The Social Policy Minor: A Closer Look

The Social Policy Minor: A Closer Look

Throughout this past semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Social Policy Minor at Johns Hopkins. Through this program, students are given the chance to view policy in an interdisciplinary context, including economics, politics science, and sociology. To provide this interdisciplinary nature to the program, we are taught by professors from these different departments, as well as other professors who are currently out doing the work that they teach us every week. The program is structured as an intensive semester, in which all social policy minors for that year (17 currently) take all of our 15 credits of classes together and we all are required to work a social policy oriented internship during the semester. Meeting and getting to know the people in my program and their amazing passions, learning from amazing professors, and putting these class lessons into an actual internship has made this semester one of the most fulfilling I have had here at Hopkins.

 

THE CLASSES

 

My social policy semester schedule

 

The Social Policy Intensive Semester is a 15-credit program with 5 classes that each meet once a week for about 3 hours. Although that sounds like a weird structure, it works out that we have two days a week with no classes so that we can also hold an internship off campus. This year, the highlight of our program for me is that we actually have the Deputy Attorney General of Maryland teaching a class called Cities, Crime, and the Constitution. My other classes include classes that focus on public policy writing, policy research, and even a class that focuses specifically on social policy in the context of Baltimore. The interdisciplinary nature of these courses allows for the program to focus on some of the same subjects, but using different academic lenses, which is a lot of what is actually needed in any job that focuses on social policy.

 

THE INTERNSHIP

 

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At the Native Nations Rise March in D.C. with NCAI

One of the most amazing parts of the social policy program, is that they encourage/require you to have an internship during the program. This year, internships range from the Maryland ACLU, the Ways and Means Committee, the American Enterprise Institute. For my internship, I decided to take the commute to D.C. every Tuesday and Friday to work for the National Congress of American Indians, one of the largest and most sought after organizations in Native American advocacy, policy and law. The internship has actually been such a crucial part of my learning experience in this program. While learning policy writing in a classroom is extremely important, it is even more amazing that I actually have had the chance to write memos that have gone to tribal leaders and written op-eds that are a crucial part of what NCAI does on a daily basis.

 

 

THE PEOPLE

 

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Our group trip to D.C.

The greatest part of this program have been the amazing people that I have gotten to go through this program with, and the professors and bosses who have helped me to learn so much this semester. Our diverse cohort is full of people with different majors, people from different places, and people with different passions but overall, we all are working to create change in the communities and academic areas that interest us. It is honestly such an amazing thing to sit in a class with 16 other people who are equally as passionate about studying housing segregation in Baltimore or comparative social policy around the world.

 

Overall, the social policy program has provided such an amazing environment to explore my passions, and to learn how to make those passions into actions in my community. Through my internship and the accompanying classes, I have learned how to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.  With the help of the people alongside me this semester, I have been able to talk openly about issue in Native communities, and to even hypothesize ways to solve them. Even more importantly, the social policy program has already helped me to add to my resume, to have better writing sample, and consequently to land a paid policy internship in D.C. with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. If it was not for this program, I would not have had the experience, the writing and project samples, and the confidence to go for a position like this. Oh, and did I mention, at the end of this intensive semester you have a minor added to your transcript! I highly suggest that anyone who has a want for change in their community, regardless of major or experience, apply for this program and see your passions become actions.

 

 

 

 

A Note to New Blue Jays

A Note to New Blue Jays

You did it. You are in. You got into Johns Hopkins. Start packing, saying goodbyes, and cleaning your Facebook of old nerdy photos, because you are heading to college. A whole new world awaits you, and thousands of blue jays await your arrival. Three years ago I was in your shoes, your nervously excited shoes, but now I have some wear on my soles and some footprints behind me and am excited to share some advice with the last class of first year students I will see enter Hopkins.

