Hey guys! It’s hard to believe, but it’s been just over two weeks since I packed up the contents of my tiny Wolman double, shoved what seemed like a billion trash bags into the back of my mom’s car, and said (a temporary) goodbye to the Homewood campus. While many Hopkins students choose to stay past the end of spring semester and take additional classes, I decided that I wanted one last full summer at home before I permanently settle in Baltimore. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve just been watching movies and lounging by the pool (though I’ve been doing my fair share of the latter). In fact, even I’m only a few weeks into vacation, my summer’s already proved to be both super busy and fun.
Okay, so remember how I said just a short paragraph ago that I left Hopkins itself behind for the summer? Well, I guess I just couldn’t stay away from other parts of Baltimore. Two days after moving out of our dorms, my best friend Ali and I headed back to the city for the 138th Preakness Stakes! For those of you who don’t know, the Preakness is a part of the Triple Crown series of horse races (along with the Belmont and, of course, the Kentucky Derby). Though the main race itself is around dusk, the rest of the day is perhaps the furthest thing from boring. There’s shopping stalls, food vendors, beer gardens for the 21 and up crowd, and even a bikini contest (yes, really). And you can’t forget the incredibly diverse musical acts: Florida Georgia Line, Macklemore, and even Pitbull performed! While the Preakness is definitely a tradition for Hopkins kids, most students don’t go until they’re juniors or seniors. Ali and I didn’t want to wait that long to experience the fun, and believe me, we weren’t disappointed. It was a terrific way to experience more Baltimore culture, have some fun in the sun, listen to some great music, and hang out with awesome friends. It’s also a perfect excuse to wear a ridiculous floppy hat, which alone would’ve made going worthwhile. I can’t imagine any way I would’ve rather finished off the semester, and I definitely plan on attending for the next three years!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay at the Preakness forever, so I dropped Ali back at the airport and headed home to NJ. Once I got back, my focus almost immediately shifted back to work–this time not to writing analytical essays, but instead to getting some real-world experience. I was lucky enough to be able to snag a really cool summer job working for an ice cream company, where I do everything from scheduling events to processing sales to building up our social media presence. You might think that it’s a little sudden to jump right into working just after the end of the semester, but I disagree. I’m one of those people who hates to be bored, and I’m much happier working on a project and making an impact than sitting around watching Toddlers and Tiaras all day (is this only because I’ve already watched all of the Toddlers and Tiaras episodes available OnDemand? Um, perhaps). Besides, it’ll be nice to have a little spending money of my own for next semester. After all, someone has to fund my all-too-frequent trips to Donna’s.
But no matter how much I work, my life at home is admittedly a lot slower-paced than it is at Hopkins. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I definitely miss all the exciting things to do at school. When I’m on campus, even the most seemingly-mundane of Wednesdays can yield so many possibilities, like going out for sushi at RA in Harbor East or even pulling an all-nighter watching stupid movies with friends. Part of the reason I love Hopkins so much is its intensity. We may complain about the sometimes-stressful workload or the bevy of assignments, but in the end we’re all there because we enjoy pushing ourselves. I like nothing better than a good challenge, and that’s a big part of why I miss Hopkins so much already. However, everyone needs to take a step back and just chill out once in a while, and I think my break came at just the right time. The school year is great, but I need a few months to rest my brain, eat some delicious home-cooked food, and just generally de-stress. I want to get some writing done, read some books for leisure (finally!) and even watch Game of Thrones on my very own TV instead of some puny computer screen. I may not be going out every night of the weekend or having revelatory moments at 3 AM on C level, but I’ll be relaxing, eating ice cream, and sleeping in my own bed. Hopefully, I’ll finish this summer with added work experience, a killer tan, and good health (shout out to my upcoming tonsil removal in August!). That way, when I return to campus in August, I’ll be all ready for the craziness I crave to begin once again.