It’s Been A While

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Soft serve at Spring Fair to remind myself I can still run after the ice cream truck

To say that I’ve been here for a while might be an overstatement, but as the first half of my time here at Hopkins draws to a close, I’m beginning to feel that way more and more frequently. Two years may be short in the span of a life, but in the span of my college lifetime, I’m approaching the upperclassmen portion of it.

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Real life adulthood ft. my absentee ballot.

And I’m terrified.

Gone are the days of living across the hall from my friends, taking classes aimlessly and involving myself in activities just for the fun of it. The home stretch is just a year ahead of me, and I’m not sure that I like it. Next year, my friends will be scattered across off-campus housing on Charles Street, St. Paul Street, and University Parkway while I take on an RA position in Homewood (a sophomore housing option).

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I’ll miss sharing a wall with you Jazzy J.

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With Megha and Jasmine at the Chainsmokers concert. Megha will be an RA in Wolman!

It’s bittersweet, because I’ve wanted this job for a really long time and I’m over the moon about taking on the role, but it also signifies growing up even more than just going to college does. I’m being entrusted with the responsibility of caring for underclassmen and being a friend to them when they need it. I’m being put in charge of creating a smaller community within the larger one that is Hopkins while all of my friends learn how to pay rent and sublet their apartments and houses.

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Katrina is a junior, so she survived the transition.

I’ve always been the type who enjoys direction and purpose. I like understanding why and how things happen, and I like having specific goals — or at least I thought I did. Going to Hopkins has changed me (certainly for the better) but I’m not sure what I want anymore. You don’t know this when you go to college because you make this decision cognitively; you don’t process it much, but trust me, two years down the road, you’ll realize that you’re signed up for the four year track to learn how to function as an adult in the real world.

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Shirking responsibility to pet baby pigs at Spring Fair

I can remember high school and even middle school like it was yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, college is infinitely more amazing than all of those experiences put together, but the underlying tone of preparation that I’ve experienced over the past two years is now getting very real. When I think really hard about my time here, I suppose I came in with a specific intention. I’m here for my degree, yes, but I think more importantly, I’m here to find out what I’m trying to be. As the first half of this experience draws to a close, I’m not sure that I’ve made any progress.

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More Spring Fair silliness. A million reasons to smile if you have a Joe backPaek Joe

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Things that inevitably happen when you’ve been studying for Thermo for too long and you have insanely talented friends

I’ve learned a few things, sure, but I don’t think I know who I want to be when I leave here. I’ve learned that there is no best place to study, but there is a good mindset to be in to do so effectively. I’ve learned never to work on Thermo homework alone. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as too many temporary tattoos. I’ve learned that I only like large crowds when I know the majority of the people in it. I’ve also learned to accept that I will spend at least $60 at Spring Fair because I am incapable of ignoring henna and fried Oreos. But most importantly, I’ve learned that I love it here and I don’t want to leave.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Decision release was one week ago for the class of 2020 and there isn’t a better time to be on the Hopkins campus than right now. The weather is starting the early spring seesawing typical of the east coast — the kind where it’s 50˚F one day and 75˚F the next. Chatter of new freshmen is rising in admissions, more people are pulling out their shorts and flip flops from the backs of their closets, and Brody terrace is covered with people sipping iced coffee, chatting, and doing light work with friends.

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It’s that time of the year again, and all of these things combined can only mean one thing: Spring Fair and Homecoming. I feel like we need a name for this point of the school year. It’s not just the arrival of spring, but it’s the imminent feeling of fun and campus-wide celebration that comes with the month of April. I still have homework and exams, sure (five in the next two weeks, but who’s counting?) but there’s more fun ahead of us than there is behind us.

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Spring Fair is April 15 through April 17 this year and I could not be more excited. Since the weather for last year’s Spring Fair made it seem more like Winter Fair, the early onset, unseasonably warm weather this year has me hoping for better this time around. Don’t get me wrong — last year was still tons of fun, but there’s so much more to do when the weather cooperates with the mood.

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To give you the breakdown if you haven’t heard of it before, Spring Fair starts on Friday with activities including games, an open air market on Keyser Quad, and food (lots and lots of food). After class lets out, I fully plan on taking advantage of all of this by getting classic Spring Fair food, sitting on the Beach with my friends, and soaking up the sun to my heart’s delight. On Friday night, there’s a concert; this year it’s Chainsmokers, Shwayze, and Marion Hill, so I already have my ticket and I’m super excited to go. Saturday and Sunday is just more food, more sunshine, spring themed activities, and just getting to appreciate the simplicity of hanging out with my friends.