 

GET INVOLVED:

Hopkins can seem like a lot at first glance, especially when you get your advisers, register for classes, and fill out a ridiculous amount of paperwork in the weeks leading up to your arrival. Don’t let that overwhelm you. Once you get to campus, you will settle in and realize that you are somewhere new and different and that you have so much to learn. In my experience, the best way to learn is by doing, so go and do. Go to that information session for the club you are unsure about. Go to the new restaurant in Charles Village with the people on your hall. Grab a new friend and head to the FFC. Sit next to someone new in class. If you are worried about making friends, or fitting in, the best way to get past that is to just get involved and to be an active member of the Hopkins community.

TRY NEW THINGS: 

For my friends and family both here at Hopkins and back home are probably shocked. What? Josh wants to try new things (says the guy who ate pizza and chicken for most of his life and lived in the same place for 18 years). But, yes! Do not be afraid to try new things. Go out into Baltimore and find a type of food you have never eaten. Try out for a theater show even if you have never been in one. Try going to the recreation center to rock climb or play racquetball even though you have never played. College is a time to learn, and learning is so much harder to when you are complacent. Stretch your boundaries and try new things, because that is how you find yourself and that is how you make college more than a place you just learn in a classroom.

HAVE TWO HOMES (AND BE OKAY WITH IT):

One of the hardest things about my college experience was being away from home. Home is such a solid place for most of us, but while in college, it becomes way more fluid of a concept. A place you live for a semester can feel like home. The university as a whole can feel like home. The place you live during your summer internship can even feel like home. I never stopped missing home. I just started having more than one home. My friends become extended family. Professors become the neighbors you like (or don’t). The streets of Baltimore finally become familiar and you feel at home. It seems weird to leave home (Hopkins) to go home (actual home) now that I am three years in, but it is also such an awesome experience to feel equally at home at two completely different places.

FAILING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE:

Take it from someone with experience, failure IS an option. Whether it is failing an exam, not getting into the group you auditioned for, or just feeling like you could have done better, you will fail. Don’t let that scare you. The true winners of a well-rounded college experience are those who tried and failed, then got back up. As someone who ended up on academic probation and literally thought I was a failure, it is important to know that you are going to be okay. Your family will love you no matter what. Your friends will be your friends even if you did poorly on an exam. You are worthy of being a blue jay no matter how low you may fly sometimes. Those who have never failed have never tried, and those who have failed learn from their mistakes and grow stronger. Don’t be afraid of failure.

 

Johns Hopkins University is your new home, and that feeling of nervousness and uncertainty is only natural. The uncertainty fades and the nervousness dwindles, but the experiences yet to come, the firsts you will have, and the friends you will make on the way will last a lifetime.

Welcome to Hopkins Class of 2021

A Look at My Books

A Look at My Books

Reading is an integral part of a lot of classes at Hopkins. As a Sociology Major, reading and writing about relevant topics is literally my job, so I have grown accustomed to reading books as part of my class assignments. Luckily, I love reading, always have, and always will. The beauty about reading for classes, rather than just for fun, is that you have academic discussions about the books with experts on the topic (and sometimes, if you are lucky, with the actual author). Take a look at the books that I am reading through for some of my classes.

 

$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

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$2 a Day is an extremely well-received book about the lives of the impoverished Americans that make up the $2 a day poor. The book is a series of short vignettes about the lives of these poor families, with information provided by onsite qualitative research done by the authors. The book paints a stark picture of the intricacies of the welfare system, and how the extreme poor navigate their daily lives with such little income. My class, Poverty and Social Welfare Policy, is actually taught by the author, Kathryn Edin. It is amazing that Hopkins has Professors that provide real world experience in the areas they teach. Dr. Edin is an extraordinary Professor that provides our small class with actual stories of her research and about things that you sometimes cannot even find in the book, or any book for that matter.

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel

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For my class, Men and Women in Society, we have read multiple books on gender in society, but this book, Guyland, has certainly been the most revealing. Guyland focuses on the age range of 16-26 year old men, and discusses how shifts in society have allowed men in the range to stop being children earlier, but also to delay becoming men until later. The book touches a lot of sensitive topics, from fraternity hazing to sexual assault, and usually creates tense discussions. Our class is very open with discussing sensitive topics because we, and most other students at Hopkins, believe that reaching out our comfort zone makes us better academics and people. Overall, this class has provided a great view of the privileges I was not aware that I had as a man, and how to better understand and interact with these tough situations and topics.

