Last semester, I experienced the first of many lasts as a senior. I know. Weird. The thought that I am going to graduate in less than six months is beyond fathomable right now because I’m still not over how fast last year went by.

Just a month ago, I went to the Lighting of the Quads event and got a mug, yelled out trivia answers and saw the fireworks with some pretty special people one last time. I’m an extremely sappy person so obviously, standing under the fireworks, I had to romanticize my life and think back through all the amazing things I’ve done with all the amazing people I’ve met at Hopkins. While it might be early to start reminiscing about my college days, my premature nostalgia reminded me that this semester is my last opportunity to complete my college bucket list. 

January is an odd time to be a college senior. It’s not the end, but graduation is pretty damn close. And regardless of whether I’ve fully processed that, I don’t want next semester to go by without me experiencing campus and Baltimore one last time to the best of my ability. I might not even be in this country a year from now and I wouldn’t want to look back at my “college days” wishing I had done more. 

Back to me and my moment under the fireworks. I couldn’t help but think back to my scared freshman self, 8,000 miles from home, having no clue what the next four years would look like. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for college, but I can say she had nothing to be scared about. 

Coming into Hopkins, I decided that I wanted to prioritize experiences above overworking myself — picnic over rereading an essay, paintball over extra research hours, Shang-Chi over another work shift. Undoubtedly, that decision wavered as reality got in the way. Doing well in school means sacrificing some fun in the process. 

Still, I know I’ve done some memorable stuff at Hopkins. So here are some of the standout experiences I’ve had over the years here that I think you should put on your Hopkins bucket lists:

At Hopkins

  • Take an art class
    • Even if you “can’t draw for sh*t.” It is such a refreshing academic break from all the writing and problem solving to just sit, without technology, and create art.
  • While we’re on it, take Introduction to Fiction and Poetry
    • The number of my friends who are intimidated by writing surprises me. I promise you, opening a notebook and writing about your day or emotions is so powerful and healing. Take an IFP class, get that initial fear out of the way, and you might surprise yourself with your writing.
  • Go to home games
    • Going to a home game was the first time I felt school spirit at Hopkins and this continues to be a great reminder with every following game. Who doesn’t love losing their voice cheering for your team with your friends, pizza and drinks on a Saturday afternoon? 
  • Take advantage of the free premium version of Calm 
    • You already know that Hopkins students get Calm Premium for free. Specifically, listen to “Daily Calm” every day when you wake up or as you go to bed. It is the best tiny thing you can do for your mental health. 
  • Enjoy Spring Fair 
    • Spring Fair is undoubtedly the best time to be on campus with all the music, food, shops and good vibes. Side note: Get Cream Cruiser ice cream sandwiches and funnel cakes!
  • Participate in Hoptoberfest  
    • The pumpkin patch and petting zoo are the highlights of every year, with the headlining performance coming in a close second. Some of my favorite artists have been the Plain White T’s, PUBLIC and Echosmith. 
  • Stargaze on the Beach 
    • Get one of those stargazing apps and look out for constellations on a no-moon, cloudless day. You’ll be surprised how many you can see. 
  • Run or walk the Stony Run Trail around campus
  • Study at the George Peabody Library 
  • Take home a flamingo

Baltimore and Beyond 

  • Eat at Granos Pasta Bar (my favorite restaurant in the city)
  • Visit Miracle on 34th Street, Hampden
  • Visit the aquarium 
  • Get Pitango Gelato and sit at the edge of the pier at Fells Point during sunset
  • Go for a sunrise picnic on Lake Montebello 
  • Dance at Power Plant Live! on a Thursday night 
  • Go duckpin bowling — a Baltimore tradition!
  • Take your friends to the Route 40 Paintball Park 
  • Eat breakfast at the 32nd Street Farmers Market on a Saturday morning
  • Picnic at Sherwood Gardens
  • Go bar hopping at Federal Hill
  • Get vegan donuts from Cloudy Donuts and try as many flavors as you can   
  • Watch a movie at Parkway Theatre 
  • Get a loyalty membership at the Lolli and Pops (candy store at the Towson Town Center) 
    • Get free candy on your birthday and 1 pound of gummies for signing up! 
  • Take lots of trips to D.C.
  • Take a day trip to Alexandria, Va.

Of course, this list doesn’t do justice to all my incredible experiences, but these are ones that stick out the most and will stay with me for a long time. Now, I’m not graduating yet, so I still have a lot on my list to cross off. I am so grateful for all the memories I’ve had in college, and I am so excited for my last semester to create some more. These are just a few things I had on my spring 2022 list, but I’m always open to suggestions.  

  • Watch a movie at Bengies Drive-in Theatre 
  • Go axe throwing 
  • Go on a trip with the Hopkins Outdoor Club
  • Watch a lacrosse game 
  • Drink cocktails at the Bluebird Cocktail Room
  • Go to the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens games
  • Picnic at the Rawlings Conservatory 
  • Hike at Loch Raven Reservoir
  • Take a day trip to Philadelphia 

This semester more than any before, I want to make sure I leave no “let’s grab coffee sometime” plans left unmade and no “I want to go to…” un-gone. Too many people have told me how inimitable the college experience is for me to waste my last semester of it. This semester I hope you do small things that excite and challenge you — start a journal, join that club, reach out to that person, fix your sleep cycle. I hope you prioritize experiences above overworking yourself. I hope you have a bucket list-worthy spring 2022.

This story originally appeared on the Johns Hopkins News-Letter.