In the sweltering July of 2012, Johns Hopkins was the last stop on my East-Coast college tour, and I didn’t think it was anything spectacular. There was no denying that the campus was beautiful and not quite what I had expected for a school in the city of Baltimore, but I clearly remember my favorite event of the day as grabbing a bite to eat at Gertrude’s before we set off on the long drive home. It was one of those schools that had been suggested to me, not by me, so I quickly pushed it to the “maybe” border: it didn’t jump out as my dream school or, more accurately, what I thought my dream school was at that moment.
Fast-forward to late September, and my college counselor informs me that a Hopkins Admissions Officer is coming to visit. Unfortunately on the day of her visit, in all my senior-year-last-hurrah spirit, I was dressed as a pirate to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate day. With my eye-patch, bandana, and a healthy amount of embarrassment, I walked in and introduced myself. At this point, I had been to enough information sessions to expect the traditional answers with the same statistics and a painfully happy brochure. But this one was noticeably different. She was down to earth, friendly, funny, and her answers were unique. What really stuck with me was when I asked her what her favorite part about Hopkins was, and she explained just how much she loved the wonderful, passionate, quirky (with a head-nod to my apparel) student body.
When it was time to click submit, Hopkins had made itself a contender among my other choices—though still not at the forefront. As decisions started to come in, I was at a complete loss. I hadn’t gotten into what I had ranked as my top choice, and I grew pessimistic and disappointed about the rest of my results. When the big YES! filled my screen, I was honestly taken aback. I was confused, partly because I didn’t know if the yes meant I had logged in successfully or if I had been accepted successfully, and partly because I didn’t expect it. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly excited that I had gotten into such an amazing university, but I didn’t know what to do. With my remaining choices, it seemed that Hopkins would be my best bet at an unparalleled education, and while that made me lean towards it, I knew I didn’t know too much about the community. In the weeks that followed I pored over every detail I could find, reading the websites, exploring Hopkins Interactive, and—most importantly—signing up for SOHOP. And I liked what I saw…like really liked it. After SOHOP, I took the leap and told my dad I wanted to commit. I was ecstatic (as was the rest of my family) that I had finally reached a decision, but in my head I knew that it was excitement hoping that I had made the right choice for myself and found where I belonged. Over the summer, as all the pieces came together I became more and more convinced that I had done the right thing. Within the first two weeks of school, I knew I had. I was comfortable, I was happy, and I had found a school that had everything I wanted. I had–as I told my friends and family–found my people. I absolutely love Hopkins, and I know it’s because of what I found here, not because of what I expected to find. So if you’re sitting there, unsure of what to do or where to go, take a deep breath. Visit campus if you can, talk to as many students as possible, and know that what you might have initially wanted can change when you find the right fit.