(You can read my original Why Hopkins post here.)
I was talking to an admitted student today, and she asked me about my favorite thing at Hopkins. It’s undoubtedly the people. They’re what make me excited to go to class, excited to go to a mock trial meeting or tutorial or out to dinner, excited to be here at Hopkins. It’s a network of people that includes people like my professors who show that they care and make extra office hours so that you can stop panicking about your paper, the security guard in the library who does rounds so that she can “check on her babies,” the FFC workers whose smiles make you happy got decided to get up for breakfast, my friends who are constantly there for me, and the people who create an atmosphere that’s welcoming, friendly, and distinctly nerdy and academic at the same time. Here’s what I’d tell myself, c. August 2009.
They’ll pick you up when you fall down. It’s not just literal (although they’ll done that for you too, maybe even post photographic evidence on facebook). They’ll be there for you when you fail a test, or don’t get the internship you wanted, or just have a rough day. They’ll be the ones looking out for you, and make sure you don’t stay down. They’ll be able to tell just from how you say “I’m fine” (even over a text message) if you’re actually fine, or if you’re just pretending you are. You’ll even have professors notice too, and make sure that you’re able to deal with whatever you’re going through.
They’ll let you enjoy being a nerd, but make you have fun as well. They’ll give you that academic atmosphere you looked forward to. They’ll make an environment where you can get excited about what cases the Supreme Court was hearing, or make a chemistry joke, or mention an article you’ve read and have other people know exactly what you’re talking about.
They’ll let you discover that it’s not just all work or all play. It’s a healthy mix of both, and people here will help you remember that. You’ll find somewhere where academics are valued, and where you can get excited and talk about our papers or potential research or your upcoming internship.
They’ll make you wonder how you could have lived without these people for so long, and how you’re going to deal without seeing them on a semi-regular basis after you (or they!) graduate.
They’ll show you how to balance meticulous planning and complete spontaneity. They’ll be the ones urging you to start your giant paper early, and they’ll also be the ones persuading you to take an impromptu study break to do karaoke.
They’ll push you to explore your dreams, and interests. They’ll be your biggest fan and your harshest critic at the same time, and you’ll thank them for it at the end.
They’ll convince you to take a class with them, because they didn’t want to take it alone, and you’ll end up adding a new minor as a result.
They’ll fill your inbox with news articles, restaurant reviews, and funny pictures of kittens, and you’ll do the same to them.
They’ll figure out how to get you home when you miss the collegetown shuttle, and they’ll show you that you don’t need to take a cab to the airport.
They’ll read over applications and cover letters for you at the last minute, and you’ll do the same for them.
They’ll make you a surprise birthday cake and take you out to dinner.
They’ll be the people who you bring you medicine and make you soup when you’re sick.
They’ll share their care packages and notes from class when you’re sick and dresses and hair straighteners and advice and curly fries and umbrellas and memories.
They’ll remind you, on a daily basis, why Hopkins.