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.
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.
When I have a lot going on, I keep my tabs open, thinking that I’ll need to look at them in the near future, so there’s no point in closing them. But most of the time, I don’t really need them open. I should probably just close them all out and keep Chrome looking clean and not like this:
This is a personal problem that I have addressed and I am working on it. I acknowledge that. A student’s stress level is directly proportional to the number of tabs they have. Here is a graph for the visual learners out there:
There is indeed, no better feeling than closing out all of my tabs after I finish a big assignment or project. And today, after I turned in my first big project for one of my classes and am about to finish my first paper in another one of my classes, I am ready to close out those tabs and metaphorically start anew with a single, fresh, blank “New Tab”. But before I do this, I decided that it might be interesting to dissect what exactly it is that is clogging up my Chrome (and potentially my RAM? My computer has been kind of slow lately — I would not be surprised if this was the issue).
Being a junior means actually, tangibly worrying about what you want to do after graduation. I always thought it would be the coolest thing to work for Spotify doing data analytics or something along those lines. I think I want to work at a start-up or a young company — I’m imagining somewhere where you everyone sits on exercise balls in the office and you get yoga or rock climbing breaks. I’ve had this tab open to join their “student talent community” so that I can get updates on openings and events near me. I’ve kept this tab open for a really long time now because I’ve been procrastinating on updating my resume — and that’s a whole story in itself.
The Environment and Your Health reading schedule
Pretty self-explanatory, I’ve kept this tab open to keep myself on track for the readings we have quizzes on in lecture for The Environment and Your Health. The problem with all of my class syllabi and schedules is that they’re all in different formats and in different locations — I still am trying to figure out the most efficient way to centralize all of these so that I can finally close out this tab. Or I’ll just have it open all semester.
Half-marathon training schedule
I’m been training for my first ever half-marathon since July! I’m participating in the Baltimore Running Festival, where runners from all over (and outside) Baltimore race in events of different distances in a big, city-wide celebration. I was not a runner in high school; the longest race I’ve ever run was a charity 5K back during sophomore year of high school. I’m actually extremely impressed at the literal lengths I’ve gone to make sure I’m ready for these 13.1 miles, and surprised at how enjoyable some of my longer runs have been. Two Sundays ago I did an 8 miler from Charles Village all the way down to the Inner Harbor, around, and back, and it was absolutely fantastic. I’ve been sick this past week so I haven’t been on my running game, but since the half is on October 15th, I definitely have to catch up on my training. I have my last long run this Sunday, a 10 miler!
Men of Principle Scholarship planning documents
I’m in charge of a scholarship my fraternity awards every fall, so these are just some spreadsheets and polls and things to help me organize the logistics of applications, interviews, and planning the scholarship dinner!
Hopkins Creative Design product order
The student business I’m a part of (alongside JHU_Aneek!) is getting ready for a the sale of a new item, so I’ve been researching vendors and products, and finally decided on a product to order!
This blog post!
Mathematical Modeling and Consulting project assignment
I’m only taking one Applied Math class this semester, and it’s called Mathematical Modeling and Consulting. So far, I’m really enjoying this class. It’s taught by my advisor, Dr. Castello, who I also took Discrete Math with, another class I really liked. The class is different than any other AMS class I’ve taken, because there’s a strong emphasis on written and verbal communication skills, and I can really see the “applied” in applied mathematics. For this group project, we were assigned a case study in which we acted as consultants analyzing the status of a construction project. We turned in our project today, so I can now happily close out this tab!
Journal articles for Sociology of Health Illness paper
In one of my public health classes, we’re looking at health disparities among different socioeconomic classes and different racial and ethnic groups. I’m currently in the midst of writing a paper on disparities in exposure and treatment of HIV/AIDS between races, so I’ve got a lot of tabs open of different journal articles and sources I can cite in the paper.
Absentee voter affidavit
Register to vote! I need to get this affidavit notarized and sent over to the Department of Elections back in Delaware so I can receive an absentee ballot to vote in November. It’s my first ever general election vote so I’m pretty excited!
Last week, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from my 9-to-5 job to pick up some chicken thighs for dinner.
This was my pivotal moment.
I’m in Baltimore for the summer and living in a house off-campus definitely is the catalyzer for feeling old. It comes with routine and responsibilities. I make mental (and physical) notes to remember everything.
Take out trash, after 6pm on Mondays. Pick up Drano from store for third floor bathroom. Call Comcast about spotty Wi-Fi. Check to see if washing machine is leaking.
