Before winter break, I always assumed Intersession would be like a giant weekend. Every day I would sleep in, loiter around, be free, live life, and sleep late. It sounded like a dream.
Not even close.
Intersession was absolutely jam packed. Having started spring semester, I can easily say that I’m getting much more sleep during the semester than I ever did during Intersession. But I also learned quickly that maybe that original kind of living wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Before Intersession, I spent two weeks at home for winter break. And it was amazing; I got to finally hang out with all of my friends, spend solid time with my family, and go places I hadn’t gone in months. But there would also be days of downtime, where I would have nothing to do and nowhere to be. The kind of day I was dreaming about during finals. But I realized after a few of them that there was something satisfying and fulfilling about having even a vague structure to the day. Weekends are fun, but a few weeks like that would have left me feeling stagnant and dazed.
Intersession, on the other hand, was the good kind of exhausting. Sure, I may not have slept as much as I should have. Sure, I should have been resting in preparation for my first uncovered semester at Hopkins. But in a way, it was relaxing and unwinding to be wound up and tangled in things that I genuinely enjoyed doing. Here’s what one of those days looked like.
I wake up. I know, right? Okay, to be fair, I had one of the earliest classes possible, but it was also an amazing course . But I’m not really thinking about how great the class is at the moment. At 7:45am, the class is the worst thing in the world.
I warm a cup of microwave oatmeal. Delicious and partially nutritious.
I leave for class.
I brave through the frozen wonderland and run into Croft Hall for my Epigenetics course. Although my project doesn’t in particular, a lot of projects in the lab I work in focus on the role of epigenetic on neural stem cells too study the fate of stem cells in adults, and I thought it would be great to have a primer in that stuff. Also, I feel like adding “epi” to the beginning of any word makes it a lot cooler. We spend the first half of class breaking down a paper and grasping the graphs, and then spend the second half learning new material from grad students from the medical campus.
Class ends, and I head for the JHMI. It’s science time.
The JHMI comes to a halt in front of the medical school and I get off, plunging head on into the cold. But the polar blast is short lived, because the Miller building that my lab is housed in is just a block away.
I flash my ID at the security guard at the door, but he just shakes his head. I look at my plastic card holder, and it’s transparent. My card. It’s on my desk. In my dorm. Aw.
My post doc, Daniel, comes down to get me. The guard slaps a purple visitors tag on my wrist, and Daniel ushers me in laughing. Super start to the day!
I break for lunch, and another undergrad from the lab and I head to this small marketplace a few blocks down from the hospital. I can’t feel my face when I get there, but this place makes it worth it. I get a pint of mac and cheese and a big big pretzel. Aneek happy.
DONE. I take the elevator down to the first floor. I’m about to head out the door, but I see a lot of people in the conference area of the floor. I see tables. Full of heaters and plates. I haven’t been going to research for long now, but I’ve been here long enough to know what this means.
CHEESE PLATTERS. I mean there’s other food too, but I make a beeline for the pepper jack and multigrain crackers. They’re all wearing suits, but I wedge past in my jeans and coat. The trick is to walk with purpose. I also take one grape (for health and all). Good good day.
I’m home. Immediately, a bunch of my house and I head to dinner at the FFC. To supplement the cheese platter.
I know I’m late, but my roommate Ajay’s gotten me to start watching House of Cards, and I’m hooked. My neighbor Prateek and I binge watch a couple episodes. They’re an hour each, so this takes up time.
So I’m not a horror movie person. I call them scaries and I avoid them at all costs. I’ve only ever seen two: The Ring at a sleepover and Nightmare on Elm Street a few weeks ago. Now, the house wanted to watch The Shining. I don’t understand why we can’t watch funnies, but they drag me downstairs and I sit quietly in the social lounge in the basement as everyone hooks up the TV.
I mean I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that bad. There were some parts for sure, but I don’t think it’ll scar me. I scourge the floor looking for Dry Erase markers so I can write redrum on peoples’ whiteboards.
We chill in our room. A bunch of us spread out and just talk. And that’s one of my favorite parts of the day. There’s this independence that Intersession affords for me to be productive and still relax mentally. It’ll probably be a couple hours until I go to sleep.
Even though Intersession may not have been the empty days of nothingness I was expecting, I’m glad it was something much more meaningful and impactful than that.