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Name: Ioannis (Yanni) N.

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Anticipated Major: Mechanical Engineering or Physics

How did you discover Hopkins and why did you decide to apply Early Decision? My college counselor told me to look into Hopkins, and I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon a school that I really liked. I chose Hopkins because of the opportunities and flexibility I will have while pursuing my interests there. I liked the idea of not applying into a specific school and the curriculum at Hopkins will allow me to take classes in all sorts of disciplines. The research opportunities also drew me to Hopkins. Having the opportunity to get my hands dirty and actually apply what I am learning and discover things early on in college will be really valuable.

Is there a quote or motto that inspires you? What is it and what does it mean to you? “Ο Τολμων Νικα” – This motto is in Greek (although it has British origins), but it translates to “who dares wins.” Although it was originally used in a military context, I have applied these words to everything I do in my life. It reminds me to take risks and to be brave: to have the courage to be proud of myself when I feel down, to be kind and genuine when others may not be, to stand up for others, and to push myself and the communities I am part of to become better. At the same time, it reminds to also have the courage to admit when I am wrong and to accept failure. Life is not a smooth ride and it takes strength to overcome its challenges. From physical, social, and academic obstacles, this motto encourages me to not give up when times get tough and to see all challenges as opportunities for growth. After all, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

What are you most excited to do in Baltimore? I hear that Baltimore has a really good food scene. I definitely want to take part in that. I am also really excited to explore the different neighborhoods in the city; coming from a big city, I appreciate the fact that every neighborhood has its own culture and it is really cool to see how people can be so unique and cool while living so close to each other.

What do you hope to get involved in on campus? I will definitely take part in a service organization. I have been doing community service the past couple years and I want to continue it in college (and beyond!). While pursuing my academic interests, I want to make sure to try to make the Hopkins/Baltimore community a better place. One of the things that attracted me to Hopkins were the research opportunities, so I also hope to get some experience working in a lab. Since I am interested in physics and engineering, I also hope to take part in Hopkins baja and expose myself to different academic, but also social, organizations.

How has your family background or life experiences shaped you? I have grown up multicultural and bilingual; both of my parents grew up in Greece, so while I attend an American school and live in Chicago, my home is a Greek one, where we eat Greek food and speak Greek. This duality has played a very important role in my life and how my identity has developed. I am the product of a mix of two different cultures which has given me a unique perspective. At times, these parts of my identity clash. While this may bother me, it also allows me to see things from different perspectives and encourages me ask questions that I otherwise would not have asked. On a different note, while my formal education has come from an American school, my development as a person has been heavily influenced by my Greek culture.

What are you most excited for about college and/or coming to Hopkins? Let’s say you are walking down the street. You may pass hundreds of people and not even make eye contact with them. As a result, these people become an insignificant shadow to your daily life. But they, just like you, have a unique story and identity. In college, I am most excited to take a moment to stop and hear these stories and share my own. I can’t wait to meet so many different people with diverse backgrounds and learn from them.

What’s your best piece of college search advice for high school students? College is four years of your life, and in my eyes, that is quite a significant amount of time. What makes this time even more important is that when you go to college you will be around 18 years old, meaning that you are still trying to discover your identity. For this reason, I encourage you to pick a place that you will thrive a a student, but also as a person. For this reason, be open. Be open to seeing new places, even ones you never heard about, since you may realize that those places are the best fit for you and where you will thrive the most.