Everything starts at the beginning. The statement seems a bit redundant, but it sometimes seems necessary to remind ourselves that the beginning is a good place to start. As new college freshmen, we’re starting over and building from the ground up. At Hopkins, this is no exception. Freshman schedules are riddled with courses like Chemistry 101, English 101, Physics 101 (you get the picture). It can be daunting but it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start: new friends, new classes, new teachers, new activities, and a new city.

Welcome to Baltimore, where the preferred mode of transportation is via water dragon!

Welcome to Baltimore, where the preferred mode of transportation is via water dragon! (Inner Harbor)

When I arrived at Hopkins on August 22nd, one of these new opportunities was my dorm room. With 99% of undergraduates living on campus, I knew I wouldn’t be alone in my excitement. As a triplet, I’ve shared my room with two other girls for my whole life, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to having just one roommate.

When move-in day came, my mom and I packed up the car for the third and final time. The back seat and trunk were both jam packed with books, clothes, shoes, bedding, and other various tchotchkes. As we began to unload the car, we quickly realized the incredible disadvantage of making the trip to Baltimore by ourselves.

We had dropped my sister, Felicia, at American University a week prior and my sister, Emily, at the State University of New York at Albany just a few days before my departure. Having four and even three pairs of hands had made the hectic move-in processes bearable, but with only the two of us, my mom and I were certainly a little bit more than stressed when I moved in. It had taken us about four hours to move each of my sisters fully in to their dorm rooms, but as the clock ticked on, my mother and I realized we were getting nowhere fast.

Six hours later, my room was still a tornado, but I had to say goodbye to my mom so she could avoid  late night traffic on her way home. The essentials had all been sorted out, but I had to take a step back in order to declutter the details.

That was when I realized that what my room lacked was an element of home. In an attempt to make my room a little bit more familiar, I attached a few Command hooks to the cinder block walls of my room and strung up my flower-shaped fairy lights from Ikea. I turned them on and a twinkly halo of flowers surrounded my bed. The stress almost seemed to melt away for a moment until


One of the Command hooks seemed to almost jump off the wall — as if the wall were physically rejecting it — and my fairy lights plopped down in a pathetic heap on my bed. I crumpled them up, shoved them in my top desk drawer, and resorted to hanging a poster. I unrolled my coveted two by three foot Radiohead poster, sticking about fifteen strips of poster tape to the back of it. Carefully maneuvering it onto the wall, I looked at my handy work. The poster was parallel to the cinder blocks, decently centered, and I gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done.

I wasn’t proud for long, because I woke up the next morning engulfed by a Radiohead poster instead of sheets.

Dorm Photo (Featured Image)

Dorm Decorating

The payoff of determined decorating

I contemplated just laying there, but I had resolved that my second day would be different from my first, so I pulled myself out of bed and went to the nearest Target. There, I bought two rolls of duct tape, six rolls of Scotch tape, two packs of Command hooks, and mounting putty (as a last resort).

I went back to my room to reassess my poster/fairy light situation and started with duct tape. Systematically, I went through each of my adhesive options; they each failed, one after the other, until the only one that remained was mounting putty. Resigned, I stuck it to the backs of my Command hooks and strung my lights up.

And then I waited.

Neither my poster nor my lights have fallen since. Through the trials and tribulations of decorating my dorm room, I learned that sometimes the most unexpected things can be the most reliable, and even in times of doubt, it is extremely important to keep an open mind. I never would have thought that I would learn something so important from something as trivial as hanging a few lights or putting up a poster, but I will carry it with me in the coming months so that I can make the absolute best of the hectic freshman year that awaits — and I can’t wait!

“Welcome Blue Jays!” sign in front of the Eisenhower Library taken on the first day of classes

“Welcome Blue Jays!” sign in front of the Eisenhower Library taken on the first day of classes