I turned in my last final project yesterday, so I am officially done with this semester! The last couple of weeks of reading period and finals can easily become stressful. I’ve been really into listening to study/finals playlists to get myself in the right mindset. Even not when I’m directly studying, I want to limit the amount of stress I feel. Listening to these playlists definitely help! I’ll list my favorites from my own finals playlist below, and link a few other great Spotify ones!
UniMini is the crowning jewel of Hopkins late-night food. Don’t get me wrong, the $2.50 garlic knots at Maxie’s are a fantastic deal. And Insomnia Cookies can really hit the spot at 2am, I know this for a fact. But there really isn’t a better one-stop-shop on any given night than UniMini.
UniMini is stocked with tons of snacks and goodies, but the star is their deli. One can order anything from fries, to jalapeno poppers, to sandwiches (including steak/egg/cheese, shwarama, chicken parmesan, and my new personal favorite — falafel and hummus). Most importantly are their mozzarella sticks, which are quite the campus phenomenon.
In the spirit of fried food and dangerously high levels of sodium, I decided to make a BuzzFeed quiz that’ll tell you your UniMini spirit animal equivalent. The answers and results are all made in good fun! Also note that the pictures are not actual pictures of food from UniMini. (It’s really hard to find an accurate picture of a “special with hash”.)
One of the best decisions I made this past semester was dropping a class that was already in my schedule to take a 400-level anthropology class, Anthropology of Design. I think it’s safe to say that in almost any conversation I have with someone, I find myself always relating back to ideas and concepts from the class. That’s when you know a class is good. When you leave and you can’t stop talking about it.
I found the course by literally typing in “design” as a search keyword in the course catalog. Here’s the course description:
From casinos to canoes, algorithms to animal traps, our worlds are bursting with intentional objects. The word design has come to evoke the prestige of such objects, and their power to shape our collective habits and sensations. This course explores the anthropology of designed artifacts and their complex social trajectories. Beginning with philosophical investigations into the relationship between materials, form, and craft, we will proceed through ethnographic case studies of design as expert discourse and ordinary practice. Ultimately we will consider the affinities between the ethnography and design as open-ended and not entirely predictable engagements with the world.
So obviously I saw the word “design”, but then I saw “algorithms” and “social trajectories” and “ethnography” and I knew that the course material would be extremely interesting. But I didn’t really know what “anthropology of design” really was, let alone that it was a real field in itself. Plus, I was nervous that it was a 400-level anthropology class of only about 15 people. So I left it in my cart and didn’t register, proceeding along with the first couple days of the semester.
I started off with a rather normal first week back, but luckily my friend Tom convinced me to attend the first class of Anthropology of Design. That first day was probably one of the fastest, most engaging 2 1/2 hour classes I’ve ever been in. As an introduction, we spent the last portion of class just going through pictures of design prototypes of things like airport luggage towers (I’m not sure exactly what to call them??), hospital gowns, bathrooms, and prescription medicine labeling. My incredible professor, Dr. Degani flipped through these pictures on the projector, and asked us what we thought of them. What did we like? Why did we think it was designed this way? How does it work? As a class, we had a dynamic, thought-provoking discussion that I’ve never really experienced before. And this was only the start. He said something along the lines of, “This is pretty much what the class structure is every week.”
I think I immediately enrolled while I was still sitting there in class.
Throughout the rest of the semester, we read essays, pieces, and ethnographies to help illuminate some really interesting anthropology/design concepts. We’ve fiddled with the definitions of design and art and artifact, related Swedish design (think IKEA – simplistic, functional, widely accessible) to social democracy and nationalism, and dug deep into the trenches of casino and machine design and how it facilitates addiction. The 2 1/2 hours always go by so quickly, with class starting with a couple students presenting the week’s readings and asking the rest of us some thought-provoking questions. Usually the discussion just kind of starts from there and people just go back and forth, contributing opinions, questioning theories, bringing in experiences. There’s never a dull moment. Last week, we tried to define the “Pinterest aesthetic” and asked why is this popular? What makes mason jars so appealing? This is seriously the best class, you guys.