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It’s hard to encapsulate exactly what Spring Fair is in a few sentences, but I can tell you that it’s one of the best times to be on campus. Plus, it’s open to the public, so if you’re in the Baltimore area, you should check it out to see for yourself. Obviously, it’s a completely different experience as a Hopkins student because for 3 days, you get to wake up to what’s basically a giant, campus-wide party. Amidst the last of spring midterms, projects, and extracurricular craziness, Spring Fair is an excellent reminder of why I love Hopkins so much.

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There are a million reasons to love Hopkins, but this blog has been written with the express intent of detailing one incredible Hopkins experience that falls into a giant pile of answers to “Why Hopkins?”. I’m not just here for the fried oreos and the cool concerts, I’m here for a lifetime of friends and memories. The education is, of course, the reason to apply, and the reason to be proud once you’ve been admitted, but it’s the experiences that make Hopkins the place I call home. I’ll always be from New York, but my room is the one I share with my friends in Charles Commons, my friends are the ones I’ve made in Baltimore in the past two years, and it’s the collection of experiences that I’ve had that makes Hopkins and Baltimore my home. Spring Fair just happens to be one of a large collection of experiences that has contributed to the making of this home.

Putting on the Brakes for Spring Break

Somehow, it’s already Thursday and my much awaited Spring Break is more than half over. I don’t know who thought through school schedules and decided when breaks should be, but I think whoever those people were deserve a pat on the back. It feels as though every time break comes around, I am beyond ready for it, but whenever the end is in sight, I’m eager to get back to the grind (and also the Daily Grind).

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Rainy library ft. somber Drake

Last week, which now feels like an eternity ago, was one of my most exam-heavy weeks of the semester. With a Transport exam on Monday, Cell Biology on Wednesday, and Thermodynamics on Thursday, there was no easy way through it, but I’m sitting here typing this, so I did in fact make it out alive — sick, but alive.

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Basically how last week made me feel

For the first time since I’ve been at Hopkins this year, I got sick and it was not fun. I take for granted my ability to wake up at 8:30AM without complaint, but when I’m sick it feels like the entire world is coming to a grinding halt. For the greater majority of my week before spring break, I was running to rehearsal, completing Theta Tau pledge tasks, all while trying my best to get out of the library before 2AM. Most weeks aren’t like this; they’re always busy, but the stress isn’t usually quite as imminent as it was last week. Every day last week, I would wake up and take everything I needed with me for the day, only returning to the comfort of my room when I was ready to collapse and go to sleep. It was just one of those weeks.

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Ignore that there is Orgo on the board and that this was taken last semester. The sentiment still stands.

On Friday afternoon after my classes ended for the day, I stretched out in the sun and laid on the Beach until 4:30PM, when I packed my bags and got on a bus headed for New York. Armed with two books and Netflix in tow, I headed home. I managed to read a book, finish both Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, and complete my Linear Algebra homework all while getting at least ten hours of sleep each night. Even though I’m supposed to be relaxing and taking the week off, I’m still on the go, so yesterday I boarded a plane to Nashville, TN to visit a friend from high school who is studying at Vanderbilt.

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When you get home to Chinese food and you feel #blessed

I’ve only been here for about 18 hours, but having been here once before, it is very obviously different from Hopkins. You get the same feeling that you’re surrounded by smart, motivated people, but the feeling on campus is much more summery. As a Hopkins student, I always feel like I’m going. I don’t know if I have an off switch, but I don’t know if the general student body here has a switch. Vanderbilt feels laid back while Hopkins feels charged. Even studying here feels different (I still have problem sets due when I get back), but it’s been really interesting to see how students at similar universities live. I’m loving my time here — the campus is unarguably beautiful, located in a really cool city, and has one of my favorite people on it.

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Vanderbilt being casually beautiful

Still, I’m looking forward to my room, familiar pathways, and familiar faces. It’s been nice to put on the brakes for a little bit, but a little bit was all I needed and now I’m ready to get back into it.

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Kan Jam on the Beach

What I Learned in Class Today: Transport I

I’m taking a letter from the book of @JHU_Jackie to talk to you a little bit about what I’ve been learning this semester in my current favorite class. As sophomore year continues on, the classes I’m taking continue to get more and more specialized. Ever sequential class I take becomes more specific, more interesting, and gets to the meat of what this major really is.