The Enduring Debate by Canon, Coleman, and Mayer

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The Enduring Debate is a compilation of important literature in American Politics that I am reading for (no surprise here) my Introduction to American Politics course. I specifically like this book because it is not a traditional book. The book separates literature, ranging from Roosevelt to Rosa Parks, on specific topics of importance in American Politics. The wide array of readings in the book provide a great variation in discussions that we have during our section meetings. The beauty about a book like this is that the different authors provide different viewpoints, which creates an inclusive environment for students with different viewpoints to discuss openly.

 

A lot of my college workload has been reading, and as you can see by the books above, that makes my life pretty interesting. Luckily, as a Sociology Major, I am introduced to a large number of different topics and different viewpoints to understand society as a whole. I love that since coming to Hopkins, I have been so well-rounded and cultured by the people around me in class and the topics we discuss together.

Midterms – As told by FRIENDS

Midterms – As told by FRIENDS

With the bulk of my midterms in the rearview mirror (and now that I have time to blog again), it only makes sense to talk about the stages of studying for them. Midterms make for a stressful time, and each and every one of us have different schedules, different forms of midterms, different studying habits, but almost unanimously, we go through the same stages of studying.

Stage 1: Confidence

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At the beginning of midterms, let’s say a week or two before, we all feel confident. We have done well on homework and papers, and have made friends with the professor. All in all, we are feeling good. We are starting to study early, getting our notes together, and planning out our exam schedule in advance.

Stage 2: Weekend before midterms

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The weekend before your midterms begin finally arrives, and it is time for a big decision: do you get ahead on sleep or on studying? There is always that time where you know you can get sleep before the midterms start or you can study so you can sleep more during the week. College, in itself, is a constant self-bargaining between sleep and studying. I personally identify with Chandler on this one, I don’t move on Sundays.

Stage 3: Review Session

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If you are lucky enough to have a review session, this picture is a pretty accurate representation of how it looks. Usually, a lot of people show up and everyone is attentive and eager to learn, mostly because their grade depends on it. Everyone has questions and wants to know the format of the exam, but usually, the revelation of everything that could possibly be on the exam is quite intimidating.

Stage 4: Question Everything

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In Stage 4, everyone has exited the review session and headed straight back to the library. With only a couple of days until the exams, it starts to become real. Study groups start to form. Questions for the Professor are sent in numerous, coffee-fueled emails. Notes are printed and organized. Overall, this stage is where it gets a little scary.

Stage 5: Procrastination

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Inevitably, procrastination sets in. You can only fight it off for so long. You learn new things about yourself and about your life, about how many ceiling tiles are on C-Level, about how many cups of coffee the guy across from you can drink before he drops, and about how many things seem important when you are trying to avoid studying.

Stage 6: Exam Time

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By now, you are so tired. Exam day is finally here, and you chug your last cup of coffee, and head in. You aim to grab your usual seat, sit next to your friends, get out your pencils, and begin. Before you know it, the 50 minute exam you studied 5 days for is over, and you couldn’t feel less stressed. Your hard work is over because the exam is over.

Stage 7: Relaxation Time

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Now, exams are done and it is time to make up for all the netflix and sleep that you missed. Relax, you deserve it. Midterms is a crazy and hectic time, but it comes and goes year after year, and guess what? We survive. Whatever your methods, whatever your stages, whatever your exams, we all have midterms and we all make it out the other side feeling pride in the hard work we can do.

My Monday

My Monday

I know, the title did not get this blog off to the best start, but Mondays are actually way more important than they seem. Mondays get the week started, which, in college, can mean getting ahead on work, being behind on work, being on time to classes, going to office hours and many other things. Monday is the day that the week begins, and for me, my Mondays are packed to the brim with class, group meetings, and so much in between.

