~Sophomore Swag~

~Sophomore Swag~

It is still crazy to me to think that a little over a year ago, I was just figuring out that I had the opportunity to come to Hopkins, and now I am basically an expert on all things Hopkins. One year, two semesters, and many long nights later, I am a sophomore. It is so weird to think that I am now able to give advice, to see people filling the same shoes that I filled last year, and to see people as nervous and as scared as I was at this time last year. I have made a complete transition from the one asking for directions to the one giving directions, and it feels really great to not be lost for once.

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The definition of ~sophomore swag~

It is now time for the groups that I am on campus to start accepting new members, and it is kind of sad to realize that I won’t be a “SAABaby” or “Baby Hopper” anymore. The whirlwind that is freshman year goes by so quickly, and it is mostly because you spend the majority of your time figuring things out step by step. Now that I am a sophomore, I realize that now I have to be ~a real student~ and truly focus on academics, because, let’s face it, I have no excuses anymore. I cannot be late to class and say I could not find the classroom, and that is a scary feeling.

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My usual excuse for tardiness

Although the confidence of surviving freshman year is slowly drifting away, it is luckily being replenished by the fact that I now have the answers to the questions that I was asking this time last year. There is a certain type of ~swag~ that I see in all of my friends now that we know where we are going, know how to get there, and we know what to do when we get there. We are sophomores, so naturally, more is expected from us. After surviving the freshman fifteen, the freshman plague, and freshman year in  general, sophomore year will be a breeze.

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BYE Freshman Year
#NewYearNewMe

#NewYearNewMe

I thoroughly enjoyed my summer back home, and it was almost even harder to leave for the second time. The first trip to Baltimore was full of excitement, unknown experiences awaiting me, and a lot of nerves, but this time was so much more different. The main thing that was different this time was that I was not nervous, I knew exactly what I was coming back to. I didn’t have to worry about not having friends, because I have them, or who I was going to live with, because I chose them, or if I would like Baltimore, because I already loved it. I knew that my best way to get back into the swing of things was to hop (pun intended) right back in.

My first couple of weeks back at Hopkins were filled with training sessions preparing to take on the role as a First Year Mentor. The role of a First Year Mentor is mostly to help in the transition of first year students to Hopkins life. It was honestly the best experience for me, after a year at Hopkins, to be able to give advice to students who were in my position around this time last year. I had the best time bonding with first year students, learning more about my home, and becoming a part of someone’s first year experience.

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After the rush of orientation passed, I did not want to settle in to my old routine so quickly, so I decided to shake it up by exploring more of Baltimore. I finally had the chance to attend a Baltimore Ravens and a Baltimore Orioles game and it was so great to feel like a part of the Baltimore community (no matter how much flack I got for cheering for non-Louisiana teams). I decided to go to new restaurants, visit new neighborhoods, and mostly, make new friends. I have the perfect start to a new year and look forward to everything that this year has to offer. #NewYearNewMe

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4 Things I Learned in College But Not in the Classroom

4 Things I Learned in College But Not in the Classroom

How to be a good friend                                          

 College teaches you how to be a good friend, mostly because you are responsible for your own friendships. You learn very quickly that you honestly can choose who you surround yourself with, and if you even want to surround yourself with anyone. You learn that being a good friend is grabbing someone’s j-card when they are locked out of the dorms. You learn that being a good friend is throwing a few extra cookies in your to-go box at the FFC for your friends who have exams. You learn that being a good is letting a friend wait in your room, while only wearing a towel, after being locked out of their dorm room. You learn that being a good friend is just about being there.

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Sleep is precious    

 In college, sleep becomes the most valuable commodity in your life. You will soon learn all of the best places to nap on campus, and yes, most of them will not be in your dorm room. Your twin xl mattress quickly becomes your sanctuary. You will learn the true beauty of snoozing your alarm. Lastly, and most importantly, you will learn that anyone who wakes you up is your enemy.

