Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020


August 18, 2017
by Jack G.

Going for Three

There were many, many reasons why I chose Hopkins, but I still remember the four words spoken during my campus visit that piqued my interest most on that sunny day in late May 2015:

No General Education Requirements.

Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a Renaissance man when it comes to studies, but AP Chem. and AP English Lit. were enough chemistry and English for me; I was not looking forward to slaving through Chemistry or English 101. Every school I visited touted their “flexible curricula”, and compared to the old-school notions of gen. ed. requirements, flexible curricula they were. Nevertheless, they all had their quirks. All except one: Johns Hopkins.

And while this policy was but one positive in a sea of them when I applied, one year in, it’s become the defining feature of Hopkins for me.

Here are our non-major specific graduation requirements:

  • 9 credits in humanities courses
  • 9 credits in social sciences courses
  • 9 credits in science/math/engineering courses
  • 12 credits in writing-intensive courses

That’s it.

One thing you notice at Hopkins is that if you ask someone their major, they’ll often respond with more than one. These lax distribution requirements cultivate that. After being accepted into Hopkins, I looked at the requirements for some other majors, and saw that a math major only requires 4 additional courses than I was already going to take while completing my physics degree. (this is apparently realized by most of the physics department; it seems like at bare minimum 2/3 of physics majors pursue a double major with math, applied math, or comp. sci.)

So I was now a double major, but completing these two majors only required 66 credits. What was I to do with the other half of my college curriculum?

I have always had a bit of a fascination with ancient Greece and Rome. Perhaps due to the many hours I sunk into Civilization III as a kid, perhaps due to Discovery Channel. So I dived into the classics department, and took two semesters of Latin my freshman year. And I binge-listened to the History of Rome and History of Byzantium podcasts. And I subscribed to multiple Roman battle history YouTube channels.

And I began to feel similar when learning Roman history as when I first dived into Physics five years ago.

And thus Classics was added as a potential major. Thanks to Hopkins’s curriculum, I can complete all three majors and the distribution requirements while averaging only 16 credits/semester.

How many other schools can say that?


August 17, 2017
by Jonah K.

17 Tips for O-Week 2017

Well, here we are. After a long summer away from school, Orientation Week, or O-week, is nearly upon us. For an incoming first-year student, that should be exciting news – but it can also be a bit daunting. What is O-week like? What do you do during it? How can you make the most of it? With those concerns in mind, I put together a little list of – you guessed it – 17 tips for O-week 2017, with the hope that they will prove helpful (and, ideally, entertaining), to any incoming first-year student who stumbles upon them. Enjoy!

1. It’s gonna be hot, yo.

And I don’t mean hot as in lit or poppin’, I mean hot as in the temperature kind.

2. And humid

If you’re from the East Coast or the South, you probably already have some idea of the ungodly humidity that awaits you in Baltimore. If you’re from the West Coast (represent), though, or anywhere else where walking outside during the summer doesn’t feel like slogging through a sauna with your clothes on, you’re in for a treat.

3. With that in mind, don’t wear your best shirts outside during the day for the first month or so.

If you sweat even an average amount, your prized concert tees will become your prized concert towels. If you don’t usually sweat, you will.

This is a bitmoji I used in my first ever blog - about how hot it was at Hopkins

This is a bitmoji I used in my first ever blog –                    about how hot it was at Hopkins

4. Also, stay hydrated

Yeah, that too.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask O-week volunteers for help!

O-week volunteers don’t get paid to be there (that’s why their called volunteers) – they’re there because they want to meet you and want to help you. If you have questions about move-in, scheduling, logistics, or anything else under the (very strong) sun, ask them! Even if you don’t have a question and just want to chat, O-week volunteers are at your service.

6. Check out the O-week events calendar (and then go to some events).

Take advantage of what O-week has to offer! For a personal example, last year I went to Rec-center night during O-week to play dodgeball and basketball, and had a blast. I also met a few people that turned out to be good friends of mine (even after I hit them in the face with a rubber ball).

