Fresh perspective on the complaining culture

By CARISSA RATANAPHANYARAT | March 28, 2013

Welcome to #Hopkinstudentproblems, the column where the common complaints, sufferings, and troubles attributed to Hopkins Hell, or, The Dark Side, will be voiced by the awesome, all-knowing Carissa Ratanaphanyarat, judged from her perspective, and then published to join the myriad of other wretched Hopkins complaints harmonizing in the Brody Learning Commons 24/7. No, this is not Hopkins Problem Students Anonymous, nor are you reading a bi-monthly rant session by Debbie Downers that managed to take over advertising space in The News-Letter. Rather, as a Writing Seminars major — which, according to a recent BME grad, automatically earns me hipster status at Hopkins — my job is to complain about mainstream Hopkins complaints without acting like a mainstream Hopkins student. So, here is my “bang” as I start off by appropriately complaining in a column named #Hopkinstudentproblems.

However, let us establish my authority first. Who am I to judge the perfect (or, depending on who you are and how close finals week is, not so perfect) Johns Hopkins University? I am a former film school student, longtime Joel Stein-worshipper, Benedict Cumberbatch voice-lover, and tardigrade aficionado all rolled into one. I am a fall 2012 Hopkins transfer student who dares to pursue the path to Hollywood contrary to the stereotype, which should shut the mouths of those of say all students here either want to be the next Feynman or friendly physician at your local hospital. Some may think that as a transfer student who is accustomed to taking film and acting classes and has jumped into Hopkins without a semester of covered grades, I could easily find reasons to complain. I have to admit…there are certain trade-offs to giving up Disneyland , my annual Disney Passport, permanent walk-on-campus-in-a-bikini weather, beaches, owning my friend in a “beginners game” of table tennis at 5 a.m. in the morning during a “study session,” celebrity stalking in LA, and biannual undie runs.  Especially in exchange for two years of hardcore students trying to scare me by sitting in library cubicles and studying without succumbing to Facebook or the latest cat web video. But, as a Hopkins student, I get to enroll in classes that do not make me check my wallet to see if I have money for a coke after class. In fact, I have found that Hopkins seminars and lectures even rival my interest for people watching in the Gilman Atrium. Best of all, I do not have to walk forty-five minutes to the nearest Target to buy groceries. Instead, I walk a mere ten minutes, and allot the precious leftover thirty-five minutes to “study,” aka watch YouTube videos.  I even continue to get a taste of my previous film school life with a Hopkins spin—I can now look forward to Hopkins’ first film conference in September which will feature abstracts regarding the relationship between technology, science, and film.

Going to Hopkins was a difficult decision to make. Deciding if I would rather continue complaining about being too lazy (which, admittedly, was entirely my fault) or drowning in a work overload, a common predicament at Hopkins as claimed by several dramatic posters on College Confidential and www.studentsreview.com, was a difficult choice at the time. Naturally, as the epitome of a good Hopkins student, I read all the critiques, conducted thorough research like a future student attending a major research university would, and decided to become a Blue Jay. Yes, I was one of the “crazy” ones who came here for the work and its accompanying load.

By using the scientific method, I quickly discovered that students at Hopkins probably complain just as much as people at Ex-University, which has led me to conclude that finding problems with one’s school is possibly a trait many college students share. According to some girls in the campus Jacuzzi I walked past at Ex-University (yes, we did have a Jacuzzi), the number of good-looking females far outnumbered the “super hot” frat boys. Online websites say Hopkins students develop Hopkins Impaired Vision. And then on a more serious note, I have observed that some students have existential crises that they are not “smart enough,” and others because they are “too damn ugly.” You can decide which kinds of students go to which school(s).

So, what can I say about complaints? I am not a psychology major or minor, and have not read enough psychology books or conducted enough research to make a conclusion that could be solidly backed up. However, I can say I have found complaints and problems at both schools, and I have had my own days on both of America’s coasts when I have been tempted to question whether my Coca-Cola addiction is taking over my mind in weird ways. But then I shrug it off, tell myself to move on from what could have been and to enjoy that all-nighter in D-Level with my liter of Coca-Cola anyway. And with that, cheers to this “trailer,” and welcome to #Hopkinstudentproblems.

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