I remember back in middle school when we had our first “relationships” and “break-ups,” girls started posting this on their AIM profiles or away messages: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” As a pre-teen sobbing over an online break-up, this seems like the single most sage piece of advice ever given. As I got a bit older and would see this pop up in places, I rolled my eyes (partly because of its association with silly middle school antics, but also because it just sounds melodramatic).
However, every time I found myself at some sort of crossroads or goodbye, this stupid little saying popped into my head. No matter how annoying I find it to be, it is cliché for a reason – because it’s true in a sense. Now, I’m not going to say that this is something to live by, because it’s obviously not. The countless times over the past few weeks (and right now) that I found myself on the brink of sadness over the upcoming goodbyes – after trying my hardest to keep it under control and failing miserably every time – I just let it happen. Yes, I’m sad, but it’s because I’ve had the most wonderful four years that positively flew by.
I’ve done a lot of things to prepare for writing this entry: procrastinated, looked through old pictures, re-read my first blog entry, cried a little bit more, and started several drafts. Perhaps the biggest one was participating in commencement – though I finished my studies and had my degree conferred in December, I wanted to be there with the classmates I met during freshman orientation (some of whom I hadn’t seen since) and hoped to get a feeling of closure. However, as I sit here now, forcing myself to get through this most-bittersweet task, I’m feeling like that sought-after sense of closure is going to be more of an ongoing process. (Translation: I’m crying again).
And so, dearest readers, I’m going to use you – one last time – in a way I so often have over these last four years: to put my thoughts into words and share them with the world in hopes that it will bring closure. To be clear, it’s not that I’m looking to put my Johns Hopkins memories into some little mental box and store it away forever (although, physically, I will have a Johns Hopkins box with some of my trinkets from over the years). My relationship with Johns Hopkins – the university and the people – will not be over just because I leave Baltimore and move on to another university.
To put it briefly, my time at Johns Hopkins has been nothing short of amazing. It has literally amazed me, both in the moment of each experience and now as I reflect back on them. I never (ever) could have expected to graduate from Johns Hopkins as an entirely different person than I entered. I think the best way to reflect on my experience is to thank those who have made it what it was.
And so, bear with me for one last list – this time, a thank you to:
My friends. Whether we met during orientation and didn’t speak after intersession of freshman year or we met later on and have been friends ever since, you are the obvious, and first, to whom I owe thanks. To my small group of closest friends, my SAAB friends, my fellow-student-worker friends, my friends from class, my friends of other friends, my boyfriend, and everyone else in between – thank you for the fun, for thinking I’m the “mature one,” for humoring me with my experimental recipes, thank you for running errands with me, thank you for the advice, and thank you for whatever our relationship is. I honestly believe that every single person I’ve met at Hopkins has affected me in some way or another.
My “co-workers.” I worked in Mason Hall for the past five-ish months as an intern, giving information sessions and helping with the regular decision application cycle. Though I was just an intern, I felt like I was part of the “team” at Mason Hall. Thank you to the admissions staff for such an incredible experience. Thank you to Admissions_Shannon for forcing me out from behind the podium and thank you to Admissions_Daniel for making all of this happen.
My advisors and mentors. I’ve changed my mind a lot since starting as a pre-med freshman, and I’ve seen a lot of academic advisors. Starting as a freshman, with my freshman advisor, then my chemistry advisor after declaring that major, then a pre-med advisor, then a public health advisor, then a pre-law advisor – there has been a lot of advising to get me to this point. Thank you for putting up with my dead-set indecisiveness. Outside of the advising programs, Dean Sheppard, Associate Dean of Student Life, served as a mentor to the Ethics Board and gave me the opportunity to chair the board – a heavy responsibility that has made me a more empathetic (and assertive) person. And of course, Admissions_Daniel, before you were even my boss you told me about your experiences and encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities at Hopkins. You also gave me the best closing line ever, and thank you for everything (again). Thank you also to my aunt – you’re not at Hopkins, but you were there along the way for little notes and pick-me-ups throughout the whole experience, always an encouragement.
Mom and Dad. I wouldn’t have had any of these opportunities if not for your generosity and sacrifice. Despite the heavy burden, you made my Johns Hopkins dreams into a reality and you are the reason I have that diploma on your wall at home. You challenged me when I wanted to switch tracks completely, and then supported me when I promised it was for the best. Thank you for everything you have done for me.
My readers. While most of you probably fall into one of the categories above, you deserve a special thank you. If not for this blog, I wouldn’t have been so introspective throughout the past four years and wouldn’t have forced myself to put my often-jumbled thoughts into words. Also, how cool is it that I have a “journal” of my college years? (Very cool).
Now that I’ve finished what could be an Oscar acceptance speech, I’m back to thinking about this idea of closure. Maybe it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. As I said, I’m not looking to file away the memories – all I can really ask for is to be content with the experience I’ve had. I’ve made plenty of mistakes (such as taking Microeconomics in the first place and then not opting for the S/U option) and it’s easy to wish I had spent just a few more hours studying in hopes of a slightly higher grade (I graduated without ever pulling an all-nighter). It’s easy to regret not taking advantage of even more opportunities – maybe I should’ve stuck with that ballet class, run for student government, or tried debate. But, as I so often say, it is what it is. My Johns Hopkins experience is just that – it’s mine. And that, my dears, makes me content.
Johns Hopkins will always have a huge place in my life and I owe everything to this university for making me into who I’ve become. Though it’s time to say goodbye, it certainly won’t be for long. I will remember fondly the four years I spent here and the people who have been a part of it. Look out, law school; I’ve got some big expectations of you.
And now, we move on.