Warning: Post below better than the identically titled Nickelback album.

At the conclusion of SOHOP week 1, JHU_Grace/Emily/Joseph/Ian and I got the chance to sit down together and reflect on our answers to a question we’ve answered hundreds of times for prospective students: Why Hopkins? 

Our admissions stories were all different, and for each of us, something different brought us to Hopkins. It might have been the city of Baltimore, or the research opportunities, or the outstanding creative writing and biomedical engineering departments – and as a seventeen or eighteen year old, these are real, tangible, checkmarks on your list.

But they don’t come close to really describing, why Hopkins. I could give you my list right here: close to home, but not too close. Urban environment but campus feel. Academic rigor and flexibility. Perfect size. I was actually planning on writing a list of “19 Reasons Why Hopkins for the Class of 2019”. But again, these are reasons why I, as an admitted student, said yes to my offer and not reasons why I, as a person who’s almost already completed his freshman year at Hopkins, would still make the same decision over again tomorrow.

And the reason why boils down to the simple fact that I have found a home here at Hopkins. Here is a home filled with individuals that I can go to for anything. I have made friends that I can learn with and learn from, that I can explore, taste, hear the city we live in, that I can just stay up with till 3am talking about anything, and then fall asleep and do it all over again the next day.

vscocam-photo-1 (1)

Someone asked me recently, “If you were retiring tomorrow, what would it take for you to say that you were satisfied with the life you lived?” And I answered not with the fact that I would have a good job, a lot of money, or even a roof over my head. I said that I would be satisfied as long as I felt that I enjoyed all of the little happy moments I was presented with – the afternoons we spend soaking up the sun on the Beach, the times we danced around a Gilman classroom instead of studying, and the late night conversations we’ve had about nothing important. These little moments, I believe, I have embraced during my time at Hopkins, thanks to the people I have gotten close to during this short time we have spent together.

In high school, I used to hang out by myself a lot. But now, I spend almost every waking hour with a friend, and it’s a nice feeling to have – not being completely alone. Don’t feel bad for high school me, it wasn’t bad at all. I just kept to myself. I was a pretty independent person, and somewhat of an introvert. I only really felt truly comfortable to be myself around a couple of people. And I used to be happy by myself, but now I can be happy by myself, and with so many others.

At college, yes – you will learn. You will learn from some amazing professors and work with talented peers and truly expand your mind. Yes – you will make some lifelong friends and have fun spending time with them. But I think something that high school students often forget about college, or not even realize (in my case), is that you will grow up. You will learn things and change things about yourself, and I firmly believe that I couldn’t have grown as much as I have without being here.

And that’s why Hopkins.

Yes, Hopkins was the school that high school me thought had everything I wanted out of a university, and this is still true. But I find myself still wanting Hopkins not for these things, but for different reasons – the people I’ve met, the little moments I’ve experienced, and the transformation I hope to see out of myself during the next, short, three years I have here.