So I’m here.


It seems like just yesterday I was fumbling over bed sheet thread counts and picking the best color for my towel (I went with blue). But more importantly, it seems like just yesterday I was drowning in the deep, myth-rooted fears for my first day at Hopkins that came along with the wave of anticipation. Fears of not making friends. Fears of the “competition” I had heard so much about. Fears of the Freshman 15 (or 50). You know, all that.

But then I met the hallway. No metaphor here – just the bare white brick wall and thin green carpet that connected all the dorms on my AMR II floor. And quite literally the most important and central component to my time at Hopkins so far. I say this because it’s kind of become my multi-tool when it comes to tackling the pent up fears I had going into Hopkins.

It gave me friends.

People always told me how easy it would be to make friends in college, but I never trusted that. I mean, in high school it’s easy. You have the same classes every day, the same assigned seat, the same lunch tables at the same time, the same bus stop, the same club meetings on the same first Tuesday of every month, and the same schedule between the same homework and the same dinner. Now I was being hoisted into this world of dynamic independence, and I had absolutely no idea how I would manage to grab hold of an anchor.

And then I met the inhabitants of Clark House. First, it started with my roommate, Ajay. That grew into my neighbors. And that grew into my floor (#Clark3). And that grew into my house. Within the first few days, these people turned into a second family. One that went out to eat together, and studied together, and did nothing together.

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A bunch of us went down to Camden Yards for an Orioles game a few days after Orientation (they’re actually really good this season so far)


Clark takes over Late Night at the FFC

The hallway suddenly became the primary hub of my social life. Walking into friends’ rooms late at night and sitting down by the dozen all lined up against the walls of the hall way at 2am became a staple to my Hopkins experience. Everyone here’s so different and so similar at the same time, and it’s incredible.

It gives me smarts.

LOL @ “cutthroat competition”. Hopkins has absolutely none of the sort. I’d say this was my biggest fear going into this. But since day 1, I’ve never felt any sort of tension imposed on me by another student. In fact, I’d say Hopkins is so completely the opposite. Everyone’s so driven not to eclipse others, but to develop for themselves by learning from others.

The hallways is where we learn. We all bring out our laptops and chips and whiteboards and hammer out problems or go through slides. We do our homework together, our labs together, and our essays together, and our reading together (not our quizzes, though, we’re not about that). It creates this sort of learning ambiance I’ve never felt before in my life. A few days ago, one of my friends a few rooms down was stuck on a physics problem. For half an hour, about six of us – none of us in the class – were sprawled across the hallway’s blocky green carpet pounding our calculators furiously and shouting out numbers getting us closer to the answer. Because wanting to know things is cool here; it’s celebrated. Do yourself a favor and lay that whole “cutthroat” notion to rest once and for all.

It helps me battle the Freshman 15.

Okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve been eating a lot here. I came in with quite a few dietary restrictions, and the FFC has gone out of its way to accommodate almost all of them. Which also means I’ve been pigging out from the start.

I mean how can I not. Late Night (breakfast food served every weeknight from 9-12) is probably one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me. And this week we have a quesadilla bar (!!!!!).

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But as a house, we’ve been battling this. Working out’s out of the question…because I don’t want to have to do that. Instead, we have this thing my neighbor Dan introduced us to called the “7 minute workout”. ITS HARD, alright? It’s 30 seconds of vigorous activity, followed by 5 seconds of rest, for a straight 7 minutes. I know it sounds like a joke, but its not (not for me at least, so stop). But what makes it great is that everyone gets together, finds a spot in the hallway, and does it at the same time. To the same crappy music. And it hurts so good.

I’m so ever-grateful for that hallway. The people in it, the memories I’ve already had, everything. These first few weeks have been an amazing experience so far. I came in anxiously to an alien place, and Hopkins has already converted that into momentum driven by confidence and newfound comfort that lets me wake up every morning proud to call myself a Blue Jay and excited to see where those wings will take me.