case you were interested). I learned how to deal with unexpected bumps in the road, like sudden family emergencies and the fact that it was pouring rain on the day of the event.

By the end of the hour, we had made almost 1000 sandwiches and 200 bags of trail mix. A few other coworkers and I loaded everything into cars and drove to D.C. to deliver them. The sandwiches will be delivered to D.C.-area people and families in need, especially kids who usually rely on free school lunches and have a harder time finding food during the summer. We also donated all our leftover unopened containers of bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Even though CCO isn’t a non-profit and not primarily focused on community service, it felt good knowing that all those weeks of coordinating every last detail would pay off by providing hundreds of people with a much-needed meal.

On the way back to the office, we stopped for coffee and watched the rain fall outside the window. It gave me time to reflect on everything I’ve accomplished this summer, and how this experience has changed me. There were definitely times this summer when I felt the full brunt of the daily grind, when I was assigned a particularly tedious task and found myself counting the minutes till 5 pm. There were times I missed my Hopkins friends desperately, and wanted nothing more than to move back to Baltimore. But this summer has had some great moments too–I’ve gained some incredible new skills and experience, in a field I hope to make a career in. I’ve gotten to exercise my creativity and ingenuity. I felt like a real adult, traveling by myself to visit people in D.C. and Baltimore on the weekends, and going to happy hour on weeknights (for the food). I’ve learned how to spend time alone and genuinely enjoy it. I even got a new job I’ll be starting this semester, at a small business in Hampden.

Now that it’s almost over, it feels like summer flew by before I even had time to register it. But I can genuinely say I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished over the past few months, and I have a really good feeling about the coming year.