7. Start thinking of ice-breaker responses now, like right now.

  • Two truths and a lie: I have an entirely fake front tooth, I am deathly afraid of both prairies and dogs – but not prairie dogs, I cannot sit cross-legged. Now guess.
  • If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be? Immersion blender, easy.

Trust me, you’ll need them.


  Ok, not this kind of ice-breaker, but you get the idea.

8. Get some sleep, please.

You’re going to be out in the sun all day, running from place to place, and doing activities – you’ll need to be well rested. A good eight hours will also help you avoid the dreaded Freshman Plague (although to be real, you’ll probably still get it at some point).

9. Wear dark shorts/skirts/dresses/pants (but probably not pants) during O-week.

This sounds like an odd point, but stay with me. There will be a lot of sitting on the ground during O-week, usually in circles. Ground means dirt, and dirt means stains on your butt, and light colored clothing means even more pronounced stains on your butt. Wear dark clothing to avoid this whole situation.

10. Carry a map with you.

You will get lost (repeatedly) during O-week, and most likely throughout your first month on campus, so a map is vital. You can get one on your phone, or carry around a paper version to be cool and retro. If you’re like me, it will also be vital for the following two months, and probably still useful entering sophomore year.


                                                                                       Here ya go

11. Talk to upperclassmen.

When you do get lost, and don’t feel like pulling out your map, ask somebody who looks like they know where they’re going for directions. I can virtually guarantee you they’ll be friendly, and will usually throw in a good fact or tip for you (if these seventeen aren’t enough). You can, and should, also ask upperclassmen about anything that’s on your mind, be it related to classes, dorm life, extracurriculars, or what have you. You’ll find that people at Hopkins are super helpful – and its always good to have friends who’ve been in your shoes before to help you out if you ever need it.

12. Go to the student involvement fair.

This actually takes place a week or so after O-week – September 8th, from 2-5 PM to be exact – but it’s a really great way to familiarize yourself with campus life, and get involved with some awesome groups and clubs. You don’t want to miss this.

13. Take a trip outside of your comfort zone.

There will be numerous opportunities and events throughout O-week and beyond that might not seem up your alley at first glance. Rocky Horror Picture Show – what’s that? A bunch of people standing on the beach playing corn-hole – seems weird. Fight that initial instinct and try things that you might not normally be inclined to try. I’m not saying that you have to force yourself to jump at every opportunity that comes your way, even if you know you’ll hate it, but if you were planning to sit at your desk and watch YouTube for an hour and a newfound friend invites you to try out the rock-climbing wall at the gym, you owe it to yourself to harness-up.

14. Also take a trip to the Charmery.

The Charmery is an ice-cream shop in Hampden, a neighborhood that’s just a lovely 15 minute walk from campus. They serve completely amazing ice-cream, and you should definitely try it out.



15. Then take a deep breath.

O-week can get a bit hectic at times, with constantly moving from activity to activity and session to session, meeting a ton of new people, not getting enough sleep (I know you won’t listen to number eight), and adjusting to an entirely new home and lifestyle. At some point, it will be important to take a step back, breathe, and take it all in. Do your best to appreciate and embrace the hustle and bustle, and try to not let it stress you out. Realize that the craziness won’t last forever, and you’ll get in the swing of things before you know it. 

16. O-week does not determine your year.

If things don’t necessarily go as you expected during O-week, don’t fret; who you are during O-week almost definitely won’t be who you are during the rest of the year, and beyond. You’ll befriend people you didn’t even know existed for the first few weeks, get involved in clubs you never heard about, and find a level of comfort on campus you didn’t think possible. That being said, O-week can be – and usually is – a great time, so…

17. Have fun!

O-week provides a unique opportunity to meet your fellow Blue-Jays and experience the Hopkins community, without any of the work that comes once classes start. If you take advantage of the opportunity provided to you, it can be a truly awesome experience that you’ll never forget. You only get to do O-week once, so live it up while you can!


August 16, 2017
by Katie D.