All this, plus work a full day of my research internship at the School of Public Health and you will find me passed out in bed before midnight on most weeknights. Yet, there’s something very invigorating about being a young aspiring professional experiencing bits and pieces of adulthood. I get excited about the clinical data I’m starting to look at, and the people I get to work with in the Department of Biostatistics. I find myself pleasantly surprised with how easy and cost-effective it was to make my own cold-brew coffee this morning.
(ex. 3: When you start liking things because of how easy and cost-effective they are.)
I feel hip and thrifty when I shop for used furniture in the Hopkins “Free & For Sale” Facebook group. I walk with a spring in my step through the showroom at IKEA, amazed at a) how well the company has developed its brand, b) how much money I spend there (in multiple trips), and c) how dope their consumer analytics team must be. And of course, I feel a smile forming across my face as I think about my paycheck at the end of this month.
And while these things may not seem very fun to most people, I still also have time for more colloquial fun. I just spent the past 5 days camping at Firefly Music Festival in the greatest state in America, jamming to Blink-182 and Porter Robinson (and low-key Mumford & Sons — I’ve been listening to their newest release, Johannesburg non-stop since Firefly ended). I’m making plans to see Finding Dory in theaters. I’ve hung out with friends on enough Charles Village back-decks in the past two weeks to last a lifetime. Basically I’m at this weird stage of life where simultaneously, I want to dance for 12 straight hours in 90 degree weather and also be able to cozy up in my bed by 10pm, and where I pay my rent and gas, electricity, water, and credit card bills, and then proceed to go see an animated film about talking sea-life.
I’m not exactly sure what the main takeaway is supposed to be from this blog. Possible theses:
Baltimore in the summer is a grand time.
Feeling like an adult is being tired 98% of the time. Feeling excited about weird adult responsibilities might just be a me thing.
In an attempt to salvage 3/4 of a semester’s worth of daily 1-second clips for a film project I lost track of, I created this “mini-documentary” featuring two of my favorite things: food and friends. As I was looking through the clips I had, I realized that I filmed a lot of meals, and meals that I shared with people. There were the moments more worthy of being captured: trying fermented shark in Iceland, meeting my friend’s family, eating a delicious, homemade dinner made by my fraternity brothers. And there were the smaller ones: grabbing a slice of pizza from Maxie’s, a Carma’s sirloin panino study break, indulging in Doritos in Gilman Atrium in the late of night.
But no matter how quick, or how expensive, or who I’m with, all of these moments represent a very important part of each day: enjoying a meal, with a friend or two. Because through the ups and downs of this semester, this year, my entire time at Hopkins, it’s always been that — enjoying a meal with a friend — that remains constant, and that I always look forward to.
When it’s this time of year, the campus is buzzing with talk of summer plans, semesters abroad, internships, and job placements. And all of the talk had me feeling way too introspective and I remembered that I’m through 4/7 semesters here at Hopkins, meaning that I’m roughly 57% done college. During Spring Fair, I asked one of my friends who’s a senior:
“Have you done everything you’ve wanted to do at Hopkins? What’s left?”
That got me thinking — I’ve covered a lot in my first 57%. I’ve learned about the world through numbers and data and functions and models. I’ve read countless papers about health policy and epidemiological surveillance data. I’ve written poems and short stories, forming narratives I never thought I had the creative capacity for. I’ve designed graphics upon graphics for way too many clubs than I can handle. I’ve found myself in one of the most close-knit group of friends I could ever ask for. I’ve gotten my hands dirty with some research, and an internship (or two, hopefully). I’ve learned about the real world — the history, the injustices, the changes we need. I’ve eaten my weight in UniMini steak, egg, and cheese hoagies, Brody Cafe veggie burgers, and Alkimia banana bread.
I feel things ending and changing.
I look at the courses I need to take to graduate — there’s not many more. Two more classes for AMS, four more Homewood classes for PHS. I remember that I won’t see some of my friends going abroad until junior spring — for some, not until senior year. I think about the clubs and organizations that I’m in — how soon enough, I’ll be the oldest, the most experienced. It’s scary to me to think that in about a year, none of my fraternity brothers will be ones that I knew before joining myself.
But there’s still more. In these next two years, I’ll hit more milestones. This summer, I’m moving into a house on St. Paul with five of my best friends. By senior year, I’ll be taking classes at Bloomberg to finish up my public health major. Hopefully, I’ll have spent one summer interning somewhere on the West Coast. I’ll have two more Spring Fairs, two more homecoming games, two more opportunities to welcome the incoming freshmen classes. I’ll have some sort of plan for life after college. And when I graduate I’m going to take the most savage picture jumping on the Gilman Seal.
