1. that rush hour traffic in the Washington metropolitan area is the worst

I don’t ever want to hear someone complain about Homewood Apartments being too far from campus. My commute to the office is quite the pain, and there’s really no way around sitting through 50 minutes of traffic every morning, unless I leave the house at like 4am. Sometimes I work out of a different office in the DC area, which requires taking a 30 minute bus ride to the closest Metro stop, the last stop on the Orange line, and then take the Metro in for another 40 minutes. If I’m lucky, I can snag a seat but it’s usually way too crowded during peak hours. Sad!

2. how to make my own granola

It’s actually quite easy! I follow this recipe by @emmymadeinjapan, a Youtuber/mom/professional eater that I’ve probably already blogged about on Hopkins Interactive. Throw some oats, nuts, coconut, and dried fruit in some honey and brown sugar, pop it in the oven, and boom! Granola!

3. what an artificial neural network is

(Kind of.) Basically, ANNs are computational models that learn to “make decisions” based on data it is given. It’s modeled after biological neural activity and decision making, which is why it’s called an “artificial neural network”. We’re using a lot of techniques from machine learning at work this summer and this is one of them! I have very little background in machine learning so I found these videos extremely helpful.

4. the optimal bus/Metro/walking route to my friend’s apartment in Chinatown

From office in VA: short walk to Greensboro, take Silver to Metro Center, walk ~10 minutes to apartment.
From office in DC: walk ~15 to apartment.
From home: drive to park-and-ride near house, take bus to Vienna, take Orange to Metro Center, walk ~10 minutes to apartment.
My friend Alex just graduated from Hopkins and is interning in DC this summer, and we hang out after work usually whenever I’m in the city. His office is only a couple of blocks away from mine, so we can usually sync up after work for a light chill session. We banter, listen to music, cook, watch documentaries (and UK election coverage), explore DC, and rant about life. I’m gonna miss it all when the summer’s over!

5. the value of sleep

Staying up past midnight is no longer in my vocabulary. I did it once a couple weeks ago, and work the next day was exhausting. During the school year, I can stay up past 2am no problem, but now I am so beat from work that I usually just pass out at 10:30pm. Sleep is phenomenal. Do not take it for granted. Your schoolwork can wait. Go to bed.

6. that I like classes and studying more than I thought I did

It’s impossible not to compare my summer internship with school. I was pretty excited to finally get some “real world” work experience and I am very glad I’ve had the chance to. With that being said, I think there’s something about school and classes that I really enjoy. (Ahh… can’t believe I said that.) I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the way I like to learn, or just the environment I’m surrounded by at Hopkins, but I do really miss school and am excited for the year to begin again.

7. sunlight and fresh air are necessities

Spending most of my work day in front of a computer screen (or sometimes multiple), I’ve come to really appreciate the sun and some nice fresh air. This past weekend, I came back up to Baltimore for an impromptu day trip to Harper’s Ferry and went on an amazing hike. I’ve enjoyed the (brief, sometimes painful) runs in the suburbs of where I’m subletting, and have plans for some kayaking next weekend. It’s a fantastic change from my work environment. Don’t get me wrong though, I will always love A/C.

8. how to enjoy podcasts

Driving and riding the Metro are both perfect times to listen to podcasts. I never have been into them, but I realized that my commutes are the the optimal length and environment for paying attention to podcasts and enjoying them. So far, I’ve been really liking Love+Brain (fascinating storytellers), Making Ways (interviews with creative people of all kind), and 2 Dope Queens (just absolutely hilarious). Would recommend.

9. that work is weirdly like Brody

Okay. It’s kind of strange, but there are some weird coincidences between working and studying at Brody. For both, you have to find where you want to work. At work, we don’t have dedicated offices, so there’s a system for reserving rooms and workspaces (like Brody). If you’re too lazy to make reservations like me, you can work at open space seating. For example, you can often find me sitting at a table in the 4th floor kitchen area, which is the equivalent to Brody Cafe seating. There’s specific shared spaces called “Collaboration Rooms” for… collaboration (sound familiar?), and plenty of coffee breaks take place. People still chit-chat while they do their work, share Spotify playlists they’ve been listening to, work together to make deadlines and review each other’s code.

