I’m an engineer.
At least, that’s what it says on my J-card and transcript.
As such, my life consists of a lot of partial derivatives, electric fields, and crystal field diagrams. One of the coolest things at Hopkins is that this is my academic world, a world very different from students in other majors and with other interests. I have friends pursuing degrees in everything from Public Health to Art History and from Economics to Material Science, whose worlds and JHU experiences are all different from each other’s and mine.
This past weekend, a few of my friends needed to go to the National Gallery of Art for an Art History project. In an effort to obtain a change of scenery, bask in the unseasonably warm weather, and procrastinate my programming homework, I invited myself along on their little adventure. (sidenote: getting to DC from Baltimore is incredibly easy; It’s just $7 and a short train ride away.
When we arrived at the museum, it was very clear who did not belong and why. My friends were able to discuss the meaning of brush strokes and color choices and how these elements reflected the time period of the painting.
I preferred to play a game of “imitate-the-statue.”
The engineer in me did not really know what to do with myself at first. I quickly mastered the gaze-squint-step-backward technique of looking at art and learned that the guards start looking at you suspiciously if you get too close to a painting, even if it is just to see the fine details of a seventeenth-century Italian landscape.
However, as we spent more time in the museum, and the gift shop, I began to understand my friends’ passion for art history and art in general. A topic I had once written off as boring and trivial, I began to appreciate the works in the museum (and in my true, mature fashion, think about what the statues would be thinking if they were speaking to each other.)
While this was just a short excursion for me into the realm of Madonnas and marble, this is the world my friends live in every day. At Hopkins, it is so easy to pursue a variety of interests and focus on what you want to study, no matter the topic. Not only this weekend but also every day I am surprised and impressed by the variety of people I have met here and how their various talents and passions steered them to the same place. This school truly does have a lot of unique opportunities, where everyone seems to be able to find a niche.