The cluelessness, uncertainty, and confusion of freshman year are over, so it seems to be time to get ready for the sophomore…slump? I don’t think so. It’s commonly said that sophomore year is more difficult than freshman year; the adjustment is mostly over and most of us have found our niches, know our way around campus, and have gotten involved in a few new activities, but we still manage to get worried and overwhelmed. As I sit here in Brody café with my chai latte and a stack of biochemistry practice exams, I am saying no more! Being overwhelmed is reasonable. Classes are harder, and more is expected of us because the freshman excuse doesn’t stick anymore. Still, I’m trying to coin a new motto, and I’m calling it the sophomore surge.
I’ve never been more active on campus, attended more club meetings, spent more time in the library, or spent more time with my friends than I have in the past month. I’m ushering in a new era and being the optimistic, productive person I found myself finding and losing over and over last year. I’m trying not to overload myself with my classes. Yes, I’m taking Organic Chemistry with Biochemistry and Differential Equations, but I’m trying to get my brain working in a different way with Introduction to Digital Photography and hopefully find a new artistic outlet. I’m a happy camper in two chemistry classes, and if that isn’t enough to smile about, I live in Charles Commons, which has more bathrooms than my home in New York.
As far as new activities are concerned, I decided to pledge Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity. I’m earning two research credits for my work in the Hanes Lab at the Center for Nanomedicine, continuing to blog with SAAB, giving interviews as an Admissions Representative, and starting my job as a student worker in undergraduate admissions this month. I love all of these things; joining a community of people with greater goals to better the Baltimore community is exciting and the pledge process is fun! I love promoting my love for Hopkins, and going in to the lab every week constantly validates what I want to do with my life.
All of these things are great, but I have to say that the single most exciting thing that has happened to me this year has been joining Johns Hopkins’s oldest a cappella group, the Octopodes (founded in 1989, by the way). Transferring out of the double degree program last fall caused me to lose the chunk of freshman year that people usually use to find activities and clubs. I seized the opportunity at the beginning of this month to re-audition for the Octopodes, hoping to reclaim some lost time, and there are no words to describe how happy I am that I did. I have sixteen new best friends from all grades and majors, and I have a place to sing every week for the rest of my time here at Hopkins. I get to do what I love with people I already love, and I get goosebumps all over again every time I get to sing with the group. If there was a stronger word than love, I’d be using it.
When I left here last spring, I was a little disappointed. I still found myself saying that Hopkins could potentially become my home, and I was frustrated that I hadn’t allowed that potential to become something tangible. I am ecstatic to say that no matter how difficult things may become in the future, that potential has manifested itself into something beautiful, and I can’t wait to see it in full bloom, because I’m finally home.