Category: Social Life

Ashley’s Baltimore College Guide

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Name: Ashley Adams

Hometown: Cedar Grove, NJ

Year: Class of 2014

Major: Psychology

Ashley’s Baltimore College Guide

I’ll admit it– as much as I talk about how much I love Baltimore now, this wasn’t always the case. The fact that Johns Hopkins was in Baltimore was almost irrelevant to me during my college search process, as, back then, I loved Hopkins for all of the resources and opportunities that were available on its historic Homewood campus. But now, as I’ve reached the halfway point through my college career, I’ve come to love Baltimore as the perfect city for college students to spend their four years.

Recently I was asked to share a few of my “favorites” about the city for the Baltimore Sun’s regional guide website bthesite.com. They were creating a Baltimore College Guide for 10 area universities, and I was lucky to have my thoughts shared. Here is the post and you can also see my answers below. Make sure to visit though, so you can start to develop your own list!

Best free wi-fi off-campus My favorite spot is the Barnes and Noble Cafe in the Inner Harbor. Only a quick (and free!) ride away on Hopkins’ JHMI shuttle, it’s in a prime location for studying. It’s quiet enough for me to focus on my work, but the bookstore backdrop and the Inner Harbor location allows for great people-watching and good food — two of my favorite study break activities.

My friend Bonnie and I in the Inner Harbor celebrating the end of finals

Best hidden gem near school Even though it’s just off campus on a quiet little side street, it baffles me how few students know about my favorite cafe, Chocolatea. As its name suggests, Chocolatea has an extensive list of coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. Also on their menu: gourmet chocolate truffles and a variety of breakfast and lunch food. My favorite drink? The Banana Split Hot Chocolate.

Favorite place to study off campus On a nice weekend, I love sitting on top Federal Hill on a blanket, facing downtown and doing my reading for the upcoming week. With its great background noise and scenic view, it’s a relaxing place for me to study.

Favorite place for studying on-campus The Hutzler reading room (pictured), affectionately known as “the Hut,” located in Gilman Hall. The sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows fills the room with natural lighting and the warm colors on the walls give it a comfortable ambiance conducive to studying.

What surprised me most about Baltimore Quickly after arriving, I realized how much of a “food culture” there is in Baltimore. I was pleasantly surprised as to how many fun restaurants there are here. For the best steak and seasoned fries, check out the Brewer’s Art and for the best blueberry pancakes, head to Golden West.

Best non-school event Halloween in Fells Point is the one occasion every freshman (and sophomore, junior, and senior, for that matter) needs to experience. Thousands of people gather to show off some of the craziest, most creative costumes you’ve ever seen.

My sorority family and I after eating at a crab restaurant in downtown Baltimore

My sorority family and I after eating at a crab restaurant in downtown Baltimore

Best school event Spring Fair — the largest student-run fair on a college campus in the country. During Spring Fair weekend, the entire Freshman quad is filled with fair-style food vendors. Students can enjoy a concert every night, and, for students who are over 21, there is a beer garden on the university president’s lawn.

Best student transportation The Hopkins campus is pretty compact. It’s never more than a 15-minute walk to get anywhere on campus. However, when you do need to travel off campus, using the various Hopkins and Baltimore shuttle systems is simple and stress-free. The most reliable system for us has to be the JHMI shuttle, which picks up students every 5 minutes and can take them all the way to the Hopkins Medical Campus. Students can get off along the route at various stops, including Penn Station — where you can transfer to a bunch of other bus routes and train lines.

What I wish someone had told me when I was a freshman When it comes to forming friendships, quality over quantity is the best policy. It’s absolutely fine to meet as many students as possible at the beginning of freshman year, it’s important to remember to develop meaningful friendships, because those are the ones that will last beyond your four years of college.

Don’t feel awkward about talking with your professors. Okay, maybe I was the only freshman who felt this way. But as I’ve gotten through more semesters of college, I’ve realized that professors, employers, and all of the other “old” people present on campus can be some of the funniest, wise, and friendliest people to talk with after class is over.

