Hello friends! Welcome to “Gilman Girl,” my new and improved internet crib here on Hopkins Interactive. I’m back in Balti for Round 2 of college-ing, and with my superior sophomore status comes a whole new space on which to tell you about it. For those of you who are intrigued by the name of my blog, I’m taking the time today to give you its unabridged origin story, an epic tale that (eventually) makes its way to present times.
Gilman is the big humanities building on campus, a Hopkins cornerstone complete with a bell tower, red brick, and dangerously smooth marble steps leading to its interior. While there’s an official name for the quad it sits on, most students forget that name within several hours of learning it and simply say “the Gilman quad” from then on; if that isn’t baller, I don’t know what is.
My first official encounter with Gilman happened during my Admitted Students Day tour, in which I slipped up the aforementioned marble steps, interrupting the silent social awkwardness of my tour group by inducing several gasps and one very loud “Are you okay?” from my tour guide. Months later, after many tense and unsuccessful study sessions in Brody Learning Commons, I tried again to make my way into Gilman. I went to the door of the Hutzler Reading Room, pulled a door that was only ever meant to be pushed, made a cracking sound that probably echoed throughout the entire building, and made intense eye contact with the twenty or so people on the other side of the glass before speed walking away in yet another fit of embarrassment.
Still, with a resilience I didn’t know I had, I tried again just a week or so later. I had learned from my mistake, I pushed the door open, found a table to casually snag, and the rest is history. Ya girl was home.
Maybe all of this sounds overhyped; maybe people shouldn’t really care about where they study. For me and for many, however, Gilman is a lot more than just your average work station with outlets and tables. It’s a place where studying, socializing, eating, and the humanities converge in distinct harmony, where homework sessions and homework breaks are both very close at hand. Moments of repose after a long stretch of homeworking in the Hut are only an empanada and a few steps away, thanks to the proximity of Alkimia (Gilman’s café) and the Atrium, a more open and naturally lit expanse in the center of the building.
Moreover, Gilman was the first place at Hopkins that felt conducive to my interests and natural inclinations as a Writing Seminars major who often felt swallowed up by the “science-y vibes” of campus upon initial impact. Philosophy majors intermingle with Sociology or Anthro homies, Writing Sems majors sit on those big leather couches to do some class readings, and graduate students abound with their quintessential canvas bags full of books to read for their dissertations. I’m giving a oversimplified, cheesy swatch of Gilman’s “local color,” but you get the idea. It’s an interesting — and, for freshman Molly, weirdly inspiring — mixture of Hopkins people.
HOWEVER, don’t get me wrong: plenty of science peeps wander into Gilman as well and feel right at home. Take our very own JHU_Emily, for example, a junior BME who is, I promise, a lot happier to be in Gilman than this picture implies:
Just to clarify, I’m not the Gilman Girl (she’s an urban legend). I’m just a Gilman Girl, one of many (holla at my Gilman ladies, past and present) who made it a second home, who probably spends way too much time there, and who isn’t planning on changing those antics anytime soon. The stained glass windows, the flyer-covered walls, the diverse seating choices — it’s good to be back in my hood.