It’s funny. I sometimes forget that I have four years of my life documented in this blog. From my very first post where I outlined the “really cool things about Hopkins” to my latest post in which I described commencement and all of the goodbyes, I have loved writing about school the ups and the downs, the good days and the bad days. So I suppose this is my farewell post and I don’t really know what to say. So much has changed over these four years. When I began, I thought I had it all figured out. I would graduate
with a degree in philosophy and economics go straight to law school, emerging from these 7 years of schooling as a successful and independent adult. It’s not that my plans shifted that drastically, but even a slight change seems earth shattering. During my four years of college, I was flooded with opportunities. You can start out as a biology major, switch to political science, and end up getting a double degree in East Asian Studies and International Relations. I started out as a philosophy major, only knowing I was a good debater and that I should probably put that skill to better use as a lawyer. However, things change and things come up that you can’t anticipate. In a twist of fate, I began working at Institutional Donor Relations at Hopkins during the school year. This experience in development landed me an internship at EMILY’s List, which led me to develop a vast interest in politics, prompting me to try working at the State Department and even on Capitol Hill. I’m still not certain where I’ll end up, but I do know I want to remain in politics. For now, I’m working for a start-up non-profit in Washington, D.C. trying to change the world.
In my new life as an adult, I live in a house close to U Street, the historic African American neighborhood where the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl is located and whereDuke Ellington grew up. I spend my weeknights working late and my weekends at Busboys and Poets where I pretend to be radical and hip, sitting at the communal tables reading next to all of the other “independent thinkers” on their Macbooks. During these thoughtful mornings, I get a chance for some much needed introspection. I’ve lately been thinking that my life is divided. On one hand all I want to do is stay in D.C. and really work on changing the system, devoting my time to reform whether it be party reform, campaign reform, or even immigration reform. I want to spend my time at the Willard Hotel, where the term lobbying was originally coined and where Martin Luther King Jr. finished his “I have a dream” speech, and other historical hot-spots in D.C. On the other hand, I wish I could drop everything I’m doing and just travel the world. It’s hard when you know what’s out there and can’t wait to see it. While I continue to live vicariously through my friends who are in Cambodia, Mexico, Taiwan, and even Syria, I’m excited because the future is ours for the taking. Hopkins has provided us with such amazing opportunities, that even though goodbyes are hard, moving on is worth it. My four years at Hopkins provided me with an array of experiences that shaped who I am today. While I didn’t want to leave, and was forced to spend the last weekend packing up and cleaning out my apartment, I knew it was time to say goodbye. Hopkins prepares you for the real world; it would be a waste to wallow in nostalgia and try and stick around because its what is most familiar and comfortable. Leaving one of my favorite and most vibrant cities (in my opinion) in favor of D.C. wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but goodbyes never are.
In my very first post, only a month after being at Hopkins I identified two things as REALLY cool: “The Welcome” and “The Baltimore Experience”. Now, after leaving I will modify it slightly such that two really cool things about Hopkins are indeed “The Baltimore Experience” but also, “The Goodbye”. I’ll elaborate on the former first.
Baltimore is a city constantly changing. It is a city that frankly, I would never have considered living in had I not gone to Hopkins. This prejudgment about Baltimore that many, including myself, may have had for a variety of reasons is a huge mistake. My reasoning would have been it’s not big enough. The only real cities are New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong etc. Others may argue that its just like The Wire, why would you go there? Do not let these thoughts cloud your judgment. Baltimore according tomany of the park benches scattered around the city might be known as “The greatest city in America”. It’s Charm City. It’s home. During my last weekend in Baltimore, I got off the train and was greeted to a giant street festival known as Artscape. It is America’s largest free art festival, featuring 150 artists, fashion designers, and musicians from all over. It is vibrant, funky, and so much fun. In fact 350,000 people visit it every year. As I made my way to my apartment, I got to walk through and peruse the different exhibitions, thinking to myself this is why Baltimore will always be my home. When packing out and moving out, my family and I took a short break to dine at Gertrude’s a great restaurant near campus, and visit the beautiful Cone Exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art–where they have the largest collection of Matisee’s paintings in the entire world. Other things we considered doing was going to dinner in Little Italy, going to a baseball game at Camden Yards, or strolling through the funky “hon” neighborhood of Hampden. There are so many things to do and see, Baltimore is a city with character, well worth the visit. Sadly, four years is not long enough to see it all, and I’m definitely coming back for more of the Baltimore Experience.
And now, as I wrap things up, I’ll elaborate on “The Goodbye” and why it is “really cool”. I’m not talking about just graduation. That was fun, but it wasn’t really cool. What is really cool is that is not really a goodbye. The experience I’ve had and the friends I’ve made will stick with me forever. I may have moved, but in the time period that I’ve been gone, I’ve seen over twenty different Hopkins friends, heard from friends around the world, and started new adventures. Hopkins empowers you to go forth, taking everything you’ve learned, and apply it to your next adventure. You have a built-in support system of friends and experiences that will help you succeed in whatever you encounter next. Leaving and saying goodbye is not a loss, but an opportunity. A chance to make Hopkins proud and change the world. In the admissions auditorium, on the back of the chairs there are fun facts about Hopkins and many about past graduates. Some are left blank. Those chairs are saved for you and for me, for those of us who, will take what we’ve learned and hopefully manage to do something worthwhile. To make a difference and to change. So, I hope that all my gushing hasn’t lost you just yet because the important thing I’m trying to say is that college is an experience you will never forget. It is a partnership that if you put in the effort and try hard, you will receive more opportunities for success than you could ever anticipate. Hopkins is a family that I hope you’ll consider joining. As I sign off, I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences and viewpoint. I’ve loved answering your questions at Open Houses, responding to posts on the message boards and facebook, and helping to make the college process a little less daunting. I wish everyone luck with applying, getting ready to go to Hopkins, and in the time after graduation when the world begins. I suppose, since this is the last time, I can’t say until next time…so I guess I’ll go with good luck and goodbye!