Island in the Sun

So Florida is the state where the rest of the nation goes to visit, or retire, depending on how long their stay is. But where do us natives go to get away? The secret is that the best beaches are really on the opposite side of the state from where most tourists would think. Even though I live on the East Coast, I have always been partial to the Gulf Coast Beaches. It’s like a Florida vacations for Floridians themselves. It’s a way to escape, with calmer beaches, softer sand, and less tourists.


For our family, going to the West Coast of Florida is an annual pilgrimage to soak up the sun, collect shells , and to relax completely. On the way there though, you can experience all different aspects of the Floridian landscape on a fabulous 3 hour road trip around Lake Okeechobee. The middle of the state surprisingly resembles the middle of America with cows scattering the landscape for miles, large sugar cane fields, and unending country roads. Without the occasional orange grove, random palm trees, and view of the shrinking Everglades, for most, this side of Florida is unrecognizable. For me, I only see it passing by, but it is a way to really understand what the state really is and a way to see everything that Florida is.

We stay at the same resort every single year, known as Palm Island. For me it is a place that is embedded into my childhood. I have so many memories of playing on the beach, building sandcastles, and riding golf carts on mini-adventures, pretending to be explorers with my sister and cousins. Now it is a place to completely unwind, to read good books on the beach, to laugh and catch up with those same cousins. We’ll make dinner together and play very competitive games of pictionary together and finish 5000 piece puzzles together.


The only bad thing about a Cuban family vacationing on the West Coast is the combination of our already stereotypical tardiness with the concept of ‘island time’. Nothing is ever done when we say it will be. We will be on time for absolutely nothing. The good thing is that we aren’t on a schedule (Thank God). That’s the great thing about taking a break, you get to abide by only your own time table. You are able to create your own agenda for the day and really take your time with everything, and really enjoy everything. It helps us to learn how to slow down and how to be grateful for all the little moments we get to experience.

Now with a refreshing break from the normal routine and a great tan I’m more than ready to go back to Hopkins for Sophomore year, and appreciate every single moment of it.


August 15, 2017
by Alyssa W.

1000 Sandwiches

On Monday, August 7, CCO, the company I’m interning for, held it’s first ever Sandwich-a-Thon. For one hour, all the employees went down to the conference room and worked in teams to make as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (and bags of trail mix) as possible, all to be donated to D.C.-based nonprofit Martha’s Table.

One of the several community service events the company holds each year, the Sandwich-a-Thon was planned from inception by my coworker Kelly and I, with some help from several other employees. I learned just how much work it is to plan and coordinate a company-wide event, from drafting flyers and emails to making a supply list to coming up with fun PB&J facts (the first written recipe for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeared in 1901, in case you were interested). I learned how to deal with unexpected bumps in the road, like sudden family emergencies and the fact that it was pouring rain on the day of the event.

By the end of the hour, we had made almost 1000 sandwiches and 200 bags of trail mix. A few other coworkers and I loaded everything into cars and drove to D.C. to deliver them. The sandwiches will be delivered to D.C.-area people and families in need, especially kids who usually rely on free school lunches and have a harder time finding food during the summer. We also donated all our leftover unopened containers of bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Even though CCO isn’t a non-profit and not primarily focused on community service, it felt good knowing that all those weeks of coordinating every last detail would pay off by providing hundreds of people with a much-needed meal.

On the way back to the office, we stopped for coffee and watched the rain fall outside the window. It gave me time to reflect on everything I’ve accomplished this summer, and how this experience has changed me. There were definitely times this summer when I felt the full brunt of the daily grind, when I was assigned a particularly tedious task and found myself counting the minutes till 5 pm. There were times I missed my Hopkins friends desperately, and wanted nothing more than to move back to Baltimore. But this summer has had some great moments too–I’ve gained some incredible new skills and experience, in a field I hope to make a career in. I’ve gotten to exercise my creativity and ingenuity. I felt like a real adult, traveling by myself to visit people in D.C. and Baltimore on the weekends, and going to happy hour on weeknights (for the food). I’ve learned how to spend time alone and genuinely enjoy it. I even got a new job I’ll be starting this semester, at a small business in Hampden.

