I’m kind of, absolutely terrified by the fact that I’m a few weeks away from the halfway mark of my college experience. It’s scarier than that time my dad and I decided to watch all of the Saw films back to back on Christmas day (even if we were a little desensitized by the end). The end of the year really crept up on me; it wasn’t until my French New Wave professor announced that we were just a few class sessions away from the final. Even without exams, facing the end of another school year is terrifying.
I am not ready to admit to being two years away from the real world. I mean, I just failed room checks because I have a canopy hanging over my bed like an infant with a mobile. I consider Crayola markers an essential item on my college packing list. I wear my lemur onesie a little too much.
Despite my status as a former Writing Sems major (consider it legitimate), I really don’t have the words to express how strange it feels to be at the halfway point. I don’t yet want to realize that my next two years at Hopkins will fly by as quickly as the first two did.
I’m not ready to look forward.
So, instead, I’ll take a look back.
This year was crazy and bizarre and ultimately, amazing. People, especially Hopkins students, tend to hype up freshman year because of the naive excitement and lack of true college stress. But sophomore year has been a wonderful, long ride, and I’m ready to review this year, at least, even if I’m not ready to preview the next. These are the moments this year that made the cut to be featured on my highly prestigious, exclusive, all-the-rage social media account.
Note my distinct adoration for song lyrics as photo captions. I’m also not ready to admit that AIM profiles are dead, and I need somewhere else to publish melodramatic lyrics. Also note my insistence on making “bae” a thing; I started using it ironically and now it’s permanently in my lexicon. Help.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: A PHOTOGRAPHIC YEAR IN REVIEW
33 weeks ago: my first morning on campus again. I returned to Hopkins early to serve as a first year mentor during orientation, which gave me the perks of moving into Charles Commons crazy early. I loved being able to settle in again way before classes started, giving me ample time to nest and get a feel for the workings of sophomore year and visit with friends and, apparently, take pictures for Instagram.
29 weeks ago: Hopkins Greek Life sponsored a night out at Camden Yards! Tickets were idiotically cheap, and included buses to and from the stadium. Despite the cheap price of the outing, my bank account wept at how much I spent on ballpark fare. Softshell crab sandwiches are my weakness.
26 weeks ago: If you’ve ever even just glanced at my blog, you know I harbor (ha ha) an unhealthy love for Fells Point. Industrial, blue-collar seaport life is at Baltimore’s roots, and I think it’s beautifully rendered in Fells. This is my favorite view in the entire city. I considered posting it on @hopkinsinsider, but selfishly kept it for myself. Note the Hozier lyrics, who was the only artist I listened to for the entire month of October.
25 weeks ago: Fall (Autumn sounds pretentious, don’t lie, you know it does) is the best time of year, no contest, and Hopkins looks pretty darn cute in autumnal (darn it) colors. This day, my Visual Language class spent class time outside filming, and it was a perfect day for it. We took test shots of people’s butts as they walked, which, in retrospect, was super weird and creepy. We wrote it off as artistic, I think. We probably should have just filmed the perfect orange leaves.
23 weeks ago: This is, what, this photo’s third rotation on my blog? Whatever, these costumes are my pride and joy. They deserve the publicity. Halloween will forever be #1 holiday in my book, and I think these little getups exemplify everything that’s awesome about it: an opportunity to display crafting prowess, a chance to look totally different for a night, an excuse to put on makeup that probably isn’t otherwise acceptable, and a rational reason to step off campus and hit the town for a night.
17 weeks ago: Apparently Instagram was a quiet time for me in November. Fast forward to December, when Emelynn and I took to Hampden one Saturday to grab a bite at Golden West and check out the lights on 34th. They’re a Baltimore landmark, and despite living 25 minutes away from Hampden my whole life, I had never gone to see them. They’re as spectacular as the local news makes them out to be. Personal favorite: the Natty Boh setup.