Friends and I on our way to an Orioles game Freshman year

Must-take classes at Hopkins Introduction to Dramatic Writing: Film is taught by one of the most eclectic yet personable professors I’ve ever had: Marc Lapadula. When a course is equally divided between analyzing film clips and discussing how life is portrayed throughout the media, you know it’s going to be entertaining.

Social Psychology, taught by Professor Drigotas, is a great class for freshmen and upperclassmen alike. It focuses on interesting concepts that are often applicable to your life. Professor Drigotas has a straightforward lecturing style that’s easy to understand, and he enjoys interacting with students as much as he can.

Friends Forever (At least Through Freshman Year)

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Name: David Aaron White

Year: Freshman

Hometown: Moorestown, New Jersey

Major: Writing Seminars

On December 15th, 2011, I eagerly awaited the message that determined where I would spend the next four years of my life. At approximately 6:37 p.m., after having hit the “refresh” button in my school inbox several times, I received an email from Johns Hopkins University with the subject heading I had been waiting for: Congratulations!

Don’t get me wrong: I was incredibly excited to have gained acceptance to JHU. However, my good friend Tyler Knowlton had also applied to JHU Early Decision, and I had not yet heard from him. As a born pessimist, I naturally assumed the worst: I hadn’t heard from Tyler because he had died in a car crash and couldn’t inform me about his acceptance to Hopkins. So, while my mother jumped for joy, while my father called my grandparents, and while my twin brother shared my relief (he had been accepted to Dartmouth five days earlier), I bit my nails and twiddled my thumbs. I didn’t post a Facebook status celebrating my acceptance out of respect for my friend, yet every nearly congratulatory remark that made it my way was accompanied by another question: “Did anyone else from your school get in?”

Finally, at about 7:15 p.m., my phone buzzed with the fateful message from Tyler:

“IS IT POSSIBLE? ROOMMATES!” It took me a minute to process this. However, I soon realized that Tyler was broadcasting his acceptance to the school of our dreams, and I was immensely relieved and could finally start celebrating.

Tyler and I had known each other since we were in sixth grade at Moorestown Friends School. Yet, we experienced our closest brotherhood during our freshman year of high school, during which he opened his doors to me and my brother, and we had many good times following that pivotal evening spent playing Rock Band in his attic. We made films together, studied together, and even served as each other’s wingmen at parties. Knowing that I would be attending college with Tyler filled me with enough joy to make up for the sadness of my childhood coming to an end.

Though Tyler and I did not end up rooming together, we do have the same core group of friends at school, largely thanks to our pre-orientation trip that we took before school started. Of course, we’ve each met other people and made separate friends, but I’m frankly proud of the fact that we’re still so close. Quite a few people back home said that we’d “split up,” or “grow apart,” but that has proven to NOT be the case. Sure, Tyler has an amazing girlfriend, but we’re still as close as ever. We even ran a pretty successful campaign at the beginning of the year for class senate, garnering just about 2% of the freshman class’ vote. Having Tyler with me in college has definitely added—not subtracted—to my experience at Hopkins.

I think that my experience can show you that, if you are close friends with someone prior to arriving at college together, you are under no obligation to “move on” from that person just because you want to meet new people. Why not have both? I’ve managed to have both: I’ve met some lovely people, including Hopkins Interactive’s Zoe Jack, enjoyed my classes, and taken steps down a path that I hope will furnish my academic and occupational careers. I’ve also maintained—if not grown—my friendship with Tyler, so I believe that I serve as proof that good friends can withstand the college transition. Of course, I bet it doesn’t hurt that Tyler and I live right next door to each other.