9:00 AM – WAKE UP JOSH!!!

My plan this semester was to keep a steady sleep schedule, which is way more difficult than it sounds. Whether it is your friend wanting to hang out, or your assignment due at 9 am, it is hard to find a time that works to sleep every night. Whichever way, I have my alarm set at around 9 am on Mondays. I don’t start class until 11, which means I use these couple hours to get prepared for the week, set my agenda for the week, and on a very rare occasion, work out.

11:00 AM – Introduction to American Politics

My first class of the day, Introduction to American Politics, is a large lecture class with probably 200 people. Our professor, Benjamin Ginsberg, is an amazing lecturer who actually authored the textbooks we use, and it is amazing to hear from him about his experience in politics. With this being an election year, it is a great class to talk about relevant issues in current political events.

PRO TIP: Go to sections of big lecture classes, it is the best way to be active in a large class.

12:00 PM – Lunch

LUNCH TIME!!! I typically eat lunch around noon everyday either in Levering, which is a food court style dining hall on campus, or on St. Paul Street. St. Paul has a large selection of food from subway, to pizza studio, to chipotle, and then local favorites such as Ledo’s pizza and eddies sandwiches.

1:30 PM – Introduction to Social Statistics

Now it’s time for Introduction to Social Statistics. I have a perpetual fear of math, just all of it, every bit of it. Luckily, our professor this year is so excited about teaching us all that he really takes on an active role in the class, answering questions, responding to emails, and explaining the actual real world use of statistics.  The class is pretty small, mostly because it is statistics tailored towards social science majors, but the material is actually extremely interesting and the rest of the semester looks promising.

4:30 PM – Poverty and Social Welfare Policy

My next class, Poverty and Social Welfare Policy, has been one of the most exciting, interactive, and difficult classes I have taken at Hopkins. Our professor, Dr. Kathryn Edin, is a very well-known sociologist who authored the recent book $2 a Day, which of course, is on the reading list for this semester. The class provides an in-depth look at poverty in America, and the programs enacted to prevent it. Without spoiling any of the material, the class really pulls on your heart strings and challenges your critical thinking at every step.

6:30 PM – Inter-Fraternity Council Meeting

For my first meeting of the day, I have a weekly meeting with the Inter-Fraternity Council, which is exactly what it sounds like. Representatives from all social fraternities meet to discuss business, philanthropy events, and recruitment ideas. It is a great opportunity to hear what other fraternities are doing right and to learn from each others’ mistakes along the way.

7:00 PM – The HOP Meeting

For meeting number two of the day, the HOP meets weekly at this time to discuss our past and future events. In case you are not familiar with the HOP, we are the campus’ largest programming board that helps to put on giveaways, events, concerts, and much more throughout the school year to keep the campus engaged. Our meeting consist of a lot of discussion about what we can do to improve past events and about planning our upcoming events.

9:00 PM – Phi Delta Theta Chapter Meeting

My last and final meeting of the day, Phi Delta Theta Chapter meeting. My Fraternity, Phi Delt, meets on a weekly basis to discuss business that the Chapter will be facilitating in the near future. We discuss recruitment, philanthropy, brotherhood and many more sectors of our Fraternity that are pivotal to creating a welcoming environment for our current brothers and our future members.

After my meetings and classes are done, I hold off on sleep for a while to get some final work and logistics taken care of, which usually puts me getting to bed by midnight. Mondays are rough, but they are a great way for me to kick my week off with being committed to so many different classes and meetings, and then facing the rest of my week with the same drive that got me through my Monday. But still, do not be surprised if you find me on campus sneaking in a nap between classes or meetings, or even eating on my way to class.

Thanks for listening to me talk about my Mondays, and allowing me to plan out my day!

My Star-Studded Semesters

My Star-Studded Semesters

Throughout my past two years at Hopkins, I have had some amazing opportunities that make plenty of my friends at home jealous. Most of these opportunities involve academic pursuits, but some of them involve meeting some amazing people who are doing amazing things around the world. From rappers to researchers, politicians to photographers, I have met many amazing people and heard some speak about the things they are doing around the world, and it definitely helps to motivate the long nights in the library to know that we could be in their shoes one day.