But besides the course material, what really makes the class is the people. The other students in my class have a wide variety of backgrounds: anthropology (most obviously), history of art, engineering, business. We even have a MICA student in our class. Everyone has such a different perspective that adds another layer to discussion. What we’ve learned in the class is that everything is designed pretty much, so people from any field can contribute something when it comes to conversations about design. Lastly, Professor Degani always wraps up class with his thoughts, causing us to ask questions we’ve never thought of before, and think of the things/objects/the everyday in ways we haven’t ever before. I always leave class wanting more discussion, and just wanting to hear Dr. Degani talk more.
(I just realized now we only have 3 more classes left. I’m sad.)
The class has pretty much led me in my current direction of where-I-want-my-life-to-go, and has absolutely been my favorite class this semester, and probably of my entire time at Hopkins. The moral of the story is, if you fall in love with the course description, just enroll. Especially if it’s an anthropology class. With great people.
Rising seniors register for our fall 2017 courses next Monday and I’m kind of in a rut. Here’s an update on life.
I’m dropping public health. It’s been a long, back-and-forth process that required a lot of thinking and advice-seeking, but I finally made a decision, and I’m happy! I have my drop-a-major form ready to be handed in to the office of the registrar as soon as I finish writing this post. It’s a dinky little piece of paper (that doesn’t even require my advisor’s signature?) but it represents a huge decision I had to make.
Public health as a field is obviously incredibly important. Public health professionals are doing amazing work to improve the world around them, whether it’s through policy, research, medical practice, or anything in between. Before I got to college, I saw myself doing something along those lines. I didn’t know exactly what, but I thought yes, I want to work in healthcare.
(But I didn’t want to be a doctor. That was a fact.)
So I added public health as a second major pretty early on in my Hopkins career and thought that eventually, I would figure it out. I was in public health classes that were definitely interesting, but they didn’t completely “wow” me. Meanwhile, I was also taking other classes that I actually really enjoyed. I hated the disconnect. Why should I take classes that don’t particularly excite me just because I “have” to?
As I continued through my Hopkins career, my conscious decisions of what classes I did and didn’t like led to subconscious changes in my post-college plans. First, I wanted to be a biostatistician, then it was a data scientist in a healthcare setting, and then maybe just a data scientist.
I didn’t particularly want to work in healthcare anymore.
That pretty much solidified my decision for me. Even though I’m dropping the major, I won’t ever forget the countless lessons I’ve learned in my public health classes. I’ll take the knowledge and skills I’ve gained, and they’ll be applicable to almost anything. The thing that’s great about public health is the fact that it’s so interdisciplinary. That means that for anything I learned about public health, I learned about something else, too! Public health is related to the environment, to politics, to education, to economics. As someone who does want to work somewhere socially impactful, what I learned in my public health courses are invaluable. There just wasn’t really a point for me to be a public health major anymore. That’s ok.
I repeat, it’s ok to change your mind, and it’s ok to not like something anymore! It’s called growing.
Although I expect the process of dropping off this little piece of paper with the registrar to be undoubtedly anticlimactic, it represents me finally letting go! Hooray!
So here I am, “just” an applied math major. With no more required classes. And two more semesters at Hopkins. I want to fill the rest of my time in college with classes that I just really want to take. I don’t have that much time left, and there’s no point in sitting in a class where even a small part of me doesn’t want to be in it!
Because I’ve always been a double major, my course schedules have always been jam-packed with degree requirements and one or two electives per semester. Now, I can finally explore the amazing offerings across all Hopkins departments. Since I’ve had such great experiences in my past anthropology classes, I’m looking at more classes in their department. And then maybe I’ll take a cognitive science class (I don’t even really know what cognitive science is?) or an art class, or try out a class in the film & media studies department everyone raves about. I honestly have no plan, but I have freedom. And it feels amazing!
For starters, I’m taking my last required applied math class. The idea of last is strange and I don’t think I’m ready to start hitting the rest of the last milestones. Plus, I’m taking a “break” from public health. I wanted to fill my schedule this semester with classes that I wouldn’t usually take to get a breath of fresh air before possibly entering my final year of public health.
