My Parents Talk JHU

My Parents Talk JHU

Since I’m home for spring break, I thought I’d give my parents a little interview for my blog this week!

Are you glad both of your kids go to Hopkins?

MOM: Yes! I have a son who is a senior majoring in neuroscience, class of 2016. And my daughter was a writing sems major, political science major, public health major, writing sems major, and now has finally settled on a political science major– class of 2018.

DAD: I am very glad that both of my kids go to Hopkins. It helps the logistics of getting kids to school and home.

You live in rural Illinois. Were you worried about sending your kids to Baltimore?

MOM: No. I am glad both of our children decided to step out of a community of 20,000 where everyone knows one another, so they could experience life in urban America and all that has to offer and the responsibility it demands.

DAD: Baltimore didn’t scare us very much. We both went to the University of Maryland and were familiar with the area. Baltimore has a long history of being a friendly community. We feel that the worst thing about Baltimore is that it is so far away from home, not that it’s super scary or anything.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

MOM: I’m a big Gilman fan. I enjoy the archeological museum, the big white hanging lights, the stained glass, and the reading room.

DAD: I really like the marble steps between the quads. However, every time I go over them I think of trying it when they are wet with rain or snow and they seem so smooth that they would be too slick and that scares me a little.

Best restaurant in Baltimore? What do you get there?

MOM: Amicci’s in Little Italy. Lovely, casual family restaurant. I’m obsessed with the Pane Rotundo starter (a round Italian bread loaf topped with shrimp scampi) and the Eggplant Parm.

DAD: We come from rural Illinois and our town has fast food and maybe one restaurant. Therefore, we love to go to Baltimore for the food opportunities. We had a really good meal near campus at Paper Moon. That place is full of atmosphere and the burger I got was fabulous.

Have you guys made friends or connections within the Hopkins community?

MOM: The parents facebook page has provided a bunch of opportunities for parent-to-parent connections. My favorite connection has been of the “small world” variety. My parents, who live in another state, have a neighbor whose daughter entered Hopkins in the same class as my youngest, so we’ve become friends by coincidence.

Favorite piece of Hopkins Gear?

MOM: I have 3 “Hopkins mom” mugs that go through the rotation every day with my morning cup of tea.

DAD: I love my Hopkins hoodie that has Hopkins embroidered on it. But I also bought a stuffed animal for my son majoring in Neuro. It was a stuffed brain cell with the axon and dendrites included. The fact that I could buy that at the JHU bookstore is just so amazing to me.

Something that you are still waiting to do in Baltimore?

MOM: I’ve been waiting years to go to The Edgar Allen Poe House, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. I’m a big knitter, too, so Lovelyarns in Hamden is calling my name.

DAD: I probably would not actually do it (because I am too cheap) but I have thought that it would be pretty cool to go to The Preakness.

(Editor’s Note: Dad they just call it Preakness)

What are you looking forward to doing during Jay’s (my brother’s) graduation week this May?

MOM: Of course I’m looking forward to the actual graduation ceremony, but also the Wilson Fellowship graduation. I would like to see the lab my son has worked at for the past 4 years and meeting the PI who has been such a mentor and advisor in his academic development over these past four years in order to say thank you. I would feel great success if I get my graduate to pose in front of something that says Johns Hopkins and snap a successful photo – this would be a grand accomplishment if you knew how averse he is to mom and her camera!

DAD: We are so proud of our graduating Blue Jay. We can’t wait to go to the Wilson ceremony and to meet his research mentor. We are also very much looking forward to the actual graduation ceremony.

What’s a class one of your kids took that you’d like to take yourself?

MOM: Diseases and Disorders of the Nervous System. Each week a different Hopkins doctor lectured on their area of specialization. A great way to learn from the top specialists about various diseases.

DAD: One kid almost took a class from John Astin. That would have been a really cool class to be in (except that I have no acting talent) because John Astin has been a TV icon all of my life.

You guys lived in Maryland for a bit. Did you ever see Hopkins before you had kids?

DAD: I ran cross country in college and was in the same conference as JHU. We competed on the JHU cross country course twice during my career- it was such a great place to run. Open fields followed by a bit of roads and a track finish. The course was mostly rolling hills running on grass and that makes for a really good cross country course. There were two JHU runners that I was competing with, Dave Stewart and Andrew Brecia. Those two ended up just ahead of me at the conference meet the year I did my best. The fact that I remember those two all these years later means that JHU had made a significant impact on me long before my kids were even born.

