Monthly Archives: November 2015

Attitude of Gratitude

     With 2015 rapidly winding down, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we have been thankful for this year. Upon stumbling on an inspiring TED Talk video, it has dawned on me that happiness is not what makes us feel grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBsl3j0YRQ

     The thing about gratitude is that true gratitude does not arise from simply having something but having the opportunity to do something with what we have. If we change our paradigm to be grateful of the opportunities given to us, we can live gratefully, for every missed opportunities leads us to another, different opportunity.

paris-terror-attacks-aftermath     In the wake of the attacks in Paris during the past weeks, it is, indeed, a challenge to feel grateful for the disturbingly uncomfortable predicaments that transpire in our daily lives. Be it violence, bereavement, unfaithfulness, oppression, etc. Surely, it’s not easy to find joy in all aspects of life. However, once we rise to the occasion and respond appropriately to the opportunity given to us, feeling gratitude is possible. Being given the opportunity to learn how to be patient after an argument with a friend. Being given the opportunity to reflect on humanity and figuring out ways to ameliorate social ills after an event like terrorist attack on Paris and better the status quo. Being given the opportunity to stand up for your conviction amidst a conflicting situation. In my case (for this year’s thanksgiving), being given the opportunity to reunite with my whole family on the day of my grandmother’s funeral. Certainly, when we are confronted with a difficult situation, it can tear us into pieces. But, finding the gift in such sufferings is what gives taste and color to our visceral human experiences.

For all the people I thank

For all the people I thank

     Experiencing the loss of a loved one, especially during college, is tough. Don’t get me wrong, grief devours boxes of tissues spent on tears, dried eyes, and an over-actively running nose. But, one thing that I’ve come to understand is that Thanksgiving is a poignant but heartening time to mourn and honor those you have lost. Its the perfect time to be thankful for being given the opportunity to be living the life as someone’s granddaughter, daughter, sister, and friend. I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to find those I can truly rely on at the hardest of times, here, in college. I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to bond with my friends on a deeper level.I’m thankful for being given the opportunity to experience and grow from the sufferings during such a fragile time at a safe haven with my friends at Hopkins.

So, I learned to stop and look. And give thanks.

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Going the Extra Mile

What the formal admissions sites don’t disclose, this blog will do. This blog is dedicated to all you prospective students who want the inside scoop of the lives of students who go the extra mile and devote their time to extracurricular commitments:

Calvin

Charm City Science League (CCSL)

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Club’s Objective:“We strive to enhance the stem education of inner city Baltimore students of the secondary school level (mostly 7th to 8th graders). We provide them opportunities in the science field that occurs outside of the class room. We hope to stimulate their scientific interest and expand upon their potentials.”

What do you do as a member?: “All members of the CCSL sign up for a school and a day that they want to mentor. I interact with the kids at my specific school at my specific day and help them with their projects that are in preparation for regional science olympiad competitions.”

Commitment Level: “Each member can choose how much time he/she wants to commit to the club. If you have a lot of time, you can go on multiple days and multiple schools. I, specifically, go every Wednesdays with three other people on a zip car (20 minute drive there, 20 minutes coming back). Each meeting is about two hours long.”

Why would you recommend this club to a prospective student: “I would recommend this club to a prospective student because it’s definitely a fulfilling experience. Giving younger people the same science opportunities that you had in your high school years and helping them share their passion for science is an unbelievably rewarding feeling.”

Favourite Moment: “One of my kids claimed that a hollow tube was heavier than a solid tube. I had to explain to him for hours that a solid tube was heavier than a hollow tube. It was entertaining to have a riveting, heated debate about science.”

Aamna

Lotus Life Foundation

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Club’s Objective: “The Lotus Life Foundation is a student-found organization that empowers disabled women in India through physical therapy and self-sustainable training. We strive to reduce the stigma that is associated with disability in India. In fact, we teach the parents the methods of sustainability in hopes that they can help their children without intervention.”

What do you do as a member? “I work on operations that develop certain protocols and am involved in one of the partner foundations. We are specifically trying to create an AMR system which is an electrical medical system that can aid the disadvantaged children.”

Commitment: “We devote one meeting per week to consolidate everything that all the members individually accomplished. But in general, the workload is up to each member. We all have our own responsibilities.”

