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Month: February 2016

Brody by Level

Brody by Level

Brody by Level

Now that my second semester at Hopkins is well underway, I’ve realized that I’m spending a lot more time in the library this semester than I did last semester. Of course this makes sense to some degree because my grades are no longer covered, and so I need to work a lot harder. However, I think it’s gotten to the point where I’m in the library more than I’m in my own room. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m taking 17 credits, working a job, doing research, interning, and am involved in like five additional clubs. Even though having so many time commitments is no walk in the park, my involvement in each has already been very rewarding and I cannot imagine how much I’ll learn from them in the years to come.

For those that don’t know, the Hopkins library system is made up of both the Milton S. Eisenhower Library (MSE) and Brody Learning Commons (Brody). To makes things easy, for the rest of this blog I’ll be referring to them both as “Brody”. In fact, because both buildings are connected underground, students just call them “Brody” as well. At Hopkins, most freshman study and do their homework in Brody. That’s because it has a very collaborative atmosphere and allows spaces for students to not only work alone quietly, but also in groups where things can get a little noisy. Upperclassmen, especially those who live off campus, tend to work in their apartments or houses because they are usually pretty spacious (especially compared to the AMRs). Since I spend so much time in the library, I thought it would be interesting for me to share how where I sit in Brody correlates with the work I’m doing.


Brody atrium is always “lit” for lack of a better word. Whether its 12 p.m. and you stop by in between classes or its 2 a.m. and you’re heading back to your dorm, you will always see someone you know working in the atrium. For me, regardless of what floor I start working on on a given day, I will always somehow end up in the atrium. Sometimes I end up here because I need a break from my work, but other times (more times than I’d like to admit) it’s because it’s past 3 a.m. (when MSE closes) and security is pushing me over to the Learning Commons section which fortunately is open 24/7. The atrium also has many comfy couches and small tables for group studying. I have yet to decide whether or not the comfy couches are a good thing; they might actually be too comfy. Some nights, I’ve fallen asleep on them and have woken up a couple hours later only to realize that I hadn’t gotten any work done.

Q/M Levels

Q and M levels are in fact two separate levels. If you enter Brody from the side of the Gilman Quad, you start off on Q level, and the floor right underneath is M level. The reason I’m writing about them together is because I don’t know that much about them simply because I’m barely ever on them. However, I’ve noticed that these floors tend to be the noisiest, and that there are always small groups sitting around a table either working on a group project or chatting with each other. I honestly think that during my one and a half semesters at Hopkins, I’ve probably studied on Q and M levels like once (if even) and I don’t really have a good reason for why this is so. I have friends who study on these levels and they’ve never had any complaints, so studying here is something I’ll probably be doing a lot more of in the coming weeks.

A Level

A level is set up with long sets of tables; so, it’s perfect for group work, but not that conducive to solo study sessions. A majority of my friends (especially upperclassmen) study on A level. I think that a student’s productivity on A level directly correlates with who they are sitting around and also what time of the day it is. If you sit around your friends and are not all working on the same assignment, there is a good chance that you will all get distracted (I know I do). Also during the evening, A level tends to get really noisy because it’s so crowded and this makes it hard to concentrate. As it gets later into the night, many people leave and it becomes a lot easier to do work. I’d say after 12 a.m. is when you can find me on A level (assuming I don’t have too much work to do or am not studying for a midterm/final).

B Level

I think B level is where Brody transitions from a place for collaborative homework sessions to a zone for serious studying. This is because B level mostly filled with individual desks (sort of like cubicles) for people to setup all of their work and then stay in the same spot for hours on end. When I’m doing my homework, whether it’s a problem set for Physics or a writing assignment for Introduction to Business you will definitely find me on A level. After my classes end for the day, I usually find a desk (close but not too close to my friends) and take control of it for the rest of the night. It’s interesting because as time passes, I notice that my desk gets covered in coffee cups from my frequent runs to Brody café.

C Level

During my first semester, I was rarely on C level. However, this semester I’ve realized that C level is a great place for me to be when I’m studying for a midterm. C level tends to be a lot quieter than B level, and this is perfect for when I’m trying to teach myself a new concept the night before an exam. As I write this blog, I’m actually sitting on C level simultaneously studying for my Introduction to Business midterm which is coming up on a couple days. Wish me luck!

