For the last three and a half years, I’ve woken up at 6:50am on one morning a semester, opened up our registrar system, SIS, waited until 7:00:01, and hit Register. I’ve sat in a drowsy anxiety for three minutes as my course requests zipped alongside the requests of every other student in my class. I’ve reveled in the victory of a green check that says I’m enrolled, and I’ve mourned a red X that tells me that maybe my internet was a hair slower than the rest. Every year for the last 7 semesters, I’ve constructed a list of courses for the coming semester, ordered them like a football draft in my cart, and hit register.
For most semesters, the choices were easy; I had an agenda to fulfill. I had classes in my neuro major to take, upper levels in the history of medicine to check off, and the pre-med requirements to take care of. Sometimes that would leave me with the wiggle room to take another class, and that class would often be decided with friends as a group.
But last week was different. I woke up just the same, bleary and clumsy, and dragged myself over to my desk as my computer blinded me with its full brightness. But last week was my last time registering as a Hopkins undergrad.
The pressure to pick the classes I would be taking was surprisingly strong. Why should it have been? I’d done all my requirements for both majors and premed, save one intro-level neuro class I had never gotten around to. The rest of my schedule was an open canvas. No agenda. No boxes to check. One more semester to take any and every class I had every looked at but passed up the opportunity for.
I guess I could take three classes, sign up for my thesis, and be done with it. But there’s this weird feeling that’s been pushing me to wring the most out of my last semester – the chance to focus on everything I never got around to over the last seven semesters at Hopkins. The sorts of things that would broaden me way beyond my skill sets.
So here it is! My second semester senior year schedule. As of now.
Mondays and Wednesdays, all I would have is the Structure of the Nervous System. I’m all done with my neuro upper levels like this, and so I guess I don’t technically need this. And I can’t help but notice how pretty the schedule would be if that class wasn’t there. But Dr. Hendry, the professor who teaches this, has grown to become one of my favorite professors at Hopkins and has played an insanely formative role in my being able to make the most I could out of college. Plus, most med schools start off with anatomy, and I can see this class being both fulfilling and super relevant.
Cognitive Neuroscience is the reason I’m here this semester! (mainly). It’s designed for freshmen to introduce them to the ways in which the brain thinks and perceives and behaves. After that, I signed up for a class on Dutch Rennaissance art. I’ve never studied art history before, but we spent some time in my anthropology course this semester focusing on new ways of tackling the idea of seeing and art in the Netherlands. I’ve grown fascinated in their style of perspective and hyperrealism and can’t wait to spend a whole class tracing it back to its roots.
After that, I’m taking a class on the history of world civilizations and how they formed and collapsed. I’m actually really interested in ancient and medieval history, and I think it would be amazing to be able to survey all of them in the class. And, finally, I’m taking a class on the independence and reforms of India in the mid 20th century. This is going to help me a lot on my thesis.
Which brings me to my next point. I also have to spend a lot of time senior year finalizing my senior thesis in history. You’ll absolutely hear more from me about that in the near future, but all I know now is that I’ll be spending a lot of time writing alone during the semester so that I can finish my research in time to publish it.
It’s bizarre registering for the last time, and maybe it hasn’t hit me yet that this won’t happen again. But I can’t wait to make the most out of this last semester so that I can leave senior year more curious and motivated than I entered it.