Here are my Top 10:

 

10. Nelly 

Thanks to my involvement on The HOP, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet our Spring Fair Concert artist each year, and last year, it was Nelly. I had the chance to shake his hand, tell him I loved his performance, and that he was basically my idol during middle school. He responded by saying, “Thanks man.” Queue swooning.

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9. Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York

Again, thanks to The HOP, I had the opportunity to hear Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York speak. It was amazing to hear how he left his job in corporate America to pursue his passion, and how his life story is portrayed in his work.

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8. Martin O’Malley

As a big fan of politics, I was honestly star-struck when I first met Martin O’Malley. Former Mayor of Baltimore, Former Governor of Maryland, and Presidential Candidate, O’Malley was an amazing man who participated in a talk on food deserts in Baltimore. His perspective on policy and politics surrounding food politics was truly insightful.

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7. Dr. Vivek Murthy – U.S. Surgeon General

Dr. Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, came to Hopkins to speak about his mission to increase preventable care in the U.S. and to eliminate health disparities. He was able to provide a great synopsis of what he plans to do for the American health care system. It was an honor to hear him speak and to be able to personally meet him.

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6. Andrew Taggart – Chainsmokers

After this year’s Spring Fair Concert, featuring the Chainsmokers, Shwayze, and Marian Hill, Andrew Taggart of the Chainsmokers was taking selfies with those of us who worked the concert. It was honestly one of the best moments ever, mostly because I can now say that I took a selfie with the artist who created the song #SELFIE.

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5. Javier Colon – Winner of The Voice – Season 1

I had the opportunity to attend the National Association for Campus Activities convention in Kentucky this past February, and met many amazing artists there. My personal favorite, Javier Colon, performed on stage one evening and sang some of my all-time favorite songs. Javier was the winner of Season 1 of The Voice, and I loved meeting the winner of one of my favorite shows.

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4. Bernie Sanders

On this past Saturday, I had the chance to attend a Bernie Sanders Rally at the Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore. It was my first time ever attending a rally of any kind, and as the political junkie I am, it was a great opportunity to see the hype behind the politics. He spoke about some great issues facing the Baltimore community, including gun violence, education, and poverty.

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3. John Mulaney 

At the beginning of this past year, John Mulaney graced the stage in Shriver Hall and killed it. He delivered the material from his Netflix Special, The Comeback Kid, and had everyone in Shriver laughing. As one of his biggest fans, it was great to sit front row and hear his material in person.

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2. Elmo

As part of an intersession class, P.R. and Media in the Big Apple, I had the chance to meet many top executives at P.R. firms and media companies around New York. We had the chance to go to Sesame Street and hear about their amazing new projects for children, but for me, my childhood dream was realized when I got to meet ELMO. ELMO. ELMO. I had to say it three times to stress my excitement.

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1. Ronald J. Daniels

Lastly, but surely not the least, I have had the chance to meet President Ronald J. Daniels, a local celebrity. The world may not know him, but everyone on campus surely does. He comes by the homecoming game every year, and I snapped this picture with him while he was sitting among the crowd of rowdy college students. Ronny D is a man of the people.

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HOP into Spring

HOP into Spring

My, as well as most of the Homewood Campus’, favorite time of the year is finally here. ~SPRING~. At Hopkins, Spring brings many things, including extra happiness, tans and tan lines, and all of the biggest events of the year. I am so excited for all that Spring has to offer this year and cannot wait to wind down the year by taking part in Hopkins traditions, fun times with friends, and sunny, seventy degree days. With the end of the year approaching, Spring is the time to get a taste of Summer while still with your Hopkins friends and while being in a city as exciting as Baltimore.

