Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020

October 16, 2017
by Lauren P.
0 comments

Coffee on Campus

I’m a self-proclaimed coffee addict, and basically rely on it everyday. Now that I’ve been at Hopkins for a year, I’ve had the opportunity to try out most of the coffee on campus, and feel like I know my way around in terms of caffeine intake and overall flavor. So, here is my personal reviews of the coffee places I frequent on campus, but keep in mind these are totally subjective and just my opinion!

Coffee from: The FFC

Overall Taste: 2/5

Variety: 1/5

Cost: Free

Review: Now would probably be a good time to mention that I almost exclusively drink iced coffee. Though I do enjoy the taste of coffee more than I used to, I mainly drink it for the energy, and I find iced coffee easier to get down. That being said, the FFC only has hot coffee, and in my opinion it tastes a bit watery and is usually burnt. It is “free” though (part of your meal plan), which is a plus, especially if you bring your own tumbler to have coffee with you throughout the day. Sometimes they have seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice, but they’ve also had Blueberry coffee which was ~interesting~.

Coffee from: The Daily Grind

Overall Taste: 4/5

Options: 5/5

Cost: $1-$4ish

Review: The Daily Grind is a classic on campus, and last year I probably bought iced coffee from there everyday. It is consistently good, and there are a lot of options ranging from plain iced coffee, to more fancy espresso drinks. Earlier in freshman year I would drink the Jitter Machine, which is a mocha drink with 4 shots of espresso, however my wallet prefers me to fill my own mug with coffee to get the refill discount. Pro tip: There is a Hopkins legend that the medium and large sizes from Daily Grind are basically the same size. They are, we tried it.

Coffee from: CharMar Crepe Studio

Overall Taste: 3/5

Options: 2/5

Cost: $1-$2ish

Review: I love CharMar/Crepe Studio in general, and it is nice that they have both hot and cold coffee options here. It is pretty cheap if you refill your own cup, and kind of tastes different everyday, but if I’m already there I’ll get myself a cup.

Coffee from: Alkimia

Not-Review: Okay, so I’ve never actually gotten coffee from Alkimia because I’m normally in the library rather than Gilman, however I’ve heard it is pretty good and I wanted to still include it here as an option!

Coffee from: My dorm room

Overall Taste: 3/5

Options: 0/5

Cost: Very cheap

After a freshman year of inordinate spending on coffee, I realized that I was going to have to change my ways. I’m not the biggest fan of Keurig coffee, so I’ve decided to brew my own drip coffee in the evening, and store it in the fridge so it is cold in the morning. It doesn’t taste the best, and my lack of creamer/sugar packets means I have to drink it black, but it keeps me energetic and I can brew a lot and be set for the week. Right now this is my option of choice!

 

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October 13, 2017
by Alyssa W.
0 comments

Just a Typical Thursday

Sophomore year has been busy, to say the least. Thursdays are usually full of meetings, class, and research, with a little time for naps and socializing thrown in. Here’s a timeline of everything I did yesterday, October 12 2017.

7:30 – 8:30

My day starts with a HEN Lab meeting at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. We discuss a Psychology Today paper about narcissism, talk about upcoming events, and eat parfaits and pumpkin coffee cake.

9:00 – 11:30

Go back to my room and sleep. Yesterday was News-Letter production and since I slept very little (read: none) last night, I could really use a nap.

IMG_9257IMG_0988 <– My room in Charles Commons this year

12 – 1:15

My first class of the day is Cognition. We are learning about psycholinguistics, which I find super interesting. We looked at sentences with global and local ambiguities and what mechanisms are used to determine their true meaning.

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This sentence can be read 2 different ways. How does the brain determine which way is correct?

1:30 – 4:30

After class I head back to the lab at the med campus. The project I’m working on is called the Hormones, Birth and Infant Behavior project, so right now we’re observing and collecting data from infants from the prenatal period through 6 months of age. Today, I go over the 3-month assessment protocol with the graduate research assistants, and then do some data entry.

