Over the past few weeks of April I’ve been helping out at the ‘lunch with current students’ portion of Blue Jay Days—special visit days the admissions office offers specifically for admitted students and also at SOHOP & DISCO Days. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to dozens of admitted students and get to start knowing the members of the class of 2022.
Lots of questions come up frequently, but one that really resonated with me was if Hopkins was hard. I think that hard, while fair, might be a misleading in this situation. Hopkins is a school made up of over five thousand talented young adults, that sort of environment is a bit of a transition for lots of incoming students who might have felt unchallenged in high school. When surrounded by such talented people the bar will be raised, not only by the university but also by yourself—seeing people around you showing their passion and talent is inspiring and definitely drives you to ask more from yourself.
Though, back to the original question at hand: is Hopkins hard? Simply, yes. It will challenge you in ways you probably never were until coming to college. That said, it is also one of the most worthwhile and rewarding experiences you will ever have. Classes, research, & any other opportunity at Hopkins will likely push you to extend yourself beyond what’s easy for you, but in my opinion, that’s one of the best parts of Hopkins. It’s in this uncomfortable stretch to new or difficult topics that I’ve learned and grown the most over the past year.
Looking back over my freshman year, or even just this past semester, I’ve grown a lot. I’ve worked on projects bigger than I could ever have imagined. I’ve tackled classes harder than I would have thought possible for me. I’ve learned so much. Personally, this is the reason why I think Hopkins is special. At the end of the day, while getting a good grade is immediately rewarding (and definitely still a goal), it’s the mental growth and spirit of perseverance that is satisfying in the long run and what will stay with you well after you’ve left Hopkins.
A recent personal example of this, is from my Digital Systems Fundamentals class. Two weeks ago we were assigned a project to create the electronic logic to manage a traffic intersection, cycling through lights and pausing when traffic is present. When I first saw this problem, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know how I would do it, but I started with what I did know. I asked questions when I needed help and worked at it. The first version I produced didn’t function right, but I troubleshot. I went through my work and found my mistakes and corrected for them, and in the end I finished the lab. This was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on at Hopkins, not just because it worked, but because of the work I put in to get it to work. It was hard, but I learned a lot. This sort of challenge happens on a weekly, if not daily basis at Hopkins. It might seem scary at first, but when you lean in and embrace the challenge, you will amaze yourself with what you can be capable of doing.