Name: Josh Gleason
Graduation Year: Class of 2011
Current Town: Valencia, CA
Hometown: Park Ridge, NJ
Major: Film and Media Studies
I am an alumnus. Even after almost a year now, it still sounds strange.
Sometimes it feels like I’ve broken up with Hopkins. It was mutual, of course. But there are times when I’ll be reminded of my former school, and it brings back the pangs of love. Little things. A breeze that reminds me of sitting on the Beach. A face that looks like an old friend. A rare damp day out here in southern California that reminds me of one of those dreary Baltimore spring days. I’m still in love with Hopkins, but it’s moved on and so have I.
Life has since taken me to grad school. But not without a journey.
After graduating, I had a few last hurrahs. My first was working on another film by Hopkins professor Matt Porterfield called I Used to Be Darker. It was a really great experience and continued to help me understand more about film production by being thrown into the fire.
The other amazing experience was the cross-country road trip I took with my best friend. Both of us left Hopkins to go to grad school on the west coast. He is at a PhD program in Materials Science at UCSB, and I am in an M.F.A. program at CalArts. Originally our plan was to backpack through Europe (which would have made for better pictures), but we ultimately decided to spend our last few days together before school driving from my house in New Jersey to our new locations in southern California.
In fact, our journey spanned over 3,400 mi. I live about 40 mins from the Atlantic on the east coast and about 45 minutes from the Pacific now. So it was nearly coast to coast – The trip took us to lots of places we hadn’t been before. We got a chance to visit some old friends, see some amazing sights, and surprisingly only had two arguments in 10 days trapped together.
We tried to summarize the trip along the way with taglines. Here are some of the ones that will make sense to other people:
- Western PA: “The land of sights and extreme smells”
- Pittsburgh: Jekyll and Hyde City (alive by dead, dead at night), Home of the Legends of the Hidden Temple Bar
- Ohio: “The land of strict 9-5 business hours”, The Moderately Okay State, The Pizza State (apparently there are more pizza places per capita than any other state)
- Indiana: “What happens in Indiana stays forgettable.”, The Land of Regularaly Spaced Clouds
- Illinois: The Last EZPass State
- Iowa: Middle of Nowhere, Corn as Far as the Eye Can See
- Des Moines: “Des Moines: Pleasant Surprises”, Skywalk City, this is where we coined the phrase “It’s not weird. It’s roadtrip.”
- Missouri: BBQ City, Generic City, USA
- Kansas: There’s No Place Like Home (as long as it’s not Kansas), Racist Cop State, Home of Prairie Dog Town, The Glad We Didn’t Stop Overnight There State, Winner of Flattest State in America & The Scariest Pizza Hut in America
- Colorado: EVERYTHING is Beautiful in Colorado
- New Mexico: The Roadside Indian Frybread State
- Arizona: “When they say Grand Canyon, they mean it” State, The Land of Giant Holes in the Ground
When we said goodbye, it marked the end of an era. It felt like my last moments as a Hopkins student. The aforementioned breakup was finally setting in. The next step was quickly approaching.
And as this year has gone on, I’ve realized how grateful I am to have had Hopkins in my life. It made me a stronger person, a more confident person, and it gave me the tools I need to succeed at the next level. I came in to grad school a step ahead, and every once in a while, I look back and realize that Hopkins helped me get there.