Category Archives: Homewood

Here’s lookin’ at you, 2021

In the spirit of Early Decision release being just under a week ago, I wanted to share a few things that Hopkins has for the Class of 2021 to look forward to. Here is a list of amazing things that you’ll definitely find, learn, or experience when you arrive this fall, from people and events to places, and just general Hopkins things.

  1. Neighborhoods of Baltimore

View from the roof of The Academy on Charles (located on N. Charles St and E. University Pkwy, Charles Village)

Before you venture to Federal Hill, Fell’s Point, Mt. Vernon, and a variety of other neighborhoods that Baltimore has to offer, you have to experience the basics. The two easiest neighborhoods to see when you arrive on campus are Charles Village, which is where Homewood campus is located, and Hampden, just north of campus and within walking distance. Charles Village is popular with students for its accessibility, food, and upperclassmen housing — after all, you’re already there. Hampden isn’t much further and is popular for Hon Fest, Miracle on 34th Street, all of the fantastic food options, window shopping, and most importantly, its love of flamingoes.


Photo of Miracle on 34th Street courtesy of the fabulous photography skills of my friend RJ (located on 34th St, Hampden)

If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous (or it’s already October and Parents’ Weekend is around the corner), get your parents to take you to lunch or dinner in the Inner Harbor. Seafood is
fabulous, there’s tons of shopping, in addition to the National Aquarium, and attractions like the dragon boats.


Dark view of the Inner Harbor, photo taken from the dragon boats (located somewhere in the Harbor)

2. People Excited to Get Involved with the City


My friend Greg pulled this tire out of the sand it was embedded in while we were cleaning up this beach

There are endless opportunities to get more acquainted with Baltimore. If getting acquainted with a city means experiencing its food, museums, or concert venues, Baltimore has plenty of those, but I think that the best thing to do is to get to know a city’s people, and the best way to do that is by giving back. There are tons of community service groups on campus, and the university itself has plenty of goals for student involvement within the city. There are opportunities to clean up the city and surrounding areas, tutor students of any age, and so much more. On top of that, there are people who will want to take part in all of that with you, which has been truly motivational.


At Hopkins, we like to commend our friends for awesome things and also embarrass them with bad pictures.

3. Friends Who Get You


We capitalized on the hot chocolate (and the free foliage?)

You’ll find friends who are willing to ask adults why there’s free hot chocolate sitting in Levering courtyard and capitalize on the free things, because the 10:30AM struggle is real and when you need to sit through a class that’s an hour long, you might want a warm beverage to keep you company. You’ll find friends who also want to do the bare minimum when it requires getting dressed up for a picture on a hot August day, and they’ll even stay friends with you when you show up in Birkenstocks and just ask for the picture to be waist-up. Even when you have a bad day, you’ll find friends to wallow with you, or to do everything they can to cheer you up, if that’s what you’re in to.


Hunter’s proposal ft. my Birkenstocks.


Me and Ramya being very, very sad. We were just having a bad day — it happens.

4. Favorite Places on Campus


The ever majestic Gilman Hall

Everyone’s favorite place on campus is different, but the aesthetic of Gilman Hall is unparalleled at sunrise, sunset, and anywhere in between. As an engineer, I hardly find myself in Gilman (sadly) but I can still revel at its beauty and roam its halls searching for empty classrooms to use as group study rooms on the weekends. Beauty can be found everywhere and anywhere on campus during all seasons. I never get tired of strolling campus and taking photos like it’s still my first week. There’s no shame in it!


Every branch was icy so I stopped my walk to class and snapped a picture.

You’ll also find your favorite place to study, which is a process that takes many semesters. I’ve gone through phases of studying in the Brody and Mudd Atria, on MSE M and A Levels, and in various campus cafes and the Reading Room, but my current favorite place is MSE C Level. This might still just be me coming off of finals talking, but when I need to work alone, C Level has always had my back.


This is my favorite cube and when other people sit in it, I hiss at them.

