A couple of days ago, I started an ask-me-anything thread in the Facebook group for the class of 2021 (quick pause for the sudden realization I just had that this is the last class of freshmen I’ll see at Hopkins). I remember having way too many questions about Hopkins when I was in their shoes, and I thought that this might be helpful for them. Here’s some of the questions and my answers. (Please excuse my Internet voice here.)
“where is your favorite place to study on campus?”
i’m definitely a fan of changing up my workspace, but i frequent the hut (in gilman), the brody reading room, and M level. i’m living closer to the norther side of campus this year, so you could probably find me studying in mudd atrium!
“On a scale from 1-10 how much of a pain is it to walk from Wolman to class in the rain”
walking to class in the rain is never the most fun fair warning everyone: campus can be kinda crazy in the rain, regardless of where you’re living or walking from! we can get some weird torrential downpours sometimes and there’ll be tons of puddles and flooding on some of the pathways. i would highly recommend bringing a pair of rainboots, a rain jacket, and/or an umbrella.
that being said, it’s doable and you’ll totally get used to it! just be prepared!
“Could you tell us more about clubs at Johns Hopkins? Like what the process is to try to join one and maybe what clubs you recommend that we join?”
i don’t know the number off the top of my head but there are sooo many clubs on campus. in the fall, i definitely recommend checking out the activities fair. it’s hosted in the rec center and almost every club will be there so you can walk around, meet club members, learn about what they do, and sign up/apply/audition/whatever.
there’s the entire spectrum of clubs at hopkins: academic ones, club sports, music groups (band, a cappella, etc.) political interest groups, cultural groups, community service organizations, specific arts clubs (i thiiink there’s like a pottery club?) the list goes on. i recommend joining clubs you reaallllyy feel like you could gain something valuable out of! i know there might be the natural tendency to just like sign up for whatever and then try and join all these things (i did this!) but the worst thing is to spread yourself too thin with extracurricular responsibilities. i still recommend signing up for tons of things, as long as you take a sec to reevaluate what groups are most important to you at some point so you can really focus in on ones to really contribute to. hope that helps!
“how do you go about making your 2nd semester schedule? are the advisors more involved or is it kinda just what classes you’re interested in? thanks!!”
so for your second semester (and the rest of your semesters!) you’ll have an advising meeting before registration just so that you and your advisor are on the same page about everything. i’d recommend going to them if you have questions, as well as talking to older students in the major you might be thinking about declaring for any advice.
“Hello Quan, I have a few questions for you. What are three things you recommend doing by the end of your freshman fall? What are two things you wish you didn’t pack? What is one thing you wish you would have known about Hopkins before freshman year? Thanks so much for helping us out!”
do your freshman fall:
1. explore baltimore! hopkins is in the middle of such a cool, interesting city. check out the food scene, art/music, other events like hampdenfest or screenings at the charles theatre. get to know your new home!
2. host a friendsgiving! imho there’s nothing more fun than cooking/eating with your friends. pot-luck style in the dorm common kitchen is the only way to go
3. get to know your floor/house. freshman year dorm life is something you’ll never get back. leave your doors open and meet your neighbors! some might become your best friends!
wish I didn’t pack:
1. some of the posters/pictures I brought. def didn’t care for as much decor as i thought i would have.
2. like gym tees? you get so many free tee shirts you’ll never need another workout shirt again
wish I had known:
1. how many people i would have met so fast. the first few weeks here you’re gonna meet sooo many new faces. don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and definitely introduce your own friends to others you meet! freshman fall is the perfect time to do so!
“what is orientation like?”
i’m not sure how orientation has changed from mine a few years ago, but generally how it works is that you’ll be set up with a group of other freshmen and together, y’all will have a first year mentor, or FYM, who’s usually a sophomore (i think?) and helps guide you through the transition into college life! you’ll have FYM meetings, go to other types of events (like student group showcases, outdoor dinner barbecues, trips out into baltimore, etc.) and have free time to chill and hang out with other freshmen. it’s pretty casual and it’s college so obviously you’re not required to go to everything, but it’s a fantastic way to meet people! fun fact, i met some of my closest friends freshmen year at an orientation event that i was planning on skipping. so you never know!
“If you’ve done intersession do you mind sharing how your experience has been?”
of course! i stayed for intersession my freshman year to take a public health class about the local baltimore food system and food access/availability across the city. was super interesting and we did field trips and stuff to woodberry kitchen (an amaaaazzinng farm-to-table restaurant right west of campus, and lexington market, an open-air market downtown). sophomore year, i came back for the last two weeks of intersession just to chill with friends haha. i would recommend staying for intersession if you have nothing else planned! you can take a chill class and get some easy credits, do research or work, or whatever. there’s usually a good number of people who stay on campus and it’s actually a ton of fun. it’s like hopkins without classes and all that!
“Academically and socially, how hard was the transition between high school and college?”
the transition has its ups and downs really, but overall i really think i transitioned well to hopkins life and have found my happy lil niche here. my life now is sooooooo different from what it was before i came to hopkins, and i would have never thought i would be so comfortable with where i am at right now. so don’t worry about it and kinda just let it happen! everyone finds their academic groove and tight-knit group of friends at their own pace, but once you do you’ll start to really enjoy college.
Good luck to the class of 2021 as they start their college journey! See y’all in a few weeks.