While many of the changes I experienced upon coming to Hopkins were of the most positive sort, there were still many others that brought my freshman fall to a solid grade B experience. From the craziness of O week, with its massive barbecues and friendship speed-dating, to the impending workload of finals season, I ran the gamut of emotional states last semester and, upon returning home for Christmas break, felt alarmingly —meh—.

Don’t get me wrong, fall semester had its peaks: getting into SAAB and Throat Culture ((the sketch comedy group, not the medical condition)), traversing around Baltimore’s cobblestoned neighborhood streets, and learning so much I genuinely didn’t know my brain had the mental capacity to analyze. Who knew I could successfully formulate poetry in iambic pentameter or ballad stanza? Or that I could gesticulate so wildly as I discussed the disparity between perceptions of war in literature? I certainly didn’t!

Regardless of all of these wonderful first semester attributes, freshman fall throws a lot at you, and often times it was pretty difficult to process. Forging any semblance of a social niche proved to be a lot more daunting than I expected. My academic priorities felt scattered: everyone else seemed to know exactly what they were working towards for the end of the year, sometimes for the end of their college career. If anyone felt like a leaf floating aimlessly in the winds of change, it was me (s/o to my fiction/poetry class for teaching me to melodrama.)

Needless to say, I felt some trepidation about returning for Intersession and spring semester. After being back for about a month, making several to-do lists and hacking away at them at a steady rate,  I can contentedly say that my life at Hopkins has taken a slow but sure upswing, beginning with my time during Intersession and ending with my recent membership in a sorority (???!!!) (WHUDDUP PHI MOO).

But first, an ode to Intersession and the way it made me fall hard for B’more’s charms and get back in touch with creative writing. I took a course called “Baltimore in Film, Fiction, and TV”, which essentially required me to a. watch some Baltimore-based television/film like The Wire and the original Hairspray, b. exploring Mt. Vernon to see where F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein garnered inspiration and c. writing our own piece of B’more-inspired literature as a capstone project. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to get re-acquainted with Charm City and college creative writing after such a long time away.

Wintry M.V.

  Wintry M.V.

the best

nearly died capturing this beauty

In addition to my Intersession course, I had ample time to genuinely bond with people I had become friends with over first semester but almost never got to see due to hectic schedules, different classes and separate living situations. From random hangs with MICA students to multiple late-night Uni Mini snack excursions to Throat Culture reunions, my friends and I grew closer through the ties of food, off-campus excursions, and dorm-wide hangouts that made Hopkins feel like home again. Intersession is what dreams are made of.

Mozzarella sticks on the JHMI - the only way to ride

Mozzarella sticks on the JHMI – the only way to ride ((s/o to my wife Noel))

A top priority upon my return to campus was an appointment with JHU’s Career Center, which had been described to me as “miracle-working” and “the best place on earth” by multiple friends of mine who, prior to their appointments, also felt like leaves floating aimlessly in the winds of change. Rest assured, they were not wrong in their effusive descriptions. I walked in with a sad excuse of a resume and a jumble of anxiety about my future and left half an hour later with a list of Hopkins Writing Sems overlords to email for advice/a meetup, internship opportunities to explore, and new extracurriculars that would be as enjoyable as they are resume-building. No, I don’t all of a sudden have everything figured out, but I do feel set in the right direction for the first time all year, something my first-semester self had been craving. I’ve got a follow-up appointment scheduled for next week — ya girl is movin’ on up.

100% necessary sunrise picture for continuity

100% necessary sunrise picture for continuity

Last but not least, there’s the whole Phi Mu shindig, which I’m 200% thrilled about. First semester me certainly didn’t see this coming at all, let alone high school me. I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking I was the antithesis of “sorority girl”, and that joining one meant a cultish lifestyle with pink everything and heels and sequestered houses galore. HOWEVER, upon coming to Hopkins, I slowly but surely revised my definition of a sorority. We don’t have the big, white mansions with Greek letters and columns on the facade, nor do sorority sisters keep their friend groups exclusively Greek.

Greek life here is essentially what you make of it, and for me, it’s a great way to make new friends and have a solid support system in what can often times be an overwhelming college experience. The sisters I knew from various sororities are as down to earth and diverse as can be, and observing their example made me think that perhaps my vision was narrow. Intersession meant a lot of conversations with my family and good friends about rushing, Greek life, etc., and ultimately, I decided to go for it. After rushing this past week, I can happily say that Phi Mu is the real MVP! BRING ON THE WORDPLAY (Phi Molly! Phamily! Phood!) and the pink only when absolutely necessary! Ya girl is pleased as can be.

IMG_2842

Obligatory Bid Night Pose for the Parentals

BLESSED/SHOCKED/HUNGRY

BLESSED/SHOCKED/HUNGRY

With over 100 new girls to get to know, a full class schedule of writing and marketing courses to prep for in Gilman, new activities like Thoroughfare literary magazine and News-Letter meetings, and my trusty SAAB/TC responsibilities, I’m a girl with a full planner and a better Hopkins life (which is the tagline for my new reality TV show — be on the lookout.) At this point in time, I couldn’t ask for more.