Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sharing Space



IMG_0458My roommates and I were fortunate enough to get the more spacious option of housing in our sophomore year. We got a suite that provided each of us with single. Within the little corners we would call our own, each of our personality was clearly splattered all over the walls and was revealing in the way our furniture was arranged. For instance, Indira’s room would emanate an inviting comfortableness with a mix of nonchalance by the way her things would be sparsely laid out throughout the room and the furniture that made the entrance of her room spacious and open; on the other hand, Sarah’s room would be just like a picture out of an interior design magazine page. All of her furniture were always kept pristine, wrinkle-less, and pictures were so perfectly and so symmetrically plastered on the wall.

20668733_10207909493095216_202358593_nOur living room was space filled with small trinkets from each of us – ranging from Yasmin’s plush blankets to my pillows to Indira’s room decorations. The sofa was the where we would reconvene after a long day and hash out our concerns. There, we would seek advices from each other, peer review each other’s essays, discuss pre-med plans, take naps on each other’s laps, and watch House of Cards while eating our late night snacks. Looking back, this holy space that served as the common thread amongst the four of us was an important part of a sense of belonging in the foreign environment we were all just beginning to get used to.

Some things we did successfully in order to maintain our healthy relationship despite sharing such an intimate space were communicating our values and setting guidelines that we could stick to within the borders of our Charles Commons suite. We had a whiteboard hung on the wall of our living where we marked where each of us were at and where each of us were going, just in case we had to contact each other during the day. In addition, we had rotating shifts for throwing out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, and doing the dishes. Most importantly, we respected each other’s privacy at night times or when guests were over.

Despite coming from different walks of life and being together for only 12 months, we achieved a place of safety where we would come back to to connect with each other, to understand one another, and to belong together.


In Boss Town

19478278_10207619234718938_111365675_n            Under the scorching sun, the streets of Boston sizzle in the bustling frenzy of cars and people rushing to work, while the summer days stretch into long, staggering hours. Famous for being the hub of colleges and the node of entrepreneurship and innovation, Boston – around this time of the year – seems to welcome in a wave of ambition, energy, and zeal.

19478277_10207619237559009_1639788416_nThis summer, I have the wonderful opportunity to work at the Gaab Lab in the Boston Children’s Hospital as a student intern. I had applied to this lab because of its work in utilizing the advances of neuroscience to ameliorate education. As my time spent in the lab grows, it becomes more evident that this lab has a hopeful, interdisciplinary approach to research. The researchers here consciously make the effort to examine their scientific results through a socio-economic, judicial, and legislative lens, examing how our environment influences us and how we we influence our environment. In fact, the other day, the team participated in lobbying a bill on the early screening of dyslexia – a bill that the Gaab lab could scientifically support with the neurobiological evidence that it found – at the Massachusetts State House. I was able to meet The House of Whip and the senators that represented Massachusetts during the process of lobbying. It was an eye-opening learning lesson, to say the least.

Perhaps, what I love most about the lab is its involvement in studying the role of music on the brain. The researchers have done multiple studies showing the structural differences of a musician’s brain compared to that of a non-musician and its implications in the development of children. I was lucky enough to accompany one of the lab’s researchers to attend a conference that hosted world renown researchers in the field of neuroscience and music. Hearing the strides that scientific research was making through the vehicle of music was simply amusing.


All in all, this lab’s dedication to the issues that I deeply cared about (music, children, education, brain) was what gravitated me to their work and I couldn’t be more excited to have the chance to spend my summer among stellar researchers who clearly show a purpose (beyond the self) in the work that they do. Coming from Hopkins – the first research university- , I was emboldened by the notion that my university places a strong importance in expanding the boundaries of knowledge through research and encourages students to discover and excavate new strands of thought by participating in such endeavors.


