I’ve only gotten lost twice.
I’m going to give you a minute to let that sink in. If you know me and are reading this because of all the shameless Facebook self-advertising I’m wont to do when this is posted, then I’m confident you’re currently staring at your computer in an understandable state of shock. But on the likely chance you’ve no idea who I am, allow me to provide a compelling example of my navigational failures. I live twenty minutes from Hopkins. I’ve lived twenty minutes from Hopkins for eighteen years. And if you offered me a million dollars to get from my house to Homewood campus without the assistance of a GPS, I’d be the same cliché broke college student that I was two minutes ago.
Yes, that’s worrisome. Yes, I should work on that. Duly noted.Both of these incidents occurred on the day before classes began. As a self-aware individual, I knew better than to leave my ability to find the appropriate buildings up to chance (I’m sure we can all envision just how badly that would’ve turned out), so I devoted a substantial chunk of that Monday to the search for my classrooms. I busted out my handy dandy map (because nothing screams I AM A FRESHMAN quite like a map saved from your tour) and started off on the route I’d planned ahead of time, certain that I, a Hopkins student for goodness’ sake, could figure out how to get around what has rightfully been deemed a “walking campus.”
To make a long and pathetic story shorter and slightly less pathetic, I took a wrong turn on my way to Olin Hall (in my defense, you have to cross one whole street to reach it) and had to be saved by a kindly and intuitive security guard, who guessed my predicament without my even having to explain. And (it just gets worse) he also happened to find me wandering around the Mattin Center hours later (apparently I was high-risk enough to warrant being followed) and rescued me once more. If you’re reading this, dear security guard, I’m eternally grateful.
But even though my trial run of classes definitely did not go off without a hitch, the whole experience gave me a healthy dose of perspective. Because of these minor setbacks, I learned to appreciate the little things about my adjustment to Hopkins, like becoming so used to my paths to class that I don’t even have to think about them anymore. There is something so satisfying about settling into a routine in a place that once felt completely new.
It’s scary and overwhelming to be dropped into a foreign environment where no one is around to hold your hand, and there were definitely a couple of times during this first month when I felt, well, lost. But I celebrated the small victories. The first time I successfully navigated the library’s website. The first time I gave directions to the family of a prospective student. Even the first time I changed an ink cartridge. That’s right. I changed an ink cartridge. All by myself. I’m the freaking definition of well-adjusted.
And this quickness to recognize little triumphs has only made the big ones that much sweeter. Getting to be on the Students Admissions Advisory Board is the very sweetest of all because I know this is the beginning of something that’s going to shape and elevate my time at Hopkins. I’m head-over-heels in love with this school, and I can’t wait to start screaming it from the rooftops of the Internet.
So here I am, a month in, feeling a bit like I’ve been here five minutes and a bit like I’ve been here five years. My personal misperceptions of time aside, I’ve officially survived my first four weeks of college, and have come out on the other side more excited for the future than I ever dreamt I’d be. I’m sure there are far more challenges in store (I’ve yet to pull my first all-nighter), but I’m also sure I’ll be ready for them. Bring it on, Hopkins. Give me everything you’ve got. I know I’ll find my way.