The Loves of a Blue Jay: Favorites of a Hopkins Student

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Name: Elyse Thulin

Year: Class of 2013

Hometown: Jackson, Wyoming

Majors: Psychology and Anthropology

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So, thinking about what life could be like as a Hopkins student? The promise and the glory of saying that you got to walk the brick pathways, climb the marble stairs and learn from the modern day greats? But is Hopkins just that? Is it a place to spend 24 hours a day learning from a book? A place solely spent studying in the purgatory of an overly hot library? Of course not!

I am Elyse Thulin, a psychology and anthropology double major, member of the class of 2013. I hail from the state of Wyoming and was an excited but nervous “pre-frosh.” Now, in my junior year, I feel as though I know my school, my classmates and my professors within my major departments. And I’d like to dispel some Hopkins myths and tell you a little about my life at JHU!

What are some things that I love around campus?

Learning from the greats:
One of my favorite aspects of this university is the ability to learn from professors at the top of their fields. I recently read a paper for an upper level psychology course written by a professor I had freshman year…before I even knew I would be a psychology major. In my current anthropology class, we commonly reference the highly regarded Jane Guyer, a major name in the contemporary field of anthropology. It just so happens that she is my advisor in the anthropology department. Beyond having the primary source of knowledge so readily available, it is so inspiring to learn from such intelligent, driven individuals. Also, just having classes with students who are as interested as me in learning is such a cool experience!

Research:
One of the things that I commonly reference when giving tours to prospective students is research. However, rarely do I get to express how much I truly enjoy it (there are just too many other amazing things I want to tell prospective students and their parents about in 45 minutes!). I work both at the Homewood campus andthe Med school campus, which is a short commute on the JHMI shuttle, free for all Hopkins affiliates. It is a constant thrill going into these labs which are publishing papers relevant not only in the present, but also for the future. Hopkins is a research institute and therefore, provides great opportunities for students to get a real taste of what working in a lab is like. And these chances are frequent; there are many labs and internship possibilities at each of Hopkins’ graduate school campuses.

Clubs:
We have so many clubs to be a part of, from cultural organizations to leadership-based clubs to interest based clubs. I am involved with the JHU Italian Club as VP of Communications. I enjoy getting to practice the language I took my first two years here with both classmates and native Italians! Plus, add a cannoli to anything and it is infinitely better.

I am also involved with the Blue Key Society, a group who works with Admissions to give prospective students and their families a tour of campus (if you have visited, perhaps we have met!). I really relish getting a break from my normal routine to get to show my school (off) and share all the things I love about it!

Greek Life:
A big part of my social life has to do with being part of a sorority on campus. PanHellenic sororities and fraternities can be a lot of fun to get involved in, with date parties allowing you to venture off Hopkins campus to venues around Baltimore, as well as providing a way to get involved in philanthropy (my sorority works with an elementary school a few blocks from campus), and a great way to expand your social circle.

Hopkins also has academic, cultural, and service fraternities for those who want to get involved socially on campus and also focus on something specific (for example, APO is a service fraternity and many of their functions are volunteering projects).

Fitness:
The final  activity that I spend a considerable amount of time on each week is hitting the gym. Whether it is going with a friend for a run, playing a game of racquetball (a great stress reliever!), or stretching myself out with some yoga, exercise is a part of my daily routine. Hopkins students are active people so it’s rare that you will go to the gym and not see people you know!

Another fun way to get some fitness in is to go on an outdoors trip on a weekend through Outdoor Pursuits or Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club…backpacking is a favorite of mine!

Joining Greek Life: Perspectives from a Senior

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Name: Danielle Nemzer

Year: 2012

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA

Major: Public Health Studies

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In my opinion, one of the reasons why spring semester is the best semester here at Johns Hopkins is because sorority and fraternity recruitment happens during the first week back on campus! About 25% of students are involved in Greek life here, and just two weeks ago we invited 192 new women into the Panhellenic sorority community. This year we had some of the highest numbers of women go through recruitment – all four chapters handed out invitations to 45-plus women to join their group. I’ve been involved in Greek life since I was a freshman, when I joined Phi Mu. It has given me the opportunity to take on a bunch of leadership roles; last year I assumed the Assistant Membership Director role for my sorority, and this year I’ve acted as the President of the Panhellenic Council, which is the organization which overlooks all of sorority life on campus. As Panhellenic President, I got insight into the sorority and fraternity recruitment process like I had never seen it before. It was a really fun start to the semester.