I am excited for what the summer has in store for me in Boston and to share the experience with this virtual community of the Hopkins Interactive. Although only three weeks into the internship, I have been gladly humbled by the experience of being surrounded with people of great ambition and I hope that through my time here in Boston, I’ll be able to bring back to Hopkins a tangible contribution that gained from my internship.


Six and the City

Drained by the hustle and bustle of the internship applications cycle, I was tickled pink about how perfect of a timing spring break had arrived. By then, I was mentally worn down from rewriting cover letters over and over and blasting my resume on every job posting I could latch on to for days on days. I was over the moon to unplug and recharge, no matter where that was going to be – frankly, all I needed and wanted was a bed, Netflix, and food to keep me happy as a clam.

So once spring break heralded its arrival, I buckled up on the bed, with two fuzzy blankets wrapped around me like a burrito and my macbook perched on a pillow with Netflix playing on the screen indefinitely.

Soon after, the overwhelming levity in my days satiated my need for a break and my boyfriend and I decided to pack our bags and head to New York.

Though only two nights, the trip to New York was beyond fruitful. We stayed within the vicinity of a patch of Midtown New York, an area packed with an intense aliveness like no other. Though I had been to the Big Apple before, this time around, I was immediately struck by the internal rhythm of the city. The city buzzed with an eccentric mixture of lively ambition, nervous anxiety, unbridled hope, and comfortable anonymity.  The palpable vibrations – a stark contrast from that of Baltimore – allowed us to freshly reside in a frenzy that was, ironically, calming. 

During our stay, we invested our full trust on our handy dandy Google Maps and Yelp to guide us through the labyrinth of New York. Indeed, with their help, we hit the most highly rated restaurants and shops in vogue in the shortest amount of time. To top it all off, we spontaneously decided to buy tickets to a Broadway show, to which we now are finding it very difficult to stop the constant replay of the electrifying music of the show from our heads.

The old adage ringing true more so now than ever – “A picture is worth a thousand words”, it is with spirit that I invite you to see the six places and dishes that have stolen my heart in this eccentric slice of NYC.


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It was revitalizing how present I was at every moment. During my stay in New York, for a short while, I was able to rid society’s obsession of productivity and absorb the essence of time, the surrounding, and the people I was with, regardless how many things I was able to cross off my to-do list. It was singularly musical to be at a state of mind where I was aware of the syncing of my internal rhythm with that of the person I was traveling with, amidst a grander underlying rhythm of the city. The coexistent of multiple flows of time running parallel and divergently within and amongst the people and the city was at once cathartic and unifying.

Living in Baltimore, I am privy to the access of such metropolitan cities like New York in just a two and a half hour train ride. With these place at my fingertips, I am eager to visit them more often whenever I get the chance, for travel serves as an antidote for students stuck in the rigmarole of the college grind.



Ink and Paper

      Growing up in a family of artists, I was considered the anomaly of the bunch. My father, an architect; my mother, an interior designer; my aunt, a fashion designer; my grandfather, a movie director; my brother, architecture graduate. And then, there was me, a lowly girl wanting to study brains. Whether my choice to pursue anything but art was a byproduct of wishing to be “different” from the rest or the consequence of my disillusionment of the artist life, my drive towards a non-artsy pursuit was something I took pride in. Though my coursework and extracurriculars in brain sciences were intriguing and continually inspiring(to say the least), given the background I grew up in, the inclination to crave for art was acutely present. At multiple points, I felt that there was a lack of creative outlet amidst the stultifying toil of college life and a sense of deprivation of the artistic spirit that used to inundate my daily life. 