Share a Hopkins-y story.

DAD: We were dropping our daughter off at school and we were walking on the street by the bookstore. Along came a former student of mine from Eastern Illinois University. He had just started graduate school at JHU. It had been a few years since I had seen him and we were both a little unsure who the other was. It is so strange to see people out of their normal context. However, he stopped and we had a nice visit. We have since learned that as of today there are at least 4 people from the small town of Charleston, Illinois associated with JHU.

Best things about Hopkins?

DAD: I have seen a number of opportunities made available to my kids that are exceptional. From research opportunities to internship opportunities to classes that are outside the box I have seen my kids given opportunities that are far better than we would see around here.

MOM: My two kids!


My parents are such parents. Love them.

My Acceptance

My Acceptance

Since March is coming up, I’ve been thinking back to when I was applying to colleges and waiting on decisions. Here’s a video describing what it was like for me to choose Hopkins!


New Schedule, New Me

New Schedule, New Me

I was nervous when this semester started. Most of the time, it was in an excited-nervous kind of way, the type that makes me stay up late just to think over what’s up next. Sometimes though, I was more anxious-nervous, in a check my planner too many times just to make sure everything is definitely 100% going to work out kind of way. My game plan this semester is pretty different from anything I’ve ever tackled before. Thankfully, two weeks in, it’s all coming together.

My Work Schedule

I’ve had a campus job since I stepped foot into JHU. From lifeguarding at the rec center, to human subject research at the medical school. For the past year, I’ve been working at a campus housing office. This semester, the dynamic of my role in the office is much more thoughtful and serious than it’s been in the past. I’m done with grunt work, I now focus on big-picture projects. It’s definitely more intense work, but a welcome change.

My Extra-Curricular Schedule

Largely, my extra-curriculars have stayed the same. The only real difference is in my Campus Tour Schedule. In the past, I always picked tour slots on Fridays, perhaps the most popular day of the week for prospective students to visit. Hoping for a change of pace, I give my tours on Wednesdays now. My last tour was just me and one family chatting about Hopkins together—definitely my idea of pleasant.

My Academic Schedule


Yep, I only have class three days a week. Three very busy days, four relaxed days. Repeat. Everyone always talks about JHU’s open curriculum in respect to opportunities for academic exploration. Of course I appreciate that reasoning for loving my curriculum, but for me the freedom means that I’m not stuck taking classes that don’t match up with my idea of a great week. Since I’d always selected a more conventional schedule, the new structure felt bizarre at first. Yet I’ve concluded already that I function best as a student, employee, and friend when I have a few low-pressure days to decompress.

On top of a pretty perfect schedule, my classes are better than I could’ve hoped. I’m taking two classes with Dr. Spence, my favorite lecturer in the Political Science Department. My laid back class on sci-fi movies has historical themes, so it actually counts toward my major. The professor teaching my marketing class somehow finds a way to be extraordinarily peppy at 9 p.m. And, although it’s outside of my comfort zone, I’m enjoying my anthropology class more than I ever expected to.

Fun Schedule

Of course, I always schedule in some fun, too. Late night subway trips and giddiness with my friends is as necessary as everything else.

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Sure, I’m still trying to shake off some lingering nerves for the new semester. But I’m mostly full of boundless expectation and eagerness.

Freshman Flubs

Freshman Flubs

Dear Sweet Rising Freshman Amy,

As you walked out of your first ever college class today, you lost it. You moved so quickly and directly to the nearest bathroom stall, it was as if you actually knew where you were going in that unfamiliar building. Day One of a 100 level English course, Expository Writing: Persuasion and Dissent, and you’re already behind. The professor asked you, the girl who picked a daring front row seat, to identify the thesis in a 1 page persuasive essay. A question so easy it was practically rhetorical. You publically failed in the presence of impossibly smart classmates and an dauntingly articulate professor. You questioned if you were cut out for Hopkins as you ruined your curled hair with shaky hands in the bathroom of Levering.

 Of course, this won’t be your biggest flop of the year.

