Excited to Come Home(wood)

As weird as it is to write that the summer is winding down, it’s true. In just a few weeks I’ll be back on the Homewood campus (in the Homewood apartments no less). As I count down the days till I’m back at the Hop, I think a top five countdown of what I’m most excited for in this upcoming semester is fitting.

1. Friends
Some of my best friends at school I met day one, when I moved into Wilson house. Others, I picked up over the course of the year through classes, clubs etc. I had a busy summer and wasn’t able to see as many of my friends as I would’ve liked so it’s incredibly exciting to know I’ll be back with everyone in a five minute radius in just a few weeks.

The one with all the reunions

The one with all the reunions

2. Academics
As nerdy as this is to admit, I’m excited to get back to learning. I struggled in a big way last semester when it came to academics, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make that right. This semester I’m also going to be taking some really interesting classes, one on German thought in a variety of disciplines, and another focusing on Marxist thought. Both classes should be really thought provoking and I’m not even so distraught at the idea of how many essays I’m going to have to write. Definitely a good sign.

3. Living alone
This year I’ll be living in a single in Homewood. While a lot of my close friends will be on my floor, this is the first time I’ve ever lived completely alone. I’m going to be cooking for myself, decorating my own apartment, (cue lots of posters of The Wire) and basically doing my best real life adult impression. I’m sure it’ll get messy, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Probably not what my room will look like.

Probably not what my room will look like.

4. Research Opportunities
Having spent most of summer break doing genetics research, it would feel a bit odd to not have pipetting and centrifuging remain a part of my everyday life. I plan on applying for some sort of research either on the Homewood campus or at the medical school to continue to get more experience in the lab.

5. Papermoon
Possibly the greatest discovery I had all of freshman year was the Papermoon Diner. Equal parts quirky and delicious, I don’t know if I had a better meal all of last year mushroom and feta omelet at Papermoon. Despite the fact that I’ll be able to cook myself whatever meal I want in my apartment, knowing that just a short walk away from campus, I’ll be able to have the meal of a lifetime whenever I want is definitely reason enough to be excited to go back to Baltimore.

Real World: Genetics Lab Edition

For most of the summer, I’ve been doing genetics research at the Columbia University Medical Campus. As a summer member of the Rothstein lab, my project focused primarily on isolating different genetic pathways that, in concert with one another, may be responsible for tumor formation. I was initially excited to have a position like this for the summer, not just because it’s a good thing to have on one’s resume, but because a career in research had been something I’d considered for a long time and this was my chance to finally get a taste of what that life would be like.

The experience itself was really valuable, day to day lab work was not at all what I had imagined it to be. Lab work is, in a word, hard. From the outside it might not seem like much. After all, pipetting and reading articles aren’t exactly physically taxing. What can be so difficult about doing experiments in an air conditioned room sitting by a bench and a computer? It’s not the physical toll of lab work that was so hard, though pipetting a few hundred times a day would be a very Hopkins-esque arms workout. The most challenging part about working in a lab was having to be “on” all the time. Repeating the same procedure over and over again over the course of a day, knowing that simply daydreaming for a second or checking your phone can mess up weeks of work is a lot of pressure. Having to stay focused, and remain really truly present for hours on end is mentally exhausting.

A researcher's best friend next to coffee.

A researcher’s best friend.

Despite the tiring nature of the work, it felt good to be doing something that was mentally stimulating every day. While it got easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of lab work, the lab constantly forced me to think. Every experiment I did served as a small cog in the larger machine. While that was at times frustrating, that aspect of research forced me to constantly remind myself of the big picture. By being forced to understand the ins and outs not only of the smaller experiments I did day to day, but of the larger project the lab was working on, I really learned about the topics at hand. I can now easily tell you about the life cycle of budding yeast, and which genetic pathways you can tinker with while still getting a viable mutant. I think in and of itself, those two bits of knowledge make the tedium of lab work worth it.

Socially, working in the lab was definitely not a party. With everyone so focused on their own projects, and making sure they’re not making any mistakes, it can get pretty quiet. From time to time it got very frustrating. I consider myself a pretty social person, so to sit for hours on end in complete silence with only my yeast to talk to (I’m kidding…. I swear) was difficult. That being said, weekly lab meetings gave me the opportunity to socialize not only with researchers in my own lab, but all those interested in hearing about the work we’d been doing.

Me and the homies.

Me and the homies.