10. how to ride the Metro without looking like an amateur

The trick is you have to have a nice, firm stance that is just a tad wider than your shoulders. Bend the knees a little right before the train starts moving and as it stops to lower your center of gravity and leverage some stability. Don’t manspread or place your bag on the seat next to you. When riding escalators, move to the right if you’re not walking so that others can pass. If you do all these things and you’re a generally nice person, you’ll do great! I love the Metro, even when there are delays or issues. It’s good public transportation and there’s a sense of camaraderie when DC residents all complain about the Metro together. It’s fantastic.

11. to cherish the weekend

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved weekends (I mean, who doesn’t?), but because the work routine is so structured and similar day-to-day, the change of pace on the weekends is such a nice break from the normal cycle. I try to make the most out of these weekends, and usually spend it with friends, in the city or back in Baltimore (having a car is great).

12. how to visualize data with d3.js

I’m finally learning it! Any data visualization expert will tell you that d3 is one of the most flexible tools for creating beautiful, interactive displays for the web. There definitely has been a bit of a learning curve, since I was learning d3 (a library in JavaScript), while learning JavaScript itself, and also other front-end tools like HTML and CSS. I still have a long ways to go but I am very happy I had the opportunity this summer to go elbows deep in d3 visualizations.

13. that Tupperware is my favorite kitchen supply ever

I’m known as the person in the office who alway packs their lunch and I’m not mad about it at all. I love cooking, and I love having a lunch that I didn’t pay an absurd amount of money for and usually tastes pretty good. Consequently, Tupperware has become my favorite kitchen tool! You never really appreciate plastic storage containers until you use 3 a day for work (sometimes I also pack breakfast and a post-lunch pick-me-up snack).

14. how to parallel park (kind of)

I. Hate. Driving. In. The. City.

15. the luxury of the Rec Center on campus

You guys, gyms are pretty expensive. Besides monthly fees, most gyms I’ve found have some sort of one-time membership fee that’s not very cheap. And for only being a member for 2-3 months, it’s really not worth it. Luckily there’s a gym at work (not saying I’ve been, but not saying I’ve not), but I really do miss the Rec Center on campus. Again, people say it’s “far” but it’s walkable, it’s free (with tuition lol) and there’s really great equipment there! Can’t wait to be back.

16. that coffee tastes better out of a mug (?)

True fact. Coffee out of a compostable cup is just not as satisfying as coffee out of a ceramic mug. I don’t know, but sounds like the Anthropology of Design in me is talking. Quick shout out to the free coffee machines in the office. There’s one in each kitchen and two kitchens on each floor. And like 11 floors. Hopkins, take notes.

17. the luxury of living with friends

I miss my friends! I have no qualms with my living situation, but I miss having roommates and cleaning other people’s dishes and not having my own bathroom. But seriously, I can’t wait to finally start living in my new house this year with some of my closest friends. My two roommates currently are dogs, and they’re cute, but they can’t gossip or show you memes.

18. that I want to continue learning

On the whole I-think-I-like-studying thing, I’ve been thinking more and more about going to grad school. Still a thought up in the air, and I still don’t even know what I want to study, but a part of me feels like I just need to continue school. TBA.

19. that there’s always something to do in DC

DC has literally everything. Good food, grassy parks, museums, concerts and events, a beautiful waterfront. There hasn’t been a weekend here that I’ve felt bored or that there’s nothing to do.

20. but there’s no place like Baltimore!

All in all, I definitely miss Baltimore and Hopkins and my friends. DC has been good to me, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of my summer, but I’m just itching to return back to where I feel most at home.