5:00 – 7:00

Next I have a class called “Rise of the Modern Short Story” with Professor Macksey. Today we’re discussing two short stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners, “Sisters” and “The Dead.” This class is unique in that it’s held at the professor’s house in Guilford, a neighborhood 15 minutes away from campus. Professor Macksey’s library is amazing—there are books everywhere, lining all four walls and piled on the tables and chairs. It looks like something out of a 19th century novel. After class, we go into the dining room to eat sandwiches and cookies and finish our discussion.

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Macksey’s house is HUGE and the neighborhood is gorgeous

7:30 – 8:00

I have a meeting in Mason Hall for the Fall Open House this Saturday. Since I’m part of Hopkins Insider, I’m helping out at the open house by taking pictures for social media and helping prospective students find their way around.

8:00 – 10:00

After the meeting, I head to the Blackstone, an apartment building on North Charles, for a watch party of the season premiere of Riverdale with a bunch of my friends. We’ve been waiting months for the new season, and even though it’s a little underwhelming plot-wise we have fun laughing at the bad writing and admiring the dark, angsty aesthetic.

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10:30

I head back to my room and try to get some work done, but I’m still recovering from my all-nighter last night so I fall asleep around 11, thankful I have a schedule this semester that allows me to go to bed so early.

October 13, 2017
by Jonah K.
0 comments

Give Squash A Chance

Let’s start off with some quick word association – when I say squash, what do you think of?

I’m going to go ahead and assume you thought of the delicious, yellow root vegetable, and not the country-club racket sport played in a box. For most of my life, I would have thought the same – but not anymore.

For the last four weeks, I have played squash every Friday with three of my friends in the rec-center. Now, I am by no means a squash expert or enthusiast, but in that time, I’ve become rather fond of the sport.

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                    Look at ’em go

For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, I’ll do my best to give a quick primer. Squash is played by two players in an enclosed court – very closely resembling a large, white room with hardwood floors. The court is divided in half length wise by a red line – behind that line, the court is divided width wise into two boxes, with smaller boxes inside of those.

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            Did I do a good job of describing it?

The players are equipped with what look like skinny tennis rackets, and silly goggles (white polos and short shorts optional, but encouraged). The server stands in the box and serves against the far wall – the ball must hit above a line drawn along the lower portion of the wall – and after that, all hell breaks loose. The players hit the ball against the wall (the ball now must hit above a line even lower down on the wall), until one player misses, hits the ball after two bounces (you’re allowed one bounce), or hits the ball out of play. The player who doesn’t mess up gets a point, and the game goes until 21.

Now that you have some context, I’d like to share some lessons that I’ve learned from my squash matches over the last few weeks.

  • I am very ok at squash
  • Squash is fantastic exercise
  • Squash will make your butt sore unlike any workout I’ve ever experienced
  • Squash is not racquetball

To emphasize the second and third points; squash is TIRING. I like to think I’m in good shape and exercise fairly often, but after one game of squash, I was on the floor, unable to get up from a pool of my own sweat. I’ve managed to get my stamina up to three or four games, but any more than that, and my legs turn into the closest thing humanly possible to jello. The real pain, however, comes the next day; after playing squash for any extended period of time, your butt will hurt – a lot. I still haven’t exactly figured out exactly why of all the muscles in the leg, the Gluteus Maximus takes the full brunt of squash, but the biomechanical process behind the pain is the last thing I’m thinking of when I’m eating lunch standing up because it hurts too much to sit.

Butt pain aside, I look find myself looking forward to my Friday squash games more and more each week. They’re a great way to hang out and be active with friends, and are also awesome stress relievers at the end of a long week. They give my friends and I a great chance to bond over something that’s truly unique to us, and in only a short time, have brought us much closer as a group.

This is one of the friends I play squash with

     This is one of the friends I play                             squash with

So, if you ever find yourself looking for something to do on a Friday afternoon, do yourself a favor and grab a few friends and some squash rackets, and head to the courts.

Just make sure to stretch your butt after. 