Lab work was certainly not what I expected it to be. It’s a lot less groundbreaking eureka moments celebrated with champagne, than it is small experiments done over the course of weeks to elucidate one tiny part of a much larger hypothesis. While working in a lab over the summer was difficult, and exhausting, it was incredibly rewarding. I learned what a day in the life of a researcher really is like, I learned a lot of the skills necessary for a career in research and got experience with an interesting topic. Despite coming home smelling like yeast every day, I think it was worth it.

Hungary For a Vacation!

The second best part of any summer break (after sleeping in of course) is going on vacation. Most summers instead of going to some exotic, tropical, locale, my family spend 2-3 weeks in Hungary, the small, land-locked, country in Eastern Europe. While noticeably lacking in both palm trees and pina coladas, Hungary is special for our family. Hungary is where I was born, and where both my parents lived before deciding to move to the US. All of our extended family, grandparents, uncles, and an absurd amount of cousins still live here, so we try to come back as often as possible. These past two weeks I’ve been splitting my time between my grandparent’s apartment in Budapest, and their summer house at the Lake Balaton.
Trips to Hungary are always chock full of programs, imagine trying to condense seeing all your family members and friends whom you haven’t seen in a year, into the span of two weeks. It can get a little bit overwhelming, but at the same time keeps us on our toes.

Budapest at night is not too shabby

Budapest at night is not too shabby

The biggest program scheduled for our stay was my grandfather’s 80th birthday. A well-known journalist, his garden party was the first time all of his grandchildren had been under the same roof. It was an exciting event for sure, and the catered traditional Hungarian food* certainly didn’t hurt.

Soon after the birthday celebration, we went down to spend a week on the Balaton. Despite being only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of a major city like Budapest, life at the lake is a complete 180. Everything there moves at a much slower pace. If you say you’ll meet someone at the beach in half an hour, in Balaton terms that means you’ll end up starting the walk three hours later, after a large lunch and even larger nap. Definitely not a bad way to live.

Summertime, the living is definitely easy

Summertime, the living is definitely easy

Aside from being together with all the family, my highlight of the summer was the Kek Szalag, a regatta I took part in for the first time on my uncle’s boat. Having limited sailing experience (none), I was a little nervous to be taking part in a race that on average takes about 30 hours to complete. Under extremely stormy conditions, we were able to finish the race in only 15 hours, 7 of which were spent completely soaked. Sailing was like nothing I’d ever done before. My uncle’s boat was small enough that given the strength of the wind, every passengers’ body weight made a difference in how the boat sailed. For 15 hours we had to run back and forth across the boat, looking for the optimal balance point. Being “on” for 15 hours straight was certainly tiring, but it was also a thrill I’d never had before. While sunny weather may have been preferable to being drenched by the rain, the race was worth getting wet.

Pre Race Photoshoot

Pre Race Photoshoot

If anything, one of the hardest parts of being away at Hopkins is being separated from my immediate family. As an immigrant, that’s an everyday reality with my extended family. Getting to finally be together with everyone, a rare occasion, means the world. It’s not the big events that matter the most. It’s not the large family gatherings that stick with me. Rather the smaller everyday interactions that I miss out on. Waking up and eating breakfast with my grandpa, going grocery shopping with my uncle, it’s the little things that I don’t get over the course of most of the year that really make me feel at home.

Nothing like family

Nothing like family

Dealing with Failure

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten came from my family friend who works at West Point. He told me, that at the highest caliber of anything, there will be people who have never experienced failure. People who were the valedictorians of their high school class, people who had .400 batting averages while also leading their debate teams to state championships. He went on to say however, that experiencing failure in one form or another is inevitable. The real mark of character is how someone responds to their first experience of failure. Whether they simply crumble, or how they use that to move on and grow. Hopkins Interactive readers… I failed. Literally. This past semester I struggled academically all across the board. I’ve had some family things that took up a lot of my attention, I probably took on too many commitments, and I simply didn’t work hard enough. So I failed a class. That’s right, until I retake it next spring semester there will be a big, fat, F sitting on my transcript.

This was the only picture I could find.

This was the only picture I could find.

