If I were writing a book on JHU_Dan’s four year experience here at Hopkins, I’d be comfortable saying that my first chapter was done. Last weekend was fall break which served as the perfect opportunity to journey back to my hometown of New City, NY to see my family for the first time since move-in. The period of time from move-in to fall break was the longest I’ll go this semester without seeing my family. To be perfectly honest it’s been really hard at times without them, while I’m loving life at Hopkins more than I could have ever imagined, there’s something to be missed about tucking my brothers in at night, and not having to do my own laundry. So on my train ride up to New York as I waited eagerly to see the Friedman family, I reflected a bit on the past seven weeks I had spent here at Hopkins. I wasn’t going home the same JHU_Dan that had left New City, I’d like to think even in seven weeks I had learned something at Hopkins, but the question was what had I learned? So to spare you lovely readers the long and winding, detailed story of JHU_Dan’s college experience, I broke down five of the larger lessons, the important stuff, a la Sparknotes.
Lesson 1: Challenge yourself
It can certainly be easy to become complacent, I guess in any aspect of life, but also in college. You can easily fall into the routine of wake up, eat, go to class, eat, study, eat, go to bed, repeat. One of the most valuable things I’ve done here is push myself, to try and take on new challenges, whether it’s taking part in the philosophy club discussions or agreeing to help run a Hillel event, I think I’ve grown the most from not allowing myself to fall into a simple routine.
Lesson 2: Coffee Coffee Coffee
I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on coffee these past seven weeks. I certainly don’t want to tell my parents either… It doesn’t help that the coffee in the Brody Learning Commons is delicious (ask for an iced Harry P. Winston, you won’t regret it), or that sometimes procrastination can lead to homework being done during the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes the only thing that can get you through studying for a midterm is a large, warm, cup of coffee. If you are already a coffee connoisseur you’ll love all the options here on Homewood, and if you’re not yet an addict, fret not, on campus cafes have great tea selections as well.
Lesson 3: Branch Out
I’ve been lucky enough to have a solid group of friends from day one (obligatory shout-out to Wilson House), and to have found friends in classes and from various organizations. It’s been incredible getting to know people from all ranges of diverse backgrounds, some are Kenyan immigrants, others have years of equestrian experience at the Junior Olympic level, but everyone here has something interesting to share, some unique story. It’s been incredibly valuable just to make new friends and get to know people, to hear about their backgrounds and take advantage of the diversity here at Hopkins.
Lesson 4: The importance of going to class
After a late night spent out with friends, or finishing up that Philosophy paper, waking up for that 9 AM class doesn’t seem so alluring. I’ll admit I’ve turned off my alarm more than once so that I could get an extra hour of rest. My thought process usually operating along the lines of “It’s too early to wake up, let me skip class, I’ll just read the textbook”. While that logic seems to work with a blaring alarm at 8:30 AM, in my experience it doesn’t hold up most of the time. So when you’re in that situation, go to class, you won’t regret it… Or at least, your midterm grades will thank you for it.
Lesson 5: Have fun
Hopkins is a school known well for the incredible intellectual opportunities it offers, rare is the place where you can listen to a lecture on the philosophy of science from a Nobel Laureate in physics, and then have an opportunity to chat with him about his work. But equally as important are all the fun things going on here. Not to say academics isn’t fun, it can be, but it’s always important to have an outlet. These past seven weeks I’ve been challenged academically in ways I never have been before. I knew that was what I wanted when I applied, and I love every second of it, nevertheless there are times when you just need to blow off a little steam. So whether it’s participating in a scavenger hunt around campus, carving a pumpkin, dancing, singing, working out, playing Super Smash Bros with your friends, or just eating (nothing wrong with using eating as a form of stress relief) there are an incredible amount of opportunities that can be taken advantage of here to have some fun. It’s up to us to take advantage of them, I know I have been so far, and will continue to do so, albeit perhaps with less eating.
There’s still much of the JHU_Dan Hopkins story to be written, many chapters to read through, (or if you’re like me, skim through) but I know that Hopkins is the place for me because I’m not at all apprehensive about what these chapters will look like, rather, I’m excited to be living them.