Plenty of Hopkins students vouch for the use of a planner or organizer. I know I do. Between assignment deadlines, exam dates, and club meetings — it’s the only way I can keep track of everything I need to do. But another huge part of my calendar are events on campus. As a member of the Hopkins Organization for Programming (HOP), our university’s social programming board, I’m a huge proponent of student life and student activities. You hear about the big ones — Lighting of the Quads, SOHOP, Spring Fair — but what about the ones that happen day-to-day? There’s always stuff going on and around campus!
SEPTEMBER 12 – The Big Blue Jay Tailgate
Beta Theta Pi and the Student Government Association (SGA) brought out the cornhole sets, free t-shirts, and massive amounts of pulled pork to tailgate our football game against Susquehanna. Nothing better.
OCTOBER 13 – Dr. Mohammed Dajani
Co-hosted by the Hopkins American Partnership for Israel (HAPI), Hopkins J Street U, and the Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS), Dr. Mohammed Dajani, Weston Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy came to campus to speak. Dajani is “a Palestinian scholar, peace activist, and founder of the modern Islamic movement Wasatia”. This is just one of many events on campus put on to spark discussion amongst our student body on important issues around the world.
NOVEMBER 13 – The 8th Annual Hip Hop Showcase & Benefit
SLAM, a hip hop dance group on campus and some college and professional teams danced to benefit the Baltimore Dance Crews Project, a local Baltimore non-profit that offers free dance lessons to the children of Baltimore, encouraging the art of hip hop dance!
DECEMBER 2 – Festival of Lights
JiGL (Jews in Greek Life) and SASH (South Asian Students at Hopkins) co-hosted a fun celebration in downtown Baltimore for two winter festivals of light: Hanukkah and Diwali. The student groups rented out Ryleigh’s Oyster House for a night full of a whole lot of dancing (especially on my end), food, and loads of fun. Proof that we do go out on Wednesday nights.
FEBRUARY 9 – Mardi Gras
For Fat Tuesday, the HOP put on a celebration in the Glass Pav. We had Cajun food, the JHU Jazz Band playing some smooth tunes, and even some circus performances from the Johns Hopkins Entertainers Club (JHEC)!
MARCH 31 – Spring Garden Party
The Sophomore Class Council put on this awesome event at Gertrude’s, a restaurant inside of the BMA, which is literally right next to campus. All of the Class of 2018 was invited to taste free food from Gertrude’s — which is amazing — and have a good time in some great weather. Also, props to the graphic designer — this is a dope Facebook cover photo.
APRIL 18 – Eat Your Heart Out
Eat Your Heart Out is an all-you-can-eat dessert night that benefits the Alpha Phi Foundation, happening next week! Carma’s baked goods, Greek life pie-eating competitions, and philanthropy — what more can you ask for.
In an unexpected turn of events, I left the Mid-Atlantic region of the east coast. Traveling has never really been a big thing for me; I’ve been to a couple of conferences in high school around the country, and once, my family took a summer vacation to Cancun. When deciding on Hopkins, I liked how it was only a one and a half hour drive down I-95.
Studying abroad was never really in the cards for me. Not that it’s not possible, because it definitely is — I just couldn’t see myself leaving Hopkins for a semester. And it’s definitely not that I didn’t want to go abroad. In fact, I’ve always wanted to get a little taste of the world that’s not a Philly cheesesteak or Old Bay. So when a couple of my fraternity brothers and our friends had hopped on a killer deal (< $500) for round-trip tickets to Iceland this spring break, I just had to go. So I bought the tickets, back in January, and over the weeks we booked our Airbnb, and our rental cars, and researched things we wanted to do and see. And then we had midterms and I completely forgot that I was going to be thousands of miles away from Baltimore until I found myself, the night before my flight, stuffing random clothes into my backpack, careful not to exceed the 11-pound carry-on weight limit.
And then, I was in Iceland.
For the next six days, I just bowed down to nature. We found ourselves in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’d ever seen in my life. Waterfalls, geysers, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanic craters, mountains — Iceland had it all. We wandered the streets of the little city of Reykjavik, dragged our jetlagged bodies to experience the nightlife and admire the art form that is the local Icelandic hot dog. We tasted shark that’d been fermenting in the ground for a year, met friendly (and not so friendly) locals and other tourists, and bathed in geothermally heated spas.
