Let’s set the scene. You’re a rising freshman, and you’ve been added to the group page for your class. In the heat of the summer, you’re sweating. You start sweating even more as your thumb sits a centimeter above the “Post” button. After spending a little over a minute thinking of a way to phrase your question, you hesitate to follow through because you fear that it’s dramatic music a “stupid question.”

We’ve all been there, and I’m sure some of you reading this might also have a few questions that you don’t want to ask in front of all your classmates. In honor of the new semester beginning in about a month, I thought I’d share some of the “stupid questions” I had when I was a baby blue jay!

Is there a gym at Hopkins? What’s in there? Is it intimidating?

Photo of the Ralph S. O’Conner recreation center. Image credit: JHU Rec.

Yes there is! The Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation center has a fitness room, a weight room, a ROCK CLIMBING WALL, a martial arts room, and more, and it’s all free for full-time students at Homewood. In addition, there are so many group fitness and a new program called F45 that’s really great for those who want to jump-start that fitness glo-up! 

And no, the weight room is not at all intimidating as you might think. One of the great things about the Hopkins environment is that everyone is eager to support each other, and there are no judgmental vibes whatsoever. I remember dropping the bar while doing a bench press, and the people around me all offered to help. ~blessed~

Is the Freshman 15 real?

It can be, but it doesn’t have to! Freshman 15 is a part of the college experience that you should ~embrace~ and never be ashamed of, but if you’re really motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle at Hopkins, here are some tips that I found helpful:

  • Check out the Rec Center, as described above!
  • The FFC has so many healthy options, so take advantage of the fresh veggies, whole grains, and protein!
  • Walk up the stairs instead of using elevators whenever you can.
  • Take a jog around campus
  • Take a break in between your study sessions, and opt for the amazing Cold Brew from Levering Cafe rather than a mocha every day (but definitely splurge from time to time)

How does laundry work?

Ahh, laundry. As embarrassing as it is, I didn’t do laundry that much before I got to college. I remember learning how to, but always giving up because I kept forgetting. But don’t worry; it’s simple! Each of the residence halls has a laundry room, and you can pay to do laundry either with quarters or J-Cash. Basically,

  • Dump your clothes in the washer.

  • Add your detergent.

  • Pay for the washing (either by J-card at the kiosk or with quarters in the machine)

  • Choose your settings and hit start!

  • Once you’re done waiting, move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, and put in a dryer sheet if desired.
  • Pay for the drying.
  • Choose your settings and hit start!
  • Bask in the warmth and fresh scent of your squeaky clean clothes.

If you’re up to it, definitely separate white clothes and brightly colored clothes, so as to avoid pulling a Rachel from friends and having a red sock turn your laundry bright pink!

What are the people like? Are they cutthroat or mean?

Just like at any college, you’ll find a variety of people, each with different personalities. In my experience, however, I’ve found that most people I’ve met have been super supportive of each other and eager to help out when you need it. 

Can you major in more than one thing?

Yup! When you meet with your advisor during spring semester of your freshman year, you will have the option to declare your major(s). At that point, you will be allowed to choose a second one to major in if you would like, but you can also declare during sophomore year as well!

Will I get homesick?

Some do, some don’t. I remember at toward the end of fall semester of my freshman year, the homesickness did hit me a bit. However, I was surrounded by lots of great people (some of whom were also experiencing the same thing) who acted as a great support system for whenever I felt down.

I keep hearing about PILOT. What is it?

PILOT sessions are external group tutoring sessions led by student leaders, occurring once a week. They’re separate from TA sessions, but work in a similar regard in that they review the content but the difference is that PILOT sessions focus around a problem set each week. They’re highly competitive in terms of signing up for them due to space restrictions—-so my recommendation is on the first day of class, check your email right away for when PILOT signups come out!

What school supplies do I need?

Unlike in high school, your college professors won’t be strict on materials that you’ll need for class. You will almost always need something to take notes with though! I opt for a binder and filler paper to take notes so I can organize materials by class. Others prefer notebooks or even tablets. I would also suggest ensuring that you have good writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters, and colored markers if you’re ~fancy~).