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 Free food is good food

 No matter how much money you have, how full you are, or how little you have worked out that week, free food is an opportunity that you just don’t pass up. Whether it was donuts on the breezeway, unlimited food at the FFC, or going to speeches and presentations for free pizza, you will learn that the freshman fifteen is no myth, and is actually less expensive than it sounds.

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Time flies

 Time becomes your best friend and your greatest enemy from day one. You learn that sleeping five extra minutes can make you ten minutes late to class. You learn that an hour with friends can create a lifetime of memories. Mostly, you learn that your first year of college does fly by. You quickly go from missing home to missing Homewood in what seems like the blink of an eye.

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Re(LAX)ing

Re(LAX)ing

I experienced my first Hopkins homecoming this past weekend, filled with a multitude of selfies, sunburns, and lots of LAX. Picture this, the stands filled with Hopkins students, the campus more alive than its ever been, and so many people of all ages enjoying the homecoming festivities, that is precisely what homecoming weekend is all about. Homecoming was a time to get away from the library and the classroom and time to get out and soak up the sun, so that’s exactly what I did with my weekend.

HECKLING

One of the beauties of Hopkins homecoming is the fact that ours is celebrated over a lacrosse game, which, before this year, was a foreign subject to me. Thanks to my fraternity brothers, I have learned that the best possible way to learn about a game is to watch it, yell out a lot of random words, scream when everyone else screams, and to learn the fight song.

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BONDING

Homecoming was the time where everyone was out of their dorms and in the stands. It was a time for everyone to hang out with friends, meet new people, and meet alumni to hear stories about Hopkins from the past. Also, and most importantly, it was a time for our university to come together as one communal unit to support something that may seem so simple, but was so complex in its affects on our community.

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WINNING

The most important aspect of any sporting competition is the idea of crowning a winner, and after excessive blood, sweat, and tears, we reigned victorious. 16-9, the score to remember, the score that marked a day of community, and the score that marked the best darn day I have had at Hopkins.

 

MY CELEBRATORY SELFIE WITH RONNY D.

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Why Hopkins: The Triple Threat

Why Hopkins: The Triple Threat

About a year ago, I was going through the extremely frustrating/fulfilling process of choosing where to spend the next four years of my life, what city I would eventually call home, and what alma mater I would be proudly supporting for the rest of my life. This decision was not one to be taken lightly, so I made it using that exact attitude. I split the idea of choosing a college into three sections, and ranked each prospective school according to those sections. Academics, campus life, and social life all were my biggest decision makers, and because of those factors, I chose Hopkins.

ACADEMICS

Academics is, by far, the most important factor when choosing a college. I knew when looking at colleges that I wanted to go into Public Health (knowing some idea of what you want to do helps out a lot in the process), so I obviously looked at Hopkins’ Public Health program. Hopkins’ undergraduate Public Health program was well-established, internationally recognized, and is known to be very hands on. The biggest draw to Hopkins’ Public Health program was the fact that as undergraduates, Public Health majors are able to take classes at the esteemed Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is ranked as the best in the nation by U.S. Academically speaking, Hopkins was the obvious choice, but although academics are extremely important, they are not the only factor to take into account while choosing a school.

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I was fortunate enough to meet Gov. Martin O’Malley during a presentation in my Lectures on Public Health and Wellbeing in Baltimore class.

CAMPUS LIFE

My high school had about 200 students. I also went to the same school from Kindergarten to senior year. Needless to say, a close community was a definite necessity during my college search, and that, in itself, was a hard thing to define. I basically knew that I wanted the type of school where when you walk into the library, you see group studying, not people isolated in cubicles, where when you walk in the lunch room, you can barely hear yourself think because of the excessive conversation, and where when you walk into the dorms, you see people, not just closed doors. I found this exact atmosphere when I visited Hopkins. And ever since arriving at Hopkins, I have constantly felt like part of a big family, and most importantly, a family that would never stop growing.