Sorority recruitment is different here at Hopkins than at other schools. It happens during beginning of the spring semester, only spans about 4 days, and is really an exciting time for both the current sisters and the potential new members. Everyone who goes through recruitment makes a ton of new friends, even those who decide not to join a group. The best night of recruitment, however, is the final night – Invitation Night – that’s when “bids” to join a specific sorority are given out. The way that Invitation Night works is that we arrange a room with almost two hundreds chairs in the middle of it. Every chair has an envelope which will contain an invitation to join a sorority for the women who have decided to go through recruitment start-to-finish. Women from each sorority come into the room and are cheering and dancing and yelling (and wearing matching t-shirts), and then there is a big countdown for the potential new members to open up their envelopes and see which sorority they have the opportunity to join! It’s very loud, exciting and the energy in the room is absolutely electric. After the women open up their envelopes, they run to their new sisters and there is a lot of hugging and happy tears. Writing this out doesn’t come close explaining how much fun this evening is – I guess you’ll just have to experience it next year!

Fraternity recruitment is less formal, and it is going on right now as I write this blog. Fraternities will host events, like Wings and Pizza Night or Duckpin Bowling to get to know boys who are interested in joining. Fraternities are a lot smaller that sororities here at Hopkins, and most of them invite around 20 students to join each year. The events that fraternities will plan range from “Duck Duck Goose Night” (still unsure what that means) to heading down to DC for a Wizards basketball game.

If you decide to come to Hopkins, I highly recommend checking out Greek life. It’s one of the most vibrant, exciting, and involved communities we have here on campus!

Mentoring Assistance Peer Program

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Name: Mia Spad
Year: 2013
Major: Public Health Studies and Psychological and Brain Sciences
Hometown and State: New Fairfield, CT
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As a junior, I like to think I’m solidly planted at Hopkins — I’ve found my niche and I feel at home in Baltimore. While my friends have become a second family to me, I feel particularly lucky because I’ve stumbled upon an additional group of people I can always count on: my MAPP Family. I’m both a mentor and a member of the Leadership Committee for the Mentoring Assistance Peer Program (MAPP), which is a Hopkins mentorship program for underrepresented students. Specifically, we cater to freshman and provide year-long support and guidance for them as they go through their first year at JHU. We’re comprised of about thirty to thirty five mentors, sophomores through seniors, and each of us gets four to five freshman mentees that we’re responsible for. Out of the larger organization we’re split into families: my individual MAPP family consists of myself, my own mentees, along with an assigned grouping of three to four other mentors and their mentees too. As mentors we regularly program events for our freshman mentees. These programs range from social, such as a trip to the Inner Harbor to explore Baltimore, or academic, where we arrange for panels with academic advisors so our mentees can learn about different majors, or cultural, where we celebrate Latin Heritage Month by learning how to salsa dance.

Now the official role I play is ‘mentor’, however I can safely say after my second year as a part of MAPP that the bond I have with my mentees, who I inexplicably always end up referring to as ‘my babies’ each year, is so much more than the formally labelled mentor-mentee relationship; we’re friends; we’re a support system. I know that for them it’s a comfort to always have someone they can turn to if they need to just talk to or hang out with if they’re having a bad day, and in turn they’ve become a comfort to me as well. The same can be said for all my fellow mentors in MAPP; I’ve met some amazing people through this program that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m always texting someone something funny, running to a coffee date with someone else, and looking forward to an upcoming MAPP family dinner or get together. Being a MAPP mentor has transcended from being an organization I’m a part of into being a integrated part of my regular life, and the people in it are not just fellow members or mentees in the program but my friends.