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October 7, 2017
by Varun K.
0 comments

Row House Woes

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, I spent this past summer taking organic chemistry and physics here at Hopkins. Surprisingly, taking classes wasn’t the worst part of my summer, however, that title easily goes to my summer living situation…man those AMR’s were a blessing. I mean, getting a clean, semi large, furnished room to share with a wonderful roommate (shoutout to Zooey He for being the OG roomie) was great. Not to mention the bathrooms were constantly cleaned by the university, and we were not more than two minutes away from the dining hall…life was good. Unfortunately, as soon as Freshman year ends, so does your lease, and with it dies the lack of responsibility that you’re afforded when living in dorm style housing.

the comfy confines of Royce 104, my room freshman year

the comfy confines of Royce 104, my room freshman year 

During the summer I would have to live somewhere else, but that couldn’t be too bad for someone who barely knew how to do dishes and hadn’t cleaned a bathroom in his 19 years of existence, right? Welp…I was dead wrong. My friends and I searched for housing for a good couple of months before the summer started. Most of them settled on nice apartments in established housing communities such as The Varsity, Homewood, The Guilford, and even 9 East 33rd, the brand new apartment building right in the center of Charles village. My summer housing group and I however, didn’t really like the idea of paying $1000 dollars a month for comfy, plush housing. We were willing to sacrifice on ease and comfort if it meant we would be saving a lot of money. So naturally, when we were offered a room in a row house that could sleep three for the low price of $750 a month we jumped on it. I mean, $250 per month per person was ridiculously cheap, like I’m talking Burger King chicken nuggets cheap…it was insane. We figured that, no matter how dingy the place was, $250 was just too good of a deal to pass up; in hindsight… well I mean they say hindsight is 20/20 right.

Facial representation of how everyone felt before living in the row house

Facial representation of how everyone felt before living in the row house

The first thing we realized when we got there was that the house was owned by a group of fraternity brothers. The smell of cheap alcohol, rotting garbage, and general griminess wafted through the house at all times, somehow even managing to make it to the fourth floor. As soon as we entered we were physically knocked backward by the unbearable stench, and had to basically run upstairs to evade this assault on our nostrils (we quickly realized that running was futile, and that the stench wrapped around you like a coat). As if the smell wasn’t bad enough, we soon became acquainted with our unwanted neighbors, rats and roaches. They scurried across the floors at all hours of the day, oblivious to what was going on around them, blissfully unaware of the terrified and furious residents who wanted to get rid of them at all costs. The problem was that no matter what we did, whether it was throw garbage away outside of the house, pick up all dropped food, set out traps, or even call exterminators, our multi-legged guests simply came right back; their resiliency was admirable really. Now, you can get become nose blind to bad scents, and as long as you know where not to look, or more importantly where not to step, you can avoid the pest issue for the most part. Not having a place to sleep or a place to put your stuff, however, is an issue that doesn’t have as clear cut of a solution.

Me after living in the house

Me after living in the house

See, while the room we were given had enough room to sleep three, there was only one bed that slept two. At first we solved the issue by moving in a cheap futon that someone gave to us for free, on the condition that we would dispose of it when we were done. Unfortunately, it became apparent very quickly why we were given the futon, and even more apparent why we were asked to dispose of it, as two of the legs broke within a week and It became essentially unusable. This left two of us to sleep on the bed, and one of us to make the unenviable decision of either sleeping on the broken futon and hoping it didn’t fall over, or sleeping on the hardwood ground and getting comfy and cozy with the rats and roaches. I ended up choosing option c…sleep somewhere else. I switched between bumming my friends couch at The Varsity (shoutout to Vikram and Anish, love y’all), sleeping at my girlfriend’s place in Homewood (Thanks Claire <3), and snagging the open rooms in the house when someone was gone for a few days (Sorry homies, I had to do what I had to do).

This was pretty much me this summer

This was pretty much me this summer

As if the living situation couldn’t get any worse, the icing on the proverbial cake of sadness was that I literally couldn’t access half of my things while living in the house. The “storage situation” we were promised while living in the house turned out to be a single unoccupied room that was crammed with EVERY frat and house member’s belongings. Differentiating my own things, let alone actually accessing them became an uphill battle, and most of the time I ended up just trying to subsist off of the little stuff I actually had access to. What was worse is that around halfway through our stay the frat brother living in that room ended up coming back and everyone had to move all their stuff, so it was moved to the dining room. While this meant accessing our stuff was now semi-possible, it also meant that we had no access to the dining room outside of the microwave. Additionally, my stuff was now spread out over three different floors of the house, meaning that picking all of it up when it came time to move out would be excruciatingly painful…In the end I had to take four separate trips back to the house because something or the other had been left in a tiny corner of the residence.