5. Making the Best Out of Everything

The last and most important thing to know about Hopkins is that the experience that comes from it is entirely determined by what you want. So my advice to you, Class of 2021, is this: join all of the clubs, do all of the things you think you might even have the tiniest interest in doing, and then choose what you want to spend your time on what you enjoy most. College is about you and nobody else; the people you choose to surround yourself with will make everything worth it. Late nights of homework are made better by trips to FFC late night, and weekends are made better by spending your Saturdays exploring.


I’m all for graffiti if it’s going to be inspirational like this.

So get excited to come to Baltimore in about 9 months, because the best four years of your life are fast approaching. Don’t forget to savor the rest of your senior year, pore over the bedspread you’re going to buy to match your college aesthetic, and read all of the blogs. Before you know it, you’ll be living it, and you’re going to find a brand new family.


As excited to meet all of you as I was to meet Octopodes’ new freshmen just a few months ago!

The Journey to Bernie

Just two days ago, the student-run Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium (MSE) and Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS) brought one of the biggest names in recent news to Shriver Hall to talk students at Hopkins about the current state of the American government and economy. This person was Bernie Sanders, and it was truly a life-changing experience. The journey to Bernie all started about two months ago, when MSE and FAS announced that they would be collaborating to bring this final guest to Hopkins to speak. When I heard that this esteemed guest was Bernie Sanders, I knew that I needed to do everything in my power to try and land a seat in Shriver somewhere near Bernie.

After the initial announcement, the excitement died down for a while. Then, the day that (free) tickets were to go on sale was announced, and campus was abuzz once more. It was decided that tickets would be made available on Sunday, November 6th at 5PM. I immediately made a calendar event and set an alarm for it. The day couldn’t come soon enough, and I opened my laptop at 4:56PM to log in to my Hopkins account and try to claim a ticket. At 5:00PM, the server — for lack of a better word — exploded. I clicked to add that ticket to my cart and after a series of failed attempts, empty cart notifications, and a whirlwind of emotions, the ticket was in my possession. I had made it, and it had only been about six of the most stressful minutes of my life.

With the tumultuous election night on November 8th and all of the spotlight on the Oval Office in the week leading up to Bernie’s talk, I was eager to hear what he had to say about all that had happened. I moved my research schedule around, made sure that I didn’t have any meetings on Thursday after my class ended at 10:15AM, and I tried to prepare myself to hear my idol talk. I sat in front of Shriver at 1:15PM and waited until the doors opened 4 hours later, and it was worth every second of the wait.

Below is a walk-through of my day on the journey to Bernie:


Sitting in the library before preparing to brave the cold


Arrival at Shriver



Happy as a clam but getting cold after about an hour


The line grows marginally, this is at about 3:00PM


This kid became my idol when I saw he had brought a life-size Bernie cutout with him.


3:30PM — the end draws nearer


One of my best friends, Atlas, and I with only 20 more minutes outside. Who looks cold?


After getting inside and falling asleep in our (4th row!) seats for about 30 minutes. 6:30PM and 30 minutes to Bernie!


The man himself. Truly inspirational.


I love you Bernie!

An Ode To Finals

While I sit in my living room at home, 180 miles from the Hop, I cannot help but feel lucky. After two finals periods last year in which I remained at school for two full, stress-filled weeks, I had the privilege of leaving quite early this time. With all of my finals crammed in to the first week, I am cozy and warm at home, sitting across the table from my sister as I write this.


Hello, it’s me.

For those who are waiting to take their last exams tomorrow, my heart is with you.

That being said, I think finals get a bad reputation for reasons I don’t really understand. I definitely had a comparatively easy finals period this semester to previous ones, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that finals period, particularly reading period, actually tends to be pretty fun. While I do not pine for sixteen-hour days in the library or enjoy permanently penciled-stained hands, I enjoy the freedom of finals. After a semester of classes and a regimented schedule, it’s nice to schedule my own days and create a plan of attack for my exams. I had down time between each one (it really is the luck of the draw every time) and I even got to go out to dinner with my friends and cherish my last few days with the best people on Earth for what is bound to feel like an eternity.


