A couple of weeks ago, I saw the official JHU orientation 2013 video for the first time. It popped up in the Facebook message I share with my three bestfriends/about-to-be roommates. I figured it was purely for nostalgic purposes, seeing as we are steadily approaching the one-year anniversary of our own, unforgettable freshmen move-in. I, as an admittedly high-anxiety individual, am looking forward to being on the other side, to playing the role of the confident, non-lost sophomore with a year’s worth of experience under her belt. Don’t get me wrong – orientation weekend is an exciting, incredible time, but it’s not something I’d choose to do twice.
I was about two minutes into the video when I saw it: a clump of Clark girls, myself included, on our way to convocation. We look young, over-dressed, and totally uncomfortable to be in front of the camera, but it’s clearly, embarrassingly, us. And there I am, in a black peplum dress that is way unsuitable for a sweltering night in August, standing next to two girls, in totally weather-appropriate outfits, who would soon become two of the most important people in my life.
I wish I had a better story of how we met, but I don’t. Fate, chance, or the gods of the housing lottery placed them one door down from me, an act of the universe for which I am eternally grateful. As our house bonded in the heat of the hallways, we laughed and talked like old friends. That afternoon stretched into one of the latest and greatest nights I’ve had at Hopkins, with the three of us spilling our life stories in stereotypical freshmen fashion, until a girl knocked on the open door and seamlessly joined in. It sounds so cliché, but it truly, honestly felt like the four of us had known each another forever. And that was it. On one random night, a couple of days into my freshmen year, I found my people.
Of course, a lot has changed since then. We’re all actually pretty different, in terms of our majors, interests, and extracurriculars. We’ve branched out, done our own things, and made absolutely wonderful friends. I, for one, would have lost my mind long ago if I hadn’t found some awesome, fellow theatre-nerds to share in my love of gratuitous tap numbers and Aaron Tveit. But these were the girls who kept me alive during all of the ups and downs of freshman year. And I just kind of know in my gut that they’re the people who’ll be in my life forever.
Seeing us there in that captured moment, awkward as ever, really brought my gratitude to the surface. A fellow freshman in the video sums up that gratitude way more succinctly than I can: “That one person who understood you? That’s everyone here.” And it couldn’t be more true. It’s a feeling I’ve never gotten anywhere else in my life, especially in school, where I often felt somewhat out of place. Sure, I found my niches, but I always had to force myself into them, to change little things about myself in order to fit. That just isn’t how it works at Hopkins, where all the little things that make you tick, the quirks and passions that made you different, are not only celebrated, but understood.
There are a lot of reasons to choose Hopkins. There are a lot of things that make Hopkins great. But for every impressive statistic, there are fifty people with whom you’d be lucky to spend four years. So, I officially amend every response I’ve given to the ever-present “Why Hopkins?” I like the academic opportunities, but I love the student body. They’re just so…cool. And not in the unattainable, exclusive way, but in the way that makes me happy with my college choice each and every day. Orientation is fast approaching, and I could not be more excited to welcome the brand-new Blue Jays. But, most of all, I just want to be back. I miss my people.