Why would you recommend this club to a prospective freshmen? “The work that the Lotus Life Foundation conducts is impactful on a global scale. This is because we yearn to change a rooted problem in India and in turn, other countries that face the similar dilemma . Seeing the changes unfolding before our eyes and improving the quality of life of these children is certainly empowering.”

Favourite Moment: “What is exciting about this club is that there are always new projects that any member can be involved with. A lot of times, many clubs often put on an active mask while actually being dormant. This club, however, is always working, always active, always involved in something. You have to be on your best game, and it’s what motivates me. This is the best part of the club.”

Jee-soo

Humming Jays

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Club’s Objective: “Our club’s main goal is to express the beautiful amalgam of Korean music culture and American music culture.”

Why would you recommend it to a prospective student?: “First of all, you get a close-knit family to spend time with and to cherish memories in a foreign environment. Not only does being a part of Humming Jay introduce you to a quick, immediate family, but it also serves as a stress reliever from the rigours of academic life. To me, singing with the Humming Jays is a healthy break amidst my studies, especially because I have a lot of intense classes.”

Commitment: “We practice three times a week, 2 hours each practice. When concert time rolls around, we try our best to meet as much as possible, most usually singing two hours everyday. But, because we all are devoted to and genuinely love singing, it’s no biggie.”

Favourite Memory: “My favourite recollection so far is the time we went to Inner Harbour and stayed overnight at a hotel. This was the ultimate day that all of the Humming Jay members bonded and truly got to know each other.”

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Balance in life is crucial. Once the seesaw of academics and social life become lopsided, we are risking our mental, physical, and spiritual stability. Amidst our grueling study grind, it’s best not to neglect spending time in activities that’ll serve as a release valve. Consider taking a breath of fresh air by going the extra mile in pursuits other than academics. 

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The Art of Exploration

The crux of the beauty in Baltimore lies in the fact that its often masked. It’s hidden until you seek out for it. Mired down by the quotidian grind of study-eat-sleep, we’re all victims and perpetrators of our own blindness to the enchanting gems the city has to offer.

To step out of my habitual radius, I took the time to venture out with a good friend of mine this weekend. Our destination for the night was Inner Harbour. Inner Harbour is a historic sea port that was cited as “the model for post-industrial waterfront redevelopment around the world.” It’s a host to a myriad of activities like cruising on the Bay, unearthing dinosaurs at the Maryland Science Center, and getting close to nature at the National Aquarium.

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Ranging from elegant gourmet cuisines to ethnic foods to fresh seafood from Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, the restaurants at Inner Harbour are, hands down, an experience in and of itself. My friend and I decided to dine in at Thai Arroy, an authentic Thai restaurant in Federal Hill. In its relaxed, informal setting, Thai Arroy offers its customers the comfortable vibe with contemporary music yet culturally rich food.

After plumping our stomachs with a heavy meal, we took a stroll around the waterside at Inner Harbour to digest the food and to walk off the food comma. What we saw before us was bewitching. Because we went at night, the stark contrast between the peaceful flow of the dark, tranquil water and the vibrant, luminous life of the city was at first captivating and beautiful.

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Only a walking distance away, our next venue was Vaccaro’s in Little Italy. Recommended by many, Vaccaro’s is an Italian pastry shop that serves delectable cannolis, biscotti, cake, and all the possible dessert that are near and dear to everyone’s heart. You know you’re in for a treat when you open the door and its packed with a queue of people waiting. Truly the icing of the cake, this dessert place spoiled my tastebuds with the scrumptious cannoli that we ordered. Certainly, the interior of the shop was aesthetically pleasing as well. Dazzling with bright coloured walls and eccentric fluorescent chandeliers, it was easily the best refuge from the cold weather in October.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60811-d439096-i35310997-Vaccaro_s_Italian_Pastry_Shop-Baltimore_Maryland.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60811-d439096-i35310997-Vaccaro_s_Italian_Pastry_Shop-Baltimore_Maryland.html

Concluding the night at Vaccaro’s with my friend by my side, my day was complete. At the end of the day, it’s not the things you do but the people who you share those moment with that shape the experience the most. Being able to soak in the beauty of the Baltimore at night with someone you sincerely care about..it’s certainly an experience you don’t want to pass up on. And that, is the beauty of exploration – of the city and of the people.