HOMECOMING

Homecoming is one of the biggest weekends of the year. The weekend is filled with alumni coming back to visit for the Alumni Weekend, students flooding into Homewood Field to support our lacrosse team in the big game, and so much school spirit. It is a great weekend to take a break from school work, take in a great game, and to feel the wider network of Hopkins in a very fun, exciting way. For me, Homecoming is the time to hang out with Alumni of my Fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and to hear stories about the old times at Hopkins as well creating new memories!

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      My fraternity really takes school spirit seriously.

SPRING FAIR

Spring Fair is exactly what it says and so much more ( it is literally just a fair in spring). Spring Fair weekend is a time where Hopkins students have the time to buy crafts from local vendors, eat food not served at the FFC or Levering, and to get out of the library for a while. The highlight of Spring Fair is the concert (Although some may argue it is the Beer Garden), which this year will be headlined by THE CHAINSMOKERS! The concert is always a great time for the Administration, as well as programming groups on campus, to give back to the student body.

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That moment when I got to meet Nelly at last year’s Spring Fair Concert!

BEACH TIME

Hopkins, or HOP State as some people like to call it in the Spring, comes alive in the Spring, which means it is time to go to the beach. (For any non-Hopkins students, the Beach is a grass circle at the front of campus). Students love to play frisbee, kanjam, and spikeball outside, as well as play music, take naps, and of course, study on the beach. The beach is a great place to meet up with friends after a day of class and to relax after being in the library for a while. Recently, we have had DJ’s on the beach, and The HOP even puts on an event called “Picnic on the Beach” to truly make the beach the place to be in the Spring.

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Beach times are the best.

 

Spring at the Homewood Campus is truly a must-see, and a perfect time to visit the campus, meet students, and see what exactly Hopkins has to offer as a prospective student. Be sure to check out information about SOHOP (Spring Open House and Overnight Program) on our Admitted Students Blog here: https://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/admitted/?p=660

Why I Chose Greek Life at Hopkins

Why I Chose Greek Life at Hopkins

Ask anyone at Hopkins what they think when they hear “Greek Life” on their first day of class, and then ask again on the last day, and you will receive completely different answers. The perception of Greek Life in other schools is the generic idea you see on any movie, but Hopkins Greek Life is aiming to redefine that stigma. One of the absolute best decisions I have made during my time at Hopkins has been to join the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. I came into Hopkins with the same idea as most people, but have made it my mission to alter that perception of those who enter the doors of their dorms on the first day. The reasons I have joined Greek Life may be completely different than those of others, but the overall love of our Greek life system and confidence in the choice to join Greek Like is shared by many.

1. Brotherhood

My brothers are just that, brothers. I have been through ups and downs with them. I have had great first experiences with them. I have learned the ropes of Hopkins with them, learned how to navigate Baltimore with them, and learned how to be a functioning member of the Hopkins community with them. I owe the man I have become to the men who have surrounded me throughout my journey.

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2. Philanthropy

When I originally came to Hopkins, I was super worried that I wouldn’t have the chance or the time to give back to the community I call home. I love that joining Greek Life also meant joining a community that cares so much about philanthropy. Through Phi Delta Theta, I have been able to take part in the JHU Dance Marathon, JHU Relay for Life, and countless other fraternity and sorority philanthropy events. Phi Delta Theta also leads our own philanthropy event every semester known as Crab Feast in which we raise money for the ALS Foundation. I love being able to be a part of a group that gives back to the community that has accepted us.

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3. Fun with Friends

One of my favorite parts of being in Phi Delt is having the chance to mingle with other members of the Greek Life community. I have so many friends in other Fraternities and Sororities, and I have also met countless amazing people through social and philanthropic events. We are able to enjoy many things together as a community, including my personal favorite thing, showing school spirit.

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4. Scholarship

Since joining Phi Delt, I have spent countless hours in the library with brothers, studying, not studying, talking about politics, and just being college students together. I love that i have so many amazing guys that are willing to help me out with my studies at the drop of a hat. If it was not for my brothers, I honestly am not sure if I could make it at Hopkins.