My 14 credits are split four ways among different departments across both Krieger and Whiting, and I absolutely love it. I’m covering a wide range of subjects, which entails a whole array of different assignments and class structures, which in turn, entails a whole array of different school supplies. Let’s take a look at the materials I’m using this semester. (For general life-handling and management, I’m using my Moleskine journal quite a bit. I talked about it a bit here!)
Anthropology of Design:
These small dot-grid notebooks are kind of amazing. Combined with my weapon of choice — the fine point Sharpie pen — I’ve come to really enjoy taking notes in Anthropology of Design. I like scribbling down quotes that stick out to me, and make weird side-comments that are sometimes unrelated but usually inquisitive. I annotate my readings like crazy, and despite it being a 2 1/2 hour class, discussion is always fascinating. Everyone brings their own personal experiences and knowledge to the literal table. We’ve defined art as a sort of “trap”, contemplated the extensive use of glass in airports, and decided that the aspect of delay in design can be found in fans waiting for Frank Ocean’s sophomore album to finally drop.
Laptop (and other technology)
Annotated lectures are posted online so I don’t really take notes (just try to listen!) The class covers C/C++, so a laptop is kind of important. We use Piazza as our sort of online hub, and use Github extensively to track changes and share up-to-date versions of group projects.
Introduction to Statistics:
After 14.5 years of math classes, I’ve finally discovered that plain paper is the key to perfect math notes. Why? Lines are too constraining, my handwriting is kind of small, and I like drawing lots of arrows and small graphs. Judging from the past homeworks and quizzes, this is going to be a challenging class; my notes need to be in tip-top shape. Today’s lecture notes are pictured below. And even if I don’t understand all of them, I am very proud of them.
Urban & Environmental Systems:
My professor for Urban & Environmental Systems posts extensive notes online so I don’t take too many notes! I do scribble down diagrams and graphs though, because they’re not usually pictured within the notes he posts. I use a basic spiral notebook and my trusty Sharpie pen and I’m good to go. The class is actually a nice kind of extension to my Mathematical Modeling & Consulting class from last semester. We’re covering optimization techniques for urban and environmental planning, and a lot of the types of problems we’re covering I’ve encountered before in my applied math courses!
This is my first year spending the entirety of my winter break and Intersession back home in Delaware, and I’ve tried my best to not be a degenerate, but I would definitely say I spent the majority of my time in hibernation.
And once I get back to Baltimore, there’s things I’ll still need to continue, and new things I want to do. I know things is like the least descriptive word possible and all of my past English teachers would kill me, but all of the things (ugh) that I plan on doing are all pretty random and unrelated that I don’t know what to call them. I really wouldn’t call them resolutions: some of them are just really important items on my to-do list, others are attempts at positive lifestyle changes. Anyways, here are these things:
I plan on dusting off my DSLR camera that I found in my closet and bringing it to Baltimore with me. I used to love taking photos, first with my camera, and then with my phone. Then, for some reason, I kind of stopped. I don’t really know why. Currently, phone’s Camera Roll is all screenshots and memes. I miss taking photos just to take photos. I think this will help feed the creative half of my brain. He seems hungry.
Yup. Water is good for you for like way too many reasons, and I’m really bad at getting enough water throughout the day. My cousin got me a cool, trendy Hydroflask for Christmas, so if I drink three full Hydroflasks worth of water a day, I’ll call it a success! Real tip: use drinking water as a procrastination tool for studying.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. But really. I haven’t really followed any sort of exercise plan since I ran my half-marathon in October (oops). I used to follow a pretty consistent lifting routine, but before I started training for the half, I was getting bored of the same thing. I need to do some research because I want to change it up. Maybe it’s time to try out those battle ropes I’ve always wanted to use, but never knew how to.
Thanks to all of the environmental health classes I’ve taken last semester, I know eating meatless is a really effective to lessen your personal carbon footprint. Plus, eating meatless at least once a week will save me money and challenge me to try and make some more humane magic in the kitchen.
Aaaannnd on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve wanted to have a Korean bbq night at my house with a bunch of my friends for the longest time. My friend and I lovewatchingMaangchi’svideos on YouTube and I’ve been inspired! One of my housemates has an electric skillet that I think will be perfect for the tabletop cooking.
Hire me, please.