Now that it’s almost over, it feels like summer flew by before I even had time to register it. But I can genuinely say I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished over the past few months, and I have a really good feeling about the coming year.


August 12, 2017
by Lauren P.

Dorm Do’s and Don’ts

Some of my fondest memories of the summer before I came to Hopkins are the hours I spent meticulously planning out my freshman dorm decor. I can’t say how many times my mom and I walked through Target looking at different storage options, decorative pillows, and some unnecessary but completely necessary paperweight. In hindsight, I brought a lot of unnecessary things with me (printer, bulletin board, vacuum cleaner, a gold french bulldog tape dispenser, 10,000 pens/pencils/notebooks, shoes I never wore, an over the door towel hanger thing), and feel I have a bit more wisdom going in to sophomore year. So, whether you are an incoming freshman or a prospective student with a few more years to go, I hope this do and don’t list will get you excited for college life, while also making your life a bit easier once you get there. I spent my freshman year in a suite in Wolman, but most of these tips are applicable to any dorm. Also, these are tailored to my personal experience, so take everything with a grain of salt, and do what you think will work for you!

Do bring command strips. You’ll need them, and if you use them right they don’t rip the paint off the walls which is more important than you’d think.

Don’t bring (or at least use on the walls) tape that has the slightest chance of removing paint. Painters tape is a good call.

Do bring a ton of pictures from home. In college, you’re moving into an environment full of new people and new experiences, and though you should take full advantage of what is around you, it is nice to bring a bit of home with you. I find it also serves as a reminder to check in with friends from home every once in a while. Plus, you’ll get to see your gallery grow over the years, and I’m already picking out memories from my freshman year to get printed.

17637218_1355226791182902_7384641253496991927_o   Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.55.35 AM






Don’t bring an excess of decorative pillows if you aren’t going to make your bed every morning. Yes, they are cute, but I learned a long time ago that I personally don’t believe in a perfectly made bed, and learned about a week into my freshman year that a ton of pillows just get in the way. If you have more self discipline than me, go for it.

Do bring a mattress pad. I never had to sleep directly on the dorm provided mattress, so I can’t attest to its intrinsic comfort, but I do know that I am a very light sleeper, and my Tempurpedic mattress is the most comfortable thing on the planet. It’s more comfortable than my bed at home.

Don’t bring a printer. At least in Wolman, and I’m sure in other dorms, we have a printer room downstairs, and there are printers in the library, so I never really used the printer I brought with me to school. It was loud, large, and ran out of ink very quickly. Printing on the school printers is very cheap, and in my opinion much easier than worrying about waking up your roommate or trying to order new printer ink.

Do coordinate what you are bringing with your roommates/suitemates. Especially if you are in a suite, there are a lot of things you’ll end up sharing, like bathroom storage, kitchen utensils, microwaves, cleaning supplies, etc. It is much easier to split up the responsibility of bringing these of things early than having everyone show up on move in day with four bathroom rugs.

Don’t bring a closet full of clothes you rarely wear at home… but

Do bring as much as you think you’ll really need. I had heard stories of people bringing too many clothes to school, and I may have been a bit stingy bringing clothes to school as a result. In reality, the closet and drawers provided by the school gave me plenty of room, so don’t worry about not being able to fit all of your stuff (within reason).

Don’t bring your own vacuum cleaner. The dorms have vacuums you can borrow free of charge, and though my cheap $20 vacuum worked perfectly the first couple of uses, it broke pretty quickly into the year. Using the dorm vacuum was much easier and reliable.

Do bring whatever you need to make your dorm feel like home. Whether this means a ton of blankets, string lights, or your favorite stuffed animal, remember that your dorm will be your home for the year, and it should most definitely be a happy place.



July 21, 2017
by Jack G.
Comments Off on Guide to Intro Math and Physics

Guide to Intro Math and Physics

If there’s one thing that Hopkins certainly doesn’t lack, it’s introductory Math and Physics courses. There are multiple levels of every class from Calculus I to Differential Equations, some focused on biology applications, some on engineering, and some Honors level courses where you dive deep into the pure math.

