After being in America for just four days and seeing that another year of ED Admissions has come and gone (WELCOME, Y’ALL), I’ve decided to take a moment to reflect on what it means to return to Hopkins in January — the first time in five months. A good 45% of my internal and external being still feels like it’s across the pond, but in spite of my withdrawal symptoms, I’m starting to remind myself just how much I have to look forward to and how much I’ve missed. Let’s start with the obvious:

This might be masochistic of me considering how positively frigid and semi-treacherous it can be, but Hopkins in wintertime is as visually delightful as it is potentially dangerous. Especially when seen from the “porch” of Gilman. The snow falls just so, and the trees and old brick buildings come together to make a wintry campus walk feel like something out of a movie. Before you slip and fall in the middle of the walkway, that is.

And then, of course, there is the ever-exciting spring course schedule. For some reason, my classes during second semester tend to be more interesting/enjoyable/rewardingly challenging than they do in the fall, but it could also just be that spring on campus is generally a happier time for one and all. I’m still back and forth on one or two choices, but after a semester away from the Hopkins English department, I see now more than ever how lucky I am to have the slew of quality course options (and equally distinguished professors) it consistently offers. Thus, my classes next semester are likely no different. In “Old World/New World Women”, for example, I’ll be reading transatlantic literature written by Anne Bradstreet, Aphra Behn, and Phillis Wheatley, whilst examining themes such as (ahem): “identity, spatiality, religion, commerce, enforced labor, sexuality, race, and gender, along with literary tradition, formal analysis and poetics.” To top it all off, it’s taught by my favorite English prof, Sharon Achinstein, whose Intro to Lit course last year basically re-taught me how to be a critical thinker. Next semester’s brain expansion should be one for the record books.

Finally, there’s Baltimore, a city and a home like no other, one that I’ve greatly missed venturing out into on the weekends for a soul dance party at The Crown or a refreshing walk around Mt. Vernon, where somehow just staring at the beautiful old brownstone walk-ups is a rejuvenating activity. I’m hoping that my time away will make the city feel new in different ways, alongside all of its comforting familiarity and friendly folk who are always down for a random adventure. However strongly my current jetlag pulls me in the other direction, I’m a lucky gal with an imminent return to a school/city/homie-filled-place that truly can’t be beat.