I decided pretty recently that I’m going to stay at Hopkins over Intersession. Originally, I was going to take a trip to India with my dad in January, but now I’m going in the summer, and my January is free. And most of my friends will be back at school way before I would, which would make staying at home a bit dry during the weekdays. But now I’m scrambling to figure out what I want to do over Intersession, and it’s shaping out to be one that I’m really looking forward to.

Of course, I could always do nothing in January. I could sleep until 1pm, eat quesadillas, and binge watch Parks and Rec. But I think it’s actually hard to do nothing after getting through finals and being so used to a study regimen and all of the intellectual endurance that surrounds it. I’d feel restless if I didn’t ease into the break, and I think Intersession offers the perfect balance of interesting activity with little stress.

I definitely want to take advantage of Intersession to keep up my research at a neural stem cell lab at the med campus. Without any intense classes or long assignments, Intersession would be a great time to spend a day or two a week at the lab staying on track with my projects. Post docs don’t have winter breaks (I’m still trying to grapple with the idea that vacations are a finite part of my life) and so coming in once in a while works out perfectly for me.

More tentatively, I also want to try to shadow aa neurosurgeon at the hospital over break. I’m still in the process of contacting doctors and asking them nicely (read: I haven’t really started yet…but tomorrow!), but if it works out it would be amazing. I would kick myself if I didn’t take advantage of the fact that the #1 hospital in the country for 21 years is a few shuttle stops away. Following around a surgeon a few days a week would be such an amazing and formative experience; cross your fingers for me!

But I definitely want to take an Intersession course as well. I’m probably only going to have time for one if I also want to research and shadow, and I’m still trying to decide which one I’ll go with. Intersession course registration was this morning at 7am. My first class today was at 1:30pm, so I woke up at 6:55, stayed up for the 5 longest minutes of my life to register, and then dove back in bed. When I woke up later in the morning, I ran to the computer and signed onto our registration site immediately, because there was a very real chance that I had registered in a dream instead.

I had actually registered, fortunately, and so now I have to pick between three classes that I’m really interested in.

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The first is a course on the way US foreign policy has been shaped in the last decade in India and Pakistan. I have little to no background in all things policy, and this course sounds like a really interesting first step. At the same time, I really love narrative medicine. Some of my favorite books are by doctors like Atul Gawande and Henry Marsh, and I’ve always wanted to learn how to turn medicine in to fiction myself. This class is literallye xactly what I’ve been interested in practicing on my own, so it’s also extremely tempting. And finally, there’s the option that might just have the most utility for me. R is a language for statistical analysis, and it’s something I’ve been meaning to teach myself to help me with multivariable regression modeling for this clinical research project I’ve been working on since summer. I’m torn – in a good way I guess – and I’ll definitely be writing about the one I end up going with in the near future.

My intersession plans are still a mess, but they give me something to comfort myself with when finals start to get a bit rougher. And while it’s insane to think that the semester will be over in two more weeks, I think sixth-grade me would have thought it even more insane that I can’t wait to relax with classes and labs to unwind from it all.