And math has nothing on physics: there are four levels to General Physics I & II. Yes, four entirely separate tracks for learning classical Mechanics and Electromagnetism.

Seeing entire pages of just introductory physics on SIS can be a bit daunting, so I hope this guide can help choose the best class for you.

yes, this is just calc I and II

yes, this is just calc I and II


There are four levels of general physics:

  • (AS.171.101-102) General Physics I & II for Physical Science Majors
  • (AS.171.103-104) General Physics I & II for Biological Science Majors
  • (AS.171.107-108) General Physics I & II for Physical Science Majors Active Learning
  • (AS.171.105-106) Classical Mechanics I & Electricity and Magnetism I

Obviously, based just on the names, one can guess that the target group is a bit different for each class.

AS.171.101-102 and 107-108 are targeted to pretty much everyone who isn’t a Biology/BME/ChemBE major (or any of the other 100 biology-infused majors we seem to have at Hopkins) or a Physics major. These classes are going to cover your standard general physics content, from kinematics and Newton’s laws to basic orbital mechanics and mechanical waves in the first semester, and from electrostatics to optics in the second. 107-108 is the active learning variant, where information is presented via guided problem solving rather than your typical lecture style.

AS.171.103-104 are targeted to anyone majoring in a biological science. You’ll still have a rather standard physics curriculum, but with an infusion of biology applications, e.g. discussing fluid dynamics’ application to the flow of blood in the circulatory system.

AS.171-105-106 are designed especially for physics majors. We dive deeper into the content, and as is standard in physics departments worldwide, jokes about biology and engineering being inferior will be made weekly. Since we have entire courses on Thermodynamics, Optics, etc., we focus more on the fundamentals. For example, we didn’t touch the topic of fluid dynamics in Classical Mechanics last fall, but the other general physics courses certainly did.

Another option for physics majors who scored a 4/5 on both AP Physics C exams is to skip the first year of physics altogether, and go straight to Special Relativity. I really wouldn’t recommend this unless you had a world-class physics education in high school. If your high school physics taught in detail how to solve mechanics problems using the theory around first and second order differential equations, vector calculus, and basic wave mechanics, then I’d consider this. However, getting a taste for Hopkins-level physics before diving into Einstein’s theory is probably a good idea.

What class should I take?


intro physics flow chart

pdf link


There are many courses in the intro math track:

  • (AS.110.105) Introduction to Calculus
  • (AS.110.106-107) Calculus I/II for Biological and Social Sciences
  • (AS.110.108-109) Calculus I/II for Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • (AS.110.113) Honors One Variable Calculus
  • (AS.110.201) Linear Algebra
  • (AS.110.212) Honors Linear Algebra
  • (AS.110.202) Calculus III
  • (AS.110.211) Honors Multivariable Calculus
  • (AS.110.302) Differential Equations

Introduction to Calculus reviews topics generally covered in high school Algebra II and/or Pre-Calculus classes. If you’re not confident in your knowledge of algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, and functions, this course will sure up the foundation before you start calculus.

Calculus I/II for Biological and Social Sciences are targeted to biology and social science majors. Since many students in these majors are unlikely to take more than 3 or 4 semesters of math, this track is a bit more all-encompassing, and will give a basic level understanding for a broader reach of subjects. Additionally, applications to bio/social sciences will be covered, e.g. probability topics in clinical trials.

Calculus I/II for Physical Sciences and Engineering are the “default” calculus courses. They cover everything in the standard single variable calculus curriculum: limits, derivatives, integrals, and Taylor series.

Honors One Variable Calculus is intended for students with a strong ability in math, who want to learn single variable calculus in a more theoretical complex. While not proof-based like, say, Honors Linear Algebra, proofs will be presented. If you hated those 10 minutes your teacher might have spent talking about the delta-epsilon formal definition of a limit, then this class is not for you, as you will spend hours calculating limits using this rigorous process.