If you asked me to describe today what I hope my career in chemical engineering would look like, I would have to say Transport. Transport Phenomena I is the first in a series of upper level Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering classes. This semester, it meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9AM in Maryland 110 (home base) and it is the first 9AM class that I have not had to drag myself out of bed for — although if I’m being perfectly honest, Introductory and Organic Chemistry aren’t huge competition. If you’re thinking about an engineering field and you like chemistry, or you’re just curious to know what I’m up to (hi family and friends), this is what I learned in class today.

What is Transport anyway? JHU’s course registration system gives a long description about molecular mechanisms of momentum, energy, and mass transport, the use of the Navier Stokes equation, and the development of exact solutions to steady state, isothermal, and unidirectional flow problems. If you’re wondering what that means in plain English, it means that we’re figuring out how things move, in both a qualitative and quantitative way. We’re looking at the way velocity, heat, and mass are exchanged from one point to another, and we’re doing it with really cool looking equations.

What does a typical Transport class look like? Transport is typically taken sophomore spring, and since I didn’t take it a semester early, this is a fairly large lecture class. I think there are about 75 people in the class, and it is taught by Professor Konstantopoulos, who does research in the Institute of Nano and Biotechnology in Croft Hall. Professor Konstantopoulos (KK for short) is probably one of the most engaging lecturers I’ve had here. He takes detailed, color coded notes on the board (I’ll just reiterate color coded again), and he’s passionate about what he teaches. He’ll walk around and randomly ask people to answer his questions and it keeps us on our toes, but it also gets us thinking instead of just mindlessly copying. I find myself checking my watch in a lot of my classes, but with Transport, it’s usually already time to go when I start to wonder what time it is.

What does a Transport assignment look like? Our weekly problem sets are generally four to five questions, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I usually get through about a problem or two (at most) a day. Transport problems have the tendency to go into great depth and detail. Half of the problem is being able to visualize and draw it, a quarter of it is making a bunch of assumptions and assigning boundary conditions based on given information, and the last bit is all of the calculus/differential equations/math stuff that goes in to solving it.

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Transport notes

Why do I love it? I’m not completely sure what it is about Transport that I’m really enjoying. I think it’s probably the idea that all of the math I’ve learned here is finally being put into some kind of practical application (even if I’m not sure where I’ll ever see two coaxial cylinders rotating at different speeds in opposite directions with some kind of mystery liquid sandwiched between them). The satisfaction that comes with whittling down all of the crazy equations to get a quantifiable answer that I can reason my way through is satisfying. There’s a method to the madness, and that’s the beauty of it. 

What’s In My Backpack?

Long ago, I purchased a green Jansport backpack, and it is has since remained a faithful friend. Though the hole in the bottom of my eight-year-old bag is large enough to fit a water bottle through, it remains my daily confidante and the bag I set out the night before every day of class. In order to embark on a full day without returning to my room, there are several things I always carry with me:

  1. My computer: I don’t generally take notes on my computer, but some of my professors post lecture slides before class and I’ll keep my computer on my desk if they go through slides too quickly. Carrying my computer with me also allows me to go directly to Brody or Mason Hall when I’m finished with class for the day without going back to my room. I think the stickers are pretty indicative of who I am, too.IMG_4602
  2. My binder: Everybody has a certain way that they like to take and organize their notes. My method of choice is via binder. That way, I can just bring a ton of paper to class and put it into my binder when the day is done. It allows me to organize my notes, homework, and printouts any way I want. I can hole punch things so I never lose a folder. After the tragic loss of a folder (containing all of my homework) in high school, I try to steer clear.IMG_4603
  3. Textbooks: The joy that is carrying heavy textbooks really knows no bounds. The textbook(s) I carry are largely dependent on my plan of attack for studying and working for the day. Today I have my Cell Biology book but tomorrow will probably be Transport or Linear Algebra. There are daily lockers in Brody that I use frequently because they’re free and they encourage me to come back to the library if I leave them there. (The lockers get cleared at 7AM so I always go back before the end of the day!)IMG_4604
  4. Chargers on chargers: At all times, I carry both my phone charger and my computer charger with its extension cord. iPhones never seem to want to make it through the day, and with the insanely long battery life of a MacBook Air, I usually don’t notice that my computer is about to die until minutes before it happens. It’s a pain to go back to Commons if I’m studying in Gilman or MSE (even though neither is that far), so I always make sure never to leave without them.IMG_4605
  5. Pens, pencils, and pencil lead: I hate pens but I have a bunch just in case I need them. I almost exclusively use pencils (which are useless without lead) and all of my pens are from Mason Hall.IMG_4606
  6. Highlighter, Expo markers, and mini stapler: I have a highlighter because you’re allowed to highlight in rental textbooks (my favorite discovery) and Expo markers for the whiteboards in Brody because it’s impossible to find markers most of the time. I carry around a mini stapler for mine and my friends’ last minute homework stapling needs.IMG_4607
  7. iClicker: I’ve needed one for a class every semester. The only way I remember not to forget it is to never take it out of my bag.IMG_4608
  8. Wallet: I keep everything in here except for my J-card and keys, which I usually keep in my jacket pocket. That way, I can take my wallet out of my bag so I’m not tempted to buy coffee or snacks in Brody cafe (I have run up quite the tab in the past year).IMG_4609
  9. Miscellaneous: While I was rifling through my bag to find out what was in it, I also found Chapstick, a spoon, index cards, and my Rubik’s cube.IMG_4610