I think the worst part of first seeing that F on ISIS wasn’t the disappointment I felt with myself. I knew all the resources that were present to help me succeed, and I didn’t take full advantage of them. But that wasn’t what really killed me. I was embarrassed more than anything. Hopkins can sometimes be a high pressure environment, in large part, because every student here places a lot of pressure on themselves. In many ways that’s a huge positive. You have a self-motivated student body, students who genuinely want to make create change and work hard to do so. But, when you’re surrounded by peers who are doing cancer research while also dominating the club soccer scene in between clarinet recitals, any failure can make you feel as if you don’t belong. So I was embarrassed, and worried. Embarrassed that it seemed like I was the only one of my friends to have a setback like that. Worried, that maybe, just maybe, Hopkins wasn’t the place for me. That despite everything I’d done in high-school, despite everything I’d done first semester, despite how much I loved being here, I wasn’t smart enough. Hopkins was too much for me and I was out of my league.

I didn’t really tell many people at first. I spoke to my parents about it, my girlfriend, and a few other close friends. I wanted to hide my embarrassment, hide the shame I felt. After talking with everyone and giving it a few days, I came around to a slightly different attitude. I wasn’t the only one to have failed a class at Hopkins, as it turned out. In fact some of the people who I considered most successful at school had failed or really struggled with one class along their academic career. If they were struggling, and could turn it around to achieve success, so could I. I realized that I had to pick myself up out of feeling like I didn’t belong. I knew that Hopkins was the place where I wanted to spend my college years ever since I had found Hopkins Interactive my sophomore year of high school. It was the place that made my family burst into tears when we found out I was accepted. It was the place I had met people who in one short year had already served as huge influences on my growth as an individual. If Hopkins wasn’t the right academic environment for me, fine, I would deal with that. But struggling with one class, one semester of school, wouldn’t determine that for me. I decided to pick myself up, recharge over the summer, and give my everything this coming school year. I’m going to take advantage of all the support I neglected, and not let this failure define me. Rather, I would take a lesson from it, grow, and move on.

I have never failed any other class before this one, but in a way, I’m almost happy I did. As JHU_Noah told me, while it sucks now, this will be the event that I look back on in twenty years as one of the defining moments that motivated me towards success. It can be hard, not succeeding 100 percent in the academic environment of Hopkins or any other high caliber institution. But then again, I wouldn’t want to test/prove myself anywhere other than at the highest level, and that’s what I plan to do. Wish me luck!

An Ode to Noah

I’ll admit it, I’ve always wanted a mentor. Yes, dedicated readers of Hopkins Interactive, I JHU_Dan, have wanted to be a mentee, and I’m proud to report that this year I’ve finally reached that goal. You must all be wondering who the lucky individual is, who gets to take the clay that is JHU_Dan and help mold it into a masterpiece. Well, you need not look far. This year, I was lucky to get close with JHU_Noah, to end this year calling him not only my mentor, but also one of my closest friends. If you take one thing from this inevitable mushy blog, I hope that it is how to snag an uber successful senior as your best friend.

Arent we cute?

Arent we cute?

JHU_Noah may not remember, but I knew who he was before he knew me. I had attended SOHOP my senior year of high school and had read all of his blogs (back when he wrote blogs). When I arrived at Hopkins and saw him standing in line for breakfast in front of Mason Hall, I worked up the courage to go introduce myself. I told him that I had been a huge fan of his blogs and the Learn More, See More, B’more videos that he had done with JHU_Lucie. He responded kindly, and though I’m sure he didn’t think much of it, it made my day.

Double date?

Double date?

Flash forward to September 2013: I’m sitting in a room surrounded by SAAB members, having just been called back for an interview. I’m trying to remain calm, and failing miserably. SAAB is an organization that I had wanted to join since I first stumbled upon Hopkins Interactive my sophomore year of high school. Sitting in front of me, asking me question after question, were students whose blogs I’d followed for over two years. Cue the nervous laugh and sweat-stains. It wasn’t until Noah started complimenting me on my outfit (yes, I looked professional and extremely dapper) that I started to relax.

After the interview, and *spoiler* my acceptance to SAAB, JHU_Noah and I hit it off. We would grab lunch often, meet up for trivia at PJ’s and just hang out. We spent Halloween together, opening up about everything, made plans to have a Star Wars marathon, went to Neuro-Jays meetings, and were just adorable together (objectively). Over the course of this year, we would have serious heart to hearts, discussions about life, love, and the state of Hopkins lacrosse. JHU_Noah became someone I felt I could turn to with anything. (This is starting to sound more and more like the plot of a romantic comedy.)

