I still can’t digest the fact that my first semester at Hopkins is coming to a close. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in Convocation trying to make faces in the camera, walking out of my first test, sifting through poster sales at Levering to make my room mine, and burning my tongue on a dirty chai in the Reading Room writing my first paper. But I’m also surprised at how quickly and fluidly Hopkins has become my home. Gone are the days of pretending to text while checking the Guidebook campus map on low brightness, or constantly making sure I knew which class I was headed to as soon as the professor said “…and I think this is a good place to end for today.” In comes a more self-assured, and more importantly comfortable me.

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With finals looming in the distance, this time of year is also the time to look forward to second semester. On November 17th, at 7am, we had our course selection. A moment where almost every freshman in the school simultaneously presses the same button, gunning for the classes they find most fascinating, easiest, most challenging, most thought-provoking, earliest, latest, most necessary, or most convenient. Here’s how it went down.

The night of November 16th was one of calculated tension and inevitable excitement. Everyone clumped together into small clusters to go over their hopeful schedules, syncing (or not lol) with friends. Our fabulous RA, B’lane, bounced up and down the halls to make sure we all had our game plans and our back up plans. I liked my schedule a lot; if everything worked out, I would be able to knock out a lot of major requirements while taking courses I was genuinely interested in taking. That night, I finalized my list of courses, placing the smaller, more difficult-to-get-in ones at the top of list and chucking the larger, lecture-hall style classes near the end of the list. The order matters, because the software starts at the top of your list, attempts to register you, and then moves on to the next one. All this happens within a matter of milliseconds, but you’ll learn soon that every millisecond counts. It’s basically like a fantasy autodraft that lasts two seconds.

I set up my ethernet connection to make my internet as fast as possible. My friend Alfred decided to sleep over at our room; we set all of our alarms to different times after 6, closed our computers, and went to sleep.

I woke up to Kendrick. Alfred’s alarm was blasting music at 6:15, and we slogged out of bed in a daze of morning grog. I took a quick shower, and we sat down with our laptops. Ajay opened up the US government clock, and we tested our ethernet connections one last time. Outside, the rest of the class lined up against hallway walls and on their beds, waiting with bated breath.

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Thank you for putting these two buttons so close together.

At 7:00:02, we pressed register. The small blue button indented neatly, and then there was white. Everyone knew to wait; the computer was silent but I imagine millions of gears whirring around and small cogs clicking into place as the Hopkins wifi chewed through the collective wishlists of the Class of 2018.

One by one, the computers began to flick back to life, carrying with them the good news and the bad news. Across the floor, you can hear shouting and doors opening.

I got everything on my cart! It was the biggest sigh of relief. My schedule would be shaped just the way I wanted.

The Schedule:

My favorite part about my schedule is the way it’s structured. I basically have off days every other day, which is really handy. I can fill one day all the way with research and still have another nearly full day just to study and catch up on work. Unfortunately, this means that I better be ready by 9am on Wednesday to be on my A game until 4:30 in the afternoon. Brb buying some granola bars.

Physics II – Active Learning

Not sure how I’m going to survive this one. It’s purely E&M, which, let’s be honest, is probably made up. However, I’m in the Active Learning version of the course, which means the content is going to be delivered largely through round-tables and group problems in class; I learn through practice problems and working with others, so I’m actually looking forward to this.

History of Modern Medicine

This semester, I took History of Medicine and I actually loved it. It started us off at Classical Antiquity and took us up to the 18th century. Seeing medicine develop over time and across the world was so cool, especially as someone interested in carrying on what I now see as an age old human endeavor to feel better. I found out from my TA that this course picks up where my current class ends….so duh.

Introduction to Social Psychology

I’m so proud of myself. This was objectively the most coveted class in the school, with over 200 people on the waitlist. I’m honored to be one of the chosen ones. This course covers my psych requirement as a pre-med and the professor is supposed to be amazing.

Freshman Seminar: Johns Hopkins Medicine

To be honest, I have no idea what to expect. I guess this course is literally about the history of our ~med school~, which seems like it would be nice to know. I know that this professor got rated 4.8 out of 5 on the last class she taught, and the course also fulfills a writing-intensive requirement I thought I would knock out. Plus, I didn’t get to take a Freshman Seminar my first semester, and I really want to.

Overall, while I’ll definitely miss the covered grades of first semester, second semester holds a lot of promise and I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for it. But first I need to get through these finals.