As a freshman mentee, you can expect your mentor to be there for you rain or shine, which you need sometimes! Don’t get me wrong, freshman year here at Hopkins has by far been my favorite year, but even the best experiences can have their rough patches. As a seasoned veteran of whatever can possibly come, I help my mentees with everything from figuring out how to study, what clubs they should join, how to handle a fight with their roommate, and everything in between. Along the way you meet a ton of other freshman and friendly upperclassmen, learn a thing or two about Hopkins and Baltimore, and most importantly you get unlimited advice from your mentor. What better way to figure out freshman year than have the guidance of someone who’s already done it?

MAPP Retreat May 2011

 

My mentees and I out to lunch to kick off the semester!

 

My mentee family and I at Charm City Cakes

Saving my 21st

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Name: Alanna Olken

Year: Class of 2013

Hometown: New York City, NY

Major: International Studies

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October 11th as a birthday has served me well my entire life. I have always been a proud Libra and thankful that my birthday is always somewhere around Columbus Day, which has always meant a long and luxurious three-day weekend to celebrate. This year, however, it was as though all the negative karma I’ve accumulated in my entire 21 years on earth came flying at me in a whirlwind that was the worst 21st birthday ever. I thought the memory of my 21st birthday was going to be forever tainted.

21 came the same day as not one, not two, but three midterms. I had two midterms in the morning, economics and history, and then a small break for lunch, followed by a political science midterm. After spending the three day weekend moping, studying, and drinking too much coffee, all I wanted was for Tuesday the 11th to be over. Who cares about 21, all I wanted was to feel sorry for myself in my bed.

Once the disastrous day was finally over and I had slept from 6 pm until the next morning at 10am, it hit me how depressing my life had been. Sure, Hopkins is a stressful place once in a while, but I had allowed work to consume my entire life and hadn’t made any plans to celebrate my big day. Thinking that the opportunity had passed and I would have to wait another 364 until I could do it right, I gave up.

The next day, I came home from class still slightly delirious from everything, but feeling better. I opened by door to see three of my good friends standing in my kitchen, all appearing to be cooking something delicious and surrounded by grocery bags all over the counters.

“What’s going on,” I inquired, confused as to how they even got in and why my entire house smelled like a food truck.

“We’re making you a birthday dinner tonight. It’s at our house, the guest list and everything is taken care of. All you need to do it show up and get out of the kitchen.” With that, three boys shoved me out of the kitchen and stayed there until 8 pm, whipping up a delicious feast in my honor.

At 8:30 I arrived to a fully decorated with all my 15 close friends there to cheer me up. I walked into a table adorned with candles and covered with homemade dinner: short ribs over egg noodles, hasselback potatoes, brie and blueberry puffed pastries, Israeli cous cous and a delicious flourless chocolate cake for dessert. My friends had all come together to create a memorable and beautiful dinner for me; everyone pitched in in their own way to make the night special and to help me erase the horrible memory of the day before. Suddenly, my midterm stress melted away with each bite of the short ribs and the exhaustion that had consumed my life turned into appreciation for the wonderful friends I’ve made here at Hopkins.

The moral is that, sure, Hopkins can get crazy sometimes. It’s a rigorous school and throws you situations that are over your head once in a while. What is important is pushing through those moments, trying your best, and then forgetting them as soon as possible with great friends that you have made here. The support system you can create at Hopkins is invaluable, and what I’ve achieved here is a camaraderie that is rare and special. Five years from now when I remember my birthday, I know I won’t see an image of myself with thousands of coffee cups surrounding me at a table on C level, but instead remember the dinner that my friends so generously prepared and organized for me that saved the day!

