As I’m finishing up my first semester at Hopkins, I’m hit with a need to reflect and think about the past three months. The transition from High School to College is a complicated one and not something that you can really be prepared for – you have to jump and hope that the past 18 odd years have given you the right tools to navigate to the landing.
Before I got to Hopkins, I spent hours reading Hopkins Insider posts, stalking social media, and raking through the school’s online resources. I figured if I could learn everything I could about the school, I’d know what to expect and make my Freshman Fall easier. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t helpful, but I was surprised that despite all my research and stalking, there were still surprises. SO I decided to document some of the unexpected reasons my first semester at Hopkins was so wonderful.
1. Facebook Events
Who knew that Facebook would be so important again?! I know Facebook is mostly full of posts by your grandparents and friends from 7th grade, but I would redownload the app and update your profile picture. It was definitely a surprise, but I have found a ton of really cool things happening around campus because of Facebook events. Some were weird, some were canceled, but most of them were a lot of fun. I went to a pretty tiny high school, so when something was happening everyone knew about it, but with so many different clubs and groups on campus, it can be impossible to keep up with all the cool shows, activities, and free food. Also, Facebook is home to a great meme page.
2. Dining Dollars
Every freshman meal plan comes with some combination of meal swipes and dining dollars – but no one ever uses up all of their dining dollars. Except for me. Some of my most random memories from this semester came from late-night CharMar runs. CharMar is an on-campus grocery store where you can use dining dollars to get almost anything you could want. This semester I have eaten an obscene amount of chocolate-covered pretzels, almonds, Wheat Thins, and kind bars. I have also drunk way too many “mighty mango” Naked Juices (@nakedJuices, want to sponsor me?) and Apple Juice. But then again, there’s nothing like ditching your homework, backpack, and responsibilities in the library and making the quick walk to CharMar, grabbing a lot of unhealthy food and chilling on the patio with your friends for a good old procrastination break. I didn’t expect to enjoy my time in a supermarket that much, but now I’m writing about it.
3. Levering Café
There are some people at Hopkins who can go four years without stepping in Levering Café, and frankly, I pity them. If you picture a typical old college lounge, you get levering. It is always warm in there, smells strongly of coffee, and almost always has seats. I had a class right by levering in the afternoons and so I spent quite a few afternoons in levering café reading, writing, and stressing. Of course, another amazing plus of levering Café is the actual café – it’s also the only place you can use dining dollars to buy coffee. Levering became my getaway this semester and I’m really grateful for the caffeine, ambiance, and really comfy chairs (oh! There’s also a printer which saved me on multiple occasions)
4. The Rec Center
During orientation, I somehow ended up getting a job at the Rec Center, and it has really shaped my freshman fall. First of all – having a job on campus is a really great opportunity. I’ve met a ton of really cool people, I have some disposable income to spend, and I actually started working out. All full-time students have a free full membership to the rec center, which has a weight room, cardio room, pool, climbing wall, etc and students also have free access to a bunch of group classes. I always feel guilty when I’m sitting working and watching everyone go work out, so I usually try to work out after my shift and it has really been a great day to deal with stress and become overall healthier.
I live in a triple and decided to ‘go random’, which basically means I let a computer choose my roommates for me. It was an amazing decision and I’m so grateful for my amazing roommates Kylie and Maya. Having a good vibe and support system has been really important. I didn’t expect two people a computer-generated co-habitators to make such an impact on my freshman fall, but I don’t want to imagine it without them.
- Hopkins.org – Everything you need to know, and everything you didn’t know you’d need to know is online. And not only is it online, but it is also on a modern and user-friendly website that is really easy to navigate and is incredibly helpful. It might seem trivial, but after talking to my friends from back home I’ve realized how important it really is.
- Fall – I’ve never experienced a real fall before, and OH MY GOSH. It is stunning, the weather is beautiful and everything just seems serene. It was short but it was beautiful.
- Semester.ly – It’s a game-changer for making your schedule and I’ve spent way too much time on it, but without it, I’d be dead.
- PILOT – Shout out to Preston! But seriously, PILOT is a peer lead group tutoring program for all the big lectures. Professors create extra practice problems and you work through them with students who have taken the class in previous years and gotten an A. Its another lifesaver.
- Amadeus – He’s a dog that’s the size of a small horse. His owner walks him around campus every day and loves all the attention, pictures, and petting. Amadeus has just become a staple of my first year.