5. The Alumni Network

I am so proud of the things that our Alumni do in the world now. We have brothers who work at Uber, Bloomberg, Google, and many many other places. We have brothers at top Med Schools and top Grad Schools. I am so humbled each and everyday to be surrounded by amazing people who, with no doubt in my mind, will change the world some day.

Mostly, I advise every Freshman coming to Hopkins to open their minds and their mouths to ask questions about Greek Life at Hopkins. Let us tell you what we can do for you. Let us tell you what we do for our community. Let us tell you why joining will help you to become the greatest version of yourself. Let us tell you why we joined Greek Life so that you can tell them same story in the years to come.

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The 5 Stages of “Ac Pro”

The 5 Stages of “Ac Pro”

For those of you who are not familiar with the term ac pro, it is a simple and less intimidating way of saying academic probation. I became very familiar with this term and the steps associated with it over the past semester. This may come as a shock to many of you, but I spent last semester on academic probation. After finding out, I chose to tell only those extremely close to me and those people who would keep me accountable for my grades. By Hopkins standards, a student gets placed on academic probation when they drop below the credit limit or below a 2.0 GPA, and my poor performance in a course put me below the credit limit. Not to spoil the ending, but now that I am off of probation, I want to share my experience during one of the most stressful and rewarding semesters of my time at Hopkins.

Stage 1: Finding out

During my freshman spring semester, I found myself becoming lazy and just not attending class as often as I should have or could have. At the time, it always seemed like the right choice to “sleep in so I can study tonight” or to “read over the slides later”. Although, in retrospect, it was not enough. I was also over involved in groups on campus, groups that did help to make many friends, but frankly groups that did not wake me up at 9 a.m. for class and keep me up to study at 2 a.m.  There are so many valuable reasons to go to class and I just chose to ignore them, thus landing myself on academic probation. I received the email making it official over the summer and that was when it finally hit me that I had screwed up, and more so, that I had no one to blame but myself.

Stage 2: Freaking out

Once the email was opened, there was no turning back. This was real. This happened. I did this. I immediately knew that I had to tell my parents and my closest friends, but as a bit of a surprise to me, I received nothing but support from those closest to me. I truly believe that it was due to the fact that I was already beating myself up for the mistakes I had made. I also had to inform many of the group leaders that I am involved with that I would have to take a step back for the semester, but it truly reinsured me that I had the support of so many friends and colleagues.  After breaking the news to everyone, I emailed my advisers about a thousand times in one day. My adviser, Dr. Sindt. began to tell me how academic probation was not meant to be punitive but more of a way of getting back on track, and that was exactly my attitude for the next semester.

Step 3: Figuring it out

Now I know it is real. Now I know that I have to step up my game. Luckily, the academic advising office set me up with literally everything I could possibly need to have a successful semester. I was assigned a study consultant, a study adviser, and had to meet with my adviser as often as possible. Although these did seem like punitive measures originally, I learned to realize that this is what I should have been doing all along. I came to the realization that there are so many amazing resources that Hopkins offers to us, but now I just had to seek them out. One main resource that I had neglected during my time at Hopkins was the library. I honestly spent more time in the library during my first week on academic probation than I had during my entire first year at Hopkins.

Step 4: Seeking it out

Now that my advisers, among many others, have laid out the path to success for me, it was now my turn to take their help and seek out help along the way. This included finding people to hold me accountable to attending classes, finding study partners and tutors, and mostly, asking my professors for help. There were so many times last semester that I was frankly scared to ask anything of my professors, but that quickly changed this semester. I began going to office hours, asking for meetings, and staying after class, especially once I realized that professors are people too. As silly as it may seem, I was finally able to go to professors and ask how their day was going, or about a concept in class that I did not understand, or about how I should study for the upcoming exam. These meetings with professors quickly became the most important step on my path to getting off of ac pro.