They’re a black hole of negativity and usually, ignorance. I waste so much time reading what people say and just end up getting really mad for no good reason. Not productive or helpful to me in any way, shape, or form.
I’ve loved living in my house this past year, but we learned a couple of weeks ago that our landlord is selling the property, so my housemates and I are going to need to find a new place. The group of guys I’m living with is switching up a bit, but I’m excited to live with my friend Andrew next year, one of my first friends I ever made on campus. So sentimental.
(And better.) I really want this semester to be the one where I finally internalize that staying up super late and waking up right before noon might not be the best sleep schedule for myself. I have some 9ams this semester, so I am really trying to get in the habit of sleeping early and waking up early.
Every day, I am thankful that my friends have such an amazing taste in music. From creating collaborative Spotify playlists, to sharing Pitchfork reviews, to listening to my friends’ radio shows on WJHU, there’s no excuse for me to listen to the same song the entire day… unless it’s 00000 Million.
My cousin gave me a Moleskine and I want to use it for really whatever: to-do lists, notes, random ideas, recipes, doodles, sketches, angry rants. I already set up my journal like a Bullet Journal, a system that seems easy, efficient, and very flexible, so let’s see if I stick with it.
Random ideas in my journal turn into side projects I want to get my hands dirty with. From graphic design, to data analyses, to apps, there’s so much I want to do that’s not really a part of (but definitely has been influenced by) my coursework.
Described on their website as a “launch pad for Baltimore’s most exciting chefs”, R. House is a newly opened food hall (like a food court, but better?) in Remington (right next to campus!) that features new chefs on the food scene. From what I’ve learned, it’s like a market with a bunch of different individual stalls that feature a different chef and their cuisine. Funny enough, someone described it to me as “kind of like the FFC”. Sounds accurate.
I am 100% serious that this is a real goal of mine.
Inspired by the many demonstrations, protests, and marches happening around the world, I want to help out at a local organization for a cause I support, whether it’s through Hopkins or just through the city itself.
Some of my friends and I have preliminary plans of going to the West Coast for spring break and visiting San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, but we haven’t settled any details yet. I really don’t want anything to fall through so we need to get on this!
This is the last semester I’ll get with my senior friends, and I need to spend as much time with them as I can before they get annoyed with me and then graduate… and then I become a senior myself…
Despite the fact that I’m still waiting for one more final grade in one of my classes, this past semester is essentially all wrapped up. It seems like every semester that goes by is shorter and shorter, and this fall semester was no exception. Academically, this will probably be my best semester with the exception of freshman fall. Personally, I did a lot of growing and spent good chunks of time reflecting and thinking ahead to the future. I would call that a success. But I didn’t do it all myself! I got some help along the way:
Eddie’s Market and the friendly staff. Thank you to the man who always makes my breakfast sandwiches and the woman at checkout who always gets super happy when I bring my own reusable bag in. Also, just thank you to whoever decided you get a free coffee with a purchase of an Eddie’s breakfast sandwich. One of the best deals in Charles Village. Even when Towson Hot Bagels opens up, I will always stay faithful.
My applied math wifey, Simi, for the cumulative time we’ve spent working on applied math assignments these past 2.5 years and especially this past semester. Thank you for calling me when I don’t understand a concept, digging through lines of code with me to find errors (usually something dumb), and not getting mad when I laugh at your funny looking plots. Although your time in AMS has come to an end, I will be asking you tons of questions about stat next semester!!
My fellow music appreciators, Aaron and Danny. I am thankful for our lil cosmic latte, and for Solange, and 22, A Million, and Topaz Jones, and Blonde. Thank you for always wanting to listen to Nightride and throwing on “Player” anytime you have the aux. You both will always be fantastic additions to any Facebook livestream I ever have, even when we’re not en route to Shake Shack. We will loyally await the next seasons of Insecure and Westworld together.
Low acid coffee from Carma’s, with room. Thank you, best $2 I ever spend in the mornings, for the 1) warmth and 2) caffeine. You are the best companion to walk into Brody or to class with. And although my mom got me French press for Christmas so that I will stop spending my money on coffee, I will always remember you, and on some mornings, I will splurge on you.
