Time for a walk down JHU_Allison’s memory lane. Early on in my freshman year, I wrote a blog about math. More specifically, about my lifelong math aversion. In it, I reveled in the glow of Hopkins’ distribution system, which, if you remember, could render math totally irrelevant if I so chose. And boy did I choose. I extolled the virtues of my math-free existence and swore that addition and subtraction (in Italian) were the only permutations I’d allow in my college career.

Now flash-forward to this morning, when I turned in three balance sheets.

Nope, you didn’t misread. I, JHU_Allison, the diehard Writing Sems, the Destroyer of All Things Numeric, have voluntarily taken on a class that GASP tackles some basic principles of Accounting. Today, I learned how to complete an Income Statement, a Statement of Cash Flows, and a Statement of Retained Earnings. With little-to-no tears (and a lot of internal screaming).

If that doesn’t have you worrying that the apocalypse is surely nigh, this might: Introduction to Business is just the beginning. In pursuit of my Marketing and Communications minor, I plan to take a Financial Accounting class in the spring, and balance sheets will become the least of my worries. And I had options. I have not been forced. This is not some coded “please send help” blog post a la A Series of Unfortunate Events. This is me learning the age-old, grown-up lesson: Easy is not always best.

You know you're doing Hopkins right when The Art of Syntax and A Short History of Financial Euphoria both make it onto your required reading list.

You know you’re doing Hopkins right when The Art of Syntax and A Short History of Financial Euphoria both make it onto your required reading list.

Business is inescapable. No matter what career I choose, no matter how inevitably artsy-fartsy my future will be, I know I’m going to have to get my hands dirty eventually. And though it breaks my little Liberal Arts heart, it would be naïve of me to think that business operates entirely in the abstract. I can cling to theories and definitions all I want, but at the end of the day, business deals in money. And money deals in numbers. Shocking, I know. Did I just blow your mind?

So here I am, eating my collegiate vegetables. Sure, I’d love to live in a world made exclusively of French fries (literally and figuratively), in which I write poems and read literature all day – that world sounds a lot more comfortable and certainly more fun. But that’s only good for me in moderation.

This is where my high-school English teachers would write a big “so what?” on my paper and circle it in red pen. Why does this matter? It’s just a couple of classes, some minor deviations from the norm. But more importantly, it’s a deviation from what I thought college was supposed to be. I was so excited to be studying what I’m one thousand percent in love with in the short term, that I lost sight of the long term. College can’t just be about learning what you love. There’s a bigger picture. And I owe it to myself to throw in those necessary, real-person, look-I’m-employable skills as well.

Once again, I find myself eternally grateful to be at Hopkins, a place where I don’t have to sacrifice a single passion for this newfound pragmatism. I can do both. I can get down with my bad business self before rushing home to Gilman for Intermediate Poetry: Poetic Forms. And all without succumbing to any terrifying mathematics, like calculus or linear algebra or optimization (whatever the heck that is).

I’m still me, just in a blazer.