Hymns of Hopkins

12-sudio-03

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

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aycP2KV1Mls)

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

amy_winehouse_-_frank

 

 

What You Don’t Do – Lianne La Havas

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWDw3O6yvac)

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

lianne-la-havas-blood-cover

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

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIG38MD_l3k)

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

600x600bb

Cranes in the Sky – Solange Knowles

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnUV4cz0gv8)

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

solange_cover1

Cold Water ft. Justin Bieber – Major Lazer

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMvIARf_SUU)

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

cn8srx4vmaaskk_

In The Name Of Love – Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeGfss2vsZg)

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

maxresdefault

Perspiration and Inspiration

     While the blazing sun had me helplessly wrapped around its finger for two months, this summer has been a pivotal juncture for me – it was the first time my college experience came into contact with the reputed “real world.” I have been extremely lucky enough to land a project this summer and work in tandem with a collaborative team that relentlessly motivates me to grow. With one year of college under my belt, I have been able to apply the social and occupational skills that I’ve accrued through college in a different atmosphere of professionalism. Here, my team encouraged me to explore my role as a Marketing Intern, giving me a flexibility that allowed me to be unapologetically creative and innovative with the material that I produce. Thus, I’ve forayed into various arenas of marketing: coding a blogging website for a startup, overlooking the activity of four different social media platforms, compiling information for project pitches, assembling a press kit, constructing a storyboard for the promotional video, and much more. Indeed, as stimulating as the experience was, it was no walk in the park. At the end of the day, however, each member supported me by giving constructive criticism on the product being made. Perhaps more importantly than crystallizing my career skills, I have found valuable relationships with my team beyond the mere coworker status. Nabbing a seat in the crowded cafes of Korea, we grabbed coffee on the weekends and had long tete-a-tete about movies, marriage, clothes, and relationships. Granted, the “real world” experience that I encountered this summer does not come close to what “real world” actually entails. In regards to working in a professional setting, however, I certainly got a taste of what the 9-to-5 grind feels like and what it is like to publish work that actually matters and can make a difference.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-08-04-00-38-15_57

The team that learns together, stays together

     Along with the growth of my skills as a teammate, this summer has been a time of self-reflection and inspiration. Being surrounded by people of great ambition induced me to constantly gauge where my aspirations lie and what contributions I would like to offer to the table. How can I combine my passion for the human brain and my skills to accomplish a feat that can hopefully serve as a boon to the community? What can I do to leave the world a better place than I have found it? Fortunately, I have been blessed with the gift of having amazing people around me who help me strive for the better. My friends (s/o to Suite 600, Sarah, Indira and Yasmin) and family keep me grounded, motivate me to put on my A game at all times, and constantly push me to never settle for anything less. My mentors have taught me countless of lessons that run the gamut from tiny tidbits of wardrobe advices to sage life counsel that I will carry with me throughout my lifetime – like how to be frugal at a convenient store and how loyalty can be a double-edge sword in the work arena.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-08-04-00-38-14_60

With the team that has given me an invaluable summer experience…much love 🙂

     At the onset of summer, a standout woman once asked me, “Can I tell you something?” to which I replied, “Sure thing.” She, then, told me, “I would absolutely love for you to be my one person for whom I would do anything to help you grow.” The feeling that I felt when I received that message is ineffable and unforgettable. Little did she know, at the moment, she planted a small sprout of inspiration in me that gave me the assurance that someone out there was rooting for me and supporting my growth as a student, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a woman. I owe it to her to do the best I can to be the best possible version of who I am. (Oddly enough, this incredible lady is a JHU alum and everyone needs to find a way to meet this amazing person!)
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-08-04-00-40-46_90

Andddd the Esquire Squad! My seoul sister and my mentor

     Now, as I am sitting here, typing away at my computer about the unbridled hopes and dreams that I have, I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to ignite a similar spark of motivation in someone else and ask him/her the same question: “Can I tell you something?”
IMG_8608

Home is where the heart is <3

My Two Cents

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.56.40 AM

When push comes to shove, my roommates are never afraid to reach out and lend a hand…Can’t love them anymore.