Preview of some grand moments to come:

  • You’ll trudge your way through four different work study jobs trying to find one that works for you.
  • Freshman orientation will leave you feeling surrounded by superficial acquaintances.
  • After months of working for the Wolman Housing Office, your boss will ask you if you know “anything at all” about your job.
  • You’ll ask an upperclassman if Penn Station is the JH Medical Campus.
  • You’ll perform super badly on a Global Governance midterm you studied like crazy for.
  • You’ll lose your keys and Jcard the same night you forget to charge your phone. You’ll sit in the outside of your dorm in pouring rain at 4 a.m., with no way of getting through the security entrances.
  • For the two seconds you resolve to become a Public Health major, you’ll interview for a lab job that you are laughably unqualified for. Seriously, the interviewer will laugh at you. You’ll even join in.
  • You’ll write a blog that offends tons of people from Charleston.
  • You’ll reread a syllabus, only to discover that you were required to submit an Oral Presentations term paper weeks ago.
  • You’ll sheepishly read an article about how to ride in a taxi before you work up the courage to take your first cab from BWI Airport to JHU.
  • A professor will tease you for your obsession with getting good grades the same semester you fail to make Dean’s List.

And the list goes on. There are many more disheartening moments headed your way. They’ll hit you all like absolute catastrophes when they come. But, let me clue you in on one particularly exciting piece of news. One year from now, as you head into your Sophomore year, you’ll be notified that your intimidating expository writing professor recommended that you become a Writing Center Tutor. You’ll meet him in his office in Gilman for the interview on a sunny morning. You’ll laugh easily at his jokes, gracefully throwing in a few of your own. He will tell you that he thinks you’re a fantastic writer. He’ll offer you a position on the spot. You’ll take it without any reservations. On your way back into the sunshine, you’ll vaguely recall that one time you were convinced that very same professor thought you were the dumbest kid to walk through Hopkins.

Freshman Amy, right now you are a kid who just suffered through too many awkward orientation events, accepted a bizarre science job with a totally unreasonable commute, lost a blogging competition, and made a fool out of yourself in an English class. A year from now, I promise that you will find yourself enjoying some marvelous good fortune. You’ll see.

Very best wishes,

Rising Sophomore Amy

Looking Back and Forth

This week has been packed full of spontaneity and thrill. I’ve categorized my old papers from last semester, completed my mandatory online loan counseling course, and thumbed through new textbooks to get an early start on fall semester.

Okay, but in the middle of all those terrible adult-y chores, I did find something pretty interesting. As I sorted old files into folders, I stumbled across the first word document I ever saved to my brand new college Mac: my SAAB application! The prompt was pretty simple; I was asked to write a blog as if I was reflecting upon my freshman year. Considering my freshman year hadn’t even started yet, I had to make a lot of random guesses about how it would play out. With my actual freshman year past me, I laughed as I revisited my imagined life at Hopkins.

Priceless Presidential Picture

I thought that I would never be able to process the concept of my freshman year being over. Let me tell you, I’m kind of the master of denial. Yet, as I packed my freshman year scrapbook into my suitcase today, I couldn’t help but reminisce a little (a ton). I found myself thinking all the way back to my first week of orientation, and the speech which changed everything.

On the last day of orientation activities, JHU President Ron Daniels spoke beautifully to the freshman class. He was quirky, articulate, and engaging. In his parting words, he urged us to make meaningful goals and stick with them no matter what. I remember walking back to my dorm with my roommate and just fawning over how President Daniels was so relatable.

That’s when my roommate told me that he’s actually known for being really involved on campus and has even taken selfies with students. After scraping my exploded skull off of the pavement, I told her that I was definitely going to get a selfie with him this year. She just laughed at me, poking fun at the fact that a goofy photo had just become my “meaningful goal.” I shrugged off her words and got to work.

I developed a plan. I knew that I’d have to go to as many popular JHU social events, lectures, and functions as I could in order to optimize my chance of meeting and taking my picture with Dr. Daniels. I was a heroine with a mission. Which is to say, a girl with a camera.

I saw him for the first time a week later. One of the courses I took my first semester was a super cool Leadership Challenge Seminar which taught students how they could get involved in the Baltimore community. President Daniels came in as a guest speaker, gave our small class a lecture, and even offered to stay after the period was over for any last minute questions. Camera in hand, I approached him to take my shot. Just as I was getting a “hello” out of my mouth, I fell into a coughing fit. Blushing, I walked away while cursing myself for being so awkward and shy and stereotypically freshman.

If possible, the failure made me more eager and desperate to prove myself. I figured that a man as insightful as he must spend tons of time in the library. It was going to be a shot in the dark, but my camera had a great flash. I paced through the entire Peabody Conservatory, but didn’t see him. Admittedly, I got so caught up in the architecture that I wasn’t really paying attention to anything else. Due to my aimless wandering, a student worker for the library asked me if I needed any help. After explaining my mission, he laughed and said that President Daniels had actually just left the library following a meeting with a faculty member. I couldn’t believe I’d let myself lose focus so easily.