My experience in the row house was anything but pleasant, but hey, I now appreciate university housing a heck of a lot more, that’s for sure.

 

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October 4, 2017
by Kaylee Z.
Comments Off on My Class Schedule

My Class Schedule

Today, I decided to give you all the inside scoop on my class schedule this semester. 64C66A80-7FA4-4640-AB7A-96DCB29BACE5

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, my first class isn’t until 11 am (how lucky am I?) and that class is Second Year Heritage Chinese. Second Year Heritage Chinese is a full year, two semester long class and it’s for students of Chinese-American background who already speak Chinese at home or anybody who is already close to being verbally fluent in the language.

The class usually comprises of talking in pairs using vocabulary words from each lesson. We have frequent quizzes, which you will find to be extremely great grade boosters in college, and frequent homeworks as well, also grade boosters, so no complaints here.

My second class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays immediately after Chinese is Data Structures, which is a class for my Computer Science minor. It is a rather long lecture, an hour and fifteen minutes. The professor usually just lectures for the entirety of the time and we are either coding along with him or taking notes of what he’s saying.

On Tuesdays, (not pictured), I give campus tours at 11 am.

Then after my tour, I have to hustle over to my first class of the day, Palaces, Temples, and Tombs of Mesopotamia, which is a class in our Near Eastern Studies department. This class is an art history class and I actually took AP Art History in high school, so the structure of the class is very familiar to me. The professor shows slides of architecture and sculptures during class and we take notes on what she says about each piece.

After my Palaces class, I head to the two and a half hour block that is my Introduction to Poetry class which is for my Writing Seminars major. This is probably my most invigorating class of this semester. Everybody in this class is a Writing Seminars major, like myself, and being in a classroom of people who care so much about writing is exactly what I had dreamed of Hopkins to be like when I had decided to apply ED to here.

“The poem is located in a specific place. You don’t know where, but you know the poet knows where,” is a quote from Richard Hugo from our reading of his book for Intro Poetry that really struck me. If you ask my best friend and roommate, Nita, how my Tuesdays go, she would probably sum it up as, Kaylee goes to Intro Poetry class and comes back in a trance and sometimes goes into existential crisis, but the good kind of existential crisis.

Thursdays are like my Tuesdays, only I don’t have Intro Poetry after my Palaces class.

So all the classes pictured above add up to being 13 credits and then on top of those credits, I am also doing 3 credits worth of research in the psychology department.

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In my next post, I will be giving you the details on how I got this research position and what I am doing for it. A lot of Hopkins students are involved with research, in fact, almost all my friends are doing research right now or have done research before.

So, tune in two weeks from now to hear about that!


Love,

Kaylee

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October 3, 2017
by Katie D.
1 Comment

A Glimpse into the Future

A week ago an email popped up in my inbox advertising a student of color outreach day for the Georgetown Law Center. I jumped at the opportunity, not only because I law school is what I see myself doing in the future, but also because I’ll take any excuse to go to D.C. I have great friends that live in the city, it has a ton of free things to do, and it has some of the best, not horribly pricey restaurants around. Also a MARC ticket to get to Union Station is only $8, and it only takes an hour. Back home, to get anywhere that wasn’t in Florida either takes at least 5 hours by car, or requires a super expensive plane ticket. In Baltimore, it’s much easier, and much more affordable to go out and explore other cities and states. And in this case, it makes it much easier to be able to visit other schools, whether you’re pre-law or looking at another type of graduate school.