D Level

Honestly, D level scares me a little. It’s extremely quiet, usually empty, and an AT&T dead zone (probably because it so far underground). It is so quiet that I’ve gotten angry looks from D level studiers when I open my backpack too noisily or even drop my pencil. I’ve been to D level like twice, and this was only because it was finals week and the rest of the library was full (I literally looked everywhere before coming to D). In seriousness, D level is the place to be if you are really looking for some alone/quiet time.

All around Brody there are state-of-the-art glass study pods and rooms that can be reserved. These pods have 360 degree writable surfaces and are equipped with modern screen projection software. My first semester especially, I took advantage of these pods and reserved them for hours on end. I have since then come to realize that maybe group studying is not for me, especially when my friends and I are all studying for exams in different classes. Next time you’re in Body make sure to stop by and say hi!


How 2: Physics 2

How 2: Physics 2

Whether or not you go to Hopkins, there is a good chance you’ve taken or will have to take two semesters of physics. It’s a requirement for many majors and highly recommended for pre-medical students. However, if you’re reading this and you’re a high school student, I’d highly recommend taking (and of course doing well on) the AP exam in both Physics Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism. Getting double 5’s just may come in handy once you’re in college. To those that did and placed out of both Physics 1 and 2 – I envy you.

In this blog post, I’m going to be talking about the three biggest tips I have for getting through and doing well in Physics 2. While Physics 2 is by no means one of the most difficult classes offered at Hopkins, the amount of work it takes is often underestimated by students – especially freshmen. So help me, help you, beat the system.

1) Actively watch pre-lectures

I say this with an emphasis on “ACTIVELY”. For those who don’t know, pre-lecture assignments are universities’ way of exposing students to physics subject matter before they come to class. It piggy backs on the reverse classroom initiative, where students are initially exposed to material at home and then their knowledge of that material is furthered during class. Most of the time the pre lecture is a set of videos – each explaining a particular concept. These assignments are helpful IF you actually take notes while watching the videos. During my first semester, when I was in Physics 1 and grades were covered, I found that I could get by by simply listening to the videos. However, when I tried doing that this semester for Physics 2, I realized that boy I was wrong. Not only is the material more difficult this semester, I also hold myself to a higher standard now that grades actually count now. Yipee!giphy

2) Don’t sit next to your buddies during lecture

Even though it is extremely tempting to pop a squat next to your best buds in class, I’ve found that there is a negative correlation between how close you are with the people you are sitting next to and the amount of information you learn during a lecture. When I sit next to my friends, it doesn’t take much for me to lose my focus. In seconds I’ve gone from attentively listening to a lecture about electric fields and Gauss’s Law to having a Facebook Poke war with my friends sitting next to me. All of that is not to say that you can’t learn sitting next your friends. In fact, if you’re sitting next to someone you know, you can consult with them if you’re struggling with a concept. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll try to sit away from your friends for a couple of classes and then use the fact that you can ask them for help if you’re sitting next to them to justify to yourself why you’re sitting with them again.

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3. Don’t fall behind

Unfortunately, falling behind is easier than catching up. This is true not only for physics, but also for any cumulative class. By cumulative I’m referring to any class where every new topic assumes your understanding of the previous material. Surprisingly, I’ve found that whenever I’ve fallen behind in a class it’s because I’d thought I was doing well. For instance, on my first midterm this semester in physics, I did pretty well (at least compared to the average lol). I had worked really hard for this, but shortly after I received my grade I stopped putting in nearly as much effort. Luckily, I caught myself and have been spending more time on the weekends trying to learn all the information I may have missed from passively watching pre lectures or by fooling around during class. Let me tell ya, catching up is not fun – especially when you’re in a bunch of other class that demand a certain time commitment every week. In fact, it may even be beneficial to get ahead of your class. However, this is better said than done.giphy (3)

I’d say that these are the three biggest tips I have for getting through a semester of physics. Obviously, there are other measures you can take to do well in the class – take good notes, highlight information in your textbook, maybe even go to your professors’ office hours. But I’m sure you already knew that. Even though it may seem that the people who do well in physics are geniuses, there is a good chance that they aren’t – they probably just know how to study (and have read this blog post ;)). These tips work for me, and trust me I’m no genius.

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