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:

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Sitting in the library before preparing to brave the cold

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Arrival at Shriver

 

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Happy as a clam but getting cold after about an hour

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

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

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3:30PM — the end draws nearer

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

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

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The man himself. Truly inspirational.

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I love you Bernie!

My Campus Playlist

Over the past few years, I’ve compiled various genres of music into one glorious and cohesive Spotify account. Each significant part of my college experience is well documented in its own playlist, each reflecting a different phase in my Hopkins career. For each study space, class type, exam type, mood, and season, I listen to different kinds of music. The albums and songs featured below are my current top ten favorite songs, which accommodate my various campus activities, from early morning trips into my research lab, afternoon study sessions, and late walks home from the library.

Disclaimer: If Spotify is constantly trying to convince you to listen to playlists with descriptors like “Alternative” or “Indie”, these will probably be songs that you like. Most of the music I listen to is more mellow, so if you’re looking for bangers, they will probably not be on this list.

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The Weatherman (Gregory Alan Isakov)

10. She Always Takes It Black: Gregory Alan Isakov

I found this song the summer after my freshman year while I was working at home.

My favorite location to listen to this song is anywhere outside during the fall.

I listen to this song when I want to listen to something a little bit repetitive and quiet if I need a little bit more zen in my life. This song helps me to calm down if I’m a little bit on edge.

I like this song because some of the lyrics are about a girl who drinks her coffee black. I like that, because I like to drink coffee black like my soul.

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An Awesome Wave (alt-J)

9. Ms: alt-J

I found this song when one of my friends showed it to me my freshman year.

My favorite location to listen to this song is on a late night when I’m walking home from the library or my friends’ houses.

I listen to this song when I actually feel like a college student and not an adult.

I like this song because of the lyric “The nights of all my youth pressed into one glass of water” reminds me to seize the day and be spontaneous every once in a while.

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Lazaretto (Jack White)

8. That Black Bat Licorice: Jack White

I found this song when one of my friends from high school showed it to me when I went to go visit him at Vanderbilt during spring break my sophomore year.

My favorite location to listen to this song is on A-level, when I’ve gone there even though I knew I needed a quieter space.

I listen to this song when I’m angry at the world or I want to feel angsty.

I like this song because it’s the perfect song to turn up to full volume and be the adversarial teenager I’ve always wanted to be.

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Moon Pix (Cat Power)

7. Sea of Love: Cat Power

I found this song eight days ago on my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist.

My favorite location to listen to this song is when I’m walking somewhere by myself on a cloudy day.

I listen to this song when I’m feeling pensive.

I like this song because it’s almost enchanting. This song sounds like a lullaby.

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Weird Little Birthday (Happyness)

6. Montreal Rock Band Somewhere: Happyness

I found this song this summer while I was putting some of my lab data together.

My favorite location to listen to this song is in lab because phone service is spotty in the Krieger basement and I have this song downloaded.

I listen to this song any time because most of it is instrumental, but it’s mellow enough that I can pay attention to my experiments and still listen to it.

I like this song because it’s calming and it always makes me feel like things are going to be okay. I can be productive and listen to this song at the same time.

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Cleopatra (The Lumineers)

5. Ophelia: The Lumineers

I found this song the day it came out, on April 8, 2016, during my sophomore spring.

My favorite location to listen to this song is on my walk to class, specifically when I’m walking through the BMA Sculpture Garden.

I listen to this song during my six-minute “morning commute” — also known as my walk — to class.

I like this song because it’s fun, my friends actually know this one, and I love everything by the Lumineers.

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For Emma, Forever Ago (Bon Iver)

4. Re: Stacks: Bon Iver

I found this song during the winter of my freshman year.

My favorite location to listen to this song is in Brody café.

I listen to this song when I want to listen to something soothing with an acoustic guitar.

I like this song because Bon Iver is a musical genius and his lyrics make me want to sob.

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Dark Bird Is Home (The Tallest Man on Earth)

3. Little Nowhere Towns: The Tallest Man on Earth

I found this song this past summer while I was preparing to go to The Tallest Man on Earth concert at Rams Head Live.

My favorite location to listen to this song is live in downtown Baltimore, performed by The Tallest Man on Earth himself.

I listen to this song on my record player in my room.

I like this song because The Tallest Man on Earth said that he plays piano badly. If this is badly, I really, really want to be bad at playing the piano.

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Georgia Dust (Sunseeker)

2. Georgia Dust: Sunseeker

I found this song during early March of my sophomore year.

My favorite location to listen to this song is outside when it’s warm and sunny.