Thank you for supporting my FFC obsession.

Sure, finals are cumulative. Sometimes they can make or break you; if you’ve been doing well in a class, you’re worried that the final might throw a curveball and ruin a good thing that you have going. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re not doing so well, you might have a lot to prove through one exam or paper. By no stretch of the imagination do I mean to say that finals are the highlight of my semester, but I do like that they wrap up each one in a neat little package. They signify the start of a new semester and in the fall, a new year.

Thinking about year long courses in high school, I honestly don’t know how I did it. I like the fast paced environment of college and the hustle and bustle of getting things done. I like having a course’s work under my belt because it means I can move on to bigger and better things. This spring, I get to truly delve in to my major, and thinking about it makes me want to fast forward to January 25.

Before that can happen, I’m returning for Intersession (for a myriad of reasons). Staying home for over a month with nothing to do almost feels like a waste of my time, for starters, but I want to come back to take classes with my friends, continue working on my research, and rehearsing with the Octopodes. I love being at Hopkins, plus getting to stick around and take free classes which are pass/fail and zero stress is a win on all fronts.

Did I sleep until 11:30AM the day after I got home from my finals? Absolutely. They’re draining, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of them and look forward to coming back in just a few weeks.

Happy Hump Day!

I think I’m long overdue for “a day in the life”-themed blog. Since my day to post this semester is every other Wednesday, I figured I’d outline what a typical Wednesday looks like for me. Wednesdays also tend to be my busiest days because they’re in the middle of the week.

This one’s for you mom, because I know you’re always telling me that I need to take a break because I’m doing too much.

8:25 AM: Wake up and get ready for my 9AM organic chemistry class. I only need about 20 minutes to get ready. I can’t express enough how much joy I get out of my ten-minute walk to class after an hour commute to high school. Half way through sophomore year and it still hasn’t gotten old.


All ready to go but still trying to nap before I leave for class

8:50AM: Walk over to Mudd Hall for Organic Chemistry with the rest of my books in tow. It’s at this point that I usually realize that bringing a jacket would have been a good idea. I almost always forget to check the weather before I leave, so sometimes I get a pleasant (or not-so-pleasant) surprise.


I can roll with this. I actually put on a jacket today, so it’s not bad.

9:00 AM: Organic chemistry lecture. I won’t lie, this isn’t my favorite class, but a group of my friends and I usually claim an entire row and mull over the content together. We also study in groups and work through problems together, because that really is the only way to understand orgo.


Jose and Atlas: happy to be out of orgo or trying to bother me by dancing across the grass? The world may never know.

9:50 AM: Head to the Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company in Levering Hall for breakfast and coffee (they take dining dollars and even though I love the cappuccino chip muffins in Brody café, my wallet does not enjoy them). I usually answer e-mails or do some quick studying before heading over to work.


Breakfast and a game of catch up because the e-mail game is strong

11:00 AM: My work study job is in Mason Hall and I spend about three hours there on Wednesdays. It’s split up a bit because of class, but it’s probably one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I get to work with my friends (shoutout to JHU_Genevieve and JHU_Jackie) and this is usually when I check the blogging deadlines spreadsheet (hint hint SAAB friends).


Hi Mason Hall!

12:00PM: My second class of the day is Biochemistry in Hodson. I sit with my friend Katrina from my a cappella group and we usually nerd out about hemoglobin or ATP synthase. We work through the clicker questions together and sometimes get confused, but I’m pretty sure both of us have said it’s our favorite class, so I love heading over there every day.


I wasn’t kidding when I said we love hemoglobin.

1:30PM: My last class of the day is Differential Equations with my favorite professor, Dr. Brown. He makes math philosophical and poetic. Different teaching styles work for different people, but I took Calc III with him last fall and waited to take Differential Equations with him this fall because I loved his class so much. He may have also encouraged me to do the math minor.


