I’ve written and rewritten this blog—my final blog—a few times. Nothing felt quite right as a perfect reflection on my four years at Hopkins. I don’t know why I’m putting so much pressure on myself to say something ~profound~ and ~insightful~. Maybe because the act of publishing something on the Internet is permanent, and I want this to exist as a time capsule that properly reflects how I feel at this very moment. That’s setting myself up for failure, though, because I’m feeling a million conflicting things and nothing will truly capture my four years here. It’s been everything.
Hopkins has been wonderful and weird and confusing and inspiring and complicated and rewarding. Life isn’t any one thing. And as much as I seem to think that college is its own little self-contained episode of being, it’s all still life. As surreal as it seems, it’s my life.
Sometimes I’m not sure what I did to deserve the life I have now, as a soon-to-be Hopkins graduate. I feel cautiously grateful, as if it were all some accidental stroke of luck that will soon be revoked. It’s easy to ascribe my happiness to coincidence or fate or the planets aligning, but it’s truly the product of a perfect cocktail of hard work and circumstance. Hopkins has given me so many opportunities. I’m proud to say that I’ve seized them.
This past semester, when people have asked me if I’m excited to graduate, I always respond with a resounding yes! They’re surprised, usually, because who wouldn’t want to leave college?! And I tell them that I’m just kind of done here. Not in an apathetic or sad way. I’ve taken advantage of everything that I wanted to. There’s not much left for me at Hopkins—and that’s a good thing. It’s the hallmark of a college career lived without regret.
For all that I’ve done at Hopkins, it didn’t make me a better person—it just made me more myself: more of that version of me that 9-year-old Genevieve always hoped to meet. At Hopkins, I met professors who taught me to fearlessly believe in myself, that my perspective is worthwhile. It educated me on concepts that crystallized my personal opinions, challenged my worldviews, and provided outlets for my own self-expression. It introduced me to smart, funny, passionate people, who astound me every day. It allowed me to stay in the city that I love so much, a city that surprises and gives and gives and gives.
Looking back, if Hopkins taught me anything, it’s that I want to do it all. I want to feel the extremes, the hyperboles, the highs and the lows that I’ll label with superlatives, the same ones that now make it hard for me to reflect. I want to grab every opportunity that life gives me. I want to invest in myself. I want to surround myself with people who make me better versions of myself, over and over again. I want to always feel this simultaneously confused, hopeful, fulfilled. I want ineffable experiences that I can’t truly put into words.
In one year, I’ll be preparing to graduate from a whole new school. I wonder if I’ll have the same feelings: the same anxieties, the same hopes, the same feeling of pride. I’ll probably find myself—a new me, yet me all the same—all over again.
When I walk across the stage on May 24th, and the year after that, and every metaphorical stage I face every year from now, I hope I feel this way. I hope it feels joyfully surreal. I hope I can’t possibly believe that I’m this fulfilled, changed, inspired, lucky. If that all does come true, I’ll have Hopkins to thank.