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SOCIAL LIFE

Although a somewhat less important topic, social life was definitely a deciding factor for me. Social life, in my book, is defined as what people do when they aren’t in class, studying, or participating in extra-curricular activities. When looking at Hopkins, the obvious stand out factors are academics and campus life, but the social life is what has grown to surprise me. I came to Hopkins with the same attitude as every Freshman, “Hopkins is too great at academics to also excel socially.” I quickly realized that it was the opposite, because all Hopkins students spend time and effort to excel academically, we also put in that same effort to have fun when we can. Whether you are a part of Greek Life, a sports team, or none of the above, there are so many avenues to remain socially active. These can include exploring Baltimore, attending events on campus (such as the HOP’S Friday Night Films, shameless plug), or just spending time with friends on the beach.

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College decisions are so difficult, but it all is so much more difficult is you don’t take the time to visit each school you are deciding between. My decision was made when I visited Hopkins for the first time, and I knew that I could see myself as a part of the Hopkins community. On that note, come to SOHOP!!!!!!

 

The “Ultimate” Spring Break Trip

The “Ultimate” Spring Break Trip

Spring Break 2015 was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a week full of sun, frisbee, and sand. I made new memories, froze my butt off in the Atlantic Ocean, and met college students from all over the country. I spent my Spring Break 2015 with the Hopkins Ultimate Frisbee team, DangerZone, and made the 8 hour trek to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to play in the High Tide Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. With 80 teams, 1600 players, and 6 days of fun in the sun, High Tide exceeded all of the expectations I had for it.

A BEACH HOUSE BECOMES A HOME

With 19 guys, constant sweating, and bare feet everywhere, a beach house can seem very inhospitable at first glance. It only took one day in that house for it to feel like a home, and for our team to become a family (corny, right?). We had nightly team meetings, early mornings filled with half awake rides to the tournament fields, and many stories that took shape that we will tell for years to come.

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THE BEACH BECOMES YOUR BEST FRIEND

The first three days of our trip were filled with sunny, warm weather that made for perfect beach days! We spent every day from noon to midnight out on the beach. My sunburn quickly became more evident, my shoes were full of sand, and my beach frisbee skills became impeccable. The beach even doubles as a great place to study for Hopkins students.

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I RETURNED TO MY HOMELAND (THE SOUTH)

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina may not be as southern, either physically and culturally, as my home in Hamburg, Louisiana, but it was definitely the taste of home that I needed. I heard southern accents, received southern hospitality, and mostly, felt the heat of the south.

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Team Bonding

While living in a house with 18 fellow teammates, spending an 8 hour drive with 4 of them, and spending 24/7 with all of them, our team is closer than ever. We played spikeball, played frisbee, and ate way too many donuts together. This experience has made our team chemistry go through the roof, and has truly been one of my best college experiences thus far.

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As my Spring Break ended, I could not help but to reflect on the memories that were made, the friendships that were forged, and the amazing opportunities that we have to travel at Hopkins, whether for educational or recreational reasons. On a final note, a huge shout out goes to DangerZone Ultimate, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and to all of the people who made the spring break trip truly “ultimate.”

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Endless (Hop)portunities

Endless (Hop)portunities

Whenever I first applied to Hopkins, I read every brochure, searched every website, and of course, read every Hopkins Interactive Blog to ensure that I knew what exactly I was getting myself into. Little did I know, Hopkins would offer more than I expected, and as I wrote in my application essay, “I am searching for a school that will exceed my expectations, just as I hope to exceed the their’s.” Once arriving at Hopkins, making it through my first semester, and surviving my first break back home, I have realized all of the opportunities that have been available to me thanks to Hopkins.