Its an understatement to say that a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Since then, I’ve become a brother of a professional business fraternity, lucked out by getting two charming Bigs who’ve showered me with treats and care, landed a research position with a professor at the nation’s best education school, met a myriad of inspiring mentors, and, without a doubt, put on some pounds and lost a few strands of hair. The brief hiatus of writing, though, has allowed me to take a step backwards from the frenzy of college. Feeling the need to outline and form into words the whirlwind of something so novel as college was paralyzing and tough for me at the time. I simply had too much to say but not enough words to express them. I would struggle to start sentences and grapple with finding the right words to end them. So I gave up. Instead, I spent my time trying to absorb the moment and take snapshots of the reality occurring before me. Unnervingly, though, I got lost through the constant zooming in and out of college life. Getting slapped by failed time-management meltdowns while at the same time completing feats that I’d never imagine I’d be doing, I’d say the past couple months were hard to swallow.

13472374_10205202155893478_385963081_n (1)

A perfect place to collect my mind and thoughts – Inner Harbour

   Sure, the existential crisis kicks in during college, as common as it is. Indeed, they say every corner you turn, every choice you make eventually becomes a metaphor for the person you’ll become. In many ways, my experience was less of an of an empowering self-discovery, but a more humbling experience. Being surrounded by peers who are relentless in achieving their goals (like a fellow SAAB Blogger, Brianna), having discussions with my roommates about contentious topics, like abortion laws and child labor, I’ve learned more about other people and how different people view the world. Whether I agree with them or not, I figured these opportunities of intellectual ignition have allowed me to start formulating my own opinions around these issues. Throughout it all, these are the moments that I am most grateful for having: the opportunity to be constantly searching for MY answers – albeit their being not solidified or set-and-stone. Now, with freshmen year under my belt, I’ve been able to take the breath of fresh air that I needed to take to evaluate the confounding storm that had just passed. With that being said, here are a few words of wisdom that my most valued peers and I would like to share, although the list piled below hardly comes close to the sheer amount of lessons Hopkins has imparted.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-02-24-31_14

The amazing SAAB Freshmen team for the year 2015-2016!

  • Know your priorities. But more importantly, act accordingly.

    13487451_10205201563078658_1883723226_n

    When food becomes our #1 priority 😀

This one is a tough one to come to terms with. We all know, whether unconsciously or consciously, that certain things should be on top of the list; for me, it’s my well-being. However, once you’re caught in the blur of college, it’s a real test to actually commit to what we think should be prioritized. If you value how much you learn in class, then maybe you should wait till class is over to finish the eight-page paper that is due tonight. If meeting people and finding the right community is important for you, then, by all means, go to the party, gathering, etc. and promise yourself that you will finish laundry as soon as you get back. Easier said then done, these responsibilities do pile up and can overwhelm any sane person. All you have to do is remind yourself of what you consider to be important, not only for your success in the future but for yourself as a whole – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-02-11-39_35

When food becomes #2 priority too..

  • Take initiative. Be active.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-02-15-23_44

A different view than the cubicle in C-level of MSE, Gilman is the perfect place to buckle down and focus.

Once you arrive here, you’ll feel the palpability of the opportunities abound here. People are doing amazing things, like programming a cure for breast cancer through BME Design Teams and creating films that unveil the entrenched injustice of our society. In fact, Hopkins is a bustling mecca of diverse activities, ranging from competitive a cappella groups to machine-building to memberships of groups of faith. Once you fall in to the comfort of the regularity of life, though, it’s easy to miss the knock on the door of opportunity. I, for one, found my research position by checking the daily bulletin announcement and deciding to shoot the professor an email. All it took were a couple clicks of my email, message, and send. When you keep your eyes peeled to what’s around you, it’ll be much easier for you to expand your vista of the world through the experiences you can possibly get. My two cents would be to constantly keep a conversation with your peers, be on the look for flyers, bulletin boards, emails, etc. or simply share your interest with a professor online and offline. Who knows, your professor might even want to get coffee with you just to chat (it’s happened to one of my close friends). Be active and take initiative. 