This does not prevent doodles though.

2:30PM: My strange late lunch usually happens at this time. I run to CharMar and then go to my room to get my work. Sometimes I’m in and out the door and sometimes I get distracted by a potential nap or half an episode of Sherlock.


Love my spicy vegetable roll

3:00PM: I go back to Mason Hall for another two hours of work. More of the same as in the morning, but JHU_Gen and I get to gossip about our lives and plans for the weekend. We have a pretty good time.


Waiting for friends in the student space

5:00PM: I run to the library to get an hour and a half of work done before I run back to Commons for dinner.


Today I went to a meeting instead.

6:30PM: Dinner at Nolan’s with my friend Sarah and then back to my room to pick up my binder for rehearsal.


Thanks for being cooperative, friend.

7:00PM: Octopodes rehearsal! This is usually my favorite part of the day. I love that I can be a complete goofball with these people, plus it’s a two hour block when I forget about any and all stress and I can just sing and have a good time.


Just a couple of goons.

9:00PM: Back to the library with some of my fellow podes for a little bit of work and hanging out.


Late night also tends to happen (ft. JHU_JoMo).

11:30PM: I finally go back to my room and talk to my suite mates about their day. Sometimes we get Insomnia cookies and sometimes we microwave pizza bagels, which my suite mate Jenn fondly calls “beagles”. Then it’s Netflix until I fall asleep at around 12:30AM.

On Thursday, I wake up at 8:25AM and start all over again!

Second Semester Surprises

Most normal people would look at my schedule and pity me. Most of them do, but if I do say so myself, my schedule is pretty awesome. It’s about as good as it gets for a second semester ChemBE freshman, anyway. I have 9AM classes every day, and I know a large part of the student body is highly opposed to 9AMs (it seems almost like an allergy), but it’s pretty great. It means that I’m virtually finished with classes for the day at 11AM or 11:45AM, with the exception of lab and the occasional section. On multiple days of the week I have giant gaps to do work and relax, and it makes it extraordinarily easy to pace myself.

This semester, I’m taking General Physics II, Applied Chemical Equilibrium and Reactivity, Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis, Expository Writing, and Chemical Laboratory Safety. Of course, physics and chemistry also come with labs, but I think the classes I’m most excited about are Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis and Expository Writing.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 4.22.14 PM

A schedule that looks far more intimidating than it feels


Introduction to Chemical and Biological Process Analysis: This class is the first in the sequence of classes in the school of engineering for a Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering major. It’s only been one week, but for the first time, we’re really learning about what a chemical engineer can do and what we can make of this degree. It has already started to combine the skills we’ve learned in introductory chemistry and calculus to determine what processes work, how we develop efficient mechanisms, and why some work better than others. We’re learning how to work in groups to achieve a common goal, and for the first time, I’m starting to see a tangible future in one of my classes. It’s no longer prerequisite work; this is the real deal.

Expository Writing: A Strange New Place: Having a schedule with three science classes means problem sets — lots of problem sets. So I decided it might be cool to take a writing class this semester to get my brain working in a different way. We’re focusing on surrealism, with the main assignments being targeted at our reading of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We get to workshop our writing with our classmates, and it makes the writing process very hands-on. Even though I’m an engineer, I find writing pretty therapeutic (also one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much) and I’m looking forward to reading a few good books during the semester.

So now for the surprises, of which there are two.

