Oh God, I was obsessed with college shopping last summer. Every weekend: oh, yay, I get to buy these fancy things called command strips! TWIN XL COMFORTER?! How exotic! I think I need 300 throw pillows to give my room that subtle cozy touch.

the final product, post-89352385 Target runs

the final product, post-89352385 Target runs

I was all about decorating and consulting that hoity-toity packing list given to freshmen, too blinded by the excitement of attending school in the fall to realize that all I really needed was some clothes and some sheets and whatnot. Oh, no, I was totally wrapped up in the world of Target’s Dorm section and all of its trinkets and containers and silly organization solutions.

Well, now I know that I probably didn’t need the Glade Plug-In (my laptop charger swiftly took precedence over an air freshener, considering I can’t smell), the Tupperware went unused, and—surprise—I never ended up actually doing anything with my field hockey gear.

The things that I need for sophomore year have shifted—oh, now I realize what a Hopkins student really needs. It’s not about the infamous John Belushi poster, it’s about something way, way different, things that goofy packing list (no, Housing, I really don’t need a Blu-ray player) could never mention.

friends wall1. I need my friends Good friends are way better than a TWIN XL blanket. They’ll cover for you, they’ll keep you feeling warm and happy, they’ll accompany you to your Netflix sessions, and you don’t even have to wash them. At a school with 5,000 some undergrads, I can’t believe that I managed to find the best people out there. There are no better people to dance on tables/Blue Jay shuttle from Chipotle to Mattin/order Chinese food/drive golf carts around SOHOP/et al. with. My biggest fear upon entering Hopkins was that I would fall into an icky friend group and be miserable, surrounded by horrible people. Well, no one at Hopkins is like that, but my friends especially aren’t. Ain’t that nice. (I’m sorry for comparing you guys to a blanket.)

phambam2. I need my sisters Yadda yadda, I thought sorority life was stupid, yadda yadda. Insert cheesy Pinterest quote about becoming a part of something. But really, Alpha Phi has added so much fun, so much color, so much meaning to my college experience. It’s so great to enter a process alone and pop out on the other end with a huge network of love and laughter. Plus, I’d probably be naked if it weren’t for all of my Alpha Phi clothing.



magnum opus

magnum opus

3. I need my creative outlets I’ve always been creative, and I’m lucky enough to have two great majors that help me to explore and to indulge in my definite right-brained-ness. But beyond the classroom, I’m also sure to take time to get creative on my own time, for my own pleasure. I’ve always loved to draw and write, but I’ve taken this summer to try my hand at painting, which is not only cool (I have the same interests as Picasso!), but cathartic (there’s something really, really tactile and satisfying about dragging a wet paintbrush against a canvas). Plus, sometimes these creative outlets segue into a marginally useful skill! Hello, Illustrator and InDesign on the skills section of my resume. It’s the best feeling in the world when your passions align with your talents, and I’m lucky enough to experience that with my creativity. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than creating a beautiful graphic, perfecting a brushstroke, or crafting the right string of words.

And mandatory for whenever I mention getting creative:

4. I need my planner O, master of dates. O, master of doodles. Where would I be without you? Probably failing, probably missing every meeting, probably lost in an abyss, fighting my way through my schedule. Thank you, archaic means of organization, for keeping my sanity and me afloat.

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.42.41 AM

I might forever be unemployed, but at least I got to study in here for 4 years

5. I need Gilman No, seriously, this one is literal; I have pretty much every class there. If Gilman were razed, my film and writing classes would cease to exist, and if not that, then held in some really sketchy venue. We don’t have the glamor of the BME kids or fancy labs at our disposal. Thank you, Gilman, for sheltering us who still don’t know what a capacitor does. (I just tried to look up what it does, but I got bored while typing it into Google.) Thank you, Gilman, for housing a breed of students that the media likes to deem useless.

Featuring JHU_Ruthie, JHU_Caleb, and our imaginary family

Hogwarts: featuring JHU_Ruthie, JHU_Caleb, and our imaginary extended family


6. I need antics I need nights when people throw their textbooks under the bed and ignore their work. I need nights when I’m up til 4 am talking, not studying. I need nights when I can crawl up to the best secret place on campus and take pictures and hang out with people. I need nights laughing until I cry from listening to stupid songs and playing Barbie.com games with my friends for no clear reason. I need water balloon fights and flamingos on the quad. Because once I’m enslaved to the post-grad grind, I won’t be able to explore Homewood and get into crazy stuff.


obligatory Inner Harbor photo

obligatory Inner Harbor photo

7. I need delicious food Just because I’m a broke college student doesn’t mean that I need to abandon standards of taste, right? Right.

8. I need Baltimore I’m dreading the day that I finally have to really, truly fly the nest and leave this perfect city. I’m so thankful that I got to extend my time here by attending Hopkins, and I hope that I never need to say goodbye to the Land of Pleasant Living.

9. I need myself Because I rock. I’ve learned a lot, experienced a lot, and been through a lot. And I’m ready to conquer sophomore year.

I still have a ways to go before I can offer any sort of sage advice about Hopkins to others, but I know that this is all the advice I need for myself. I’ll only learn more—cooler secret places, better offerings than Levering sushi, a better way to sort my schedule—but for now, this is my supreme move-in guide for sophomore year.