I listen to this song because the guys in the band are college students and the song mix is incredible. I’m baffled by the talent of people my own age.

I like this song because it’s so happy, but it isn’t over the top. It’s about looking fr what makes you happy and not being upset if you haven’t found it.

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Before the World Was Big (Girlpool)

1. Chinatown: Girlpool

I found this song during spring break my sophomore year.

My favorite location to listen to this song is anywhere and everywhere.

I listen to this song because it makes me feel okay to have doubts and insecurities.

I like this song because it has helped me to learn that it’s okay to listen to sad music in order to make yourself happy.

To Paige, With Love

Taking inspiration from JHU_Genevieve, I have decided to dedicate this post to a fantastic human being and an extraordinary friend. Though she has never been my roommate, or suite mate, or housemate of any sort, Paige is my soulmate in every sense of the word, and the truest friend I never knew I was missing.

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My bed, Paige napping.

The first week of classes my freshman year, I was early to everything. I was eager, unassuming, and ready to learn, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to be the first person to arrive to a class. Naturally, I took this time to appreciate the view of Keyser Quad and the breezeway by sitting on a bench between Ames and Krieger, probably at about 2:40PM on that first Thursday. At the other end of the bench was Paige. She asked me if I was in the 3PM Calc III discussion section, which I was, and I found out that she was also going to the same class.

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Finals feels

The interesting thing about life is that nobody tells what you need to spend time trying to remember until you’ve already forgotten it. I’m sure we chatted, but the details of that day are hazy after that; we probably sat next to each other in class, but a dazzling, out-of-this-world friendship wasn’t spontaneously formed. Paige became a familiar face. I found out that she was also ChemBE and we bonded over a mutual love of a shared professor. We both sat in the first row of our shared classes freshman year, but never together.

But then sophomore year started. Maybe something just clicked, or maybe it was gradual. Maybe we realized that we both sit in the first row a lot, we were both ChemBE, and we were both taking a lot of the same courses at the same time, but we finally sat in the first row together during Differential Equations that fall. From that point, the seed of the best friendship I have ever had was planted.

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Carrying 2 x 4s through Waverly

It’s difficult to articulate exactly what happened, but we moved from one class to the next from that point forward, sitting together in the first row, studying with one another, and staying up until 3:30AM trying to wrap our brains around Thermodynamics. Paige introduced me to snow cream (stick a bowl outside when it’s snowing, add sugar, milk and some vanilla and life is great), showed me that we could be productive outside of the library, taught me her favorite ways to dance, and never listened to me when I told her to get a Spotify account.

We listen to Cher when we need motivation, watch The History of Japan when we need a break, and sometimes we dance with a disco ball during finals. We are both RAs, living on opposite sides of campus, but we still stay in each other’s rooms until the wee hours of the morning. We nap in one another’s room when it’s convenient, we send images of Gudetama back and forth, and we live in a friendship completely free of judgement.

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Thought I lost her but she was just on the floor.

Paige doesn’t like blankets that are too soft, she doesn’t like Brody, and she pronounces the L in “walk” and “talk”. Her work ethic is inspiring, her intelligence unbounded, and her friendship unparalleled. When I think all the way back to my very first days here, I realized that Paige has been there through it all, and my Hopkins experience here would be nowhere near what it’s been without her.

Declarative

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Closing out the summer with views from the 410

In the past month, I’ve begun to feel restless. My days are jam packed with classes, rehearsals, meetings, and events, but my mind has been yearning for something different. With the constant activities, I’ve started to realize that all I want is a day in the library. It sounds weird, but I really feel like that’s what’s missing. To sit in the naturally sunlit atrium, the coffee charged cafe at the upper entrance of Brody, or even a quiet table on C level is the only thing that could possibly bring me solace in this whirlwind of my junior year.

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We also got new Pode babies!

With this newfound love for the occasional sedentary afternoon, I found myself looking at the remainder of my coursework for my degree and realized that my senior year was looking pretty light. Most people would jump at the opportunity to take an easier semester and do something for themselves, but a few weeks ago, I made a choice.

I’m also doing something for myself. I’m just taking a slightly different approach.

A common tour statistic boasts that 60% of Hopkins students declare a second major or a minor to accompany their primary major. For the past two years, I have proudly waved my single major flag high, but for the first time, I’m proud to be a statistic. At 2:45PM on Monday afternoon, I walked in to speak with the head of the Mathematics department and walked out with a second major 18 minutes later.

So why mathematics?

