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I came to Hopkins thinking that intersession was supposed to be this magical time period where you automatically got to take three credits of classes, do research, and explore every corner of Baltimore, all at the same time. For some, it definitely can be! But I realized over this intersession that it definitely doesn’t have to be. Here’s what I did instead:

1. Stayed in California for an extra week

Students pose for photo on beach

One really important thing to note is that you don’t have to come back for intersession. To tell you the truth, I was really confused as to what intersession even was before it happened, but here’s the gist. You get two weeks of Winter Break, where campus closes and you have to go home (unless you have somewhere else to stay around here). The next three weeks are called intersession, in which you can either come back to campus for all of it, some of it, or none of it. Then Spring semester happens! In my case, I decided to go back home for Winter Break and the first week of intersession, which really paid off due to the less expensive plane ticket and the ~beachy~ “winter” weather.

2. Took a really interesting class

Paper about cancer facts

Right now I’m taking a cool one credit class called “Cancer Related Health Behaviors and Disparities,” which gives you a really interesting look at how public health experts develop interventions to prevent cancer. I love that it aligns with what I want to major in and gives me an in-depth perspective of what my Intro to Public Health class only touched on. The class is taught by two cancer research fellows from the National Cancer Institute (which is beyond cool!).

3. Watched some Netflix

Laptop screen showing Friends

One of my favorite things about intersession is how much time there is. I finally get to binge some more of Jane the Virgin and Friends. I also may have finished all of Black Mirror, oops.  

4. Worked on my New Year’s resolution

Gym equipment

Photo credit: JHU Rec Facebook page

Okay, but I’m not that lazy. With the extra time I’ve also made it a point to go to the Rec Center more often. If I keep up this intersession gym motivation, my beach body should be ready by the end of the semester. Maybe.

5. Found ways to get involved in the community

In high school I was super eager to be active in my community in my free time, but last semester I found it hard to get involved right away in the midst of balancing a new school with classes and other extracurriculars. But intersession gave me a good opportunity to explore ways to work with community organizations; I got in touch with one organization that helps to connect homeless individuals with health services and another organization that provides legal services for low-income LGBTQ Marylanders. Super excited to finally connect with the community in the Spring!

6. Bonded over brunch

A dessert

Students pose for photo at restaurant

Much to my (and everyone’s) luck, Baltimore Restaurant Week happened to fall during the second week of intersession! It’s basically a week where a bunch of higher end restaurants and food places offer insane discounts to encourage people to eat locally in Baltimore. My lion dance troupe definitely took advantage of this as a time to bond and eat good at a place called BoatHouse Canton! (Food + friends + discounts = happy college kids)

Intersession is definitely a unique experience for everyone who takes it, whether it be taking classes, exploring Baltimore, or getting involved in extracurriculars. But definitely don’t feel forced to follow a set idea of what intersession “should” be. Make it yours!