      So, to take matters into my own hand, since the beginning of my sophomore year, I set out to bring art back into my life. I sang with the Peabody choir, applied for research examining color perception, and, perhaps most rewarding of all, enrolled in a visual arts class. As it being my first ever art class at a college setting, Introduction to Printmaking seemed daunting and unfeasible – an airy-fairy pursuit. Contrary to belief, it has proven to be one of the most inclusive and supportive environments I have ever been in. Cathartic yet stimulating, the class is full of people of diverse majors (ranging from Writing Sems to Computer Science) and of diverse ages who encourage each other, regardless of previous artistic experience, and help one another when things get out of control. On top of the support system within the student body, the physical nature of the studio – a sun-lit room where canvases lay astray in the room with paint-stained desks & chairs scattered all over- naturally elicits and calls forth a sense of relaxed creativity within all of us. In addition, because we are now people of a digital and pixelated age, the hands-on, paper & ink art class has become a necessary respite from the numbing illumination of a computer screen.




      This class reminds me of a saying that has always stuck with me: “Bernstein’s greatest point of enthusiasm was his lifelong devotion to enamoring young people with [art]. He understood that love and learning are inextricably linked, that learning is a kind of love and love a kind of learning.” 

      At the onset of my sophomore year, my zest for art has been jolted through the resources that Hopkins offered and I can say, with ease, that I am enamored by it. Through the vessel of art, I hope I can love to learn, and learn to love. 

Intersession Course: In depth

     At once liberating and challenging, this intersession period has proven to be, single-handedly, one of the most rewarding time spent at the university. By pure coincidence, the class that I had originally signed up for had cancelled two days before the session began and I was left but to hurriedly choose a class among the few courses that were still available. I stumbled upon a course titled Expanding Time, Space, and Meaning in Visual Art and Music and frivolously registered for it, hoping that I would still be able to get in the class in spite of the late registration. Thankfully, the class had enough room for me and I have been loving it ever since.
     The class description goes like:
“This course tracks evolving concepts and perceptions of time and space throughout the 20th century and the implications of such concepts on notions of meaning and beauty in both visual and musical contexts. Specifically, this course will consider the performances and recordings of pianist Ivo Pogorelich and the abstract expressionist paintings of Gerhard Richter as contemporary traces of a more sweeping historical gesture embodied in the work Paul Cezanne, beginning near the turn of the 20th century.”


     The course, to me, goes beyond strictly the visual arts and musical realms and invites a dialogue with the philosophy of our holistic perception of the world and our interaction with different dimensions of our senses – time, space, sound, sensation, etc. Through the vehicle we deem art, we are able to introspect about the ways we live life and absorb the reality unfolding before us with a heightened sense of sensory acuity. What was strikingly relevant to me was that the class bridged the gap between the cognitive psychology of the human body – the physiological sciences behind our actions – and the more abstract, intangible ideologies art and beauty. In class, our discussions revolved around how certain artists challenged the trajectory of the industry by introducing new ways of perceiving, breaking fixed molds of thinking, and ultimately (and most importantly) redefining – and expanding – the phenomenology of beauty.


To have a taste of the material that we attempt to digest in class, we can take a look at the artwork of Cezanne. His artwork is truly pivotal in the painting industry because of the innovative way he presents reality. Working with backdrop of impressionism, Cezanne introduced a novel way of representing what existed before his eyes by manifesting the natural experience of the optics into brushstrokes.