  • TREAT YO’ SELF

    13474146_10205201561998631_124991197_n

    When the roommates buys you a succulent because (a) you love plants and (b) you don’t have time to water them.

I’m not exactly the most qualified person to advise someone else to utilize this rule, as it has been proven maybe once or twice (and by once or twice, I mean maybe a couple of hundred times 🙂 ) I take life too seriously. But, during my freshmen year, it was increasingly apparent that nurturing the soul was crucial for my sustainability at Hopkins. It’s so easy to get lost in the climb, and when you’re making the effort to bring home that A+, operating on three hours of sleep can become a routine occurrence. But, every once in a while, we need to “shut off” and recharge ourselves. “If my body fails because I pushed it too hard, then what good am I to the world?”(@JustinBaldoni). Have a study break and get FFC Late Night with a couple friends. Take a day off to watch the Light Show at Inner Harbor. Splurge a little on food by trying out Stang of Siam near Penn Station. Or simply, go stargazing on the Beach. These little down times in between will lift the damper on your day and give you a clearer lens to refocus on the things that unfold before you.
KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-02-16-11_61

The time I got lucky and won a raffle ticket to New York to watch a Broadway Musical for free. 🙂 Perks of Hopkins

13487866_10205201561758625_1664873739_n

Treating ourselves by dressing up and fooling around at the traditional Hindu Diwali Festival

13479740_10205201561478618_853634735_n

The henna I got was pretty for 10 minutes… until I ruined the design by being clumsy and smearing it all over my clothes…:(

 

  • Last but not least, appreciate.

One time, I was grabbing dinner at Carma’s Cafe with a senior who left me with a saying that has been with me ever since. “It’s the attitude that carries the experience’s weight and value.” We’re social creatures that are rather easily influenced by our surroundings and other’s opinions. It’s what makes us such fluid beings. So, it’s only natural that when the atmosphere suggests a certain vibe, we tend to blend ourselves with it and let the prevailing clime dictate our perception of the experience. At Hopkins, you’ll encounter countless of opinions and attitudes about a class, a teacher, or even the school, itself. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. But, I’ve come to learn that I operate better by keeping negative vibes at bay and relishing the moment for the good things. Call me naive, but by being realistically optimistic, I’ve been more open to appreciating the community I have, the people that surround me (especially my roommates), and the support I get from my loved ones. Having this mentality has significantly allowed me to experience college with joie de vivre. Always give thanks for those who have made you possible.

KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-02-16-17_35

My boyfriend who always motivates me to achieve more and laugh more.

13479605_10205201805044707_1058058035_n

Love of my life, who I respect for her bravery in having a strong voice and being supportive through wear and tear.

KakaoTalk_Photo_2016-06-20-01-59-23_60

The ultimate gift that Hopkins has given me…They are my college, my school, my education, and my joy.

 

 

Phew, long post! For those of you who’ve still stuck around to read this, thanks. 🙂 To those who this post’ll serve, as long as you are passionate at what you do and try your best at it with good intentions, I’ll always be rootin’ for you. I’m absolutely ecstatic for those who have committed to come to Hopkins next fall! I can’t wait to run into some of you next year. 😃 Be excited!!

200

Congratulations, once again! (click for motion)

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.

_D4M4814

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.39.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.47.18 AM

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

10537025_10153983092366684_409932984040130551_n

 

  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.

12419156_10154039136250586_326546252135773690_o

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.50.19 AM

  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.

12973324_1288236327859275_4181313709362849534_o

12961372_1288236307859277_7817876746026141220_o

 

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.

