Spring break. The holy grail of college students, particularly Hopkins students, who tend to adopt that whole “work hard; play hard” mentality as early as Orientation Week. This lovely institution has placed spring break smack dab in the middle of March, aka the longest, greyest month of the year, making it the perfect time to jet off to a sunny paradise.
And that’s just what I did.
My roommates and I took off on a week-long Caribbean cruise, and, not gonna lie, it was perfection. I have a tan and five extra pounds to prove it.
Despite my blatant urge to brag, I assure you that this post is not just an excuse for me to gush about the Bahamas and assault you with cute pictures—though I will be unabashedly doing both. As I basked in my post-vacay glow, I was struck by how shocked everyone was that we managed to pull the whole thing off a) without breaking the bank and b) without wanting to kill each other by the end of the week.
Part A is easy to tackle. I chalk it up to my roommates’ excellent research skills and pure dumb luck. We snagged an awesome last-minute cruise deal (from a sketchy albeit totally legit website) and thus were able to splurge on jacked-up airfare. To be honest, I don’t think any of us were convinced it was actually going to happen until we were sitting in the ship’s golden dining room, looking out at the turquoise water and eating ice cream lunch. Not to be confused with ice cream dinner. Or ice cream midmorning snack.
Part B gives me pause. And it has since our return. It was the first question my father asked after I got off of the plane: “Do you all still love each other?” I laughed at him, and after I hung up the phone and shared my fears with Lauren, Caroline, and Liz, they laughed too. But now that I’m back on campus and hearing similar assumptions, I’m starting to get it. We stayed in a gorgeous but teeny interior room, packed in like bikini-clad sardines. We spent countless hours together, a foursome at every meal, by the pool, on the beach, at the shows, games, and nightclubs. I don’t think I went more than 40 minutes without seeing at least one of the three, and that was usually due to showers and naps. I mean, it only makes sense that we’d be craving some space by mid-week. Even families get sick of each other, right?
But that just wasn’t our reality. Every minute spent on those pristine beaches was made infinitely better by having these three ladies by my side. It was the shared joy of being on a ~dream vacation~ with them that made it paradise. I’ll probably forget the perfect feeling of powdery sand under my feet and the perfect temperature of Caribbean waters. But I’ll never forget trolling for aloe with a hilariously crispy Caroline, sharing the perfect chocolate soufflé with Lauren, or protecting Liz from non-threatening fish. I’ll never forget the nights spent belting karaoke, dominating at trivia, or “wobble-ing” until the wee hours of the morning. As the Eurodam pulled away from the port at Fort Lauderdale, the four of us were perched in a hot tub on the main deck, sipping daiquiris while the ship started its journey toward the Bahamas. It was a quick moment, an unassuming one, but I think that’s the luckiest I’ve ever felt.
Tomorrow morning, we register for our first round of senior classes. So begins the gentle, but terrifying, descent into our last year at Hopkins. And I’m already heartsick at the thought of leaving this place behind.
You begin college thinking that you have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to do for you—career opportunities, an impressive degree, a better idea of who you are and what you want. Hopkins has given me a thousand gifts, but these girls are the greatest of them all. The illustrious Carrie Bradshaw once suggested that perhaps our girlfriends are our true soulmates. Her judgment is notoriously questionable, but I think she was onto something there. They are my soulmates, my sisters, my future bridesmaids. They make Hopkins home. And they are the piece of Hopkins that I will take with me wherever I go, from Baltimore, to the Bahamas, and beyond.