     Our optics are facilitated by fast muscles that move incredibly rapidly and take snapshots of the scene, piece by piece. These patches of information that our eyes pick up are merely data about the reflection of light. Once our eyes collect these raw fragments of data about our reality, they send the information to our cortical brain areas, which processes the information and nicely provides us with a complete, unified scene of our world. What we “see” – the scene that occurs in front of us – is not what the eye sees but what the mind actually creates. Here’s where Cezanne comes in. Cezanne aimed to capture the process that occurs before all the processing happens, before all the mechanisms and filters in our brain (that are culturally and socially imbued) create what we “see.”
     Thus, in Cezanne’s work, one can easily notice that his painting seem like multiple patches of areas synthesized together in ways that seems peculiar and not right. This visceral discomfort that we experience when we look at Cezanne’s artwork allows us to realize that what we see is actually not the objectively true reality. Our cultural filters that are ingrained in our mechanisms of processing the world influence how we see the world – even how we perceive the length of a line. Cezanne’s attempt in constructing art that is closer to how the nature of the body works introduces a refreshing way to encode our reality. His art is of a unified amalgamation of multiple frames of snapshots taken from many different angles at different times. At once, we are able to experience a beauty that emanates from the coalescence of different perspectives. Thus, embodied in Cezanne’s paintings is this sense of simultaneity of multiplicity. The vessel of art, as exemplified through Cezanne’s work, indeed, becomes not simply of a form of sensational entertainment but a way of thinking about the world.
     By making sense of our reality with the help of the arts and sciences, the class has challenged me to perceive the world with slight skepticism and a renewed sense of finding what is the truth. In addition to the intellectual stimulation that this intersession has prodded me with, this break has also tested me in my culinary skills. My boyfriend and I have been able to explore our cooking abilities because of the ample time we have to cook elaborate meals that aren’t simply a readymade or instant. To end the blog off on a cheerful note, here are some of the platters that we have made over the break and have gorged on in the Baltimore’s food scene!
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Upon stumbling on a website that my friend concocted in his own spare time, I was inspired to do something of the like. Not necessarily programming a website from scratch per se, but creating a mental version of the similar content of the website. What he created was a daily log of gratitude for each day. He claimed that he “[plans] to continue this until the last day of [his] life because today could very well be.” So today begins my first.


Especially in an area where we are forced to climb the ladders of the academic hierarchy through blood and sweat, its all too easy to become blind to what we are actually provided with and surround ourselves with. We simply “don’t have time” to attend to certain aspects of our lives, that in actuality are constituent of the elements of the beings we are and have become. Granted, gratitude must not be mistaken with blissful ignorance of actual problems. Within our vicinity, there are, indeed, a lot of problems that can and should be addressed. However, we first need to acknowledge what has brought us thus far and embrace the shortcomings for their merit.


With that being said, I am thankful for the people who have walked into my life ever since Hopkins happened (to mention a few: my mentor back in Seoul, my researcher here at Hopkins, my boyfriend, my roommates, and the random strangers I meet on the street). My mentor, for always giving me the courage to be vulnerable; my researcher, for challenging and enlightening me with ideas that my country has been battling for centuries; my boyfriend, for inadvertently reminding me the importance of art and instilling within me, unbeknownst to him, the passion to pursue art; my roommates, for taking up the responsibility to stitch back the tears and wears of me; and the strangers I meet in passing, for making Baltimore not a distant, “out of the bubble” society, but a raw, real, and intimate community in which now I am a part of.

A Day in a Life


Nabbing a seat at Carma’s cafe in the morning since class is canceled!

9:30am: On a typical Monday, I attempt to wake up 30 minutes before my class starts..only to hit the snooze button 5 times before I’m physically out of bed.

9:45am: I stare at the pile of clothes on the beanbag chair in a groggy haze and decide to grab the first clothes that I see on top of the heap to slip into. This beginning-of-November weather has been very fickle lately so my wardrobe has been all over the place with its seasons.

10:00am: My first Monday class is Introduction to Developmental Psychology, taught by Lisa Feignson. This class is well known to be a very all-encompassing class that uncovers the age-old debate of nature and nurture on the topic of our psycho-social development from day 1 in this world. Learning about copious amounts of previous experimental studies on child development, the class tracks how our constantly changing environment turns on/off our given genetic blueprint and how the two interact in morphing us into the beings we are today. Although the coursework is not too loaded, the course material is


The only order I get from Brody Cafe: Vanilla Latte

robustly built around her lectures so it’s crucial to attend class because a) the bulk of the midterms are contingent upon her lecture info and b) her lectures are not a resource available online.


10:50am: End of class (a.k.a. time for food). I usually head to Levering to grab a quick meal because it’s the closest to my class but these days, I have been gravitating towards deli sandwiches at CharMar more frequently to satisfy my voracious appetite.

