Its winter break and I’m home, happily sleeping 12 hours a night in my own bed and stuffing my face with cookies. Finals seem like a distant memory, but spring semester is still weeks away.

I’m looking forward to my favorite time at Hopkins: Intersession! I found out about it when I was touring Johns Hopkins for the first time.

Our tour guide explained that intersession is a month-long term where students can take classes for pass-fail credit. The classes are free, the dorms are open, and the meal-plan is included in your fall tuition! I immediately loved the idea of allowing students to explore new academic fields stress-free! Freshman year I took a biochemistry lab called “Foreign Gene Expression Lab” where my partner, JHU_Dan, and I spent three weeks trying to insert a gene into E.coli.

Ice Bucket Forever

Ice Bucket Forever

Sophomore year I again stayed in Baltimore for intersession. I’ve always been oddly fascinated with Greek Mythology, so I decided to take a 1-credit course about the heroes and monsters of the Pantheon.

This year I’m going to do research full-time in the lab I’ve been in for the past couple of years. I’m particularly excited because we will be analyzing some in vivo experiments that were started all the way back in August!

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Many of my friends are coming back this year to take classes ranging from stand-up comedy, to the chemistry of chocolate. I even have a friend taking a class abroad spending three weeks in Africa!

One of the main reasons why I love intersession, though, is that you have time without the stress of a full class schedule or homework to explore Baltimore! While I’ve been home relaxing, I’ve compiled a list of things I want to do and accomplish this January.

 

  1. Explore the BMA and the Walters Museum: The Baltimore Museum of Art is free for students, and the Walters is free for the public! While I’ve gone to both before, I haven’t spent extensive time viewing all the exhibits. I’m looking forward to spending a Sunday afternoon at the Walters, and then getting a cup of coffee at the nearby Dooby’s.

    Still Life with Oranges at the BMA

    Still Life with Oranges at the BMA

  1. Get In Shape: Okay I guess I could do this one anywhere, but during intersession fitness classes at the rec center are free. I’m looking forward to relaxing at yoga and maybe learning how to finally bike properly at a few spin classes.
  1. Explore New Restaurants: I’ve spent three years searching and finding amazing restaurants all over the city. Grano is the place for pesto; the Helmand serves incredible Afghan cuisine, and Yama Sushi has the freshest (and cheapest) rainbow roll in Baltimore. But I’ve become comfortable in my favorites. Zagat just listed Baltimore second in a list of the top 17 food cities! I’ll be trolling baltimoremagazine.net for new and exciting food stops.
  1. Tackle New Recipes: With all my free time I’m excited to get exotic in the kitchen. I have all the ingredients to make Tom Kha Gai in my pantry and I’m going to finally make my favorite soup. I have a google doc full of recipes I’m going to attempt.

    Rosemary lamb chops with creamed swiss chard, one of my favorite meals we make!

    Rosemary lamb chops with creamed swiss chard, one of my favorite meals we make!

  1. Go Hiking: Since I was little, my family has been taking me on hiking vacations and adventures. During the school year, though, it’s hard to justify taking an entire day off from work to hike. I plan on taking advantage of this insanely warm weather (sans snow) to explore Maryland’s state parks with my friends!

    The view from Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park!

    The view from Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park!