Step 5: Finishing it out

Not only did I get off of ac pro, I finished the semester with satisfactory scores and with the highest GPA I have gotten in a semester yet at Hopkins. This was no small feat for me, and certainly not something I did on my own. It was the most rewarding semester for me and the most challenging thing I have ever been through.  I am so thankful for my family, friends, and Hopkins staff for helping me to realize my full potential. I am thankful for everyone who studied with me at ungodly hours. I am thankful for everyone (especially my mom) who held me accountable for going to class and paying attention in class. During this past semester, I have found new interests, new resources, and a new love for the campus that I call home. As crazy as it may seem, I am proud to report that Hopkins does not want you to fail, that you will make it through academic probation, and that you are smart enough to be at Hopkins.

I AM THANKFUL FOR AC PRO.

5 Signs You’re a Southerner at a Northern School

5 Signs You’re a Southerner at a Northern School

One of the best decisions I have made in my life has been to spread my wings and to learn to fly on my own, and that happened for me by attending college out of state. It is also one of the scariest decisions I have ever had to make, especially knowing that I would be in for such an extreme culture shock moving from my home in rural Louisiana to my new home at Hopkins. As much as adjusting has been hard and probably will continue, it has been the most fulfilling experience of my life and I would not change a thing. If anything, the main thing I have learned through this experience is to embrace your what you may believe to be your shortcomings, because they just may help you in the long run. Here are a list of the five things that have proven to be so true about southern and northern stereotypes and that have ultimately guided my transition to having two homes.

1. People will think you have an accent

As much as you have tried to deny it your whole life, or hide it while transitioning to college, a southern accent is not as bad as it seems. Back home, I was always told about how proper I spoke and how I must not be from around here (even though I had lived in the same town for 18 years). Once at Hopkins, out of nowhere, I started receiving weird stares, tilted heads, and wide eyes, all followed by the question “where are you from?” I started being told that I had such a strong southern accent and that I had to be from the deep south, which made absolutely no sense to me. After coping with new realization, I quickly learned to embrace it, to love telling people about where I am from, and most, proud to be a little bit different.

 

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A very true representation of the USA

2. People actually do walk everywhere

In every movie I have ever seen with a city involved, people just walk everywhere, and I just never understood that. I have just grown accustomed to hopping in a car anytime I needed to get anywhere (sometimes even just to get to my neighbors house). I honestly never realized how out of shape I was until I was expected to walk to get things I needed and to go to the places I needed to go to.

Side note, crosswalks are a scary time if you are from the south and have never experienced them, and you can forget even attempting to drive in the city.

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This is exactly how I cross the street

3. People will stereotype you 

As much as southern stereotypes do not seem like a thing when you are actually in the south, they are all too common and all too true in the north. I cannot count the numerous amount of times I have received questions such as, “Have you seen an alligator before?” or “Have you ever eaten deer?” or “Have you ever been on a tractor?”, which are actually all things I reluctantly answer yes to. Although I am completely against stereotypes, it is hard to get mad when most things people think are crazy questions actually end up being true of the south.

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The alligator exhibit near my house

4. People will not know where you are from

One of the things I realized right away during orientation week of my freshman year is that I honestly cannot explain to people where I am from. I have cleverly learned to tell people I am from “the middle of nowhere” in Louisiana, and then await their response which always includes them thinking I am from near New Orleans (which I am not). I have become so used to just explaining that I live in a very small town, and then people just telling me what big city in the northeast they are from.

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             Avoyelles Parish – Literally in the middle of nowhere

5. People will not understand why you miss home

After all of this explaining about how you are from the middle of nowhere and that you have to drive to get anywhere, people are always quick to believe that you did not enjoy living in the south, and that is why you left, but that is not it all. People never tend to understand why I miss paying for gas to drive to a friends house, or why it was okay that I did not have WiFi at my house, or why being from the south and being southern is more than just what meets the eye. To me, being southern is about being a person who loves their neighbors, pets, and classmates like they are family. To me, being southern is about being okay with things not going your way and about things not going as quickly as you want them, but to enjoy the time waiting. To me, being southern is more than what you see on Duck Dynasty or Swamp People, it was what taught me to love everyone, love my life, and to always hope and dream about where I am going, but to never forget where I began.

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