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The word “community” has always been one of those buzzwords I was supposed to be thankful I could understand.

I was supposed to have various communities at home: clubs, sports teams,friends. I had a group of friends at my synagogue, a brotherhood at camp… I never had to worry about a shortage of support.

In all honesty, community didn’t have that much meaning to me at home. Not because I didn’t care about the various groups of which I was a part, but because I was never truly outside my comfort zone, I never really needed a group of people to fall back on.
Well transitioning to college has changed all that. This past month has forced me outside of my comfort zone in ways I never thought possible. Here at Hopkins I’ve been exposed to so many new things, from grilling for over fifty people at a Hillel event, to discussing the merits of Cartesian dualism over a cup of ramen in my dorm room at 5 AM. From playing badminton against the club team to doing my own laundry (making mom proud), I’ve certainly stepped outside my comfort zone. And now that I’m outside my comfort zone, I’ve come to realize how meaningful it is that I am a part of so many communities. During my short time here at Hopkins, I’ve also added a few communities to my collection (normal people collect communities right… Right?)

Wilson: First and foremost I have my Wilson community. I’m living in AMR I Wilson House this year, and since move-in day, we’ve really been like a family. We study together, we eat together, and we go out together. We’ve baked cakes, killed bugs, and had more than one mishap with the bathrooms. We’ve shared far too many meals at Late Night at the FFC (hello freshman 15), and spent far too many hours in the Brody Learning Commons studying together, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having people to spend my time with, people to turn to with any problem, people to call my friends, has really made my transition to college life so much easier. I have no idea what I would do without my Wilson family.

Jewish life at the Hop: Coming from a Jewish background, being part of a Jewish community has always been second nature to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to Hopkins in terms of Jewish life I had heard various things about the level of involvement here, but the community here has been everything I’ve wanted and more. I’ve been so privileged to be welcomed with open arms by the Hillel and Chabad here. Both organizations have treated me like family, taking me in for Shabbat dinners, for various community service events, and providing me opportunities to become more involved.

Camp boys: Even though now we’re spread across three states, my close friends from camp make sure I’m staying grounded. The first few weeks of college have been overwhelming, in a great positive exciting way, but a way that still carries a great deal of stress. Having a community at camp, and more specifically, a group of friends from camp to make me laugh over our group text, to keep me level-headed when I’m stressing out about Chem midterms, and to keep me positive has been invaluable

Family: The most important community of all, having my family to always turn to has been best kind of safety net. Leaving home/saying goodbye to my parents and brothers was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. It was practically impossible to try to explain to my five year old brother Aaron why I wouldn’t be able to tuck him in and read him bedtimes stories anymore. Or I why I wouldn’t be there to pick up nine year old Jony from the bus and take him for ice cream. But nothing has made me realize how amazing my family is more than not having them around. As much as I miss them, the community I’ve built for 18 years at home has been incredibly supportive and with my family as my go to support group I know I can try new things here at Hopkins, because I’ll always have my family to fall back on.

As scary (at times) as starting college life can be, finding and appreciating each of these incredible communities has helped my transition immensely. Hopefully we can all find the communities that help make up who we are, and take the time out of each day to appreciate them. I can’t wait to see what other communities I’ll find here at Hopkins!