It has been one month (minus two days, if we’re getting technical here) since the last day of my sophomore year at Hopkins. And while that does, by all laws of time and levels of comprehension, indicate that I am now halfway through college, I would like to kindly request that no one ever point that out to me. Seriously. Thank you.

Now that we’ve gotten the technicalities out of the way, I think I can safely bring on the sap.

I firmly believe that reflecting is one of the most important things you can ever do for yourself. Oftentimes, however, we are told not to dwell in the past. This advice generally comes along with an argument along the lines of “it is more important to live in the present”. I believe, however, that the only way that we can live in the present is if we have closure with the past. This is where reflection comes in; it is the opportunity to make sense of the past presents that we were busy living in, constantly moving through, without pausing to process.

Reflecting on period of time as a whole is undoubtedly a daunting task. It is all too easy to brush over time and adopt aggregate descriptions, like the classic (and parent-despised) “It was good.” Avoiding these rendered-meaningless adjectives requires a method of looking at the past in bits and pieces, rather than attempting to pay it regard in a lump sum. Although having our phones constantly pressed to our hands may not be the best way to “live in the present”, this generational habit secures its hosts the easiest possible vehicle for reflection: photos.

Snapshots of Second Semester Sophomore Year (an alliterate album)

Date: 1.29.2018

Description: I call this one “self-explanatory ft. my best friend Francesca” After class, I met up with Francesca to grab lunch and talk about our first day of classes! In this classic Snapchat, I was on the phone with my mom, of course, giving her an in-depth description of my first day (probably down to what I ate for breakfast, as a typical mom conversation goes.)

Date: 1.29.2018

Description: My “Big” (in my sorority) Rachel came back from her semester abroad and hosted a new apartment party!! It was so exciting to have all of our friends together in one place after being away, and it was SO special to have her back in Baltimore.

*if you’re reading this, Rachel*: you’re never allowed to leave again. graduation doesn’t exist. sorry.

Date: 2.8.2018

Description: This past semester, I was given the amazing opportunity of being on staff for JHUMUNC, the model UN conference that Hopkins hosts for high schoolers. I acted as Chair of the United Nations Development Programme, and I absolutely loved every second of it. The gavel with my name on it was an added perk 🙂

Date: 3.9.2018

Description: One Friday in March, I took the MARC train to D.C. (literally an $8 and 40 minute ride) to visit my sister Kelsey! Kelsey was interning at NPR at the time, so I got a free tour of the NPR headquarters which was such a cool experience. This highly touristy and clearly candid (ha) photo was taken to send to my parents, who were super jealous of how easy it was for me to visit Kelsey from Baltimore.

Date: 3.15.2018

Description: Special shoutout to Snapchat for preserving this memory 🙂 This photo was taken on the Thursday before Spring Break. A big group of my friends decided to go to a karaoke place called Jong Kak and sing/dance our hearts out to celebrate the beginning of Spring Break. My “Little” Addy and I had recently bought matching fuzzy giraffe onesies (as one does) and decided that we should absolutely debut them in that very public location. Needless to say, this was probably my favorite night of this semester.

Date: 4.5.2018

Description: This photo was brought to you by a spontaneous walk to Hampden (aka a really charming and funky neighborhood in Baltimore that’s a short 10 minute walk from campus!) with Rachel and Addy. It’s super misleading, because we did not, in fact, get doughnuts on this day, but we DID get Chai Peanut Butter Banana smoothies from my favorite cafe Common Ground. Yes, those are as insanely delicious as they sound. And yes, these people really do make me as happy as I look.

Date: 4.21.2018

Description: Ah, Spring Fair. There really is nothing like the weekend of Spring Fair, where everyone is outside on the Beach, listening to live music and stuffing our faces with food truck goodies for 72 hours straight. The whole campus absolutely radiates happiness. I would give a lot to go back to this weekend right now, but instead I’ll just have to look forward to next year’s Spring Fair 🙂

Date: 4.24.2018

Description: This semester, I had the pleasure of taking the course History of Modern Germany. For our final paper, we were given the opportunity to choose our own topics. I chose to write about the Jewish battle for restitution in post-World War II Germany (if you have any questions about this highly-specific topic, I now consider myself a low key expert). Something special about this class is that we were required to use print sources in addition to online resources for our papers. This task seemed entirely intimidating to my millennial brain, but ended up being so rewarding. It gave me the wonderful excuse to wander our massive library. I ended up wandering for about an hour, overwhelmed with the feeling of being utterly surrounded by knowledge: a quintessential college experience. After my little trip through the world of words, I ran around the library proclaiming to all my friends “GUYS!! THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS IN THIS LIBRARY!”

It’s the little things.

Date: 5.5.2018

Description: My birthday!!!

The morning after my friends threw me a surprise party (I have the best friends) I celebrated my birthday with brunch at Gertrude’s. This gem of a restaurant was literally right across the street from my apartment, inside the Baltimore Museum of Art. They have amazing food (we’re talking complimentary bread baskets filled with cornbread and homemade biscuits served during brunch) (yea, that kind of good.) After this delicious meal, my friends and I walked off our food babies in the BMA’s beautiful Sculpture Garden and took some polaroids. It was a really special birthday 🙂

Date: 5.17.2018

Description: Packing is the worst. Endings are also the worst. This snapchat sufficiently summarizes both of those statements.

Date: 5.21.2018

Description: This photo was not actually taken on 5.21.2018 — I’m a liar. However, May 21st was the day that my friend Madeleine sent us this picture, as we all were individually reflecting on our past semester. When I first saw this picture, I couldn’t help but realize that before this semester, most of the people in this picture weren’t friends. It’s crazy how much can change in just one semester.

I may be halfway through college (friendly reminder that I am the only one who is allowed to admit this fact) but that also means that I have half of college left to go. And I cannot wait to see what (and who) my next four semesters will bring me.