  1. I’m participating in sorority recruitment. I never thought that I would want to join a sorority, much less go through recruitment, but I’m already so happy that I made the decision to do so. If you had asked me last semester, I would have said no without a second thought, but living at Homewood has given me a different perspective. I want to get involved with a group of friends with whom I can do community service, study, do homework, and have fun. The groups at Hopkins aren’t stereotypical, they’re all-inclusive, and every group seems to be filled with intelligent girls with goals. Yesterday was the first day, so I still don’t know what’s in store, but I’m looking forward to the rest of this week and hopefully ending up in the right sorority for me!
  2. I might be pre-med. When you go to Hopkins, the first thing people ask is “Are you pre-med?” And for the longest time, my answer has been no, but now I’m not so sure. I still don’t have a pre-professional advisor, and I’m still not declared, but with so much overlap between ChemBE and pre-med requirements, I figured I might try to stay on a rough track of my own to see where I want to take it. Maybe I’ll go for an MD-PhD program, or maybe I’ll decide to go in to research without the MD (my original plan), but for now I’m trying to keep my options open.

Since I’ve moved to this campus, I’m saying yes a lot more, so you might say that I’m “embracing the yes”, but I’m excited for all of the opportunities that this semester has to offer, and I’m looking forward to getting more involved now that I’m really settling in to the Hopkins community.

What does your study space say about you?

As one of the top research institutions in the world, you would expect the students at Johns Hopkins to study a lot — and they do. Hopkins accommodates to every study need. A lot of universities have several libraries in which students can study, but here we have one giant one. The Milton S. Eisenhower Library (MSE), accompanied by a handful of other study spaces can satisfy any type of student with all kinds of study habits.

After a stressful week of midterms and a month and half of school under my belt, I’ve spent a good deal of time finding the perfect spot in the library. Brody Learning Commons, the Gilman Atrium, PUC Labs (if you’re exclusive enough to gain access), and Peabody Library (if you’re feeling ambitious and want to get off campus) are excellent alternatives to the MSE, but the library is the place to be. Here is my guide to the library and what your study space says about you.


Spotted outside of the MSE at the beginning of the week. Terrible iPhone photo that does this crazy full moon no justice. 

Introduction to the Library: The Milton S. Eisenhower Library is where most undergraduates and graduates alike decide to study. It’s a library, so it’s given that it’s quiet, clean, and very, very well stocked with books for any kind of research or pleasure reading you need to do. That being said, the library is an interesting place. Instead of building up, the library was built from the ground floor down.

  1. M Level: M Level is the first floor of the library and the only floor with natural sunlight. (If that’s something you need in order to study, Brody and Gilman are also perfect for you.) The M Level is a good place to go if complete silence bothers you. If you have some last minute studying to do before class, or you want to work with some friends and were just too lazy to reserve a study room on one of the floors below, you can definitely get things done here.
  2. A Level: A Level is the place to go if you want silence but going any further beneath the ground freaks you out. There’s something about A Level that seems a bit more relaxed than the levels below it, but you won’t find any chatter here like you might on M Level.
  3. B Level: B Level is the place to go if you need to hunker down and study but you don’t want to commit yourself to a daunting number of hours without sunlight. B Level is adjacent to the atrium of Brody, so when Brody gets too noisy, B Level is the perfect refuge, and it’s always crowded but never loud.
  4. C Level: C Level is my personal favorite study spot. Where I like to go varies depending on my mood and the kind of work I need to do, but C Level has been my second home for the past two weeks while I studied for midterms. You can hear a pin drop on C Level so it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you sit beneath a clock, you can actually hear it ticking — that’s how quiet it is, so if you want to giggle with your friends, this is not the place for you. Something about having a big group of people around you working really hard is motivational; C Level makes you want to get things done, so you do. It’s as easy as that.
  5. D Level: D Level. D Level is the point of no return. During midterms, both B and C Level fill up incredibly fast. If you get to the library at 3PM on a Sunday like I did last week, you’ll find that every study cubicle is occupied, and if you’re like me, you’ll realize that you have no choice but to go down to D Level. Take everything that I said about C Level and multiply it by five here. D Level is no joke, and if you’re planning on studying for an entire day or weekend, you might want to take the plunge. D Level is a kind of quiet that people have seldom experience before, but it is definitely an experience. Many of my friends swear by D Level and simply won’t go anywhere else.

I have no shame. First time on D Level documented. (Sorry Lydia!)