Myself, JHU_Noah and JHU_Grace on Halloween absolutely killing it

Myself, JHU_Noah and JHU_Grace on Halloween absolutely killing it

I guess I just want to show my appreciation with this blog post; we obviously have a bro-mance for the ages, but more than that, I want to thank you, JHU_Noah, for inspiring me as a friend, pushing me when I’ve given up, and making me laugh when I’ve wanted to do nothing more than sit and cry. You’re an amazing mentor, an even better friend, and in many ways, the big brother I’ve always wanted. As you go on to deal with your own challenges, it’s great to know that you’ll be around next year finishing up your Masters, and I hope you know I’ll be here for you, as you always have been for me.

May the force be with you.

Excited for Academics: Previewing Fall Semester

As second semester draws slowly to a close, I’m still not yet ready to reflect on my first year of college. I have finals to get through, and I’m sure that will bring with it a lot of introspection and soul searching… as well as many late night sandwich runs. I have however decided on classes for next semester and I’m very excited to branch out a little bit and take some less “generic classes” that really highlight Hopkins’ strengths.

To start off with some of the big guns, next semester I’m going to be taking Organic Chemistry I. The thought of Orgo instills fear in the hearts of pre-meds all across the country, and while I’m nervous for the workload and difficulties of the class I know that with all the support systems in place here at Hopkins, whether it’s the Learning Den, any other peer tutoring program, or simply having genius friends (looking at you JHU_Hayley) I’ll be more than fine.

Calculus II, will certainly be an interesting class. The version of the class I’m taking is geared towards students interested in the biological sciences, and for many of those students this will be the last math course they take so the class includes some non -calculus elements that the department deems important for every student to have learned. I’m excited to touch on topics that I’ll never even have heard of before, let alone learned about.

Fiction/Poetry Writing I- This will be the first creative writing class I’ve taken at Hopkins and I couldn’t be more pumped. I spent a lot of time writing for myself in high school (I took an extra lunch period as a second semester senior in the hopes of working on a collection of short stories… let’s just say I ate a lot more than I wrote) and with a busy freshman year schedule I wasn’t able to continue that as much as I would have liked. This course will force me to write and give me an opportunity to improve which I’m sure I can use.

Panorama of German Thought will definitely be the most interesting class I’m taking next semester. A course designed to span the breadth of the German philosophical tradition while also touching on other aspects of German cultural analysis, science and music, this class will give me a chance to learn more about some of history’s greatest thinkers. Hopkins also has an incredible German department and one of the professors teaching the course, Rochelle Tobias is a leading expert on German literature so I’m very excited.

Finally I’m taking a course called Marx: Critique of the Political Economy, which is being taught by one of my favorite TA’s from this past semester Arash Abazari. The class is limited to 19 students which will be nice to have a smaller setting for discussions and the course material, (Marx) will be something relatively new for me.

Can't wait to learn about this guy!

Can’t wait to learn about this guy!

After a semester full of large general level science/math classes, I’m excited to branch out a bit more into the humanities this upcoming semester and can’t wait to see where it will take me.

The Perfect Sundae (Or How I Chose Hopkins)

Today’s society presents us with many different choices. We choose a career path, where we want to live, and who we want to spend our lives with. All tough, scary choices. But of all the stressful decisions I’ve ever had to make, the choice that was the most difficult one for much of my life was: what kind of ice cream and which toppings to get on my weekly ice cream sundae.

Now, you might be reading this and wondering, JHU_ Dan, are you insane? What kind of person compares the stress of deciding where to live, or what career to pursue, to deciding what they want in a sundae? Well, maybe you’re right. Maybe I am insane. But give me a chance to explain. From about age 10 to age 16, my family and I had ice cream once a week at our local ice cream parlor. Rain or shine, winter or summer, we went weekly (ice cream never stops) and I would always order a sundae. As much as I loved the actual eating of the sundae, the decision process of what flavors to have was extremely stressful. There were so many variables: was I in a chocolate or vanilla mood? Did I want a crunchy topping or did I want fruit? What color sprinkles did I want? (Always go rainbow!) And don’t even get me started on the classic “hot fudge vs. caramel” debate. Finalizing a complete sundae was extremely difficult for me until I decided to look at it from a new perspective. I realized that I should start by breaking things down. I needed to focus on what was most important for me in my sundae, which I decided was the ice cream base, and let all the other things, the toppings, fall into place.