SIXTEEN

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.
    http://www.dyslexiatutoringprogram.org/

    http://www.dyslexiatutoringprogram.org/

     

  2. Fending off the gains of Freshmen 15 by regular visits to the gym.
    http://archive.gazette.jhu.edu/2012/03/12/the-big-reveal-homewood-style/

    http://archive.gazette.jhu.edu/2012/03/12/the-big-reveal-homewood-style/

     

  3. Going on a spontaneous trip to Washington D.C. via the train.
    http://www.oyster.com/articles/30351-new-amtrak-deal-makes-for-cheap-and-easy-east-coast-hotel-hopping/

    http://www.oyster.com/articles/30351-new-amtrak-deal-makes-for-cheap-and-easy-east-coast-hotel-hopping/

     

  4. Doing an Random Act of Kindness to a stranger/peer/professor at least once a week.
    http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2014/02/10/random-acts-of-kindness-the-new-social-media-craze/

    http://blog.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/2014/02/10/random-acts-of-kindness-the-new-social-media-craze/

     

  5. Using more meal swipes at the FFC.
    http://college.usatoday.com/2015/04/28/36-of-the-best-college-dining-halls-in-the-u-s/

    http://college.usatoday.com/2015/04/28/36-of-the-best-college-dining-halls-in-the-u-s/

     

  6. Researching about an internship position at a hospital during the summer.
    http://engineering.jhu.edu/undergraduate-studies/research-opportunities-for-students/

    http://engineering.jhu.edu/undergraduate-studies/research-opportunities-for-students/

     

  7. Getting a hot dog covered in crab meat macaroni and cheese at Stuggy’s
    http://tastytrix.blogspot.kr/2012/09/take-me-out-to-eat-at-ballgame.html

    http://tastytrix.blogspot.kr/2012/09/take-me-out-to-eat-at-ballgame.html

     

  8. Staying hydrated.
    http://johns-hopkins.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Hopkins_Nordic_Company_Widemouth_Nalgene_Bottle/ProductDisplay?parentCatId=&imageId=1005029&level=2&graphicId=S2&categoryId=40486&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=18053&productId=400000036250&topCatId=40350

    http://johns-hopkins.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Hopkins_Nordic_Company_Widemouth_Nalgene_Bottle/ProductDisplay?parentCatId=&imageId=1005029&level=2&graphicId=S2&categoryId=40486&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=18053&productId=400000036250&topCatId=40350

     

  9. Visiting the National Aquarium.
    http://baltimorecountymaryland.blogspot.kr/2015/01/romance-baltimore.html

    http://baltimorecountymaryland.blogspot.kr/2015/01/romance-baltimore.html

     

  10. Finding a mentor.
    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/drtc/drc_summer_students_research.html

    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/drtc/drc_summer_students_research.html

     

  11. Going to Peabody and try learning a new instrument.
    http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/featured/universal_language/

    http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/featured/universal_language/

     

  12.  Participating in The HOP held events.
    http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/featured/universal_language/

    http://webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/featured/universal_language/

     

  13. Cheering for the Blue Jays at a sports event.
    http://archive.gazette.jhu.edu/2011/11/07/blue-jay-teams-flying-high/

    http://archive.gazette.jhu.edu/2011/11/07/blue-jay-teams-flying-high/

     

  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.
    https://twitter.com/baltimorecharm

    https://twitter.com/baltimorecharm

     

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

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. 

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 12.24.49 AM

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.

Give-Thanks-Text

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)

12186386_733224803476494_5771172806631479625_o

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 9.56.56 PM

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

10557421_473849062764343_2605778430861996765_n

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.”

_________

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. 

 Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 11.30.03 PM

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.

FullSizeRender 10

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.

FullSizeRender 9

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. 

Apple Picking

“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening — no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.” – Alexander Smith

At a time when the world is covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon, I’m glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers. Every leaf becomes a flower; every foot step disturbs the repose of the earth and air. The autumn in Hopkins carries more gold in its pocket than all the other season.

IMG_1655

Falling in love with Gilman in the Fall


To celebrate this golden season, my friends and I went apple picking to Larriland Farm in Woodbine. There, we garnered green Granny Smiths and ripe red apples that delighted our palates, very much like the breezy weather that uplifted our mood.

IMG_1654

Apple Picking lanes


Further up front of the farm was a petting zoo where llamas and goats lounged about, beseeching for the snacks we held in our hands. 

FullSizeRender 2

With our bags of apples sashaying by our side, the next destination was a cozy Korean restaurant. This communion with friends and nourishment of the body reminded me of the reason why I loved Octobers in Maryland: the mellow nostalgia of home evoked by the autumn weather and gathering.