Linear Algebra is all about the theory behind vectors and matrices. It’s highly applicable to computer science and programming, but also serves as a basis (pun intended) for Vector Calculus and Differential Equations.

Honors Linear Algebra covers everything regular Linear Algebra does, but delves further into the theorems and proofs underlying the algorithms and methods you learn in regular LinAlg. This is the first proof-based course that most math majors take, so it’s a good training course for the advanced proofs you see in Advanced Algebra, Real Analysis, and other 400 level mathematics courses.

Calculus III consists of extending everything you learned in Calculus I to 3-dimensional space. Since we live in 3 spatial dimensions, this is obviously very important for pretty much every single major that deals with modelling the real world, from Comp. Sci. to MechE to Physics.

Honors Multivariable Calculus is (was?) a course that approaches Calc III topics more theoretically. I took this course last fall, and while it was incredibly interesting, I found that generalizing to n-dimensional space and learning everything from this general sense took away time from really nailing down my 3-dimensional knowledge. I heard speculation that the math department was no longer going to offer the course, in part for this reason. I suppose that is indeed what they chose to do, seeing as HMVC is not offered in Fall 2017. I wouldn’t recommend taking this course unless you have already taken a vector calculus course in high school or at a local community college.

Differential Equations is all about solving problems where you only know how some variable is changing. Heat moving through a steel rod or a swinging pendulum are examples of this. This class, while a 300 level course, definitely “feels” more like Calc BC/Calc II, where you’re just learning a bunch of methods to solve various different integrals. In DiffEq, you learn how to diagnose what type of ordinary differential equation a given ODE is, and then using a method suited for that type. Much of the material, especially later on in the course, builds on concepts learned in LinAlg and Calc III, so I’d recommend taking them before or at least concurrently with DiffEq.

What class should I take?

intro mathematics sequence flow chart

intro mathematics sequence flow chart

pdf link

Doubling Up

Theoretically, LinAlg, Calc III, and DiffEq can all be taken in any order. However, I wouldn’t suggest all pairings:

Very doable:

  • LinAlg and DiffEq. DiffEq uses a lot of matrices in the latter half of the course, but you learn many methods to solve problems using matrices before or at the same time in LinAlg.


  • LinAlg and Calc III. Calc III uses matrices, but in a limited capacity. Having already completed LinAlg will help you make more connections early on in Calc III, but it’s not 100% necessary.

Not recommended:

  • Calc III and DiffEq. Systems of differential equations use very similar math as vector calculus, e.g. the Jacobian, the Wronskian, etc. DiffEq moves quickly through these, so it might be difficult if it’s your first time seeing them. Calc III gives a good foundation for these chapters of DiffEq.

July 19, 2017
by Jenna M.
Comments Off on Life Lessons From Ten-Year-Olds

Life Lessons From Ten-Year-Olds

This summer, I’m a day camp counselor for a group of 10-year-olds. Does this have anything to do with my major? Nope. Is this giving me hands-on experience for my future job? Definitely not. But am I learning, experiencing new things, and growing? Absolutely. And for that simple fact, I’m pretty darn grateful that I’m not just getting someone’s coffee in an office to impress a super important person that likely would never learn my name.

Being a counselor is challenging, but so worthwhile. Sometimes, kids just don’t want to listen. Sometimes, you struggle to put their needs before yours when you’re having a rough day. Sometimes, they’ll make fun of you when you can’t do more than 10 push-ups in a row (just a super random hypothetical, of course). But sometimes, they’ll be wise beyond their years. They’ll see the best in other people, or in a hard situation, or in life. Their simple life view will make you alter yours, and question why things ever got so complex in the first place. I’m lucky enough to have experienced 4 special weeks so far with 10-year-olds, and I’d like to share some of their wisdom with you:

Dream big.

Why would you ever settle for something? Your achievements are only limited by your goals. If you want to be a dolphin trainer who lives in the Sahara, you’ll just find a way to commute. If you want to have 20 kids, maybe you’ll just consider adoption. But it’s all possible, right? And if you want it, why not go get it?

