The first few weeks as a college freshman are filled with a seemingly endless stream of “big moments”, and understandably so. A massive transition such as this deserves a certain degree of ceremony, like a swanky convocation event in which President Daniels gives the freshman class a verbal “welcome hug” into the Hopkins family and ends his speech with a Star Trek quote.
Still, amidst the “great hall style” events, there are plenty of small but equally as fulfilling moments that take some of the edge off of what can often feel like the most hectic and overwhelming time of your life. Here at Hopkins, we are blessed with a freakishly beautiful campus. All hail the person who decided that tree-lined everything and random patches of sunflowers were a good idea. The bench and lawn chair placements here are ideal for nice little outdoor reading/writing/life appreciation spots beneath the leaves, for those times when even the largest amount of natural light in your dorm room simply will not do (and, I warn you, for the first month that you’re here, that will be every single day). Sitting on one of the quads underneath the trees with the afternoon light streaming through the leaves and a breeze softly blowing your hair away from your face for the first time in your life — need I say more? I had this experience a few days ago and may have actually said “Well, this is just delightful,” out loud to no one in particular. Regardless, it was a small but lovely moment that reminded me how truly wonderful it is to be here.
It is the appreciation of these two types of early freshman experiences that has given me some momentum over the past few weeks, during a time that has been described to me by those who have come before me as crazy, stressful, exciting, nerve-wracking, etc. I can confirm that all of these adjectives are applicable. However, I could also go on for hours about the beauty of having a good cup of coffee or tea and a prime window seat in the Hutzler Reading Room for a study session on a rainy day in Baltimore. While the major Hopkins freshman traditions — Convocation, lighting up Gilman Hall, etc. — gave me this feeling of “I’m at HOPKINS holy MACKEREL,” those smaller moments that I so enthusiastically described have played an equally important role in how I create a more meaningful Hopkins experience for myself, and I can’t stress that enough. The ceremonies, the greenery, the quaint brick paths, the professors, the nice ladies who work the register at the FFC – all of these and more have impacted my college experience thus far, and made it that much better. Hello from Baltimore! I’m happy to be here.