Meeting Martin O’Malley

My Lectures on Public Health and Wellbeing in Baltimore class has been my favorite class of this semester. It is a 1-credit class that meets once a week, and focuses on the things that we, as Hopkins students, and temporary members of the Baltimore community, can help to affect change. For one of our classes, we had an amazing panel who spoke on the topic of “Feeding the 21st Century.” Former Governor Martin O’Malley, Former CEO of Kroger; Robert Lawrence, and two of my professors from last semester, Adam Sheingate and Kathryn Edin, all spoke very eloquently on this subject. The talk was extremely interesting and truly an important topic in Public Health.

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Raising Money FOR THE KIDS!!!

I had the great honor of serving on the Johns Hopkins Dance Marathon Executive Board as Social Media Director, and in this capacity, I was able to help raise $45,000 for the kids at the Johns Hopkins ChIldren’s Center, but mostly, I was able to have so much fun while doing it! I met more Hopkins students that I had never met before, I heard amazing stories of people who we were able to help, and I had the chance to make a difference.

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Listening to Gloria Steinem Speak

Thanks to the Foreign Affairs Symposium, I had the amazing chance to hear Gloria Steinem, the feminist icons, speak about her experience in the feminist movement. She spoke of how she believes that the feminist movement has had great victories but is not yet complete. It was amazing to see the power in her voice, and mostly, the influence she had on the audience, and the world.

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I have learned that Hopkins offers so many amazing opportunities that are so readily available to the Hopkins community. I am so thankful for the chances that I have to become a better person, and I owe that to the Hopkins community. I plan on making the most of all of the HOPPORTUNITIES to come in the future.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

Laissez les bon temps roulez translated to English simply means to let the good times roll. This saying is the epitome of the Mardi Gras holiday season. As a native Louisianan, Mardi Gras was a very important part of my upbringing. I spent most of my Mardi Gras catching beads, being in parades, and most importantly, being off from school. I know, crazy, right? Mardi Gras is a time of family bonding, fun times, and splurging.

Mardi Gras Defined:

Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, has its origins in medieval Europe. It became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875 and began as a Christian holiday with roots dating back to ancient Rome. The Carnival season was a kick-off to Lent, a sort of last hurrah before 40 days of penance sandwiched between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Mardi Gras in Louisiana:

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A picture from the Alexandria Parade found on the Alexandria Town Talk.
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A picture of my mom and brother at the Alexandria parade #IAmJealous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mardi in Louisiana is HUGE! There are parades that happen every weekend, parties every night, and just plain non-stop fun. Although the big Mardi Gras celebration happens in New Orleans, my family usually keeps it locaL. We typically go the parades in Alexandria and Lafayette. Whether you want to make Mardi Gras a family gathering, or make it a fun time with friends, Louisiana truly has all of the options.

 

Mardi Gras at Hopkins:

Thanks to the HOP (Hopkins Organization for Programming), I was able to bring Mardi Gras to the Homewood Campus! I spent countless hours calling in search of southern food, music, and decorations. After weeks of planning, and an almost horrific beginning to my event, it went pretty well. People had fun, ate food, and and got a good taste of the Mardi Gras spirit, even though the ground was covered in snow and the temperature was in the teens.

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I think the main lesson I’ve learned after bringing Mardi Gras to Homewood is that students need an avenue to relax. As college students, we constantly stress about social, emotional, and mostly, academic shortcomings. If Mardi Gras and Louisiana have taught me one thing, it’s that in time of stress of worry, you just need to “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez.”

 

Getting (and Staying) Involved

Getting (and Staying) Involved

Throwback to orientation week, when I was walking across campus, wide-eyed, and ready to be involved. Those were the simple days. The days when I was signing every sign up sheet that passed my way and spent most days filling out applications all in the name of getting involved. I was always told that the best way to get to know a place is to get involved in it. I took that exact reasoning into mind whenever I came to Hopkins and signed up for every club possible! I definitely do not regret joining any of the things I am involved in, or the friends i have made while doing them, but what the words of wisdom fail to entail is that getting involved is easy, but staying involved is not.