Inter(ests) 2.0

After visiting my high school for the first time since I graduated, catching up with my friends back at home, and hibernating for two and a half weeks, I’m back at Hopkins for round two of Intersession. Now that I’m well rested and on campus, I’m ready to go and start next semester, but not before having a little bit of fun first. This year, I’ve opted to take one class called Vaccines: Past, Present, and Future. It only meets twice a week from 6:30PM to 9:30PM, and it leaves all of my days free. This year, I’m lucky enough to be taking a class with my roommate, Jenn, and my friends from my a cappella group (and SAAB), JHU_Jonathan, and Ramya. In addition to my class, I’m trying to take on a greater role in my lab on Hopkins’s medical campus and spend more time with my friends before the semester gets hectic again.

Often when I’m asked what advice I would give to freshmen preparing to come to Hopkins in the fall, the first thing I say is “Do Intersession!”. It provides a much needed change of scenery about half way through the five week winter break, you get to see your friends, and if you’re me, you get to have your own room again (so really, there’s really nothing better). I’ve only been back for a few days, so I have yet to experience most of my adventures in the weeks to come, but from my experience last year and the beginning of this year, there are a few things about Intersession that make it special and worth coming back for.

You get to take classes with your friends that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to take during the semester.

When else can a Political Science major take a class with a Neuroscience major? Trust me, the crossover is minimal during the regular academic year.

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Thanks for taking a class with me, buddy.

There are no lines in the FFC.

I may possibly be the biggest FFC enthusiast on this campus, but there is nothing better than being able to find a table that fits you and all of your friends and not have to wait on line for food. It’s an unlimited buffet without the lines — there are no cons to this setup.

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The FFC also has a geotag. Thank you.

Empty campus means empty gym, empty Brody café, and actual seats in Mudd if you’re looking for a quite place to read.

There’s nothing better than snapchatting on the elliptical or ordering a dirty chai in peace. Plus reading for pleasure is a rare commodity during the semester.

The weekend becomes a time for trips to Washington D.C., dinner in Hampden and the Inner Harbor, and endless movie marathons.

My friend Rachel and I have already watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, my sister has visited from school in D.C., and I’m going up to Rochester next weekend to record an album with my a cappella group because there’s no homework to hold me back!

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Bae goes back to school.

Intersession is a time for exploration, but it’s also a time for chilling. Intersession is designed to be fun and informative but it combines the best parts of college and break; it’s a great time to spend on campus with friends without the workload, so there’s really no reason not to come back. Unless you’re somewhere warm — in that case, I guess it’s still a good decision.

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I wish it was still 50 degrees.

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.

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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.

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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.

Lost In The Sauce

In a largely unoriginal theme, and in the spirit of this past Thanksgiving, there is one thing for which I am thankful above all else. As I sit on the Bolt Bus departing New York City for Baltimore in T-minus four minutes, I’m going home. At a similar time last week, I would have been writing the same thing as I waited for the bus in the opposite direction. I’ve always had a home; to me, the place I called home was never not New York City. I’ve written about it countless times — my wacky, rude, eccentric, lovable family and friends have always been from here, and it wasn’t until I arrived at Hopkins last autumn that it became a possibility for these people to be from any other place.

