As of late, my focus has centered around my calendar like never before. I open up iCal and my eyes graze the month of March. Then I go forward to May with two quick clicks of the mouse and see a date of departure whose existence I still don’t like acknowledging. Six clicks to the left bring me to September, the month when I arrived in France and I realize that, wow, this is really happening. I’m actually here. I press ⌘+T and I’m back to Today; March 10, 2014. It’s unnerving to see each day compartmentalized into its own little box, filled with a list of events and obligations which are then done and over with – on to the next one. My awareness that – at some fixed point – I’ll be leaving Paris has gone from negligible to astute over the last few weeks. From the very beginning I put myself in a mindset that this experience doesn’t have an expiration date, but that way of thinking can’t last forever. Coming to terms with this is, of course, a good thing – with realism comes a certain peace of mind – but seeing these boxes, these singular days, pass by as weeks and as months has me wanting to slow things down.
In my quest for a sense of presentness in this crazy world of iCal, I’ve likewise discovered that I can go back – way back – to the beginning of Hopkins and see what each month; week; day was like.
Freshman fall was incessantly new.
I started my art history and museum studies coursework and quickly realized that a minor in global environmental change actually was not for me. I saw my French skills improving and balanced busy weeks of tests and papers — we’re not talking about the 4-page maximum ones that I had known in high school. I joined SAAB, Relay for Life and the Tutorial Project and started a job at the Baltimore Museum of Art which would come to completely shape my first two years at Hopkins. This particular week I made it to the BMA Late Night, a cool, off-campus trip that really just entailed a quick walk across campus. I met new people, discovered different perspectives, at times doubted myself and even a few choices, but ended the semester feeling, yes, worn-out, but also capable of this new world called college.
Freshman spring I found a stride.
I took the second half of my beloved humanities classes and added on some creative outlets: a class in digital photography and days spent doing crafts with Baltimore elementary students through Art Brigade. I was doing the things I wanted to do with the people I wanted to be with. I was working hard and apparently even had time for a weekend trip to New York. I finished up the year on a high note, finally feeling confident in my decision to attend Hopkins.
Sophomore fall it was time to get serious.
Or so I thought. I added a business minor that I would soon discover simply wasn’t for me. I was working harder – according to this particular week – to the extent that I had to schedule “NAPTIME” into my agenda. More excitingly though, I delved into more specialized classes, added an on-campus job and got an internship that would allow me to spend the semester galavanting around Baltimore and its arts scene. I started seeing the city in new ways and my time at Hopkins changed completely thanks to that new perspective.
Sophomore spring I cracked.
I took far too many classes while my extracurriculars didn’t provide any relief in my constant search for free time. I struggled in some courses and succeeded in others. I absorbed myself in my work and sacrificed many a weekend night just trying to keep my head above the water. I opened an exhibition and secured an internship for the summer, which is to say that the work ultimately paid off, but at this point I was ready to get away, or more aptly-put, abroad.
And now here I am. My calendar is light on classes and filled with travel plans. First semester there was a gallery job, now there’s a stint as a babysitter. There are good days and days that pass as blurs. There was a fall semester where I’ve never been happier, and then the departure of friends whose time here ended in December, and now I have three weeks of class left, wondering what happened between now and then. As I’m on the plane back, I’ll probably be asking myself the same question on an even greater scale.
I can envision a day, now back at Hopkins for my senior year, when I’m sitting in class; my thoughts will drift back to the past six months and the three to come and my mouse will drift towards iCal, opening up the application. I’ll go who-knows-how-many months backwards and look at my time spent in France. I don’t know if I’ll remember every day or every week. Today I played Obélix with a four-year-old and gave an exposé oral on the Relief dit de Domitius Ahenobarbus at the Louvre. Will I remember that?
My hope is to transition into my final year at Hopkins as the student and the person that I want to be. I’ve seen myself change during my first two years at Hopkins and my third year abroad. It can be tough to reconcile a time in your life that exists in a flux – exhausting, even. But I am where I am right now, today, and I can certainly be happy with that.