What was your top choice? Where did you want to go? To be quite frank, I did not have any specific college that I wanted to. I just went through the motion of applications. Come May 1st, I had to select a college out of the ones I had been accepted in. How did I choose? Honestly, Hopkins came into my dreams that’s how I decided to come here. I chose Johns Hopkins based on my gut despite the fact that I hadn’t done a lot of research.
To say the least, orientation week at Hopkins sucked for me. People fell into groups and cliques and I felt alone. I was dealing with home sickness so I didn’t want to socialize; I wanted to go home. My RA Kelvin was extremely helpful during this time. In order to end the sadness, I began to force myself to go to events and pushed myself to talk to people.
It was around this time that I began to become friends with some of the best people in the world. It all started with this one boisterous girl named Tempest that was in a lot of my classes. She would yell “Hey Layla!” every time she saw me. I wondered if she ever got tired of greeting people like that. Turns out Tempest was in one of my small Philosophy classes. Through her I met Uju, she was extremely shy at first but little did I know. My friendship with Uju and Tempest was not very solid. We were merely acquaintances.
It’s interesting how the universe works because the next day I found Uju and Tempest talking to my suite mate Chika. That’s how our friendship began. Through Uju, Chika and I met Chioma, a shy, hard working Miami girl. (Chioma remains a bit of a mystery to all of us to this day)
Because of a small crush on the RA on the fourth floor, I met Zainub (it also helped that Tempest lived on this floor to justify our lingering). Zainub and I had the same “crazy” outlook on the world. That’s part of the reason why we clicked.
During this time, my roommate Zubia and I began to fight. We were not quite getting along. Part of it was we both had this idealistic belief that we would be each other’s best friends. This was nothing close to the truth.
Eventually, I found myself hanging around Chika, Uju, Chioma, Tempest, and Zainub all the time. It was our similar hatred for certain professors and the same suffocating feeling of too much work that bonded us despite the fact that we all had different areas of interest.
We all ended the first semester a bit poorly. And so, we vowed that the next semester would be better (well, at least some of us did). We entered the second semester with a new found sense of confidence that slowly evaporated. Second semester was just as difficult as the first. Again, like the first semester we bonded over our hatred of work and studying.
Zubia and I began to bond during the second semester at Hopkins. We began to notice the toll studying was taking on each other. So, we started to do nightly updates of each others lives. Honestly, this helped extremely with mental health. Plus, it was like we were each other’s confidants. It made us really close.
In the end, we all survived our first year at Hopkins. Although we all struggled through our classes and were challenged in ways we never have been before, we bonded even more as friends because of it.
Hopkins cutthroat environment is not a real thing. You actually tend to bond with people over your struggles. And contrary to popular belief, everyone I met throughout the year was extremely helpful.
Hopkins is definitely a challenge and sometimes you will hate it.
But hey, we wouldn’t be able to love if we couldn’t hate.