Friday night, I packed frantically trying to find a cute, but still sensible ‘business casual’ outfit, ran late to the first train, and then caught the second one with my much more organized friend Ashley. When we arrived in D.C., we took the metro to George Washington University, which I somehow miraculously remembered the directions to, and dropped off our bags in my friend’s dorm. Something interesting about D.C. is that it is an early city. Most people don’t live in D.C. since real estate comes at such a premium within the city, so by 9:00pm the streets of D.C. are mostly empty. It seems like college students, who live in dorms in the city, take over the streets, and most of the restaurants that are open are catered to their preferences and their budgets. Which is great, especially being an aspiring college foodie myself; lower prices means I get to buy more food. We went to a place that’s basically a chipotle but for Italian food called Vapiano. You order and they make your pasta for you, exactly to your preferences, right in front of you!! Plus they give you free bread and they pick herbs straight off the plants to put on your pasta! Which is just so extra and beautiful at the same time.

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The next day started at 6:00 am with my phone blasting “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” as my alarm went off. Ashley and I got up, and so did the friend hosting us (whoops). We got ready, thinking that Georgetown Law School would be in Georgetown, a bit farther out of the city. In reality, it’s actually quite close to the National Mall and is right down the street from the Capitol Building, so the location is basically perfect. They whole day was really interesting and helpful, because it taught me all about the admissions process and what law school is like. They even had a mock class, where we got to discuss the decision made by a judge on a civil case and make arguments either supporting the decision or against it. It gave me a taste of what law school would be like, and I loved it! We also were able to talk with current students and recent alumni. The current students were honest about the work it takes to be in law school, but they were all passionate about the work they were doing, and they were literally the nicest people I’ve ever met. Also, the alumni were all doing amazing things; one woman was working for the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, which is the same thing Thurgood Marshall was doing before becoming a supreme court justice. The rest were either judges, general counsels for large corporations, or recent alumni getting started at prestigious firms in D.C. After all the info sessions, we were able to get a tour of campus too, which included the main academic building, two libraries, and even dorms to make living close to campus more feasible. It was beautiful, a mix of an urban and a traditional campus that even had a gym and food courts. It definitely solidified my desire to go to law school after Hopkins, and just made me that much more motivated and excited about my future.

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Of course, afterwards, we had to go monumenting. Is it even a real trip to D.C. if you don’t see the sights? So Ashley and I grabbed our bags and got random strangers to take cute pictures of us, feeling emboldened by our mini-law school experience. It was like we both worked for Olivia Pope, why wouldn’t tourists want a picture of such a dynamic/future-lawyer duo?

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Even though there is a perceived greater emphasis on pre-med advising, without our own pre-law advising office, I would have never known about this opportunity. Also for all future bluejays, it pays to check all emails an read each, since that’s also how I found out about this inclusion day and how you can always find out new opportunities within your major as well. And for me, signing up and taking that chance was definitely worth it.

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September 29, 2017
by Alyssa W.
Comments Off on Tacos and Maple Syrup

Tacos and Maple Syrup

It’s officially fall. The temperature’s dropping, pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, and I’ve gotten used to the routine of a new semester. Life has been so busy and fast-paced lately that I haven’t had time to step back and enjoy my favorite season. Today I was finally able to carve out a few hours for myself and get off campus, take my mind off school, and treat myself.

After class, my friend and I took the Blue Jay shuttle to the Rotunda, a shopping center/apartment complex in Hampden. Today happened to be the day of Trucktoberfest, where dozens of food trucks and vendors were set up in the Rotunda parking lot.

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Trucktoberfest was packed with people. I was waiting in line for like 15 minutes but it was worth it.

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There were so many trucks to choose from–Caribbean food, gourmet cupcakes, Korean burritos. We walked around for a while, perusing all the different options before inevitably stopping at the taco truck. I got blackened shrimp tacos with corn, red onions, tomatoes, and sour cream, which were delicious and super filling. We sat and talked and ate, serenaded by a live band.

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Afterwards we went to Mom’s, an organic and eco-friendly grocery store in the Rotunda. Definitely on the pricier side, but just stepping through the front door makes me feel healthier.

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Mom’s is clearly getting into the fall spirit too!

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Along with some staple fruits and veggies, I got maple syrup, one of my favorite fall treats and the perfect topping for all the mug pancakes and bowls of yogurt I’ve been eating. The cashier also gave me a free Mom’s reusable bag, and now whenever I go back there and use the bag I’ll get a whole 10 cents off my purchase.

It’s been a stressful week, but the few hours I spent off campus tonight has left me feeling refreshed, motivated, and beyond excited to see what else this fall has in store for me.

