Hello, I’m Mikayla! I’m excited to share my perspective about Hopkins and my decision to transfer here! This school has been extremely rewarding, and I’ve grown to love the campus and all the amazing people I’ve met. I transferred to Hopkins for a variety of reasons. I wanted a university with an emphasis on research opportunities, a focus on STEM, and helpful professors.

After arriving at Hopkins, I can confidently say that all my expectations were fulfilled and then some! I recently got involved in research I am very passionate about with Dr. Umesh Korde. We are studying the effects of waves and currents on coral reefs and using this knowledge to devise natural solutions to mitigate coral reef bleaching. I took a class with Dr. Korde where he spoke about some of his research topics. I was very interested in them, so I sent an email asking if we could set up a meeting to talk about potential research opportunities!

Seeking help from professors has been very easy; all the professors in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering are approachable and passionate about their studies and research. It’s inspired me. Through class, I’ve also made many friends. Initially, I felt super nervous about meeting new people, but everyone was very welcoming. Asking to study together or review homework/notes was a great way to get to know my classmates. 

One of the other reasons I transferred to Hopkins was because I was interested in living in an urban setting. Coming from the suburbs of New York, it was exciting, but also a little nerve-racking, to have a new living situation. I was surprised to find the transition was very smooth! It helps that most undergraduate living and learning are centered on the Homewood campus, so it feels like you aren’t thrown into the middle of the city. The campus itself feels like a different world. It has lots of trees and quads, creating a nice escape from what you might think of as a traditional city. 

To help myself adjust more easily, I explored St. Paul Street and the many places to eat, such as Chinese restaurants, Chipotle, smoothie places, and good ramen spots—all conveniently close to campus. I also downloaded the TransLoc app, which provides updates on free transportation and tracking so you don’t miss your bus. 

My favorite thing that helped me become the most comfortable with Baltimore is exploring places to eat off campus. Clavel is a Mexican restaurant that’s popular among Hopkins students. Walking around the Inner Harbor is one of my go-to weekend activities to de-stress with friends. Some of the other places I enjoy near the water are Rec Pier Chop House, an Italian restaurant where I had some of the best food, and The Dara in Fells Point, where you can get yummy Thai food with a nice ambiance. 

When the weather is nice, my friends and I like to walk from campus to Hampden, where we grab coffee and a nice treat on the weekends to hang out or study in a new location. Hampden is a cute neighborhood with a lot of shops and tree-lined streets, making it very pretty in the fall. Baltimore is also conveniently close to Washington, DC, so my friends and I have made a day trip to the White House! 

I love Hopkins because of all the available campus resources and club opportunities, which I’ve taken advantage of since my first year. One of my favorite campus resources, especially since I am on the hunt for a job, is the Life Design Lab. During a one-on-one call with a Life Design Educator, we reviewed my resume, and I received some great advice to help me take a step forward in my applications!  

When I arrived in the fall, I made sure to join a few clubs that felt complementary to my schedule but not a burden. I got involved in a sorority and the women’s club soccer team. Both activities allowed me to meet many new people I hadn’t encountered in my classes and other activities! However, one of my favorite involvements at Hopkins is my position as a Transfer First-Year Mentor (FYM). FYMs are current students who are there to support you during your entire first year by organizing group hangouts, sharing info on campus resources, and more. 

Becoming an FYM was meaningful to me because my FYM back in 2022 provided me with many helpful tips to adjust as a transfer student. I also met some good friends through the process. What I’ve learned and would love new students to know is that it’s really important to put yourself out there. As awkward and intimidating as it can be, people are always open to providing help and making new connections. Also, don’t hesitate to strike up conversations with students during orientation. You may feel nervous, but they are in the same boat! Asking my FYM questions was very helpful for me in gaining a current student’s perspective. My other piece of advice is to try not to compare yourself to everyone else. Take it easy the first semester and give yourself some slack; transitioning into a new environment is never easy. 

So far, some of my favorite activities as an FYM are creating Halloween goodie bags, providing small succulents and cookies, and coordinating events with other transfer groups for my mentees. During FYM training, we also had the opportunity to go on a boat cruise in the Chesapeake Bay! 

Overall, I would like new or potential students to know Hopkins is an academically rigorous school, yet there are amazing and helpful opportunities to ensure your success and that you enjoy your time while here!