When you go abroad for half the year, coming back for spring semester kind of feels like the third semester of sophomore year. This is exacerbated further by the fact that a. the semester is shorter and b. the idea of being a senior still feels very, very fall off. My good friend JHU_Emily is technically graduating in about a week, and yes, technically I’ll be doing the same in a year. But all of those facts are still a vague, ambient mist in the background of finals; for now, an affectionate list of small spots of joy at Hopkins that have provided meaningful solace as I truck through papers and projects.

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Seeing as I work a bit in Gilman everyday, my entrance to and from the building is a pivotal, vibe-determining moment. This lilac bush grows in the back, which is how I usually walk into Gilman these days. As it turns out, morning smells are VERY important to the cadence of the rest of your day; the lilacs are a small corner of campus that get me out of my head for just a moment, before I park myself indoors for most of the daylight hours.

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Because JHU_Emily is a ridiculous person with no qualms about said ridiculousness, she had a birthday celebration in which she a. made all of her friends waffles for dinner and b. made all of her friends wear party hats that had her face taped onto them. It was right at the end of the semester before the full push of finals had officially begun, and it reminded me to make sure I stayed balanced amidst the barrage of essays, to get out of the mindset of ‘academic overload’ for a minute and give myself time to have some good, old-fashioned, Ebo-style fun. She even had the party start at 7pm, so we could all be in bed by 10; this night was a good one.

pc: Wikipedia, the truest friend

pc: Wikipedia, the truest friend

And finally, there’s George — George Eliot, the woman I’ve been talking about incessantly for the last semester because of the seminar I took on her. As it turns out, ya girl really enjoys writing and thinking about her works, so much so that I’ll be writing a year-long senior thesis about her. I’ll be in Baltimore for the summer, and plan to get a good amount of research done; the thought of this, oddly enough, motivates me to get through the last bit of finals. The English department here doesn’t have a formal thesis program, like the History or Philosophy departments. Rather, I’m basically doing a full-year “Independent Study”, and, according to the interim Director of Undergraduate Studies, am a “trailblazer” for doing so — it’s not the most common path for senior English majors. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying, but I’m going to let both of those emotions fuel my work ethic for the next week.