A video: See Professor Richard Brown’s response to this question to understand how I got interested in a math degree. I remember watching this late at night during my freshman fall and I’m pretty sure I teared up a little. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg2mOl042ng

A feeling: Barring my freshman spring, I have taken a course in the Mathematics or Applied Math & Statistics department every semester I’ve been at Hopkins. I have found that being in a math class helps me to stay motivated, because I always have a homework assignment that I’m eager to work through. Being able to come back to that math homework has always been comforting. Math is always something I can come back to and work through by myself, so it also gives me the alone time that I need in a world of engineering collaboration and teamwork.

A future: I don’t know what I want to do for grad school. I know I want to go, but I don’t know for where or for what. Maybe I want to go somewhere to continue studying chemical engineering or biological engineering, or maybe I want to change courses completely and study math. Either way, my coursework is set for the next two semesters, and it will be in my senior spring that I make the decision to take either Analysis II & Algebra II, or Partial Differential Equations & Dynamical Systems. The first route allows me to root myself in a purely mathematical world, where the second  will strengthen my knowledge of my current major and research.

A question: If I’ve enjoyed my courses in the math department this much in the past, why not?

Arrivals and Departures (But Mostly Arrivals)

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Trying to be a work of art

I’m excited and I’m exhausted. For those who don’t know, this summer I took Organic Chemistry lab during Session I of summer classes, held a paying lab job in the Chemical Engineering department where I worked between 25 and 40 hours a week, and got a taste of what it’s like to be an RA by working on summer staff. Needless to say, it was quite a busy summer. I split my time between living where I work and working close to where I live, and for that reason, I’m just the tiniest bit tired, but still far from drained.

Because . . .

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Thumb, muffin, and potato ft. reflection of feet in a work of art at the BMA (left to right)

At this time three days from now, I’ll be on a train back home to New York, and I couldn’t be more excited. This summer was so much more fun that I could have possibly anticipated. Organic Chemistry lab wound up being my favorite Hopkins course to date, and all of the graduate students in my lab treated me like an intelligent human being, not a pipetting machine (although there was a lot of pipetting to be done too). I made bubble tea for more than sixty people at least six times this summer, and I spent two weekends at home. I even got to take a trip up to Rochester to wrap up work on the Octopodes album, coordinate a weekend when both of my sisters could come to Baltimore, and spare just enough time to watch all six seasons of Game of Thrones.

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Horrified by Snapchat filters

It was a busy, productive, exciting, and fun summer, but even with everything going on, there was only one thing that fazed me, and it was that I got homesick last week. With friends from all over the country and the world, I almost felt a little guilty. I live three and a half hours away by bus and I went home twice this summer. When I took a step back to think about it, I stopped feeling guilty, because I realized that I haven’t been home for more than three days since December. I’ve never been away from home this long, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting the hours until I get on the train. The role that home has played has shifted pretty drastically in the two years I’ve been at Hopkins. It feels like vacation now, and I can’t wait to vacation at home.

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Looks a million times better than it tastes

I’m longing to put on my semi-angry “I-don’t-care-about-your-problems-I’m-going-somewhere-important-so-get-out-of-my-way” face and swipe my MetroCard to get on the subway. I want to visit my friends on the Upper West Side, the Village, Midwood, and Forest Hills. I want to eat in cafés that exclusively serve things covered in matcha. I want to pester my mom to let me drive short distances, and yell things to one another from across our apartment.

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Come back now so we can lay on the floor during finals.

Still, the most exciting things in life have also been arrivals. I’m excited to arrive home, but I’m also excited to arrive back in Baltimore on August 15th. RA training for the school year (with all 70+ staff members) is rapidly approaching. I’ll only be home for a week and a half, but for me, that will be enough. I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks with a big, new part of my Hopkins family before classes start because I’m hoping (praying) that I can find a floor theme that I love. I want to deck out the 3rd floor of Homewood. If you’ve read this far, make a suggestion! (Please send help.)

On Summer and Independence

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Kicking off the summer with excessive Charmery scoops (Thai tea and mint chip)

I’m closing in on upperclassmen territory and I don’t know how I feel about it. My friends a year older than me are now rising seniors and my friends two years older have left campus altogether. I don’t know how the past two years have gone by so quickly, but they most certainly have; now, even the summer is close to half over and I’m just kind of dumbfounded. Inevitably, time is going by, but at least I’m running out the clock on this summer in the best ways I can think of.