When it comes to a hometown, I’m a bit elitist. I know it’s a flaw, and I’m putting it here in writing to let people know that I’m aware of this. Still, I know that I’m from the best place on Earth, crumbling subways, potholes, and all. I talk about New York like nobody else knows its majesty, but it’s much more than a tourist destination filled with skyscrapers and cement. After more than three months without coming home, more than anything else on this good Earth, I missed my sisters. I think I’ve finally debunked why I’m so defensive about New York’s perfection, and the reason is my sisters.

Everyone gets homesick, it’s just a fact of college life. I am eternally thankful for the families I have at Hopkins that make these moments few and far between. The Octopodes, Alpha Phi Omega, and all of the friends I made last year make it difficult to feel lonely; leaving them makes me feel like I’m leaving a piece of myself behind, but when I’m at school I feel that same small twinge of hollowness because of my sisters.

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I’m a triplet; both of my sisters are identical and I’m fraternal, and maybe to some people that means that my sisters are closer to each other than they are to me, but being fraternal means that I love both of my identical sisters equally and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Felicia is at American University in Washington, D.C. studying Public Health and minoring in International Studies while Emily is about seven hours in the opposite direction, studying Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology at SUNY Albany. To say the least, seeing each other is difficult. Over the course of a semester, I’ll see Felicia once or twice but seeing Emily is next to impossible.

Needless to say, three months without my flesh and blood had me practically sprinting to the bus last Saturday. My sisters are my best friends, my lifeline, and we have multiple group chats (titled Potato, Thumb, & Muffin, and Extraneous Bae Group Chat #2, respectively). Even from our courses of study, it is immediately apparent that we are very different people. I think that’s what keeps us grounded. We’re engaged and confused by the knowledge that the other two possess, and I don’t think I’ve ever loved anyone more than I love my sisters.

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My sisters make coming home special. It’s evident to me now that I have more than one home, the one I was given in New York and the one that I made for myself in Baltimore. I’m caught up in a whirlwind of homes and happiness, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the tumult.

I guess you could say I’m lost in the sauce, so to speak.  And that’s not referring to the snack ’n’ go applesauce I have stashed in my backpack for my my refrigerator at school.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Only At Hopkins

It is a rarity to find a large group of people in the same place who are all dedicated to the same cause. I’ve often told people that my favorite thing about Hopkins is the collaborative nature of the student body. The willingness of my peers to help one another when problem sets are tough and when classes don’t make sense always brings a sense of comfort, so when something much more urgent came up a few weeks ago, I called upon my friends to help me.

This pressing issue was the Rubik’s cube.

Way back in August during orientation week, a group of my friends was sitting in a Commons living room trying to pass the time. We had all arrived on campus well before classes started, and we were beginning to realize that we had little to do in the days leading up to the beginning of the semester. It was then that somebody brought out the six-colored cube and one by one, I watched the majority of my friends solve it, most of them in two minutes or less.

My friend Katie was immediately intrigued, and she spent one of the final days of orientation holed up in her room mastering the cube. Within a day or so, she had added herself to my list of people that knows how to solve the Rubik’s cube.

I tried not to let it bother me; it was just a silly set of algorithms that my friends and sisters tried (and for the most part, failed) to learn in middle school. But now here I was, sitting in a room full of people who would toss each other the cube.

“So Hopkins,” I thought to myself.

But it taunted me. With exams, problem sets, and other extracurriculars, I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t important.

“Cube me,” they would say.

I pushed down my feelings of jealousy and inadequacy for weeks, until finally in mid-October, I decided to surrender to the cube. Without one of my own, my friend Jose handed me his first Rubik’s cube and said “Don’t give it back until you can solve it.”

I enlisted Jose, Katie, and my friend Izzy to teach me how to solve it. I probably could have learned how to solve it by myself, but why do things the hard way when there are people at every avenue to help you figure it out?

For three days, during study breaks and between classes, at meals and before I went to bed, I practiced. I mastered the first layer and the second, and then one day, on a bus to Towson, I completed the cube. All by myself. Now on lazy Friday nights when my friends are tossing around the cube, I can join in the chorus of “Cube me”.

It’s a simple thing to do, and unimportant as it may be in the scheme of life skills, this is one of many things that I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do without my friends. Hopkins is special in the collaborative nature of its student body; I’ve never cherished this sense of collaboration quite the way I do here. So if anybody needs help solving the Rubik’s cube, I’m glad to help.

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Cube in my bag, always ready to be solved wherever I go