Hello baby Blue Jays!
At this point, you’ve been through the whole “congratulations!!” phase with your friends and family, which might have gone something like this:
That being said, you’re all now second semester seniors! (woooo) You’re almost at the finish line, and sure, there’s always those mundane assignments and projects and quizzes, but now, there’s a very real sense that the future is arriving. Below are some things that I wish I knew before coming to Hopkins, and I hope that by telling you guys, you’ll be (slightly) better adjusted.
- Do NOT wake up late for registration. Registration at Hopkins is on a “first come first serve” basis and the registration portal opens at 7 am EST (unfortunately 4 am PST for all my west coast folks). As freshmen, you’ll be registering sometime in July (the exact date will be confirmed later). If you wake up late, you may not be able to register for the classes you want.
If you’re like me and sleep in on a daily basis, set multiple alarms! I definitely remember setting alarms for every 5 minutes before 4 am. It wasn’t a fun time, but I did get all the classes I wanted!
- Take a class outside of your comfort zone. One of the greatest things about Hopkins is its flexibility in the courses you can take, since there are no core classes. Though you may be taking many introductory classes your first semester, I highly encourage you to take a class that’s out of your major – you may find a new interest, or even just grow as a thinker.
- Let’s face it, you guys are freshmen and you’ll try really, really hard. (Not saying that this is a bad thing, but it will happen.) That being said, everybody comes early for lecture for the first two weeks or so, especially if you’re in a large, introductory class. You’ll get better seats and a better view of the board, not to mention skipping the “awkward squeezing” between rows if you come late. (This usually dies down after two weeks or so.)
- Asking for help does NOT make you a weak person. Hopkins has a TON of study resources, some of which include PILOT, a small group tutoring session, and Learning Den, which involves one-on-one tutoring. It’s okay to struggle – you’re going to school with people who are just as smart and driven as you. You’re not in this alone, and there are people here that will help you achieve what you want. However, you have to take initiative and ask!
- Go to a professor’s office hours at least once. Some of my best memories from first semester are talking with graduate students and professors who’ve been through much more than I have. It’s easy to be intimidated by them, but professors are people, too, with lives and experiences.
Clubs and Social Life
- Every semester, Hopkins has its Student Involvement Fair (SIF). Sign up for a bunch of clubs, then drop the ones that don’t interest you as much. Everyone has a different balance of academics/social life/clubs. Prioritization is key!
- It’s easy to stick with the people close to you, such as your orientation group or your floormates. While you should definitely try to get to know these people, don’t feel confined to talk to just them! You’re part of a ~1,300 person class – there are so many people to get to know as the semester goes on.
- Consequently, friend groups may change throughout the semester, as classes go on and clubs get busy. Embrace it, because you’ll also change as you seek out new interests and hobbies!
Self Care/Mental Health
- Your circadian rhythm will get thrown out of whack. I honestly have no idea how I used to get up at 6 am everyday in high school, as I’m often rushing out the door at 8:58 am for class (my wonderful roommate can attest to this).
- Remember to SLEEP. I repeat, SLEEP is WONDERFUL. It won’t be easy, I know. As a college student, you’re not gonna have your mom/dad yelling at you to go to sleep at an ungodly hour. However, I find that I’m more productive, less irritable, and happier when I get a good night’s sleep.
- You will get invited to many events, and you should say yes, when you can. However, it’s ok to say no as well. Don’t let FOMO cloud your judgment.
- Learn how to cook, especially if you’ll be living in Wolman or McCoy. You don’t have to be the next Gordon Ramsay (you’re a college student, after all), but learning how to cook will serve you a long way in knowing how to make cheap, nutritious dishes for when you’ll be an official “Adult”. The Fresh Food Cafe (our dining hall) has an omelette station where you can cook your own eggs however you’d like! Below is a picture of an omelette I cooked:
- It’s normal to feel homesick. Being from California which is 2500 miles away, I definitely felt homesick at Hopkins. However, I do believe that my time here at Hopkins caused me to cherish the time with my family and appreciate them more. Plus, modern technology exists! Call them, FaceTime them, heck, write them letters if that’s your jam.
- Amidst the whirlwind of classes, clubs, and midterms, it’s easy to forget to appreciate what you have around you. Don’t lose sight of that. Even if it’s a clear day, appreciate it.
Finally, if you decide to not heed any of my advice, at least listen to this: Invest in a good quality umbrella and rainboots. Seriously, it rains here constantly.
For all the rainy days that are here, though, the people bring more than enough sunshine to make up for it.