What’s in a family?

Last month if you were to ask me this question, I would have told you a family is composed of a mom named Heather, a father named Russell, and a brother named Baron.  I would have told you a family lives under one roof and cares for each other.

But now I no longer live in Woodbury, CT.  I live under a roof with approximately 200 strangers.

One of the hardest decisions I made last spring was deciding where to live here at Hopkins.  I’m a very indecisive person; so filling out my housing form was a struggle.  I couldn’t decide what was most important to me: air conditioning, suite style living, a traditional dorm experience, my own bathroom, my own kitchen, a bathroom cleaned for me, etc.  You get the picture; too many options! In the end, I decided on the AMR’s, the freshmen housing buildings on campus that provide a traditional dorm experience.

I love every aspect of the AMR I life, but the best part about it is the feature I never knew about.  The AMR’s split all of its freshmen residents up into “houses”. These units of about 35-40 people are put into a house, each one led by an RA.  I was lucky enough to find myself in Wilson house, under the jurisdiction of our fierce RA, Jorge.

Wilson plus Jorge

Wilson plus Jorge

I guess living in the same vicinity has forced us to become close, but I was not prepared for the speed at which Wilson house bonded.  After just a week, it felt like I had known these people for months.  For example, I quickly learned that my friend Alex has undiagnosed DSPS (delayed sleep phase syndrome), that Joe makes fantastic espressos (he grinds his own beans…), that when the clock strikes 12 JHU_Dan becomes Plato, and that Julia has too many nicknames for her own good (Jewj, J-moy, J-money, yulia, Jules, JULIA).

hallway chillin

hallway chillin

Seeing my family walk out of my dorm room and realizing I wouldn’t be seeing them for at least a month suddenly made me realize that my main support system was leaving me.  I was completely on my own.  For the first time, I wasn’t living with my mom to make me soup when I was sick. I wouldn’t be able to fight over the radio station while driving my brother to school every morning.  I wouldn’t be able to play tennis with my dad and “hit the ball as hard as I could every single time.”  I no longer had my family with me.

In the past week or so, though, I realized that I was wrong.  I am living with a family-my Wilson family.  We support each other when we are having a bad day because classes are just too hard, when we have consumed copious amounts of caffeine at 3 am at Brody, or when one of us makes it into a club/group.  The sincerity of the overwhelming support is something I’ve never experienced by such a large and diverse group.

So much love..

So much love..

I googled the definition of family and came up with this:

n. pl. fam·i·lies


a. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.

b. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

2. All the members of a household under one roof.

3. A group of persons sharing common ancestry.

While we may not have parents and children in Wilson, we do share similar goals and values here.  We are committed to one another, and we even live under the same roof.  Wilson is (even by textbook definition) my family

I know Hopkins can be a tough place.  It is academically rigorous, and the transition to college isn’t the easiest nor smoothest, but I know that I have Wilson to help me through anything.

If all else fails, eat waffles

And waffles help too