I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that being surrounded with passionate, brilliant minds here at Hopkins is a huge blessing. I look around and see my friends who’ve helped to edit children’s books, hall-mates who are nationally ranked athletes, students who are national debate champions. Everyone here is so accomplished, and with that accomplishment oftentimes comes a clear sense of direction. However, knowing where you want to go, what you want to do, and how you want to do it is something I’ve always had trouble finding.
It can get intimidating, when your friends have their 5 year plans memorized, and you still don’t know what kind of Panini to get for lunch(the goat cheese with roast beef is the right answer), let alone what to major in or your post- college plans. I applied to Hopkins hoping to study physics and philosophy, and over the past six months, I’ve decided at various points to pursue a degree in bio-physics, classics, and Africana studies. I’m sure you can tell, I’m far from following a clearly defined road. The worst part was, I felt that most everyone around me knew what the future held for them, they were all set on their futures and I was the only one unsure of what I wanted. It was a horrible feeling, to think I was the outlier, and in crept the nagging self-doubt and uncertainty.
After a few long heart to hearts with my parents and my friends, I gained a new perspective. I had lost sight of why I wanted to come to Hopkins in the first place. I had forgotten that the biggest draw for me about Hopkins was the academic freedom I would be accorded, the flexibility in terms of academic requirements allowing me the opportunity to find myself. To really explore all my interests. Not knowing what I wanted to study, what career I wanted to pursue wasn’t a bad thing, in some sense it was the best option. I realized how many resources I have here to help me find my path. Academic advisors, the career center, the brilliant professors teaching me every day, and all those driven, successful friends of mine to help me along my way.
It also became clear to me, that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a defined path. Among the most amazing people I’ve met here are equally as unsure of their futures. Whether to go into public health, to write, law school or teaching French, I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t dead set on one track. It’s reassuring to know, that others were in the same boat as me, and we could ride the current together.
I may not know what I want to do, whether I want to go to an MD/PHD program and spend my life doing research, whether I want to pursue philosophy in academia, or fulfill my life-long dream of working as a garbage-man (don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t want to ride on the back of the truck). I do know however, that I am in the best place possible to figure it out, and I can’t wait to see where my path will lead.