Any meal I’ve shared with someone this semester. Thank you Woo, for bringing me boba that one time and wanting to get late night milkshakes with me from Papermoon even though they changed their hours. Thank you Frank, for encouraging me to always make mac and cheese even when its 1 in the morning. Thank you Aaron and Josh for dropping bills with me post-date party to feast on short ribs and pork belly at Joung Kak. Thank you Andrew, for always being down to cook dinner, even in the midst of finals. Thank you Adrian, for the countless dinners and endless hummus.
My housemates: Wade, Simon, Aaron, Tom, and Frank, for letting me decompress in your rooms after a long day. For always being down to chill on any given weeknight, even when you have something to do early the next morning. For letting me steal your ibuprofen, cereal, and articles of clothing. And for being truly for the boys, and joining me again on the quest for a new homestead next year (RIP).
Baltimore. For The Bun Shop and Artifact Coffee, when I don’t feel like studying on campus. For Dooby’s and TenTen, for the best comfort food a boy can get for dinner on a weeknight. For Old Bank and Beatnik and Floyd’s, for fresh cuts and the courage to get me down to a 0-guard fade. For the half marathon itself, the accompanying training, and the race day cheers from the locals. And for Taharka Brothers ice cream, for any and every occasion.
For one of my classes, Environment & Society, our “final” was to investigate an environmental problem of our choice, write up a paper about it, and also incorporate some sort of creative presentation or display that would help people make realistic choices about the issue at hand.
Last week, we presented our creative projects in class and I was wowed by what everyone had to share! My peers wrote plays about fracking, wrote and illustrated childrens’ books about fish protesting the construction of a nearby industrial complex, developed board games that showed players the trade-offs between environmental and economic costs, and made apps that helped you save orangutans. It was awesome.
For my project, I wanted to investigate our current food system and how it has created problems of food insecurity and environmental degradation. For the creative component, I vlogged my experience living on only $15 over the course of three days, only able to buy food from a different source each day: a convenience store, a grocery store, and a farmers market.
I learned a lot from the experience — that being food insecure is exhausting, and that the conventional food system is something that needs to be changed if we want to create a sustainable future for all.
Take a look at my experience and learn what you can do to be an advocate for food sustainability and food justice!
As course registration for the spring semester began to approach a couple of weeks ago, I realized that yet another semester was coming to a close and I had a true-to-form “yikes” moment.
I’ll save the drama and just say that basically, I wasn’t exactly sure I was fully enjoying everything I’ve been studying, and I still wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do after Hopkins. I think I was so focused on knocking out degree requirements left and right for my majors and graduating in 3 1/2 years, that I hadn’t really taken a second to reflect on these last few years and think hard about the spookily close “future”.
I consulted a bunch of my friends and gave them the low-down and they were all extremely supportive and helpful. One of my housemates recommended that I just sit down, look back at the classes I’ve taken at Hopkins, and break them down. What were my favorite classes? What did I enjoy about them? What would be potential related job opportunities?
So I did just that. I took a look at each semester’s schedule, picked my stand-out favorites, and tried to synthesize some sort of overarching theme that could link them all and hopefully produce an aha moment about the rest of my time at Hopkins and after.
Fall 2014: Discrete Mathematics
Wow, what a throwback. I remember the first homework assignment being a bunch of different math puzzles and games, the goal being to get us used to approaching problems from a logical mindset. This was the basis of the entire class. Throughout the semester, I got my first look at algorithms, learned how to write mathematical proofs, and was introduced to a variety of interesting topics like cryptography and graph theory. Might sound like a weird choice, but definitely one of my favorites of this semester.
Spring 2015: Introduction to Computing
Introduction to Computing was literally my introduction to computing. With zero coding experience, I enrolled in the class to get some hands-on learning and programming knowledge. I found myself really enjoying the homework assignments and learning how to problem solve with code. There was something so, so satisfying about getting my code to work and figuring out the solution to the problem at hand.
Fall 2015: Introduction to Optimization
This class introduced me to the field of optimization and helped me solidify my applied math focus area! You can see similarities between this class and my other favorites: problem solving, coding, analytical thinking. These were the aspects I enjoyed the most about this class. The problem sets and coding were challenging, but I distinctly remember the beautiful feeling of running my simplex method function and it finally working perfectly. Super satisfying.