14 weeks ago: Naturally, snow days occur over Intersession. Still, I couldn’t resist stopping on my way to work to tiptoe on the steps of Shriver and capture the Engineering/Lower Quad (what its official name? Wyman Quad?) under a white blanket of snow. I destroyed the pun game in this caption, if I do say so myself.
13 weeks ago: The Beyonce caption really speaks for itself here. Danny and I took Intersession to mean tour de restaurant term, and one morning, we found ourselves at City Cafe. I had pulled pork eggs benedict, which was pretty flawless. Hence Beyonce.
11 weeks ago: As much as I enjoy the sunny April skies, Hopkins is really, undeniably pretty in the winter. Despite my lack of a hashtag, this picture is truly #nofilter, which means that the campus turns sepia in the snow: every photo nerd’s dream.
9 weeks ago: Alpha Phi bid day. The amazingly talented John Jiao captured this ~way candid~ moment between me and Anna, who is actually now my little! Not to get too sorority sappy on a post that is supposed to be me feigning some guise of coolness on social media, but she’s awesome, and this photo was too cute to resist.
8 weeks ago: V-day dinner at Aggio. I’ll admit, I was skeptical, since I’m skeptical of pretty much any restaurant that doesn’t have a harbor view. It’s my tragic flaw. But, despite the lack of wind from the water on my face, this place was pretty awesome. Like, look at that dessert! What the heck is that flossy looking stuff! I swear I’m more of a foodie than this, and totally above calling culinary artistry “flossy stuff.”
8 weeks ago: This image may be my year’s most important moment. Shake Shack arrived in Baltimore. Danny’s sister handled the PR for the restaurant’s opening, so we had the privilege of going a day early! We beat the crowds of real opening day, and got free food. Tears of joy.
5 weeks ago: I eat a lot in the winter. I need the extra nutrients so that I can form a layer of protective blubber and survive the harsh winds and temperatures. Or, I see snow days as the perfect setting for a big ol’ stack of chocolate chip pancakes at Pete’s Grille, who takes J-Cash (!!!)
4 weeks ago: Over Spring Break, I took a day in New York and visited the MOMA. I finally got to see Andy Warhol’s infamous piece, which fulfilled a little life goal for me. I was weirdly obsessed wit Andy and the Factory gang growing up, and the 10 year old me with Edie Sedgwick posters rejoiced when I saw this in person.
6 days ago: The weather turned lousy and all I got was this stupid photo of an oil slick by Levering.
In Film Theory, we deeply discussed the deep ties between images and memories. We read theories, watched La Jetee (it’s like 30 minutes long so you have no excuse not to watch it now, dear reader), and shared our own personal experiences. I do see my memories in snapshots: of the jello snack that one girl brought in pre-school, of the vocabulary board in my third grade classroom (where I first learned the word “plethora”), of the way my friends’ faces looked in the moonlight as we ran across The Beach one night during freshman year.
I’m all wrapped up in nostalgia and memory because of these images. My brain insists on reliving memories like some ancient slide reel, clunkily shooting one picture after the next. Sometimes I’m not sure why an image will pop into my head, but it’s there and it’s potent and it washes all over me.
I think this is all a roundabout, crazy film theorist way of me saying that I do see this inherent link between images and memories. This photographic review resurrected so many moments and feelings for me: the dewy morning the day that I took the first photo of The Beach, the sticky plastic and buzzing ambience of Camden Yards, the snowy and shivering walk across fresh snow to work during Intersession.
I know it’s just silly social media and it can be hard to justify ascribing some kind of poetic meaning to an app that embraces hashtags, but I’m glad to have this digital catalogue of moments from my year. Taking these photos and filtering them to death and whatnot is this cathartic sort of way for me to get them out of my brain, to crystallize them.
Instagram, a medium for a film theorist approach to memory or nah, has been such a great way for me to document my year. I can flip through my feed and see my year, in chronological order, looking prettier than it ever would in my head.