11:40am: After a full meal, I mosey on over to the Brody Café to whet my whistle with a vanilla latte and use this layover time in between classes to complete small busy tasks, like replying back to emails and making appointments. Fun fact about Brody Café: if you’re lucky and talk to the right baristas, they will give you a free drink on your birthday!


Oh Gilman 🙂

1:15pm: For my next class, I tend to go a little bit earlier just because I love the walk to Gilman. This time of the day is when the sun shining on the quad in front of the Gilman and it’s a placid walk to one of my favorite buildings on campus.

1:30pm: My next seminar class is called Illusion of Perception, in which we learn about the daunting yet fascinating notion that what we see and feel may not actually be the truth. This class explores the countless failures of the brain to truly represent the reality that is presented before us – to some which may seem as a curse but to others a blessing.

2:45pm: After class, I catch myself popping in my earphones and putting my Apple Music on random to hear a new song on my way to my next class.


What’s currently on my playlist right now



3:00pm: My last class of the day is Introduction to Computing. In this class, we learn a variety of new programing languages like UNIX, Python, MATLAB, R, etc. As it is my first programming class, the fast paced class has thrown me off my guard multiple times but I find this class very useful and helpful in adding more flavor to my skill sets.

Once class ends, I head back to my dorm to have a post-hoc hang out sesh with my roommates and watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother. After two consecutive class, I run out of gas and need to decompress, which is what my lovable roomies (Sarah, Indira, and Yasmin) help me do.



The squad

As my stomach starts orchestrating its own symphony of hunger, I usually meet up with my boyfriend to grab dinner. We wrestle with the dilemma of choosing our platter for quite a while but our choices often range from Potbelly, UberEats, Nolan’s, to home-cooked Asian food.


7:00pm: Upon our return from our dining, we head to the library to study. We love the atrium and the reading room because of its openness and the comfortable chatter noise in the backdrop of the area. As several articles like this one ( cited, having high ceilings is optimal to a workplace and the atrium & reading room satisfy that preference.


Pork Back Bone soup made by Chef Yao

8:30pm: This is the time when I try to be the most flexible in my schedule because most of my extracurricular set meetings around this time.

10:00pm: Starting right about 10 pm, my circadian rhythm begins its usual signaling of its zoning in and focusing. Around 10pm ~ 1am is my prime time when I work most productively and most efficiently. Though, every day I try my best to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.


Studying at home sweet home


2:00am: By the end of my study time, I head to bed by 2:00am and usually fall asleep after a good thirty minutes. Sleep and I have had an oil and water relationship: we never really reconciled.
It creeps up on me during the daytime in class while it never allows me to peacefully rest at night. Hopefully, this will change after the midterms week subsides.

Hymns of Hopkins


When a slew of midterms rush in and heaps of responsibilities from extracurriculars seem endless, the only way that I find a sense of refuge is through the vessel of music. There’s something so visceral about it that makes an experience not only void of anchoring thoughts but also so full in its dimensions of feeling. Something about it brings you to the forefront of the moment, instilling within you the power of feeling the fluidity of the past, present, and future. To me, music is the most abstract yet pure mechanism to digest time. 

What fascinates me the most about music is that it is a felt language that goes beyond what is just heard through the ear – it involves the subjective creation (and recreation) of visualization in our minds both for the listener and the artist. Our minds can, in fact, “see ” music. Though music is essentially just a compression of the pressures of molecules traveling through the medium of air, music has the capacity to take hold of the hidden crevices of the heart by communicating what is the ineffable. 

This semester, I’ve tried something new and joined the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus. We meet bi-weekly at the Peabody Institute to prepare our concert for the winter and this semester’s focus is on R.Vaughan Williams piece of Dona Nobis Pacem. Along with the technical choral skills that we rehearse, each practice teaches us how to listen to others to find balance as a choir and challenges us to grow a deeper sense of understanding for the purpose of each component of the music, imagining what Vaughan Williams had in mind while composing the song. I walk out of most practices with a newfound sense of inspiration and the urge to improve.