Heart of Homewood

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Name: Liz Mauer

Year: Class of 2014

Hometown: Weston, CT

Major: International Studies

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Hi everyone! My name is Liz and I’m a sophomore here at JHU. Here on campus I am really active in the Blue Key Society, which is the group of tour guides here. As part of Blue Key I have some administrative duties but my most important role is giving a weekly tour. I always start my tour by talking about what I’m involved in here at Hopkins and then proceed take the group on the scenic tour of the campus. I always try to end the tour by talking about why I chose Hopkins but inevitably before I get there, a curious parent or prospective student stops me and asks, “Why, over every other school in the country, did you choose Hopkins?”. At this point I always pause, not because I don’t have an answer, not because I don’t want to say why, but because it is nearly impossible to say what I love about Hopkins in just one sentence.

First of all, the easy answer is this campus. Growing up in the northeast, I wanted a taste of home with the colorful fall and four seasons, with the benefit of a city near by. Honestly, what could be more perfect than Homewood, a suburban oasis in the heart of a city? Nothing.

Out to dinner with my roommates!

What drew me here next were the options for International Studies. I knew that was what I wanted to major in (don’t worry if you have no idea, so many people come undecided) and Hopkins has one of the most impressive programs in the country. I am given the opportunity to take classes across many departments (political science, history, economics, and more) to fulfill my major requirements, rather than staying within one. I also loved the importance Hopkins puts on study abroad, something I have always wanted to do.

Me (middle) with Alexis and Hannah from my awesome sorority, Phi Mu!

What I think is more important than why I came to Hopkins, is what kept me at Hopkins. Within days of moving from home to Homewood I could no longer picture myself anywhere else, it felt like the only possible fit. Since I’ve been at Hopkins I have met some of the most diverse, interesting, and fabulous people than ever before who I am now lucky enough to see every single day.

Oh, and this hardly even begins to answer that question.

 

How to Fail a Freshman Room Inspection: how an only child learned to love a roommate.

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Name: Bridget Harkness

Year: Class of 2014

Hometown: Boise, ID

Majors: Writing Seminars and Public Health

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Jennings, Room 188 became The Lair. There was a green grape at the bottom of our refrigerator that we watched slowly become a raisin. There were round pillows, and patchwork blankets, and a warped ResLife measuring cup that someone once put in the oven, and I was too afraid to return. There was a temperamental printer that I named Oliver that printed everything slanted so it just became a jewelry holder. There was a small coffee maker that I rarely used because it was noisy and she slept late. There was a red lamp beside her bed because the overhead light was bright and I went to bed early. On my nightstand I had black eye masks and neon green earplugs. There was a Dali painting of elephants above my bed – that always made people go sort of quiet and say “That’s really cool”. There was a knitted turtleneck sweater with a dog head from her Aunt, and it wasn’t cool, but it made us laugh so I wore it anyway. There were HealWell antibiotics for my sinuses, sore from humidity and wind. There were herbal pills from her mother, skeptical of medicine or vaccines. We shared tissue boxes like sickness, commiserating. There were oversized suitcases. We traveled alone between the coasts by plane, coming together to lament the lack of Mexican food. There were Yiddish refrigerator magnets, ‘Oy Vey Bagel Shiksa’. That was me. There were Broadway tickets, and soundtracks, ‘Take Me or Leave Me’. That was her. There were glass dishes that sat dirty so long in my closet that one day I just threw them all to the bottom of a big recycling bin by the baseball field. I listened to the echoes of them breaking. There was a large cloth patterned like the Andean Flag pinned to the backboard of my desk. There was a painting of the dark mark hanging from her bed for use in the Quidditch music video. There were piles of work shopped poems, and stacks of college ruled Calculus problems. There were booby traps of books. There were labyrinths of computer cables. There were drawings and letters from a little girl she babysat in Tucson. There were pictures. My sweaty gym shorts, and worn out running shoes made my half of the room reek like rotting cornstarch. I made her go to spinning class and we bought air freshener that smelled like rain.  There were letters from my grandma and friends from High School tacked in circles. There was a candle we never lit. Our lights were always off – first because we were hot, then because we were lazy, eventually because we were used to it.

We had a saying, ”It has gone into the void,”

meaning you might not find it now

but it will show up eventually.

