It feels fitting that this 75th post coincides with the month of April, a time when many of us bloggers turn our attention toward answering one big question: why Hopkins? I’ve written on this three times before as a freshman, sophomore, and junior (and JHU_Molly just posted what I wish I’d had the eloquence to communicate as a freshman in her latest blog), but it’s admittedly an ongoing question; I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had my own doubts on the matter in the past. But for every time that finding an answer has challenged my sense of belonging, I’ve been met with aspects of this school that have caught me off-guard me and changed me for the better—that is to say, the surprise of the unexpected.
I’ll give an unpopular opinion and say that having the foresight to know which college is the “right” choice is a near impossible task. How can you understand what you want in a university and from higher education more broadly when, for so many years, school has been an imposed 7:40am–2:30pm gig and your major exists as a description on a university website? But, as the month of April progresses, the nebulous cloud of college decisions slowly clears and suddenly one decision starts to feel “right.” And you embrace it and finally breathe an overdue sigh of relief.
Like anyone, I had my reasons for picking Hopkins—some of which turned out to be true and some of which were challenged over the course of these past four years. I want to share those reason with you, admitted students, with the understanding that many of these reasons may be different from your own, but for the sake of being as transparent as possible. Hopkins is—put simply—an incredible, life-changing place and, now on the cusp of graduation in little under two months, I know that I made the best choice possible.
“The art history program looks pretty good”
This was probably the biggest understatement I made when looking at Hopkins. The art history department has blown me away with incredible faculty, hands-on experiences, and a solid selection of courses covering post-1960s art. It’s a major that allowed me to spend an entire year abroad studying what I love at the Louvre. Coupled with the unprecedented resources and opportunities of my minor in Museums & Society, I know that I have a comprehensive basis in both theoretical and practical issues within the field. I feel prepared to enter the work force and eventually pursue graduate studies, and that’s more than I could ask for from a simple major-minor combination.
Curating from the shadows
“I’ll be able to take fine art courses at MICA”
While Hopkins has recently established a minor in the visual arts, a major reason that compelled me to apply to Hopkins in the first place was the ability to enroll in courses at the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art. This is very doable. I enrolled in a course for my sophomore fall, was accepted, and ready to go; unfortunately, it can be tricky to fit in a 4-6 hour, once-a-week studio class into a Hopkins schedule and I ended up forgoing the course. Had I really wanted to, I definitely could have made it happen, but for the sake of candor, I never followed through with this plan.
However, the advantages go both ways. I’ve had MICA students in my language courses and, most notably, an art history course on contemporary sculpture. Their contributions to lecture discussions were invaluable and provided a different and compelling point of view. I’ve also been able to benefit from the artistic climate that MICA creates around the city, be it interning with their graduate students in curatorial practice, making friends from the school, or partaking in my go-to monthly art walk, ALLOVERSTREET.
Why you should never agree to go to openings with me
Dealing with the financial aspects behind college decisions can make a fun-filled process quite the opposite experience. However, Hopkins meets 100% of a family’s calculated need (seriously), something that was not true at every school that I applied to. Therefore, Hopkins was initially an affordable option and, most importantly, remained affordable over these last few years.
Just last week I attended a lunch hosted by President Daniels to thank the donors that provide need-based scholarships, and it was amazing to meet those who have made educations like my own not just an option, but the best option. In the Class of 2019 Admitted Students group there have been a few discussions about shelling out for a Hopkins education. To those students, I say read this blog and, to throw my own views into the mix, remember that education is an investment. If Hopkins is feasibly an option, know that it an amazing investment, and the opportunities and experiences that I’ve amassed over these past four years confirm that for me every day.
As the « à louer » sign behind me indicates, I am indeed for rent $
“I think I’ll be able to find my people”
How can I best explain this? Let me start by saying that I love my friends here. They are beyond driven, caring, and adventurous. They put up with my bizarre antics and have been there for me time and time and time again. They have made Hopkins the place that is and are truly my people. However, to be completely honest, it took me a while to find a group that felt right. With many notable and important exceptions, I tend to vibe with the humanities-minded people on campus and, although we make up a sizable chunk of the student population, it took some take for me to carve out my niche. This is completely normal. But as an astounding amount of people feel right at home the minute they step on this campus, it took me some time to do so. It’s not a regret or a complaint but merely a reality. Would this have been different at an art school? Maybe, but being in Baltimore has allowed me to make lifelong friends on-campus and meet incredible people around the city; that has made any moment of non-belonging so much more worth the wait.
Some of the aforementioned people
And some more
“Baltimore seems cool”
This is the second biggest understatement of my decision-making process. Baltimore is dope, sick nasty, and—dare I say it—rad. I love this city. I love the small cafes and the fancy-schmancy restaurants. I love the access to free public transportation. I love the accessible art scene full of daring and visceral work. I love that we have a Shake Shack. I love the bar scene. I love the east coast. I love being by the harbor. I love the fairs. I love the farmer’s markets. I love the music scene. I love being in the country’s original capital. I love the people who are at once warm and full of attitude. I love the vibes and have to conceal my dopey smile and love for this city every time I’m walking around Station North or Mount Vernon en route to do something so unique to this city. So yeah, Baltimore’s pretty cool.
“I’ll find the academic rigor that will allow me to strive”
I was a good student in high school—good, not great—with some broad interests and a specific goal set in stone for myself. Hopkins’ rigor has turned me into an intellectual. Is it a lot at times? Of course, but the hours I’ve put into my work have paid off. I can see it. I see it in my critical thinking, my writing skills, my observational skills, and my work ethic. Hopkins has turned an average-at-best student into an accomplished art historian and independent curator. This school is the real deal and I’ve grown in so many ways thanks to my classes, my professors, and my peers. It will be with a heavy heart that I leave the campus as a student for the very last time in May. To know that my growth at this university will have come to its inevitable conclusion. But I feel ready (albeit a bit anxious) for what’s to come and, at the end of the day, I have the quintessentially Hopkins experience to thank.