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Life’s too short to be so serious all the time. Find your inner-goofy, and embrace that wholeheartedly. Dance like an idiot, even if people are watching. Always participate in the cotton-eyed joe (you know you want to). Stop worrying about what other people think. Play with your food. And definitely don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself – it’s the best kind of humor.


Don’t be afraid of the unknown.

When you’re ten-years-old, bugs are scary. The dark may be scary, and thunderstorms could freak you out. But these are all things you know. They’re familiar, maybe even things that occur regularly. And you’re scared of them because you were taught that they could hurt you. But you’re not scared of the future. In fact, you want the future to come fast. You want to get a head start on your goals of being a dolphin trainer in the Sahara with 20 kids, because the unknown is exciting. You’re not scared of not knowing what people think of you, because you know what you think of yourself, and that’s all that really matters.


I cannot wait to go back to Hopkins with this new mindset, and allow it to stretch my goals and help me achieve them. I can’t wait to find joy in the small things and learn to appreciate the unknown. And despite the fact that this summer has not taught me how to exceed 10 push-ups, it definitely has taught me a lot about life.





July 18, 2017
by Alyssa W.
Comments Off on What I’m doing this summer

What I’m doing this summer

For the past month I’ve been working at a medical education company in Virginia called Clinical Care Options as an editorial intern. It’s my first real nine-to-five, business-casual office job, where I have my own desk and computer and everything. The editorial team oversees all the modules, recordings, and slidesets that are published to the company website, and I’ve gotten to help out with a lot of interesting projects. Here are a few of the things I’ve done so far:

-Written a newsletter for faculty who speak at the Contemporary Management of HIV conferences, a series of lectures that doctors, nurses, and other care providers can attend to improve their practice and gain credit

-Compiled feedback from Contemporary Management of HIV attendees and organized it by topic

-Edited workflow audit spreadsheets and uploaded them to the website

-Created a number of drug pipeline reports, which are compilations of all the current and future therapies for a disease or condition, including their brand name, manufacturer, mechanism of action, and an outline of current clinical trials

-Helped organize community service projects for CCOcares, including a sandwich-making party to make PB&J sandwiches to be donated to a local nonprofit organization

-Copyedited several slidesets and Clinical Thoughts, which are short interviews from a medical professional about a specific topic that users can comment on and respond to

-Shadowed the recording of a video module, for which a bona fide camera crew came to record a panel of 2 pathologists and 2 oncologists discussing a new cancer drug

Plus a lot more! My job as an intern is basically to do whatever small tasks the editorial team has for me, as well as a few bigger projects over the course of the summer. I’ve learned a lot and gained a variety of new skills, and the experience has gotten me interested the business side of public health. Although I’m close enough to Hopkins to visit on the weekends, I’m super grateful to have had this off-campus, real-world experience before classes start back up again in the fall.

July 17, 2017
by Lauren P.
Comments Off on Goals


They say the best way to make sure you accomplish your goals is to write them down, right? So, that’s what I’ll be doing for today’s blog. I’ve always been a very goal oriented person, and the satisfaction of checking something off a to-do list cannot be compared. Some of these things will be pretty short term and specific to my current Hopkins life, but some will be more general, in the hopes that you, reader, and I will be able to get ~inspired~ to get stuff done.

1. Start reviewing for my orgo exam.

Summer classes are most challenging because of the pace. What normally is taught two or three times a week over the course of a 4ish month semester is compressed into a 5 week whirlwind. The fact that our professors are fantastic makes it worth it, but if there is one rule, it’s don’t fall behind. And I’ll admit… I may have fallen a bit behind this week. This will mean a little bit of extra work today and Tuesday, but I’m confident I’ll be able to get it done, even if my brain hurts from pushing electrons.

2. Learn to cook. Actually.

When I pictured myself staying in Baltimore over the summer, I had dreams of making healthy, home cooked meals with my friends that were worthy of the most picturesque foodie blog out there. Plot twist: I eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta, and frozen broccoli. Though I have learned how to properly cook chicken, I can’t say my culinary expertise has grown significantly. That’s why, in these next three weeks of Baltimore life, I’m going to really try to make some new recipes.