The Cove is Anything But Common(s)!

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Name: Kimmy Hilson

Year: Class of 2014

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Major: Sociology

Minor: Entrepreneurship and Management

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Last spring, my friends Ladora, Allaa, Keryce, and I decided that we wanted to live together for our sophomore year. We were SO excited, and had every finger and toe crossed for a quadruple room in the coveted Charles Commons. The Residential Life office had told us to keep our eyes open for an email from them that would come at 5pm on March 31st with our priority number, which would determine when we would get to pick our room. March 31st came, and we all got together, anxiously awaiting our number. 5 o’clock came and no email. 5:05 came and still no email. We’d seen our friends posting their amazing lottery numbers as their Facebook statuses, so we were getting nervous. Finally, at 5:12, my phone vibrated, and I saw the subject: “Priority Number Notification.” We took a deep breath, and opened the message. There were a few paragraphs of specifics, but all we cared about was the number. 377. At first, I thought to myself, “Wow this is awesome! There’s about 1200 students in our class, so we got a pretty good number!” My excitement soon ended when I found out that the numbers had nothing to do with how many students there were in our class, but rather how many groups of students there were. After doing some investigating, we discovered that there were 386 groups. We were 9 away from the bottom, which meant that we would be choosing from the rooms that everybody else didn’t want. Feeling sad, frustrated, and everything BUT excited, we all tried our best to hide our disappointment from each other.

4) Me and my suitemates plus some other friends, downtown for dinner. Left to right: Chantel, me, Allaa, Amanda, Ladora, Keryce, Michelle, and Denee.

When we moved into McCoy 120 this August, we were still kind of bummed that we wouldn’t be living with all of our other friends who had the good fortune of living in Charles Commons. We spent almost every waking hour hanging out in our friends’ rooms in Charles Commons, relaxing on their couches in their living rooms, and just wishing that we could be living there.

I’m not quite sure how this happened, but one day it seemed like everybody was coming to OUR room…to hang out, to do work, or even sleep. Though I was confused at first, I loved how everyone started flocking to OUR room in McCoy rather than our guy friends’ room in Commons (which they call “The Spot”). Our room was gradually turning into “The Spot,” and we couldn’t have been happier.

Me and Ladora (my roommate) last spring

One night, we decided that we would hang Christmas lights in our kitchen to give it a homey feel. After hanging them and stopping to look at them, Keryce announced that it was “Christmas in the Cove!” Ever since then, we have affectionately named our room “The Cove,” and it’s a perfect name because our room is in the alcove of a wing in McCoy. I’m always getting texts or Facebook chats from my friends who live in Commons or Homewood who will ask, “Kimmy, are you guys in the cove? Can I come over?” and of course they’re always welcome. We joke that some of our friends, Michelle and Denee, especially, ought to just move in or get a key made since they’re always over.

It’s almost November, and I know that I can speak for my suitemates when I say that living in McCoy has turned out to be a more exciting experience than we had anticipated. I am so happy to be living in McCoy, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my sophomore year anywhere else with anyone else.

My suitemates and me! Left to right: Ladora, me, Keryce, Allaa

 

Entrance to the Cove!

Giving Back to Baltimore

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Name: Ariel Rosen

Year: Class of 2014

Hometown: Chappaqua, NY

Major: Public Health

Minors: Spanish and Psychology

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I could go on and on listing the characteristics of Johns Hopkins that make it different from other universities. Students here are exceptionally crazy about lacrosse, and we’ve all found ourselves screaming, “One, two, three, four, we want more!” on the sidelines dozens of times. There is no other university that even comes close to some of our academic programs, ranging from those departments in humanities, engineering, and sciences. Although I am not positive, I also doubt any other university has FFC apple pie and “granogurt” even remotely as good as ours (seriously, things like that do matter). And finally, the community service opportunities at Hopkins are incomparable and have exceeded my highest expectations.

