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My adventure at Hopkins started on August 13th when I flew out of Denver, CO for pre-orientation. I have now been here for 30 days; therefore, I believe it’s totally acceptable for me to say that I am 13 going on 30. (Is that too much of a stretch?) Although I didn’t wake up as a 30-year-old, I feel as though all the new experiences and memories I’ve made these past couple of weeks have definitely helped me grow as a student and as a person.

I’m going to start off my first blog post with a list of 13 Things I’ve learned my first month as a freshman at JHU.

1. The FFC is not open 24/7.

The FFC, or the Fresh Food Cafe, is the epitome of the Freshman 50. It takes all-you-can-eat to a whole new level with its numerous food options, ranging from an amazing salad bar to Old Bay Wings. No wonder Hopkins is ranked 2nd in the nation for best food. Trust me, there’s a little something for everybody. To my great discontent, the FFC actually closes! Preposterous? I know! This was especially true during Orientation Week when it ran on summer hours; my friends and I would go for brunch and find that it was closed. This was, in a way, a good thing because it allowed us to explore other food options around campus, including: Charles Street Market (more affectionately known as CharMar), Nolan’s, Bamboo Café, the Market at Levering, Tamber’s and Niwana. Food here at Hopkins is certainly not lacking.

Take a picture of the summer hours schedule- trust me, your stomach will thank you

Take a picture of the summer hours schedule- trust me, your stomach will thank you.

Which leads me to my next point:

2. Late night waffles and sorbet are to die for.

Late night is the reason I wake up at 7am to go to the gym (I’m looking at you, late night potatoes!!). During late night at the FFC, students can get breakfast items from 9pm-12am. It’s a great way to take a study break or to just hang out with friends. Some of my best memories here at JHU have been conversations with my floor mates and with my friends at late night.

Matt and Felipe definitely win the prize for best waffle.

Matt and Felipe definitely win the prize for best waffle.

3. Make sure to take the right JHMI back to campus.

The JHMI (pronounced “Jimmy”) is a convenient university shuttle service that runs from the Homewood campus to Peabody. My friends and I were coming back from the Inner Harbor one day and took the JHMI that went to the medical campus, not to Homewood. The trip, therefore, took us three times longer than it should have. It’s bound to happen sometime in your freshman career but, hey, you learn new things every day!

4. Rain Boots are a necessity.

Coming into Hopkins, numerous upperclassman have told me that I needed rainboots in Baltimore. And I thought, come on, it can’t be that bad! Well, let me tell you, it is that bad. So dear prospective student, please put umbrella/rainjacket/rainboots on your “What to Pack” list.


Caught in the rain at the football game. I hold this responsible for me catching the “Freshman Plague”.

5. Cutthroat my butt.

As I was preparing to come to Hopkins, I heard many comments about the “cutthroat” culture here. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive. Would people help me with my homework? Would they glare at me if I asked them a question? However, as soon as I walked into the Brody Learning Commons (or just Brody), I knew that I was worrying for no reason. Students are in there every single day socializing, helping each other with homework, and solving derivatives on the whiteboard walls. My floor mates always help each other with their work. So when people ask me about the “cutthroat culture”, I respond, “What’s cutthroat?”.


If there are no study rooms available, we usually stake out in any open space.

6. Syllabus is key.

Your professors will put all the important assignments and tests on this- take the time to write it all down or put it into iCalendar. That way, you’ll never be caught off guard and have to write a reading response the night before it’s due! (Not like that’s happened before, cough cough).

7. College is not high school

Now, you may be thinking: “Bri, of course college isn’t high school”. But there is no harm in reiterating it again. Professors will not remind you when assignments are due (some might!) and you are responsible for managing your time. You will find that there is a lot of free time in college and it will take a while to get used to it (I still am).

8. Explore!

Whether you take the Charm City Circulator to the Inner Harbor, check out the vintage stores in Hampden, or take the College Shuttle to Target, get out of the Hopkins bubble and see all the amazing things Charm City has to offer! Also, explore your interests on campus as well! Some of my friends tried out for the Acapella groups (I, for one, did not. I did band in high school for a reason). I did, however, audition for a dance group on campus with my friends. Having never danced before in my life, I obviously didn’t make it. But that’s okay because we had fun and tried something new!


Inner Harbor with the crew.


It’s prettier in real life- at night there’s open beach volleyball!


Inner Harbor: Take 2


Line for Viccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. The gelato here is deliciozo.

9. It’s Okay to Cry

The morning of move-in on August 21 was the last time I’d see my parents for a good four months. Of course, I was a little hot and tired and a little frustrated (move-in does that to people). But remember to let your parents do their thing as they navigate campus and leave their child on their own. Be understanding and remember: it’s okay to cry! The first week of orientation went by in a blur, there was so much going on and so many people to meet that I didn’t really have time to miss home. But after that, I did get a little homesick and called my parents, telling them that I missed them. Shedding a tear is totally acceptable and remember to send them a text or give them a call once in a while! They probably miss you just as much, if not more!

10. Being featured on JHU Snaps is the best thing that could happen to you as a freshman. Or not.

JHU Snaps is the unofficial Snapchat account of Hopkins. It features students’ snaps of the daily going-ons around campus. It’s definitely a hilarious and great study break option.


That’s Austin on the left and me on the right. *Facepalm*

11. It’s okay to get an unfavorable grade on a test, because, COVERED GRADES.

One of the factors that influenced my decision to choose Hopkins was the covered grades system first semester. Basically, your grades are pass/fail and won’t count towards your GPA! One of the advantages of covered grades is that it allows you to explore different activities and clubs you’re interested in while helping you acclimate to college.

12. Pro Tip: There is the Hutzler Reading Room and then there’s the Brody Reading Room.

Not many freshman know about the Brody Reading Room, because they usually go straight down the stairs when walking in from the Brody Café. What you do is keep going straight and you’ll find a great, quiet study space.


Did someone say free?? Where was this? Are they still there? Nothing resonates more with a college student than the word “free”. There is always some event on campus where organizations give away free things, BUT! Make sure to get there early otherwise everything will be gone!

When people say they’re giving stuff away on campus.

14. Hopkins is Home.

I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.



Now, you may be thinking: “Bri, that’s 14 reasons, not 13”. I swear guys, I can count- I just love Hopkins so much that I can’t express all my feelings for it with 13 reasons.

It has only been ~30 days since I arrived on the 13th, but I am excited for the next four years as a Blue Jay. Goooo HOP!