Name: Neha Onteeru
Year: Class of 2019
Hometown: Sterling, Virginia
Intended Path of Study: Computer Science with Minors in Entrepreneurship & Management and Space Systems
Birds of a Feather
There’s a phrase that I’ve heard from time to time. “Birds of a feather flock together”. It’s a saying that I never paid much attention to until I started college at Hopkins. Throughout high school, I had an extremely close knit group of best friends. My four years of high school memories are colored with our ridiculous sleepovers, hilarious inside jokes, and fabulous, random adventures. We did everything together, and I was absolutely certain that I’d never find another group of people who I could click with so well. You can imagine our dismay when college application season came to an end, and as fate would have it, we all ended up at different schools. In fact, we were spread completely up and down the east coast.
Once I realized that I wouldn’t have any of them at school with me, questions started surfacing in my mind. What if I don’t find friends as good as them at Hopkins? What if everyone at Hopkins is weird? Or maybe they’ll all think I’m weird?? How do you even make new friends??? I spent the summer worrying about these things, and arrived at Hopkins that day in August very unsure of what to expect.
Within the first day, I met this really awesome girl named Emma in my First Year Mentor orientation group. We bonded quickly over our mutual love for board games, snack foods (really all food), and Zac Efron. Soon, she had introduced me to a whole group of amazingly interesting people that she had met on her pre-orientation trip. Those same people are some of my closest friends at Hopkins now. We’ve explored Baltimore together, had some hilarious nights, and countless interesting conversations.
Within a week, I had made the Woodrow Wilson Debate Council. I heard about tryouts during Orientation Week, and realized that I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that I got to be a part of such an awesome team at Hopkins! The upperclassmen on the team have been amazing role models, and I’ve gotten close with all of the freshman who joined this year. My first tournament at Swarthmore College was a great experience, I debated topics ranging from assisted suicide to tribal vaccinations. I can’t wait to compete in more next semester!
Within a month, I had become a board member for the South Asian Students at Hopkins (SASH). SASH has so quickly become an integral part of my life at Hopkins. Before coming to Hopkins, I had never really been involved with any Indian cultural groups. It’s proved to be a great decision. I’ve had the opportunity to help plan and run events like our Navaratri dance and Bollywood movie nights. In the process, I’ve gotten to know to the Indian population at Hopkins really well…it’s pretty cool to connect with people who understand your background!
Looking back at last summer, I realize now that my fears were totally unfounded. Hopkins has provided me with more outlets than I can take advantage of for meeting new, interesting, wonderful people. While my high school best friends remain an important part of my life, I’ve also learned about all of the other kinds of people that I can connect with. So when you’re going through the college application process, or really taking on anything new in life, just remember that there will always be a group somewhere out there that you can become a part of. The support that you can gain from such groups is invaluable. Birds of feather, whether that feather is a culture, sport, movie taste, or preference of breakfast cereal, truly flock together wherever you go.