Thus, in hopes to share with you my deep-running love for music and its significance, here is a list of tunes handpicked by Hopkins students that you can vibe to at your leisure.  

Intro / Stronger Than MeAmy Winehouse


For those want a little bit of soul and funk by Amy Winehouse




What You Don’t Do – Lianne La Havas


For those who want a contemporary groove with many musical elements and a voice-like-honey


Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Joseph Vincent Cover


For those of you want someone to warm the cockle’s of your heart, Joseph Vincent is your man.


Cranes in the Sky – Solange Knowles


For those who seek an ambient sound for the perfect backdrop while studying


Cold Water ft. Justin Bieber – Major Lazer


For those who want to stay ahead of the curve in the music scene, here’s a cool, vibe-y tune that is on our radar


In The Name Of Love – Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha


For those who crave the jittery feeling of hearing a loud, clear, and fun song


The Thrills of April

When cherry blossoms burgeon on the trees on the path up the Beach and you hear squirrels skitter through the grassy fields of the quads, you can smell it in the air: Hopkins’s spring has sprung. Waking up no longer feels like a battle and all you see are traces of vibrant sandals on everyone’s feet. Spring at Hopkins is as fresh as it can get, as nature treats itself with a sprinkle of rain every now and then. What is exciting is the exploration that could be done in this location. A rendezvous for students to learn and be mentally stimulated, Hopkins in April teems with life as new and upcoming concerts, events, fairs are ready to showcase. Here’s a snippet of what the excitement is all about.


  1. Spring Fair: A time when Hopkins students revel in the festivities of food trucks, vendors, the petting zoo, music performances, and of course, the beer garden.


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  1. Concerts: This year, The Chainsmokers performed live on the campus.



  1. Doughnut Sales: Before the week of Spring Fair, many organizations built up the momentum of spring fair by selling a city favorite, B-doughnut doughnuts.


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  1. Banquets: To celebrate the looming end of the 2015-2016 year, many cultural clubs are having one last reunion through banquets. Specifically, the Korean Students Association will host a banquet that’ll bring students together to enjoy a little of home away from home.




This time of the year has a new cadence, a new rhythm, a new breath. Enliven with music, smiles, and greetings, Hopkins pulsates with a brand new energy.


As 2015 waves us goodbye and 2016 whispers its sweet promises of the new year, there is an ample amount of new experiences that I hope to encounter in the days to come at Johns Hopkins. Here, I am privy to the overflow of unlocked potentials, open doors of opportunities within and beyond our campus. There is absolutely no excuse in staying lackadaisical in your dorm during one’s stay at Hopkins. Complied here are a couple feats I am looking forward to accomplishing in the new coming spring semester of Freshmen year. 

  1. Joining a volunteer extracurricular activity.


  2. Fending off the gains of Freshmen 15 by regular visits to the gym.


  3. Going on a spontaneous trip to Washington D.C. via the train.


  4. Doing an Random Act of Kindness to a stranger/peer/professor at least once a week.


  5. Using more meal swipes at the FFC.


  6. Researching about an internship position at a hospital during the summer.


  7. Getting a hot dog covered in crab meat macaroni and cheese at Stuggy’s


  8. Staying hydrated.


  9. Visiting the National Aquarium.


  10. Finding a mentor.


  11. Going to Peabody and try learning a new instrument.


  12.  Participating in The HOP held events.


  13. Cheering for the Blue Jays at a sports event.


  14. Contacting family more often throughout the year. IMG_7677
  15. Taking time off studies to have quality time with friends, exploring the Charm City together.


May 2016 bring greater peace to the world, stronger passion in our pursuits, and deeper love in relationships.