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My last post was written from the comforts of my home in Pittsburgh, and due to the blessed/cursed finals schedule I had after Thanksgiving break, I’m now writing this post from — you guessed it — home. Finals week ended much more quickly for me than for almost everyone else I know at Hopkins — JHU_Emily just finished up her last final yesterday, for example — and I got to come home last week. In the end I think it was a blessing, but it’s definitely taken a great deal of processing to feel “done” with fall semester. Rather than emerge from a three hour final triumphantly, tossing my notes into the wind and snapping pencils in half (because this is what people normally do), I calmly emailed a final assignment on a Tuesday morning and went home less than 24 hours later. Not exactly the cathartic mic drop moment I had in mind.

Fall semester was, in a word, weird. As we all know, this word has myriad interpretations and is probably overused to the point of having no real meaning at all, but let’s deconstruct. Coming back for the second go round was something I hyped up in my head — a lot. Freshman fall is an exciting time by nature, but sophomore fall is something entirely different, more of a peaceful reacquaintance than anything else. I quickly grew accustomed to walking across campus again, to seeing friends, to JHMI-ing around when I could and spending long days and nights in Gilman Hall. Still, I came back to school refreshed and ready to settle into my Extremely Cool Room that was All Mine because “apartment living” is available to us regal sophomores at Hopkins. I finally entered Gilman for the first time in three months, and lo and behold, it got its own geotag in my absence, a geotag that makes little to no sense in the general context of Gilman but that I’m fine with nonetheless:

Technology is amazing

Technology is amazing

I had high expectations for this past semester, and on several levels, they were fulfilled. I took some really interesting classes, which you can read about here and here. I pushed myself even further as a writer by taking a journalistic writing class taught by a former New York Magazine editor and didn’t let a Hopkins science class get the best of me after all. I re-engaged with my favorite “extracurricular activities” and my favorite people, and I spent a spooky amount of time eating food in study spaces with JHU_Emily.

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Brody Black Bean Burger, a Diet Coke and a Printed Sweater: A JHU_Emily Midterms Survival Pack

Despite the anticlimactic nature of this semester’s end, I can safely say I’m glad with the way it turned out. The lack of entrance/exit fanfare was, at first, kind of disconcerting, but given the little time I had to really reflect on the term’s trajectory at school, I’m grateful to be back in a place where I can unwind and trace the productivity of the past three months. The Hopkins state of mind, while extremely important in my development as a Real Human Person, often leaves little room for release and reflection, especially in the onset of finals. Mental topics shift from this class to the next to planning a working dinner to trying to calculate potential hours of sleep for the night, and the Pittsburgh bubble, while not being a tropical vacation spot or European metropolis, will do just fine for me to unwind a bit before the next academic season. I’ll be back in about three weeks or so for Intersession Adventures 2k16, but in the meantime, you can find me over here in Pittsburgh, filling out internship and study abroad applications, sending JHU_Girija snapchats of my dog, and making lists like there’s no tomorrow — see you next year!