The search continued. A famous poet coming to campus to share a sample of her prize-winning verse? I was there. A presentation on JHU’s new initiatives regarding safety and security on campus? Front row seat. An impressive theatrical performance produced by the students of JHU? You betcha.

I think you get the picture. Nonetheless, he remained elusive.


Sadly, my operation slipped to the back of my mind as finals came and went. At this point, I started seeing my world in a really negative light. Thankfully, I found the user manual and was able to switch my camera back to normal mode. Thus, I returned from Winter Break rejuvenated and ready to try again.

Since President Daniels has been known to frequent lacrosse games, I arrived to the first home game of the season early to claim my seat.


After JHU had scored for the second time, I saw him making his way toward the concession stand on the opposite side of the stadium. It was going to be a photo finish; gasping and forgetting all sense of composure, I started pushing through the crowds to get to him. Suddenly, a man I was passing fumbled his chocolate ice cream cone straight onto my shirt. By the time I recovered, President Daniels was lost in the crowd, tragically unphotographed. I was too hasty and sloppy with my attempt, and it had cost me my ultimate goal yet again.

Spring Fair rolled around, and I knew I was running out of time. I combed the entire beach looking for him, to no avail. After a moment of seriously doubting his character if he could resist the draw towards a good funnel cake or chicken on a stick, my eyes zoomed in on him from afar. With triumph in my gait, confidence in my grin, and all the poise a girl like me could muster, I asked the president of Johns Hopkins University for a picture. He popped into the frame without even a moment of pause.


As you can see, it wasn’t exactly the flawless picture I’d hoped for. Believe it or not, I don’t mind- I’m still so proud of it. Before I’d started this crooked journey, I was terribly shy, unfocused, and hasty. Day by day, frame by frame, I grew up this year. I became more outgoing, driven, and deliberate. In short, I learned how to set myself up to realize my goals- just like Dr. Daniels told us to do in his speech. I think he’d be impressed with my progress in spite of all of those pesky mistakes I made along the way.

Here at JHU, adventure is both accessible and worth chasing. The memories are worth the vulnerabilities, the risks. Capture them. Reel-y. Here’s to three more years of thrills, blunders, and scrapbooks. Someday, I’ll take that perfect picture. Someday, my prints will come.

I’m smiling as I reread this mock-blog. I did actually get some major parts correct; I had a blast at the homecoming lacrosse game, I loved President Daniels’ speech during Orientation, I enjoyed Chicken on a Stick and Chicken on Stick at Spring Fair (I recommend the latter, of course), and I’m definitely proud of the steps I took this year. Yet, I’m also a bit disappointed in myself. During my freshman year, I never actually visited Peabody Library, watched any student-run skits, or listened to as many visiting speakers as I’d like. I even dropped that Leadership Challenge Seminar within the first week, so I could focus on my “more practical” research job. Both then and now, I acknowledge my need to branch out of the library and classroom more often. Here’s to a more outgoing and adventurous sophomore year!

Vacationing in Baltimore

As I walked through the wide crosswalk, I gawked without caring. The flashy buildings, quiet water, and air of action yanked my attention far away from my destination. For a moment, my absentminded steps diverged from my family’s walk toward dinner. My Dad had to catch my attention, causing my brother to tease, “Awh, it’s Baby’s first trip to Inner Harbor! Panera is this way!”

A year later, I still haven’t forgotten that trip. My parents were the tour guides; I let their brief experiences with Baltimore’s attractions inform the preview of my new home. Though retrospectively I question our typical tourist-y itinerary and the reasoning behind visiting chain restaurants I could’ve enjoyed back in Illinois, I remember the trip fondly.

Earlier this summer, one of my best friends from Charleston came to the east coast to visit her cousin in D.C. I hoped that her week in D.C. might include a detour to Baltimore, so I could show around Hopkins. It’s really hard to constantly translate my daily scenery into terms she can understand. I was excited to finally have the chance to give her some context as to what home is for me. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling conflicts, I ended up visiting her in D.C. instead—leaving Cailtlin with the same muddled, kaleidoscopic view of what it means for me to walk to work or go to class or live my life.

