jtai chirps picName: Jonathan Tai

Year: Sophomore

Major: Neuroscience

Hometown: New York, NY

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a dentist

What’s your biggest struggle right now?

Taking Nervous Systems II and Orgo II at the same time

What’s something that surprised you about Hopkins?

I’ve always known that there are amazing students here. Hopkins has a great reputation for a reason but something that surprised me was how students not only excel academically but use their talents, ambition, and perseverance to create change larger than themselves. Off the top of my head I can think of at least a dozen of my friends who have done incredible things outside of the classroom. Some made their own Non-Government Organizations providing healthcare to those without access to it, some have gone to Honduras to build wells and supply running water in remote villages, some (including me!) have spent their spring breaks in West Virginia building homes for the less fortunate, some work to improve the academics and provide support for local Baltimore high school students in the bottom 25% of their class, some have created their own businesses or become freelance graphic designers, and others do plenty more all while maintaining great academic performance.

What’s something you discovered lately?

Thread- a mentorship program that I’m a part of here on campus works with Baltimore City public high school students in the bottom 25% of their class facing significant obstacles outside of the classroom to help them achieve academic success as well as personal growth- has a 100% high school graduation rate since it’s inception over a decade ago. That statistic blew my mind when I first heard it because the kids in our programs all have below a 1.0 GPA and the Baltimore City public high school graduation rate is around 54%. Additionally, 86% of Thread students graduate with a 2 or 4 year degree and 86% have found employment. That’s a huge difference that Hopkins students are making!

What’s something interesting you learned in class?

Why cat eyes appear to glow in the dark

What’s a piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student?

Explore. It’s easy to get sucked into school work and feel like you don’t have time for anything else but that’s not true. Join clubs or other social groups and find out what causes you care about or what kind of people you like to be around. Get off campus and see what’s outside of the Hopkins bubble whether that means driving down to the Inner Harbor or just walking over to Hampden. Take classes that genuinely interest you, not just classes that you think have an impressive title. Don’t be afraid to take an art history class or a class on Brazilian history if it captivates you just because you’re a Pre-med. College is a great time to discover yourself, what you really want, and who you want to become.

What’s your favorite thing about this school?

The wide variety of resources and fields of study we have access too. Hopkins is known for it’s Pre-med but we also have some of the best International Studies, Public Health, Writing Seminars, French, etc programs in the US and even the world. Moreover the professors of our courses are generally very approachable and experts or even pioneers in their fields. Additionally, we have access to resources that you wouldn’t expect. For example, last semester in my Art History class we went to our library’s Special Collections and examined a rare copy of Henri Matisse’s paper cut outs. I got to spend time looking through his book while similar works of his weren’t even going on display at the MOMA back home in New York for weeks. And when the exhibition opened, all the tickets sold out!

What do you do when you’re not studying?

Go out with my friends, cook, paint, exercise, Parks and Rec or Game of Thrones.

What’s something you wish you got involved with?

I wish I got more involved with club lacrosse here. I played throughout my freshman year and it was one of my favorite experiences at Hopkins but this year I haven’t been able to continue playing.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Yik Yak, Trivia Crack, and Reddit

Why did you come to Hopkins?

It’s a great school that has some of the best academic resources and students in the world all while managing to remain humble. The student body here is so down to earth and surprisingly a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite memory since you’ve been at Hopkins?

Last winter on the first snowday of freshmen year when there was campus wide snowball fights, sledding down the beach with trashcan lids and pizza boxes, and other shenanigans. Later that day my friends and I built a pretty solid igloo outside Homewood Museum and used the big rock outside as a couch for the igloo.