3. Find a new, great restaurant.

Coming to college in a new city was exciting, because there was so much new to explore. New restaurants and fun neighborhoods were at every corner, but now, I’ll admit I’ve gotten a bit stuck in my ways. Though my favorite eateries will always be go to options, I’d like to get out of my rut and explore some new places around Baltimore.

4. Make up my mind about taking a gap year.

I’d love to go to medical school after graduating, and that’s been my plan for a pretty long time. I’ve always been anti-gap year, as I’m the kind of person that likes to keep the momentum going. But now, after talking with some med-school bound friends and a few pre-med advisors, I’m starting to consider a gap year or two to travel or work as a good option. Though I still have a ton of time to figure this out, I’m making it a goal to really nail down some tentative plans within the next year or so.

5. Fall in love with learning again.

Dare I say it, I may be a little burnt out. Orgo has been hard, and sometimes I feel like I’m in such an exam tailspin that I don’t have time to slow down and really enjoy the process of learning. So, after my break in August, I’m making it a priority to let myself enjoy the learning process without putting so much pressure on myself to learn only for the exam. I’m really excited for my classes this fall, and I can’t wait to see what sophomore year holds.

So there you have it, a few things that I’m working towards accomplishing in the coming future. And now that I’ve told you, I have that little extra accountability to help me get there.


July 17, 2017
by Jonah K.
Comments Off on Death And Taxes, And Chemistry

Death And Taxes, And Chemistry

Taking classes during the Summer is a great way to get ahead on your credits or explore subjects that you would not otherwise be able to fit into an already-packed schedule. It is also, in my experience, a very not great way to spend a Summer.

As a GECS major, I am required to take Introductory Chemistry 1 and Chemistry Lab. For someone who becomes catatonic at the sight of basic algebra and can under no conditions be relied upon to perform precise measurements or calculations, those courses act as a virtually guaranteed GPA killer. So, taking Chem and Chem Lab during the summer at my local community college – where the lack of a Hopkins GPA made the courses essentially pass-fail – seemed like a perfect option for me.

Spoiler alert; it was not the perfect option for me.

For the past four weeks, my life has been entirely consumed by chemistry. Virtually all of my waking hours consist of learning chemistry, studying chemistry, and complaining about chemistry. To give you idea of just how much time I spend on chemistry, here is a quick breakdown of the course.

  • 5 hours a day
  • 5 days a week
  • 25 hours a week
  • 6 weeks
  • 150 hours total

You read that right, five hours a day, every day of the week (excluding weekends), for six weeks. Those numbers don’t even include the amount of time I spend studying and preparing lab-reports and pre-labs, which I would estimate to be around four hours a day. So, the updated tally of hours looks something like this.

  • 9 hours a day
  • 5 days a week
  • 45 hours a week
  • 6 weeks
  • 270 hours total (!!)

270 hours – thats 143 hours longer than James Franco spent stuck at the bottom of a ravine before he had to cut his arm off. Other periods of time that 270 hours is longer than include;

  • 11 days (264 hours)
  • The number of flying hours required to become a commercial airline pilot (250 hours)
  • The longest continuous length of time spent awake (264.4 hours by teenager Randy Gardner in 1964)
  • The amount of time it would take to drive across Canada and back, and then across again (around 240 hours).

Put differently, if I did not have to dedicate 270 hours to chemistry class, I could;

  • Go to the moon on the Apollo 11 spacecraft, spend 148 hours there, and return to Earth
  • Enjoy a relaxing 11 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines™
  • Recruit 11 friends and break the record for the longest hockey game ever played (currently set at 250 hours).
  • Become a licensed phlebotomist (Training takes around 240 hours – leaving me 30 hours to find out what a phlebotomist is).

Instead of all of those wonderful and deserving pursuits, though, I am taking chemistry. Oh well, maybe next Summer.