When you don't have bisquick gotta turn to Krusteaz

September 29, 2017
by Varun K.
Comments Off on Chocolate Chip Pan-Break

Chocolate Chip Pan-Break

Nothing is better than the smell of chocolate chip pancakes in the morning. I mean it. If you don’t believe me go grab a box of Bisquick, a packet of chocolate chips, and a griddle….the moment those bad boys hit the stove you’ll be convinced; it’s truly an ethereal experience. If you’re ever having a bad day, stack up some chocolate chip pancakes, or better yet, get someone to make them for you. If you can’t find someone to whip you up a batch then do the next best thing, order some. With the swarm of food delivery services that have infiltrated college campuses all over the nation cheap, delicious food is never more than 45 minutes away, and for something like chocolate chip pancakes this is hardly a price to pay. My favorite place near Hop to get these cocoa infused slapjacks is definitely Pete’s Grille, a no frills, cash only joint that has been dishing out breakfast treats since 1952. Their fluffy, chocolate stuffed cakes fill you up to the brim, and the butter and syrup they throw in with your hotcakes takes the experience from 0 to 100 real quick.

When you don't have bisquick gotta turn to Krusteaz

When you don’t have bisquick gotta                    turn to Krusteaz

What is the point of my 200 word ode to chocolate chips? Well it’s really quite simple. Sitting down with friends the morning before a test and chatting/listening to music over chocolate chip pancakes is the best form of stress relief you could possibly find. College is a stressful place, and finding ways to relieve some of that stress and tension are the only way you can make it through a normal week. Between problem sets, lab reports, quizzes, midterms, and all the other hurdles college kids must traverse, pancake mornings are a welcome change. The last two weeks, right before my quizzes, I’ve made sure to indulge in the fluffy, rich delicacy, and it’s undoubtedly been the best decision of my week.

Last week I placed an order at the aforementioned Pete’s Grille, and as I made the 10 minute walk down from my dorm to pancake paradise, all I could think about were those flapjacks. As I walked In and handed the waitress 10 dollars, getting $3.50 back in return, (who knew they could be so cheap) I couldn’t help but smile as she gave me my stack. Walking home I had to restrain myself from digging in, a task which required incredible self-restraint, but I ended up making it and voraciously dove into the fluffy discs of joy at a café. Even though I didn’t do very well in my Molecules and Cells quiz afterwards, I was relaxed and at peace while taking it.

The stove where the magic happens - sidenote if you don't have chocolate chips use nutella

The stove where the magic happens – side-note if you don’t have chocolate                    chips use Nutella

This week my friends and I all had quizzes/tests on Friday morning, so we all decided to have a pancake breakfast right beforehand. We gathered in my good pal Aleser’s apartment and made chocolate chip pancakes while listening to music and doing the last of our studying. We chowed down, talked about our lives, listened to Future, and just relaxed as we got in the mindset for our upcoming exams. Everyone was dancing and eating and having a great time, and it was so cool to see everyone so loose before their exams.

Chocolate chip pancakes change lives, and I don’t know how it took me this long to realize it.

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September 28, 2017
by Jonah K.
Comments Off on Backpack! Backpack! (Dora Voice)

Backpack! Backpack! (Dora Voice)

There is nothing more ubiquitous on a college campus than backpacks. The assemblage of outfits that pass through Homewood each day are as diverse as the students who wear them – yet for the most part, they all include backpacks. By the same token, however, backpacks are some of the most unique and individual pieces a person can own. Shapes and sizes abound, color options run the span of the rainbow and back – but what truly makes each backpack unique is what’s on the inside (awww). The items one deems important enough to carry around in between their shoulder blades every day can say multitudes about their lives, interests, and personalities. So with that in mind, I decided to give you all a little tour of myself via a little tour of my backpack – enjoy!

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Well, here it is, my backpack. As you can see, it’s bright red and a bit on the smaller side. To be honest, I’m not sure what insights you could really glean from just looking at it – maybe that I try to be flashy? That seems like a bit of a stretch, though. I think I’ll just leave this here to provide some nice visual context for the rest of the blog, so, uh, take it all in I guess.