With the acceptance that Caitlin won’t comprehend my home until some indefinite next trip east, I’ve doubled my efforts to share such perspective with my parents. In this spirit, here a few of the destinations I’d love to include in their vacation to Baltimore later next month:

  1. My work. I’ve been working in the Wolman Housing Office all summer, often over 50 hours a week. My summer is inseparably bound to that desk, my days spent processing keys, organizing contracts, and chatting about waitlists. Plus, My boss is the type of warm person who will love meeting my parents.
  2. My hours of being a tour guide may be put to good use. I plan to steer them across the quads, through Brody, around Gilman, possibly adding in anecdotes of study sessions or sorority events along the way. It seems sort of surreal that I could take them into my classrooms and say, “Here’s where I took that final I complained about forever!”
  3. Karma’s Café. If nothing else, I need to take my parents to my favorite resturaunt in Charles Village. Afterwords, we can rest in the shaded benches of the BMA Sculpure Garden.
  4. Inner Harbor. More specifically: Inner Harbor shopping. Of course I have some ulterior motives in welcoming my parents to Baltimore. Sentimental parents visiting their daughter for the first time in months are prime targets for overspending on spontaneous gifts in Anthropologie.
  5. Peabody Conservatory Library. Even though I commuted past the library a hundred times while I was doing medical research fall semester, I never took the time to go inside. I’m definitely not opposed experiencing more Baltimore firsts with my parents.
  6. My apartment. The Varisty has a famous balcony on its 11th floor, a vantage point from which all of Hopkins is visable. If that’s not getting the full picture, I don’t know what is.

So much has changed between my parents’ last visit to Baltimore and now. The girl who once gawked at the busy streets of the city now travels them without even checking her phone for directions. That girl has traveled far in a year.

The distance between Illinois and Baltimore becomes increasingly tangible every time I remember that nearly no one from Illinois has a complex understanding of my new home. Though I’ve accepted the inevitability of that distance by now, I’ll take any chance I get to close the gap. Even if it’s only a slight shift. You’re welcome to visit me anytime, Mom and Dad!

Definition of Class

For me, the summer between high school and college was extremely exciting. I daydreamed for months about what it would really be like to join the Hopkins community. I spent an embarrassing amount of time watching YouTube videos about JHU, pouring over brochures provided by the admissions office, and scrolling through Hopkins Interactive Blogs. There were so many pictures of students relaxing on the beach, enjoying spring fair, and studying in Brody. However, there wasn’t a lot of coverage of actual classrooms. Before my first day, I could never really visualize what it would be like to simply sit in a classroom and take notes. So, here’s a small gallery of some classrooms at Homewood!

In the room pictured below, I:

took Introduction to American Politics and found that you can relate nearly every essay question about US Politics to Occupy Wall Street…


took my first intersession class, earning a science credit with pleasantly little mention of hard data or math…



let hours of philosophy lecture and discussion soar right over my head…



took my first ever “Upper Level Undergraduate” course without losing my mind…



learned how to actually use the library research tools I’d ignored throughout high school…IMG_0862


and successfully made it through an intense writing class, even though I almost dropped it after the first day because I was super intimidated by the professor.


As I took this trip through all of my old classrooms, I couldn’t help growing reflective. So often this year, I focused on everything I didn’t know. That first political science class when I had no idea what “hegemony” meant. The time I was dumbstruck when a final exam asked me to determine the best type of vaccine to cure Ebola. The countless phone calls I’ve gotten at my job when I’ve had to say, “Sorry, can I put you on hold for a minute to get someone else who can answer your question?” Today, however, I focused on all I had learned in these classrooms over the past year. I came to the conclusion, though cliche as it is, that JHU as a whole was my classroom. The most I’d learned in the past year came between lectures, during the moments I hadn’t expected to mean anything at all.

If you define a classroom as a place where learning takes place- in the classrooms below, I learned:

how calling an Uber works…



how to quit a job…



that one-on-one meetings with professors really aren’t that scary…



that JHU only locks the doors of its nicest classrooms on Friday nights…



that this is this classroom for Discrete Mathematics, definitely not my Expository Writing seminar…



how to give a confident campus tour…



how to fill out I-9 tax forms…



that cramming is not fun…



that, no really, cramming doesn’t work…



that even cramming with friends while listening to the soundtrack to Frozen ISN’T WORTH IT…IMG_0870

and finally, what it’s like to walk around with a small smile without even realizing the expression.


A classroom here cannot be confined to four walls, a few desks, a projector, and a whiteboard. In my experience, the very environment here is one of learning and growth. Here’s to another year of spectacular redefinition.

