When I least expected it, I was scrambling to turn in my last assessments and study for my finals and bam, my last fall semester was over. And honestly, it proved to be quite challenging. I don’t think that the difficulty was just from classes…there seemed to be a constant frenzy of job applications and class work and extracurricular work. There was an overhanging pressure to balance school and friends and the future, and well, the cycle could get a little stressful. Nonetheless, with 3.5 years of Hopkins under my belt, I got by with a couple of my hacks. With only 0.5 years of Hopkins to go, I decided it was okay to divulge some of my favorite secrets:

  1. Massage Tuesdays—one of the best known-yet-unknown things on campus, every Tuesday between 11 and 2 the CHEW brings a masseuse from the KKI to the Levering Lounge. She is an extremely nice lady who learns your name and remembers which one of your shoulders gives you more problems. Her 5-10 minute massages (depending on the line!) are so, very worth it. No knots in your back can lead to a joyful outlook on life.
  1. Toast with Hummus—I get made fun of to no end by my friends for this, but I think it’s the best value at Brody Café. If you need a quick lunch/dinner/snack you’ll only have to pay $2.25 and the baristas are not shy with the hummus. The price also makes me feel better about ordering this multiple times a week…and adding a coffee to my order.

that early morning view tho

  1. Talk to the Brody Baristas—I’m still stickin’ with my Brody hacks. Though this one applies to the Mudd Café and Levering, and Gilman…basically all the cafes on campus. The baristas are incredibly sweet and entertaining. It’s also nice to pull yourself out of your school shell and talk about things that happen outside the bounds of campus. Perks of being friendly include them getting to make fun of you for looking rough during finals period but rewarding you with a complimentary banana-nut muffin (saved me last week).
  1. Mornings in Mudd—writing my last hack reminded me of this hack: Mudd Café. The Daily Grind has a branch in the Mudd Atrium, but this one isn’t quite as crowded. If you’re an early bird like me, studying here around 8AM while they’re opening up is kind of soothing. Also it’s nice to stick around and still be able to snag a bagel around lunchtime. They close at 4:30PM, but they always have a fresh pot of drip coffee brewing if you, for example, rush there at 4:28 having finished a lab class wanting some caffeine (oops).
  1. Third Floor UTL—okay don’t steal this from me until I actually graduate. The UTL is an underrated study spot on campus. They’ve set up little tables by the floor to ceiling windows and there’s always the perfect amount of background buzz to keep you focused. I love the third floor spot because of the view from higher up. There’s also only Research labs on this floor, which makes it a little less crowded. [Here’s where I wish I had taken a picture that wasn’t a snapchat of the view].
  1. Garland Hall Atrium—Garland houses some scary administrative offices but the atrium of the building is really peaceful. Its convenient location across a small quad from Levering Café, makes it a great place to relax with a bite to eat or do some quick studying between classes. You’ll usually find me writing my blog here on Mondays.

view from Gilman 400

  1. Gilman Room 400—this one is tough to snag because it’s not too hush hush of a secret. If you can will your legs up the winding staircases (or wait an insanely long time for the elevator), you have to make it up to work/chill/play Pictionary/take photos from this room. It’s the closest you’ll get to the clock tower and the view is spectacular.
  1. Dunning Hall—sorry, this one only applies if you’re a Neuroscience or Behavioral Bio major. If you’re ever in a bind and forgot to pack lunch, run up to the 4th floor conference room—there’s always snacks and sometimes even fancy food from events. You can also get in after hours if you have the brain sticker. I’m forever thankful that the department loves us back.
  1. Group chats—okay a weird hack and something that most everyone has, but still necessary. Hopkins has given me some of the best friends I could ask for and the group chats we make are equally as great. My current favorite is called “Life Hit Us,” where two of my best friends and I like to complain about things. It’s a good stress reliever.

before Life Hit Us

  1. Call your family—this used to seem like a chore to me when I first got to campus, but it is something that became so necessary. Whether its calling my parents for a mutual check in, or calling my sister so we can hear about recent (mis)adventures, the conversations give me the chance to step back from a busy day and keep everything in perspective.

To numbers 1-10: thanks for a good fall semester…now let’s see what spring brings.