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So many bubbles

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At the vigil for Orlando in Station North

This summer has primarily been spent in the basement of Krieger working in the Schulman lab, which is in the ChemBE department. I’ve spent 25+ hours there each week working with a graduate student in addition to taking Organic Chemistry Lab, which I know sounds horrible, but it’s actually been one of my favorite classes at Hopkins to date. I forged an alliance with a group of people at my lab table and made new friends where I didn’t expect to. We even have a GroupMe, so if that doesn’t scream friendship, I don’t know what does. I might even miss capping off my day in the UTL now that the class is over, but I definitely won’t miss the lab reports.

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My sister even came to visit, and we went to Woodberry Kitchen for the first time! (Not pictured: fabulous breakfast potatoes)

During the weekends, you can find me at my friends’ house, delightfully nicknamed “The Alamo” because three of its five residents are Texans, walking around Hampden, at the Waverly Farmers Market, goading my friends into eating off campus with me, or watching the newest season of Orange Is The New Black. I’ve said goodbye to the remaining Octopodes graduates and learned how to successfully finish a round of Mario Kart without coming in last. I’ve also finally learned how some of organic chemistry works (I use “some” very loosely, because I’m about to take Orgo II), and best of all, my Grignard didn’t explode.

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The acclaimed pizza of Johnny Rad’s

I’m still working my way down a list of restaurants and events, but spending summer in Baltimore has definitely not been disappointing. I’ve gone to concerts, found pizza almost as good as New York pizza, and successfully learned how to make bubble tea en masse.

Best of all, I’ve gotten to live almost like an adult (despite the free housing and meal plan), and even though I miss my mom, my sisters, and my cat, I’m loving my summer in Baltimore. I even have a Spotify playlist to prove it.

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The Tallest Man on Earth (@ Rams Head Live) is in fact only 5’7”.

A Charmed Summer

Even though my last final was under a week ago, it feels as though it’s been an eternity. Half of my suite’s doors are locked and closed for the summer, and there are only a handful of people on campus right now. Over the summer, there’s a variety of things that students can do; among them are going home, staying at Hopkins, going to other universities to take classes or do research, and studying abroad. It’s going to be pretty sleepy in Charles Village until next week when the first session of summer classes begins, because a lot of people are taking the opportunity to be home for a week or two before it gets busy again. Still, despite what you might think, the summer is a great time to be on campus and there’s a lot to do!

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We survived.

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Date nights with Kate (and Izzy and Jasmine)

During my freshman spring, I remember someone said, “Take this summer to recuperate and rejuvenate, because it’s the last summer you’ll have to yourself.” In retrospect, I took this way too seriously, and I don’t think I should have taken their advice to heart quite in the way that I did, because it’s totally not true. Last year, I went home, put my head down, and worked a 9-to-5 job. I had some time to myself; I figured out what progress I had made my freshman year and made goals for my sophomore year because I had so much free time — but it was boring! My freshman year, I figured out how to study, where the coolest places on campus were, and I learned how to say no (although I’ve learned this year, that I still don’t take advantage of that all too much, because I still don’t want to). Sophomore year was undoubtedly more rewarding: harder lessons to learn but bigger payoff.

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Octopodes music geniuses ft. Drake.

Most importantly, I solidified my love for this school, and I learned that taking a break smart though it was, didn’t necessarily have to happen in New York. I came back earlier than most of my friends to help coordinate freshman move-in, and was thrilled to be living in my fancy new dorm, which is bigger than my family’s New York apartment. At this realization, I decided about half way through sophomore year that I was going to stay in Baltimore for the summer preceding my junior year, and I made that decision for a few reasons.

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Im going to miss this room so much though.

I started doing research in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department this spring and was offered a position to stay over the summer and work on an extension of the project I began this year. Since I really enjoyed the freedom of going into the lab by myself and figuring out the best way to run experiments, I was really excited at the prospect of staying to further my knowledge. I also figured that while I was here, I could get ahead on some schoolwork. I’m still currently on a pre-med track and felt that it might be smart to take a load off of my junior spring by taking Organic Chemistry Lab and Organic Chemistry II during each session of the summer. On top of all of it, I’m going to be an RA during my junior year, so I applied and was offered a position as a summer RA in the same building where I’ll be working in the fall.

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Hey, Georgetown.

Not only do I get to experience a small bit of what my future job will entail, but I get to move in without any of the chaos of move-in during August. I’ll also get to be really fully immersed in my research, and I’ll have the luxury of only focusing on one class at a time. That means more trips to Washington DC to visit my sister, more time to explore Baltimore, and more free time to spend with my friends, a lot of whom also decided that staying here for the summer would be productive, rewarding, and fun. None of these things are in full swing yet, so until Monday, I’ll just be moving into my new room a little bit at a time, and sneaking in a few episodes of Lost while I track down my lab goggles and decide on my floor theme for next year.

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