At Hopkins, my absolute favorite thing in the world is volunteering in Baltimore. Some of my friends here don’t quite understand why I love volunteering so much, and they make fun of me for wanting to save the world. Part of me loves community service for the selfish reasons. Volunteering is refreshing. It reenergized me. It gives my days more purpose and meaning. It allows me to explore my passions and discover new interests. I am able to meet diverse people that I would have never crossed paths with otherwise.

However, an even bigger part of me loves community service because I believe that, if done the right way, community service can have lasting impacts on others. Volunteering gives communities hope where hope is needed. Making real, tangible differences in people’s lives is truly the greatest thing in the world. I believe all people have a responsibility to give back to their community. It is much, much more about the personal connection and the relationship you build with others than the “class” of people you are helping. I can truly say that I have loved volunteering at Hopkins because of the close bonds I have formed with some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. I promise that anyone that comes to Hopkins will find countless ways they can impact the greater Baltimore community.

Me in the basement of a Habitat for Humanity house as a freshman.

All of the community service groups at Hopkins are housed by the Center for Social Concern (jhu.edu/csc). Taken straight from the website, “the Center for Social Concern emphasizes the value of service with others, rather than the commonly accepted concept of service to others”- an idea that accurately reflects the mindset of our volunteers. The Center for Social Concern is in charge of over sixty community service groups on campus, community-based federal work-study programs, community-based learning (CBL) opportunities, and it assists with the Hopkins Social Innovation Program. As well, it is in charge of the community impact internship program (during the summer) and the alternative break programs (during intersession and Spring break).

I am on the Student Advocacy Board of the Center for Social Concern, which I absolutely love! It is only October, yet it would take me forever to write about all that we have done so far this year. One of our most exciting projects is the establishment of after-school music programs at Abbottston Elementary School. My friend, Hannah, and I are working hard to implement and design these programs. We have been meeting with the new principal of the school and the greater Homewood community leader to establish these programs. This is an enormous achievement for the school, as these will be the first free after-school programs ever offered there. Other SAB projects have included planning the president’s day of service and mini-day of service, designing a mural tour of Baltimore, advancing the CBL initiative, advertising and painting banners, planning events at Nolans, expanding the profile of each CSC group, and much more. If you have any more questions about what we do, feel free to stop by the office!

Me and my good friend, Alexa, who plays sports with kids at a recreation center for Crossover Basketball.

Besides being on the Student Advisory Board, I am involved in the Tutorial Project and Healthy Community Initiative. The Tutorial Project is definitely the Center for Social Concern’s largest and most established club. It is a tutoring service where elementary school children receive one-on-one help in reading, writing, and math from Hopkins students. As an organizer, I have the lovely opportunity to get to know all of the kids in the program, ride the bus with them, and go to their houses for testing and get a sense of their life at home. I absolutely love being on the executive team and I love all of the other organizers! Also, I am a member of Healthy Community Initiative. I lead workshops on nutrition and wellbeing and lead food demonstrations to parents and children at Waverly Elementary School. My freshman year, I was also involved in Habitat for Humanity, another great organization. The Center for Social Concern has volunteer opportunities in a plethora of areas, including the arts, technology, music, computers, tutoring, sports, language, nutrition, and health- so there is definitely something for everyone.

The jungle visits Tutorial Project- such a crazy event!

On a final note, it is true that college students often get caught up in their own lives and stay within their “campus bubble”. However, it is worthy to note that after I get back from studying for my Spanish midterm, reading articles for my sociology class, and watching several episodes of “The Wire” for my public health class (alright, the last one is actually really enjoyable), I am happy to end each day knowing that I also reached out to the surrounding community and did some good for humanity. You should definitely take advantage of all that Hopkins has to offer. The Center for Social Concern is loaded with incredible opportunities to give back to Baltimore, and it truly makes Hopkins a unique, one-of-a-kind university.

Me and my fabulous tutee, Kirsten, at the Tutorial Project office. Working with her was, by far, one of my favorite experiences at Hopkins.