Hopkins tastes great

Hopkins tastes great

In many ways, selecting a college is like choosing ingredients for a sundae. There are countless variables, and you have to decide which of these variables is most important to you, which to focus on. As an immigrant, I had no idea what college in the United States would be like. I had no understanding of what the experience entailed, and therefore had no clue what I could realistically hope for. So, from an early age, I constructed a conception of what the ideal university would be like. When I visited Hopkins in the fall of my junior year, I knew the school matched up perfectly with my vision. The academic philosophy was what I craved, an institution truly designed to promote the synthesis of knowledge. I felt like I could become part of a community here, that Hopkins could become home. Having found my ice cream, all the toppings fell into place—the proximity to home, the social life, and the extracurricular opportunities. After a few more visits, I knew Hopkins had everything I wanted. It was a place where I would have access to all the resources of a huge research university, without feeling like I was drowning in a sea of people. Hopkins, I knew, was a place where I could begin to make a difference, whether it be through the plentiful research opportunities, or as a volunteer at a local clinic. It just felt right. That’s what we should all aspire to find in a school: a place that just feels right. I had the most delicious sundae I’ve had yet on December 14th, the day I was accepted to Hopkins. I hope that all of you dedicated JHU_Interactive readers are able to find your perfect sundaes as well.

Gearing Up for Spring

Sorry to disappoint dedicated JHU Interactive readers, but my spring break isn’t being spent on the beaches of Punta Cana or any other exotic locale. I’m home in lovely New City, New York, (definitely not as warm as Punta Cana) enjoying the break planted on my couch binge-watching Friends re-runs. Though I’m not working on my tan, I think we’d all agree my break isn’t too shabby. Having a week without homework, clubs and having to do laundry is amazing whether it’s 75 and sunny or with snow still on the ground.

Could definitely go for a nice beach sunset

Could definitely go for a nice beach sunset

With a chance to recharge, I’m eagerly looking forward to the tail end of second semester. I’ll be the first one to admit that this semester has been really difficult for me. Academically, my coursework has become more difficult to master, club commitments have increased, grades finally count, and on top of all that, having to make plans for the summer just adds to the perfect recipe for stress. Sometimes, when dealing with all this, despite the amazing support systems I do have at school, I feel overwhelmed, overworked, and insecure. I wonder if sometimes I’m not good enough for Hopkins, if maybe I can’t keep up. Maybe I’m not smart enough, maybe just maybe, I won’t succeed at my dream school.

Having this week off, to spend time with family, see friends and loved ones, and just relax has shifted my mindset and helped me get excited for school again. The big talk on campus is how springtime at Hopkins is unparalleled. Students relaxing on the Beach, studying outside in the Baltimore sun, sampling the delicious ice cream at Dominion, everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s their favorite time of year. With Spring Fair, the indescribable student-run fair that takes over campus for a weekend right around the corner, complete with a performance from J Cole (my girlfriend won two VIP tickets so I’m going to be jamming in style), and lacrosse games a plenty I have a lot to look forward to as I return to school.

Despite the myriad stresses encountered in any college environment, Hopkins of course being no exception, as I write this I’m 100% sure there is really nowhere I’d rather be than back at Homewood. Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is lay down with a book, get some ice cream, and take a nap. Sometimes, like in my case, you need to get away from campus for a bit and relax. That’s what this break has been, an amazing opportunity to get all the negative thoughts out of my head, and to remember exactly how lucky and how happy I am to be at Hopkins.

This really encapsulates what I've been doing all of break

This really encapsulates what I’ve been doing all of break

So no, I won’t have any crazy stories to tell my kids about my freshman spring break, but I don’t doubt that this was the best way to spend it. Recharging, relaxing, and getting ready for what should be an amazing second half of the semester.

A Day in the Life

Dedicated Hopkins Interactive readers, you all must be wondering what crazy adventures and hilarious shenanigans a day in the life of JHU_Dan can bring. I don’t blame you. Living this life isn’t easy, but someone has to do it. To give you guys a taste of what the Hopkins life offers, I decided to live blog my Tuesday this past week. Hope you enjoy!

