I am guessing you probably perceived the title of this blog as depressing. But to me, it really isn’t. I worked extremely hard on an alternative final paper over break (to make up one of my incompletes from last semester). And when I say I worked hard, I mean it. I spent long nights in the library (given it closed at midnight during Intersession-but you can only imagine how empty it was), read entire books for the essay, and learned about population theories that I had no idea about before I started. You could imagine how relieved I was when I turned the paper in (or rather, e-mailed it in)…and you could definitely imagine how happy I was when I returned the 15 books I had taken out for it. Believe me, Malthus and I bonded over break, but eventually we had had enough of each other and decided to break things up.Although, he is pretty good looking (see picture on the right).
Then I rescheduled my last final from last semester for today, January, 26th at 8-11 am. If you look at the academic calendar you would know that this is the beginning of Spring term…far from the end of finals period. However, I wanted the weekend to study for it and so I decided today would be best. It wasn’t the easiest of tests. The questions were broad–basically asking me for my interpretation of the main concepts of the course–and for what I think famous people’s reactions would be to it. I took the test on the 15th floor of the Dell House, in a room of an apartment that had turned storage room. (Because Gilman Hall is closed, the Humanities Department has moved into ex-apartments in the Dell House, an apartment complex). Sure, there was no clock (a slight problem when trying to manage time) and I was next to a kitchen, but it’s done. And I will admit, that it was nice to not have a class full of students taking the same exam. I finished the final at 10:36 am, in time to walk back to the Homewood campus for my 11 am class, my first class of the new semester.
So with that, one semester ended for me and another began. It sounds depressing, but it actually isn’t. Sure, I didn’t go on a cruise, or to Israel, or to India (as other bloggers did), but I still personally feel so satisfied with my break. I taught myself about a new subject area–population theories. A topic that intersects with health and environment (two of my favorite subjects). I became closer with Roxi (who has been in the library studying for the MCATS 24/7). I also took a really interesting 1 credit class called “Medicine, Media, Markets and Motherhood: Health and Infant Feeding in America” and realized how extensive the breastfeeding disparities are not only within the United States, but comparatively to the rest of the world. On Friday, I went to DC with Matt to go to the Newseum–a place I have been eager to go to for a while. I worked at the School of Public Heath (not as much as I had hoped, but still…). And, of course, I watched our next president being sworn in.
So, it doesn’t sound like the greatest of breaks, but that really doesn’t matter to me right now. There really wasn’t much complaining on my end and I got through it knowing that it was worth the benefits–seeing my grandpa on one of his last days of life and being able to mourn without a pile of work on my shoulders. Additionally, I am more optimistic than usual today. I am personally proud of myself for getting through a paper that I thought I couldn’t, for exceeding my own academic expectations in terms of my grades from last semester. For being able to complete a final (and remembering so much of the material) that others took nearly six weeks before. I am also beginning to become excited for the summer internships I am applying to. I also have been grateful for Hopkins; for understanding that I needed these extensions and for getting me interested in a field that a love. My only complaint about my major is that there aren’t enough classes to take (on the social sciences track) that are directly related to public health.
I am looking ahead. I refuse to get stuck in a sophomore slump. Sure, I miss my grandfather more than many people probably can tell, but somehow the new picture additions to my room (pictures of my grandfather) have become inspiring for me. My grandpa was an intelligent man with a love of learning. I am getting excited for what I will learn about next. Today I went to three classes (I go “shopping” during the first week of classes before I decide what I want to take). For the first time, I actually enjoyed all three classes I went to. I now have no idea what I am going to end up taking (and how I am going to find time to go to work), but right now I am simply excited about learning. I am excited for picking a country to study abroad in next year and I am excited for creating summer plans. And I am excited for my birthday weekend in less than two weeks!
At lunch today I got asked, “How was your twenty minute winter break?” I laughed, but it actually feels great knowing that finals won’t be on the horizon for another three months. (And that I am not Roxi studying for the MCATS in the library right now).