But sitting here, trying to describe what it was like to be in this strange country for a week, it’s not the same. Even the pictures, couldn’t really capture the beauty — the feeling. No matter how well I describe the utter beauty of the cliffs and the coast at the seaside village of Vik, you won’t be able to be there. No matter how much I rave about the mustard and remoulade smothered hot dogs, you won’t be able to taste them. I think that’s what they mean, when people talk about going abroad. You can’t get the experience anywhere else.
P.S. check out this awesome video my friend Wooyang made of our trip!
It’s hard to believe that midterms have already begun and we’re about a week away from spring break. As I procrastinate on studying for my exams this Friday and next Monday, enjoy some GIF-worthy moments of these past few weeks:
On the night of the blizzard a few weeks ago, my friend Jill and I trek back to our dorms after hanging out at a friend’s apartment. Don’t fall Jill!
Piper Kerman, prison reform activist, writer of Orange is the New Black, which the Netflix series is based off of, came to speak at Hopkins as a part of the Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS) this spring! I wasn’t able to get a video — but FAS also Skyped in Edward Snowden for a virtual discussion a week later, and that was pretty incredible.
Enjoying a sirloin panino at Carma’s Cafe, a popular eatery just a block away from campus, as a study break. A much needed change of pace from dining hall food.
A picturesque Gilman Hall on a snow day this semester. There’s nothing much better.
My buddies Frank and Andrew join me for an excursion to Hampden for fresh fades at Old Bank Barbers and dinner at Grano Pasta Bar. The walk to Hampden from campus takes only about 20 minutes, especially when you cut around back of Mason Hall on the south end of Homewood.
A great view of Baltimore from the rooftop of the Telephone Building, an apartment building near campus. The weather’s been super nice recently, and when the wind calms down, you get nights like these.
Ah, the first game of KanJam on the Beach this spring. Spring at Hopkins is the best because the weather gets so much nicer, the campus looks green again, and of course -Spring Fair and Homecoming. I enjoy three things above all else: 1) nice weather, 2) good food, 3) live music. And we got all three.
And of course, my favorite round, marble table in Gilman Atrium, gettin’ some good study time in. Sometimes, I think that if I write my poetry assignment here, at the center for humanities, it’ll turn out better.
I’ve been trying to find a way to reconcile my love for three things: data, health, and art — and for the longest time I’ve had trouble splitting my time, efforts, and energy between the three. Am I a data scientist? A public health enthusiast? A lover of music and graphic designer?
Where should I spend the most of my time? Learning Python or comparing contraceptive prevalence among different regions in India? Working on my design projects or finishing my Introduction to Probability problem set? Contemplating figurative language for Fiction/Poetry Writing I or deciphering the demographics of a country from a population pyramid?
But I finally feel like I’m getting it. Like I finally found out the secret of my universe without even knowing it. And I’ve decided that I don’t have to choose between the three, and that sometimes I can be all three at the same time.
This realization probably spurred from two things: my public health class on data visualization, and my recent involvement with a clinical scheduling research team.
In Data Visualization for Individualized Health, we’re coding both functional and visually pleasing (the two best kind of descriptions in the world) web applications for use in the field of precision medicine. For this week, my class was split into groups and tasked with building a Shiny app that reads in data on a health indicator of our choice, and displays and “individualizes” that information. I registered for the course because I knew it could combine my love for data and public health — I love the idea of looking at public health through a data-driven or statistical perspective. However, I wasn’t aware of truly, the art behind these data visualizations. Our readings talk a lot about principles of art and graphic design, laying out ways to make displays clear, informative, and aesthetically pleasing. I’m practically salivating.
Just yesterday, I had my first meeting with a research team I just received the opportunity to join. Starting within the applied mathematics & statistics department as a branching off of the baseball scheduling group, the team uses optimization techniques to schedule jobs to clinicians in ways that are most beneficial and efficient for the clinic. Currently, my role in the team is to learn Django (whose tagline is “The web framework for perfectionists with deadlines” which describes me terrifyingly well) to develop a friendly graphical user interface for our clinic scheduling tool. Here it is again: an intersection of data, health, and design. I think I could cry.
In other news, I’m really digging this semester. My classes are really stretching my brain out: I’m doing a lot more coding (with new languages), a lot more writing (including my first ever collection of poems and short fiction as well as my first college research paper), and a lot more problem set solving than I have ever before, but indeed, the grind is good.
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