Name: Eden Ahrens
Year: Class of 2010
Hometown: Chadds Ford, PA
“SO YOU WANT TO BE A DOCTOR?”
Whenever I tell people where I attend college, they immediately and invariably ask the same question, “So you want to be a doctor?” What these people don’t know (but has thankfully begun to spread) is that Hopkins has world-renowned programs in many fields other than medicine. I, for example, have studied history (with a concentration in the history of the United States) for three years.
I first knew that I wanted to study history in college during my senior year of high school while I was taking an AP United States History class. Never before had I felt so connected to the material that I was being taught. I was excited every day that I took that class and found myself wanting to learn more. This connection to history has stayed with me throughout my time at Hopkins, and I think I’m very lucky to so enjoy my major.
One of my favorite things about the history department at Hopkins is the flexibility inherent in the program. Unlike nearly every other school, the Hopkins history department specifically requires only one course, the Undergraduate Seminar in History (a year long seminar where students write an article length paper about any topic they choose). Aside from that, students are required to take 8 other history courses – whatever classes in the department that interest you. During my time here, I’ve enrolled in several very interesting classes. One, “Civil War to Katrina: Reconstructing New Orleans”, described the history of New Orleans and allowed students to write a final research paper on any topic they wanted that was related to the city (I chose the history of voodoo). The choices are many and pertain to a wide array of historical interests, including European history, East Asian history, American history, African history, Caribbean history, etc.
Another important feature of the history program here is the opportunities that it provides to students. My favorite Hopkins experience so far has most definitely been the month-long study abroad program in Egypt that I took during the winter of my sophomore year. Dr. Betsy Bryan, a professor in the Near Eastern Studies department, organized the program and selected twenty students to travel with her throughout the country, from Alexandria in the North to Aswan in the South. The experience was truly life changing. Because of Dr. Bryan’s long-standing relationship with the Egyptian government (most notably Dr. Zahi Hawass), our group was allowed to enter many closed monuments and tombs as well as tour closed archaelogical sites. I will never forget climbing the steps of the Great Pyramid or standing an arms length away from the sphinx (none of which the general public is allowed to do without paying a hefty sum).
In short, Hopkins has given me more than I could have ever asked. I have been welcomed into a community of diverse but intelligent and motivated students. Within this wider group I have come to find a family in my department, a group of students and professors who are guided by a similar passion. Finally, Hopkins has exposed me to a group of friends that I will cherish for the rest of my life – those who are both interesting and unique, all of whom are involved in many different activities and worthwhile causes.
Click here to access more information about the History Undergraduate Program of Study.
To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the History questions thread._______________________________________________________________________________