JHU Dance Marathon

DM is the incredible 8-hour event at Johns Hopkins University to raise money FOR THE KIDS at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center! I have had the best opportunity to be a part of the Executive Board for DM, as the Social Media Director, and met many amazing people, read some amazing stories, and hopefully helped many along the way.

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The Color Run Sponsored by JHUDM

 

The HOP 

The Hopkins Organization for Programming is a student-run event programming group that brings great events, including tailgates, comedians, concerts, and much more to the Homewood Campus. Thanks to The HOP, I have had the opportunity to meet BJ Novak, see an Iggy concert, and will have the opportunity to bring Mardi Gras to the Homewood Campus in a few weeks!

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The HOP with Bj Novak from The Office

 

SAAB

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My Ice Skating Excursion with Some SAAB Members

The Student Admissions Advisory Board is a student-run admissions recruiting group that helps to reach out to prospective students, and is also responsible for the content of Hopkins Interactive! Thanks to SAAB, I have been able to share my Hopkins experience with students, who are in the same exact place that I was about a year ago, and for that, I am grateful.

Ultimate Frisbee

I played Ultimate Frisbee all throughout high school and loved it, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized that JHU had a competitive, club frisbee team. I have had so many great times with the frisbee guys and during the couple tournaments that we have had!

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Georgetown Tournament directly next to                       the National Mall

 

It may not be very easy to stay involved, but getting involved has been the best decision I have made at Hopkins. I have made so many friends, so many memories, and lost out on so much sleep, but in the end, my Hopkins experience has been better for it all!

My Intersession Bucket List

My Intersession Bucket List

As defined here in this video, Intersession is a mini-mester between the fall and spring semester that offers a variety of interesting, low-stress classes that provide a wide array of opportunity for Hopkins students. Deciding whether or not to come back for intersession was truly a no-brainer for me. I knew that the main reason to come back for intersession was to enjoy the college experience without the stress of usual school work. After realizing this, I have decided to make a bucket list of things that I want to do during my first intersession!

1. Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art

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Located a quick walk from Homewood campus, the Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. First off, it is free, so why wouldn’t I go? Secondly, the art at the BMA is amazing and full of cultural and historical importance. But mostly, it is literally adjacent to campus, but yet I have not gone yet.

2. Visit Washington D.C.

Considering that D.C. is one of the most influential cities in the entire world, and it is located only about an hour from Homewood, I am utterly disappointed in myself for not having made more trips there. I plan to visit D.C. on MLK Day and take a trip to the MLK memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and hopefully other museums in the area! The best part is that you can get to D.C. using the MARC train for around $15 round trip.

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A photo I took around 3 years ago at the MLK Memorial

3. Go to New York City

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New York is a short three hour train ride away, and can be accessed pretty easily through bus. I have never been to the Big Apple, so my friends and I have decided to make a day trip to NYC and do all of the basic tourist things. We will go to times square, Broadway, Wall Street, and any other generic things that can possibly be done within one day.

4. Visit the National Aquarium
National-Aquarium

Located in the heart of the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium features a living collection of more than 17,000 fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals living in award-winning habitats. Located a short, free ride using the JHMI and the Charm City Circulator away, the Inner Harbor is also full of other great attractions, such as the ice rink, multiple shopping stores, a truly beautiful view, and so much amazing food!

5. Play in the snow

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The first snow at Hopkins before break

Do you want to build asnowman? Uh, duhhhhh. Lucky enough for me, it is supposed to snow in good ole’ B’More tomorrow! I plan on building my first real snowman, and having my first real snow ball fight, so y’all better take cover! Also lucky for me, I asked for snow boots from Santa and a pea coat, so I prepared for the tundra!

I am beyond excited for all that intersession has to offer and plan to take complete advantage of every amazing opportunity I will have over the next month! I plan to experience so many new things and make so many new memories, which means that there will be more, actual photos to come!