To say that I’ve been here for a while might be an overstatement, but as the first half of my time here at Hopkins draws to a close, I’m beginning to feel that way more and more frequently. Two years may be short in the span of a life, but in the span of my college lifetime, I’m approaching the upperclassmen portion of it.
And I’m terrified.
Gone are the days of living across the hall from my friends, taking classes aimlessly and involving myself in activities just for the fun of it. The home stretch is just a year ahead of me, and I’m not sure that I like it. Next year, my friends will be scattered across off-campus housing on Charles Street, St. Paul Street, and University Parkway while I take on an RA position in Homewood (a sophomore housing option).
It’s bittersweet, because I’ve wanted this job for a really long time and I’m over the moon about taking on the role, but it also signifies growing up even more than just going to college does. I’m being entrusted with the responsibility of caring for underclassmen and being a friend to them when they need it. I’m being put in charge of creating a smaller community within the larger one that is Hopkins while all of my friends learn how to pay rent and sublet their apartments and houses.
I’ve always been the type who enjoys direction and purpose. I like understanding why and how things happen, and I like having specific goals — or at least I thought I did. Going to Hopkins has changed me (certainly for the better) but I’m not sure what I want anymore. You don’t know this when you go to college because you make this decision cognitively; you don’t process it much, but trust me, two years down the road, you’ll realize that you’re signed up for the four year track to learn how to function as an adult in the real world.
I can remember high school and even middle school like it was yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, college is infinitely more amazing than all of those experiences put together, but the underlying tone of preparation that I’ve experienced over the past two years is now getting very real. When I think really hard about my time here, I suppose I came in with a specific intention. I’m here for my degree, yes, but I think more importantly, I’m here to find out what I’m trying to be. As the first half of this experience draws to a close, I’m not sure that I’ve made any progress.
I’ve learned a few things, sure, but I don’t think I know who I want to be when I leave here. I’ve learned that there is no best place to study, but there is a good mindset to be in to do so effectively. I’ve learned never to work on Thermo homework alone. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as too many temporary tattoos. I’ve learned that I only like large crowds when I know the majority of the people in it. I’ve also learned to accept that I will spend at least $60 at Spring Fair because I am incapable of ignoring henna and fried Oreos. But most importantly, I’ve learned that I love it here and I don’t want to leave.