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Oh yeah, here we go, definitely more what I was after. This here is my thermos – I use it every day for coffee purposes, probably too many times a day if I’m being real. I’m not a coffee snob, because I will pretty much drink anything that is at least mildly bitter and caffeinated, but I feel like at this point I can say what good coffee is, and I think Hopkins has good coffee. As far as I know, there are three cafes on campus, plus two Starbucks within a block radius off campus (if there is a hidden mystery coffee shop that I am missing, somebody please tell me). Of these, my favorites are Levering Cafe and Brody Cafe – both conveniently located, reasonably-priced, and tasty. If you are the type who would frequent these establishments for coffee, a thermos is a great tool to have for two reasons. 1. it saves a bunch of paper cups and is therefor good for the environment, 2. the cafes only charge 99 cents for you to fill up your thermos with coffee, regardless of size, so it saves a bunch of paper dollars as well, and is therefor good for your wallet. I’m not sure if I’m breaking the rules by filling up my entire 24 ounce thermos for 99 cents, but I’m just gonna go with it and say its ok.

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Here is a view of the inside of my backpack. Once again, this is more for visual context, because there’s a bunch going on and you can’t really see all the individual components, but we’ll get into the details soon.

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Ok, here are the details. This is my Hillel water bottle that you can see placed at the very top of my backpack in the previous picture. Before you say anything – yes, I realize the only two objects I have featured so far are large drinking receptacles. I don’t know why that is or what it points to about me, but lets just move on and pretend it never happened. Anyway, I spend a very significant portion of my time at Hillel – I even get up in front of a bunch of people every Friday night at our communal Shabbat Dinner and try to orchestrate the evening without making a total fool of myself – so I guess it makes sense that this bottle is front and center. You might assume from the size and prevalence of the bottle that I am a person who likes to drink a lot of water and stay generally well hydrated, but in reality, I am just a person who likes the idea of drinking a lot of water and staying generally well hydrated, but consistently leaves his water bottle in his bag all day and forgets about it while he goes thirsty. I guess you really can’t judge a Jonah by his water bottle.

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These are the rest of the contents of my backpack as of Thursday, September 28, 2017. I made the picture extra big so that you could clearly see everything in it. I will discuss the objects in clockwise order from top-left.

  1. Macroeconomic textbook – For the first time in my life this semester, I am learning about economics. I’m pretty happy about that, because economics was a major topic that I really knew nothing about, and anytime I got in a discussion with anyone about anything related to the economy, I would have to preface it with, “Ok, so I don’t know anything about economics, but…”- so maybe now I won’t have to do that. On the other hand, I’m scared, because I am incapable of making sense of anything with numbers, and macro seems like the type of subject I’d be particularly awful at. Well, fingers crossed.
  2. Arabic Textbook – This is my third semester taking Arabic, and I gotta say, it’s a pretty neat language. Its linguistic and grammatical structures are super interesting and all come together in a really satisfying way, and I always feel super cool when I can whip out a nice Arabic phrase on the spot. That being said, as with numbers, I am very near incompetent when it comes to learning foreign languages, so the class is a pretty big struggle. Coupled with macro, it should make for quite the semester…
  3. Computer – I use my computer pretty much more than anything in my backpack, even my thermos. It has a bunch of stickers on it that definitely say a lot about me as a person, but there’s too many of them and it’s getting late, so you can read them yourself and draw your own conclusions – I’ll allow it.
  4. Planner – At the beginning of every school year dating back three or four years, I buy a planner. At the beginning of every school year, I use said planner for around a week and then forget about it. That’s just how I am, there’s nothing I can do to change it, and I’ve resigned myself to that fact. Planning and organization be damned.
  5. The story of American Freedom, by Eric Foner – This is one of the books for my super cool U.S. history class – “Making America: Race, Radicalism, and Reform”. I’m really into history, and this class provides an awesome look at some of the most dynamic sociopolitical and cultural aspects of Antebellum America. Also, Ronald Walters is an awesome professor, and you should all take one of his classes if you get the chance.

Well, there you have it, that’s everything there is to see in my backpack. I hope you found my rambling enjoyable and maybe learned a bit about me and/or Hopkins in the process. Until next time!