Spring 2016: Data Visualization for Individualized Health
I’ve already raved about how much I like this class, so I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this class really helped me shape my current path as to what I want to further study and pursue after Hopkins. The class was quantitative and code-heavy, but we also talked about visual theory and how to make numbers aesthetically pleasing and communicable. Ugh.
Fall 2016: Mathematical Modeling and Consulting
I decided to take this class because I was intrigued by the strange, mysterious world of “consulting” as more and more of my friends became newly employed in this field. In class, we learn different topics related to optimization and mathematical modeling, and apply them in consulting-focused group project case-studies. I’ve helped fictitious companies create efficient condominium construction schedules, proposed efficient monorail routes and attractions to improve tourism in a made-up country, and forecasted passenger arrivals and security line wait times at a theoretical airport. The class is heavily focused on presenting our results in a more professional setting, utilizing mathematical topics to solve real-world problems, and building stealthy code that will help solve these problems.
Looking through all of these classes I’ve narrowed down what I really enjoy to a couple of points:
I like quantitative, logical thinking. I think just naturally, I like the problem-solution structure of math. I feel accomplished when I finish writing working code, and I would much rather choose long problem sets over massive papers.
I like needing to be a bit creative. Whether it’s being creative in how I visualize data, in how I approach a consulting task, or how I tackle my MATLAB code, I need to have some innovation in my life.
I like seeing the big picture applications and real-world impact. My class on data visualization was awesome because we worked with clinicians and used real, historical, global health data. My modeling and consulting class is great because we apply what we learn in class to realistic, business case studies and present them as if we are presenting to our clients.
To summarize my final thoughts and the end of my internal crisis: I successfully realized what I enjoy studying, so I will focus on these types of courses throughout the rest of my time at Hopkins, and perhaps they will shed some more light on what exactly I want to do after I graduate. I’ll take some computer science classes, maybe a design class at MICA. Although I’m not entirely sure I want to focus on something in public health after Hopkins, I’ll finish through with my public health degree, taking classes at Bloomberg to learn from brilliant minds and address real-world public health problems.
So, action items:
Enroll in computer science courses next semester to gain more programming skills and see if I really like the field. If so, look into a minor in computer science.
Apply for internships in data science, operations research, and analytics/visualization.
Stay four full years to get the most out of the rest of my time at Hopkins, not rush through anything, and hopefully I’ll find something I enjoy when the time comes!!
film a short documentary about food deserts and swamps (… eventually! This is for my term project in one of my classes this semester.)
filled out a week-long food diary to discuss food waste
This last one was for one of my classes this semester, The Environment and Your Health. The intended takeaway from the assignment was for me to become more cognizant of my own personal food waste. And I did! But I also realized that I am just weirdly fascinated by learning what people eat. This makes sense, because I lovewritingaboutfood and almost all of my YouTube recommendations are cooking or those “what I eat in a day” videos. So, similar to this food diary assignment, I decided to take note of what I ate in the last 5 days. Let’s see if there’s anything interesting about my eating and cooking habits.
I know I’m just about out of groceries when I have to buy breakfast. I try to always eat breakfast at home to save money, plus it also encourages me to wake up earlier. But, on this day I think I was running late for work, and plus I had no more breakfast food, so I bought a breakfast sandwich from Eddie’s Market, which is a small grocery store just a block away from my house. They have this great deal where you get a free coffee with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich. I was sold.
I usually eat pretty light for breakfast, so I wasn’t super hungry for lunch before my class at 1:30. I grabbed a pre-made pasta salad and a yogurt from Levering, and ate it right before class started. Quick and dirty.
For dinner, 3/6 of the guys in my house had a treat-yo-self Friday and we made ourselves some steaks. Some roasted potatoes and steamed green beans on the side and we were food coma KO’d for the rest of the evening.
Saturday – 10.29.16:
Breakfast: everything bagel + hummus + coffee
Lunch: turkey/havarti/tomato/arugula panini
Dinner: butternut squash soup
Again, still no groceries, so I got a bagel with hummus and a coffee from Brody Cafe and was working on a group project on Saturday morning. After a bit of struggling, our MATLAB code finally worked (@JHU_Emily was a witness!) We tried to interpret our output but got stuck so we decided to call it a day.
