20 Better Things

Bad days are inevitable. Here’s what I do when they happen:

  1. Stop doing work. I won’t be productive, and I won’t feel any happier when I’m doing it.
  2. Down a bowl of pho. Or ramen, depending on the day. Choose your comfort food. Then eat it.
  3. Watch an episode of The Office. Fire drill episode highly recommended.
  4. Listen to Blonde. Poolside convo ’bout this really bad day that’s almost over soon.
  5. Take a walk. Or a run. Depending on your energy level.
  6. Take a nap. They help.
  7. FaceTime a friend. 
  8. Get a mani/pedi. I’ve never done this, but four of my (male) friends did this. They said it was dope.
  9. Grab a scoop of Mint Mountain. Current favorite flavor from the Charmery. Speaking from personal experience, this is a cure-all.
  10. Clear my desktop. Highly satisfying.
  11. Edit photos. This might be a very Quan-specific favorite pastime.
  12. Play Catan. I haven’t played a game of Catan since the summer, and I could really go for one right now.
  13. Clean my living space. Clear space, clear mind? People say that, right?
  14. Plan a trip. #SB2K17 must live up to #SB2K16.
  15. Watch cooking videos. Or just binge-watch @emmymadeinjapan taste snacks from around the world.
  16. Find new music. There’s a lot of new albums I still need to listen to. Perfect time to go through them!
  17. Cook a meal for myself. Once I finish watching cooking videos, I usually feel the need to attempt something in the kitchen for myself.
  18. Watch some stand-up. I am not a big stand-up guy, but recently my friends have been showing me some fantastic HBO specials. I highly recommend Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K.
  19. Take a long shower. To date, two of my housemates have vouched for showering in the dark? Is that weird? I might have to try it.
  20. Leave if needed. Sometimes, you just need to leave campus. True story.

I think everyone reaches a point in the semester where everything just piles up: school, clubs, life in general. Fall Break seems to come at the perfect time — right when everyone just about needs it. Including me.

On Being 57% Done College

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.




I’ve been happy.

I’m satisfying my urge to create.

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to make time to really create something during the semester. Other than designing graphics for various student activities, and my pseudo-hobby of curating Spotify and Soundcloud playlists, I’ve unfairly pushed my creative side away recently. So first off, I’ve decided to take on a yearlong project: film 1 second of every day of the year, and at the end of 2016, piece together a 366-second documentary of everything that happened in the last 12 months for my own personal enjoyment.

I’ve started playing piano again. Listening to some contemporary works have inspired me to explore a part of piano repertoire I haven’t ever before in my 11 years of playing. Right now, I’ve been working on this piece by Ludovico Einaudi (arguably his most famous piece), and also just messing around with a radio-hit medley composed of “Sorry”, “Hands to Myself”, and “Hotline Bling”.

I’m excited for my classes this semester.

I’m taking 17 credits: Intro to Optimization IIIntroduction to ProbabilityData Visualization for Individualized HealthGlobal Health Principles and Practices, and Fiction Poetry Writing I.

“Opti II” is the second part of the optimization class I raved about last semester, and it’s taught by Dr. Fishkind again, which I’m really excited about. “Prob” is a required AMS class, and I hear it’s tough, but that the topics covered are really interesting. “Data Viz” is a class basically about what I want to do with my life – combining data/statistics with healthcare – and it’s a miracle I got in, considering I was 12th on the waitlist for what was originally a 12-person class. “Global Health” (I’m still working on a good abbreviation) is supposed to be one of the best public health offered at Hopkins, and “IFP” will help with the whole needing-a-creative-outlet thing.

Spring semester is one of my favorite times of the year.

Besides classes, springtime at Hopkins is just the best. First of all, the warmer weather will already make life better (but I’m not complaining about this blizzard giving us two snow days at the start of the semester). I’m going to Iceland over spring break in a group of 7 guys, which will be, to be quite frank, absolutely heinous. Then there’s homecoming weekend, and Spring Fair. Plus, a lot of grilling with my fraternity brothers, Beach lounging in the afternoons, and overall more happy-sighing.

Being productive has increased my sense of comfort.

My future housemates and I are in the process of signing a lease for our house next year. Mainly, it’s nice to know that I won’t be homeless next year. But better yet, I’m going to be living in a great house, with the greatest friends, with old-people responsibilities like paying bills and making sure the lawn is mowed. The last part probably won’t be fun, but right now it’s just exciting to feel like an adult.

And I’ve applied to different summer internships, crossing my fingers that someone will find me employable. I’ve also been in the midst of applications and interviews for a couple different part-time opportunities on campus to make some extra money and save up for that Iceland trip!

We just got 30 inches of snow, and it’s melting into that brown, slushy mess in the streets. I’m about to have my toughest semester workload wise since coming to Hopkins. I’ve been spending way too much money on food. I didn’t get to travel over break. I didn’t really do anything exciting at all over Intersession. But I’ve been enjoying the sense of normality that comes with being at Hopkins. I’ve been happy.