You roll up to campus in August, with all of your belongings and all of your expectations in tow. You’re excited. You’re nervous. You don’t really know what to feel, except for maybe the desire to not see your mother cry. You move into your room, say goodbye to your family, and suddenly, you’re on your own for the first time.
You meet your roommate and find out that maybe holding doors open does indeed pay off because somehow you end up living with someone who puts up with your antics and unplugs the straightener every time you leave it on. Somehow you win the suitemate lottery as well, and you find yourself living with people who eventually become like family and make your suite feel like home.
You play awkward ice-breakers with the people on your floor and learn names, hometowns, and majors. These are your first friends in college, and from day one, they open your eyes to things you never would have otherwise experienced, from Fifa to the many uses of mason jars.
Orientation is awkward but fun, and everything still just feels so new. You start classes and join clubs, and you quickly get a reality check. Maybe you fail not only the first exam of college but also your first exam ever. Maybe you try out for the improv troupe, only to get rejected in the last round of auditions. Suddenly, you doubt everything you once thought you were good at, both academically and otherwise.
But then you impulse apply to a few groups, get some positions, and figure out that the curved grading system exists for a reason. You’re OK again.
When it comes time for Thanksgiving, you cannot wait to go home and see your friends and family. After all, it is November and you haven’t been home since August. But break is short, and you’re suddenly thrown back into the whirlwind of finals. You count down the minutes until you can get six glorious weeks away from stress, work, and having to pay to do laundry.
But something weird happens over break. You start referring to your Hopkins friends simply as your friends, rather than your friends from school. The countdown clock changes to anticipate your arrival back in Baltimore, and you can’t wait to see your adopted hometown and adopted family.
Second semester is a lot. Your classes are all new material for the first time, and you’re not even sure what language your physics textbook is written in. But through the stress and late nights in the library, you see the value of the people around you. You have friends who know that a cup of coffee is all you need to relieve your stress and are there to help you find where your code is missing a semicolon.
Snow days somehow lead to Spring Break. You’re at your house, but it feels surreal. You realize that your life is now in Baltimore and that “college” is the new normal.
You come back, fully aware that you somehow only have six weeks left before you somehow have to pack up your dorm room and say goodbye for the summer. You’re ready to lie on the beach and soak in the springtime at Hopkins. You go on adventures in the city, feel an overwhelming sense of pride at Homecoming, and then realize just how lucky you are to have landed at this place, with these amazing people, and can’t picture your life any other way.