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Finally made it to Hopkins! Went through Move-In, Orientation events, and the first eerie trip to the laundry room. What now?

Well… classes. After that eventful first week, students trade huge O-events for small group studies, delicious banquet-style lunches for to-go boxes, and fantastic, leg-enhancing white pants for sweatpants.

Looking classy at Orientation, probably for the last time this year.

Looking classy at Orientation, probably for the last time this year.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. It’s the reason why I came to Hopkins: the brilliant faculty and fascinating classes. But getting used to the new environment and routine is easier said than done. So I would like to talk about a great tool that Hopkins gives its students to cope with this change: covered grades.

Let me say that one more time… COVERED GRADES.

In a nutshell, your grades for first semester are not visible on your transcript. (More info on c-grades here)

Disney Gif


My point is what this opportunity means for freshmen. It definitely doesn’t mean you can skip class and nap all day long…

Although the struggle not to is real.

Although the struggle not to is real.


It actually means that you can take electives of classes that you wouldn’t normally choose or that go out of your comfort zone, because the reward for your effort in this semester comes in knowledge and experience, rather than from grades. For example, I’m taking Cognition. Being a Chemistry major, it’s not a class I am required to take. But I am taking advantage of c-grades and exploring new subjects that have actually turned out to be very interesting.

Also, c-grades allow you to explore the many… many… many extracurricular groups and activities that Hopkins has to offer (more than 300!). There are amazing unique experiences out there waiting for you! From learning how to shake your hips to Latin music in Baila to going to national college debate tournaments to singing your heart out with one of the twelve a-cappella groups on campus.

My advice then is to live by carpe-diem on your first semester. Take that modern-dance class. Go to the introduction meetings to the groups that tickle your curiosity. Take advantage of your c-grades and explore all the many opportunities Hopkins has to offer.