IMG_1656

Although autumn wafts reminiscence in the air, a different sense of “home-ness” arose , here, at Hopkins. Spending quality time with such quality people, it started to feel like home away from home.

FullSizeRender 6

F I R S T ‘ s

At this point in the year, I am caught in a state of limbo. Five months ago, I was gallantly tossing my graduation cap in the air with my friends by my side in South Korea. Fast forward to now, I am a full-time college student, studying for my first college midterm. With a month and a half of college out the window, a pell-mell of motley feelings – of perplexity, excitement and jadedness – rush in me. Summer still hasn’t left me. Every turn, every corner, I am constantly reminded of the surrealness of my being a college student in Hopkins.

IMG_1237

Studying for midterms in the cushioned chairs at the exquisite Gilman Hall.

Along with the dream-like state of being away from home – feeling like an extended summer camp -, it’s slowly dawning on me how fast (or slowly) time has gone. Time, this mysterious force that we really only notice when we are its victims, has played its tricks on me. While studying for the exams, I felt that the pace of this week has been excruciatingly fast yet slow.

Recently I read a news article that posited that the more new experiences you have, the more longer time feels. Thus, I’d like to share my trough of new experiences, occurrences, sensations.

Without further ado. . .

#1st College Flu 

IMG_1228 2

Thank you FFC for the tea

The grisly Freshmen Plague hit hard for everyone around campus this week. Cough commotions and throat-clearing grumbles were the common currency of communication for most Hopkins students, as we shamefully infected one another with handshakes, uncovered sneezes, and unsanitized hands. To remedy this malady, my suite mates and I were constantly brewing tea and drowning it in a sea of honey to assuage our sore, swollen throats. Not to mention, my sweet friend surprised me with a pack of Get-Well Halls to save me from dying of coughs (s/o to Matthew)! Hopefully, the Freshmen Plague prevalent in the Hopkins community abates before mid-terms end.  

#1st Moon Cakes  
I’ve only heard about these “moon cakes” through Amy Tan’s books and have always wondered what makes them the traditional dessert for the August Moon Festival. This week was my first time tasting them, but it most definitely won’t be my last. They say, exam stressin’, food messin’.

IMG_1227

Shoutout to Sarah Lee’s mother for sending us these mooncakes from Boston!

#1st Indian Culture

Baltimore was pulling some serious master chef skills on us in Masala Kitchen. To keep the quality dinner streak alive, my suite mates and I sallied forth St. Paul’s street to feast on warm buttered Indian Nan wallowed in buttered tomato sauce to spoil our palates. Excuse me while I die happy. 

IMG_1230

Dinner at its finest.

Invited by my suite mate, I attended an Indian Social Gathering and constructed a clay figure of the best known and loved deity in the Hindu pantheon of gods, Ganesh. This elephant figure is the Lord of Good Fortunes who provides prosperity, fortune, and bonanza. I plan to place it in front of my desk as a good luck charm for the looming midterms. 

IMG_0926

Cathartic, throwback experience to Kindergarten art class, making clay elephant figures with quality people.

#1st Festival 

12047181_10207459013503929_6341514038187490558_n

The vibrant vibe of Hamden is palpable.

Riveting music reverberating through the air and the smell of authentic Baltimore street food wafting aloft, The Hamden Festival was the gasp of fresh air that was much needed. There, my friends and I shopped for handcrafted souvenirs and finally tried the famed crab cake. Needless to say, it was divine. The relaxed yet bustling vibe of the city of Hamden reflected the idiosyncratic culture of the district, a stark comparison from the other towns in Baltimore. 

11863449_903202236441472_623982085246360230_n

Crab Cake…<3 Oh heaven, thou hath found me.

Being immersed in a culture so intimate and so true to the people that inhabit the place, I am constantly learning and craving for more knowledge – about Baltimore, people, culture, and myself. With such mental hunger, these past few weeks felt very long yet short. In the days to come, I hope that there will be more First’s, more new experiences that can edify and enlighten all of us, despite the illusion of times. 

IMG_0972

The lovable Korean squad in Hamden