Some Spring Fair Fun

As the semester draws to a close, I’ve been spending more and more time studying. It’s been fun in an “oh wow, I’m learning so many interesting things about politics/women’s history/marketing” kind of way, rather than a “this would make an exciting blog” kind of way. But, today I took a break from focusing on schoolwork to partake in Spring Fair festivities! I laughed and relaxed with friends, ate some life changing fried Oreos, and enjoyed the beautifully crisp weather. Most importantly, I was pied in the face to support literacy in Baltimore! Every year at spring fair, Pi Phi lets people pie sisters if they donate a couple of dollars to our philanthropy mission.






It was refreshing, rewarding, and a perfect break from homework! Now, back to work.

A Week in the Life

This past week has been absolutely crazy for me. Between my homework, my work study job, helping with SOHOP, giving campus tours, and sorority events, everything has passed in a blur. Thankfully, I can flip through the recent pictures on my phone to remember what I’ve been up to.

IMG_0687-1First, and perhaps most importantly, Charles Street Market got a milkshake machine!! At a mere $4 and 650 calories, you can taste perfection.

IMG_0603Springtime came to Hopkins! Today the temperature got up to 70 degrees. I’ve officially broken out all of my spring scarves and dresses.

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SOHOP! Speaking with so many admitted students and families was definitely a highlight to my week.


ALL of my classes decided to throw tons of papers my way. In the past week, I wrote just under 25 pages worth of stuff. I’m not going to lie, it was rough.


So, since I felt a bit overwhelmed with work, I went to the national zoo! D.C. is close enough to be convenient, but far away from campus enough to feel like an adventure. Perfect mental health day.


I became a full-on sorority girl by putting this sticker on my laptop cover!


But really though, I got initiated into Pi Beta Phi this weekend! It was super fun. Pictured above with my fabulous Big.


I found a place to live over the summer! The tall building in the center of the frame is the Varsity! The building advertises itself as “luxury student housing,” and would probably be out of my price range during the school year, but over the summer Hopkins students can usually find sublets at reduced prices. This will probably be the last time I’ll enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher until I’m middle-aged, so I’m very excited.


I took another trip down to D.C. again to watch my favorite poet, Phil Kaye, perform! Another perk of living in Baltimore: so many nearby opportunities to see famous speakers.


I auditioned for Acting and Directing 1, which is taught by John Astin. If you don’t know, John Astin was Gomez Addams on the Addams Family. His son is Sean Astin, who played Sam from Lord of the Rings and the title character in Rudy! I had to turn in the slip he signed to let me into the class, but I had to snag a picture of the signature before i did.


Yeah, this has been an extremely hectic week. But, through it all, there’s been one constant. Pink milk: my favorite comfort drink. No matter what, it’ll always help me feel grounded after a long day.





One year ago today, on March 28, 2014, I received my acceptance to JHU. I vividly remember that day: I can still picture where I was, who I told first, and even the exact wording of the text I sent to my mom to let her know. When I accepted my offer of admission on that Friday afternoon, I had many ideas and reasons for why Hopkins was the match for me. I loved the city, the campus, and the academic programs. To this day, a lot of the content in my “Why Hopkins” application essay remains true. However, one significant part of why Hopkins is perfect for me was absent from my application and reasoning for choosing JHU: Greek Life.


Granted, I haven’t experienced Greek Life at any other university. But, from what I’ve heard, JHU is uniquely great at striking a balance between Greek Life being an option for those who are interested, and being in the background for those who are not interested. We hold recruitment in the spring, so I was able to make friends on campus before having to think about sorority life. I firmly believe that the Greek system at JHU is not designed to create division or cliques, but to create community and unity. For me, joining a sorority was exactly what I needed to get the most out of my Hopkins experience. I have been able meet a more diverse group of people, volunteer more frequently, and simply live a brighter life.

Last week was Secret Week. All week long, my sorority family surprised me with thoughtful gifts, heartwarming notes, and love.


In between these gestures, I had papers due, pages of homework assigned, and chaotic shifts at work. Looking back, though, I only remember the parts of the week when I was smiling. Hopkins challenges its students academically in important and beautiful ways. Yet sometimes, these challenges overwhelm me. It helps to have something like a sorority to throw some extra smiles into those challenging days.

I’m infinitely grateful to have been accepted into the Hopkins community one year ago, and, more recently, to have been accepted into the Pi Phi community.