11:02 AM- On Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t have class until noon, so I take the opportunity to sleep in as late as possible. I have a date party later tonight so I know I need to be well rested so that I can tear it up on the dance floor.
11:03- Try to get out of bed
11:04- Fail to get out of bed, hit the snooze button and plan on trying again later
11:14- Get out of bed, angry that the world forces me to leave such a comfortable, warm, place

My Life is a struggle

My Life is a struggle

11:23- Shower while contemplating life’s deepest mysteries… Or more realistically, fall asleep standing up.
11:34- Run to AMR II to grab a meal in a minute. These pre-packaged meals designed for those who have little time to get food in between classes (or those too lazy to make their own sandwiches like myself) are lifesavers.
11:52- Sit down in the Mudd Hall atrium to enjoy my meal before Bio.
12:00- Take a seat in the Mudd 26 lecture hall next to one of my two professors for a nice lecture on plants. I’ll be honest, I’m not super interested in plants, but having a professor sit next to you is definitely a good way to keep yourself focused, and have all your questions answered during lecture.
1:20- Bio’s over and Bio lab is cancelled today! That means it’s time for an hour long power nap.
1:30- Power nap plans are cancelled when I decide to go hang out on my house-mates’ giant beanbag.
4:00- After much bean-bagging (is that a word?) I decide to call my parents
4:33- Nice time as always catching up with the family. My little brother lost a tooth, he’s adorable and loves to Facetime.
He's a cutie.

He’s a cutie.

4:38- Work time! With a Calc midterm and a Chem Lab midterm creeping up, I need to catch up on some studying. Nothing to soothe the soul like some limit laws or reaction mechanisms!
6:07- As hunger starts to creep in my friends Joe, Olivia (the co-owner of the giant beanbag) and I go to Chipotle. Doesn’t get better than a good pre-date party burrito bowl.
7:28- Start to get ready for date party, my theme is disco beach. To everyone’s surprise I clean up quite nicely.
8:04- Pick up my girlfriend from her room. She looks absolutely stunning. JHU_Dan is a lucky guy*.
We clean up nicely

We clean up nicely

9:00- After listening to some Beyonce in my dorm with my friends and their dates, date party commences. Much dancing ensues.
1:04- Time for bed, after a long night full of dancing, fun, and lots of disco moves I’m exhausted.

Not every day has a date party, nor do I normally have the luxury of doing as little studying as I did this day. Nevertheless, every day here brings with it a new source of excitement, something to which I can look forward!

*She did not make write this I swear. Also why am I referring to myself in the third person?

Finding a Path

I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that being surrounded with passionate, brilliant minds here at Hopkins is a huge blessing. I look around and see my friends who’ve helped to edit children’s books, hall-mates who are nationally ranked athletes, students who are national debate champions. Everyone here is so accomplished, and with that accomplishment oftentimes comes a clear sense of direction. However, knowing where you want to go, what you want to do, and how you want to do it is something I’ve always had trouble finding.

It can get intimidating, when your friends have their 5 year plans memorized, and you still don’t know what kind of Panini to get for lunch(the goat cheese with roast beef is the right answer), let alone what to major in or your post- college plans. I applied to Hopkins hoping to study physics and philosophy, and over the past six months, I’ve decided at various points to pursue a degree in bio-physics, classics, and Africana studies. I’m sure you can tell, I’m far from following a clearly defined road. The worst part was, I felt that most everyone around me knew what the future held for them, they were all set on their futures and I was the only one unsure of what I wanted. It was a horrible feeling, to think I was the outlier, and in crept the nagging self-doubt and uncertainty.

Not sure where I'm going, hopefully it'll have more Chipotles than this though.

Not sure where I’m going, hopefully the grass will be shorter though, and a Chipotle wouldn’t hurt.

After a few long heart to hearts with my parents and my friends, I gained a new perspective. I had lost sight of why I wanted to come to Hopkins in the first place. I had forgotten that the biggest draw for me about Hopkins was the academic freedom I would be accorded, the flexibility in terms of academic requirements allowing me the opportunity to find myself. To really explore all my interests. Not knowing what I wanted to study, what career I wanted to pursue wasn’t a bad thing, in some sense it was the best option. I realized how many resources I have here to help me find my path. Academic advisors, the career center, the brilliant professors teaching me every day, and all those driven, successful friends of mine to help me along my way.

It also became clear to me, that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a defined path. Among the most amazing people I’ve met here are equally as unsure of their futures. Whether to go into public health, to write, law school or teaching French, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t dead set on one track. It’s reassuring to know, that others were in the same boat as me, and we could ride the current together.

I may not know what I want to do, whether I want to go to an MD/PHD program and spend my life doing research, whether I want to pursue philosophy in academia, or fulfill my life-long dream of working as a garbage-man (don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t want to ride on the back of the truck). I do know however, that I am in the best place possible to figure it out, and I can’t wait to see where my path will lead.

Imagine riding around on that thing

Imagine riding around on that thing