Immediately after, I went to Trader Joe’s in Towson to stock up on groceries finally and made myself a panini when I got back home. I tried out my housemate’s George Foreman panini press for the first time and it was a complete sandwich-game-changer.
For dinner later, I heated up some leftover butternut squash soup I had from earlier in the week, and got into costume for Halloween festivities. My friends and I went as, you guessed it, Trader Joe’s workers. Low effort, maximum wow factor.
I slept in, so I made myself a nice, sizeable brunch with all of my new groceries. My group needed to continue working on our project, so I packed myself some snacks for the library and made a pit-stop at Carma’s Cafe for literally the best cold brew coffee in the Charles Village area.
Back at home, I made myself another George Foreman panini before hanging out my friend’s place for a small potluck gathering. I baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, she made some homemade sushi, and another friend brought some pita and hummus. We feasted.
Monday – 10.31.16:
Breakfast: granola bar + grapes
Lunch: pumpkin soup + bread
Dinner: sausage + potatoes + green beans
I realized that running late to things in the morning was becoming a pattern, so I decided to load up on granola bars and portable breakfasts at Trader Joe’s. This morning, I tried out one of their bars and it’s pretty darn good! They’re the Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar ones, if anyone really cares. I ate a side of grapes at work, while @JHU_Genevieve and I worked on designing some pages of this year’s Insider’s Guide!
I didn’t pack lunch and I needed to find food that I could eat while doing some last-minute review of material for a quiz I was taking that afternoon. I settled on some pumpkin soup and fresh baked bread from Levering and chose a seat at the bar in Levering Lounge, one of my new favorite study spots.
For dinner, I needed to whip up something quick in order to get to a meeting. In under 30 minutes, I had myself some delicious chicken sausage, a side of potatoes, and some green beans! The sausage is again, from Trader Joe’s, and I swear to you — it’s the best chicken sausage on this entire planet. It’s their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and it’s delicious sweet and savory and maple-y — ugh, they’re amazing.
Tuesday – 11/1/16:
Breakfast: coffee + free doughnut
Lunch: yogurt + granola
Dinner: soba noodle stir-fry
And today! This morning was rough and I needed to treat myself to a coffee from Brody. I saw that a student organization was handing out free doughnuts outside on Tyler Terrace, so I snagged one and settled on a seat in the library to knock out some work. A bit later, I got hungry again, so I ate some yogurt with granola I packed for myself that morning. I had actually packed it for breakfast, but the free doughnut changed the status quo.
During classes, I snacked on an apple while ironically, learning about pesticide use. By around 5, I was about ready to make dinner, and so I whipped up my go-to soba noodle stir-fry, pictured here:
made a purchase for 1/3 of my meals
visited on-campus dining options 5 times: twice at Brody Cafe, and three times at Levering
65% of my meals were vegetarian
drank coffee 4 out of the 5 days
enjoyed free food 3 times
In conclusion, it is indeed possible to cook for oneself the majority of the time, especially living off-campus with access to real, big-people kitchens. I find that I enjoy my meals so much more when I make them myself. Cooking is also a great stress-reliever for me, and I always try my hardest to carve out 1-1.5 hours for dinner on most nights. Plus, it’s always fun to cook and eat with people, like I did with my housemates and my friends at the potluck!
However, eating on-campus is inevitable just because it’s convenient and pretty good! As a junior, I don’t have a meal plan, so I frequent Brody Cafe, for coffee and snacks and Levering Food Court, for lots of quick lunch options. Other common on-campus dining options for me are Levering Cafe and Bamboo Cafe.
Eating more vegetarian meals was kind of an unofficial goal of mine; I’ve been trying to explore different types of proteins, both animal and non-animal, and plus eating less meat is, besides having fantastic health benefits, cheaper! Eating less meat also reduces my carbon footprint, so that’s always good, too!
Honestly, coffee is a very important part of my morning ritual nowadays. I think I should start making my own coffee though to save money, because it does add up… but speaking of saving money, it’s great when you’re a college student because there’s so much free food on and around our campus.
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Phone: (410) 516-8171