You did it. You are in. You got into Johns Hopkins. Start packing, saying goodbyes, and cleaning your Facebook of old nerdy photos, because you are heading to college. A whole new world awaits you, and thousands of blue jays await your arrival. Three years ago I was in your shoes, your nervously excited shoes, but now I have some wear on my soles and some footprints behind me and am excited to share some advice with the last class of first year students I will see enter Hopkins.
Hopkins can seem like a lot at first glance, especially when you get your advisers, register for classes, and fill out a ridiculous amount of paperwork in the weeks leading up to your arrival. Don’t let that overwhelm you. Once you get to campus, you will settle in and realize that you are somewhere new and different and that you have so much to learn. In my experience, the best way to learn is by doing, so go and do. Go to that information session for the club you are unsure about. Go to the new restaurant in Charles Village with the people on your hall. Grab a new friend and head to the FFC. Sit next to someone new in class. If you are worried about making friends, or fitting in, the best way to get past that is to just get involved and to be an active member of the Hopkins community.
TRY NEW THINGS:
For my friends and family both here at Hopkins and back home are probably shocked. What? Josh wants to try new things (says the guy who ate pizza and chicken for most of his life and lived in the same place for 18 years). But, yes! Do not be afraid to try new things. Go out into Baltimore and find a type of food you have never eaten. Try out for a theater show even if you have never been in one. Try going to the recreation center to rock climb or play racquetball even though you have never played. College is a time to learn, and learning is so much harder to when you are complacent. Stretch your boundaries and try new things, because that is how you find yourself and that is how you make college more than a place you just learn in a classroom.
HAVE TWO HOMES (AND BE OKAY WITH IT):
One of the hardest things about my college experience was being away from home. Home is such a solid place for most of us, but while in college, it becomes way more fluid of a concept. A place you live for a semester can feel like home. The university as a whole can feel like home. The place you live during your summer internship can even feel like home. I never stopped missing home. I just started having more than one home. My friends become extended family. Professors become the neighbors you like (or don’t). The streets of Baltimore finally become familiar and you feel at home. It seems weird to leave home (Hopkins) to go home (actual home) now that I am three years in, but it is also such an awesome experience to feel equally at home at two completely different places.
FAILING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE:
Take it from someone with experience, failure IS an option. Whether it is failing an exam, not getting into the group you auditioned for, or just feeling like you could have done better, you will fail. Don’t let that scare you. The true winners of a well-rounded college experience are those who tried and failed, then got back up. As someone who ended up on academic probation and literally thought I was a failure, it is important to know that you are going to be okay. Your family will love you no matter what. Your friends will be your friends even if you did poorly on an exam. You are worthy of being a blue jay no matter how low you may fly sometimes. Those who have never failed have never tried, and those who have failed learn from their mistakes and grow stronger. Don’t be afraid of failure.
Johns Hopkins University is your new home, and that feeling of nervousness and uncertainty is only natural. The uncertainty fades and the nervousness dwindles, but the experiences yet to come, the firsts you will have, and the friends you will make on the way will last a lifetime.
Welcome to Hopkins Class of 2021