Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 27, 2021

Five things I’ve learned during my freshman year

By AISHWARYA RAJE | April 25, 2013

My very first article for The News-Letter was about the things I had learned after my first week of college. It feels like just yesterday that I still needed my campus map to locate Mergenthaler Hall, or I enthusiastically headed over to the FFC thinking the food was actually adequate. I have become a more experienced Blue Jay since then, and the ins and outs of Hopkins life are finally starting to settle with me. It would be a stretch to say I have had life-changing revelations since this past September, but I have definitely learned quite a bit. As freshman year comes to a close, I would like to think I’ve become a little wiser and perhaps able to impart some knowledge to the incoming class of 2017. Here are five things I’ve learned during my freshman year at Hopkins:

1. Arguably the most significant change presented by college is the feeling of independence. Having to do my own laundry and clean my bathroom on a regular basis was something that was a bit foreign. It was up to me to keep myself healthy; I didn’t have to report to my parents when I wanted to go out, and I was completely responsible for managing my time and making my own schedule. It gave me a small glimpse of what life would be like as an adult, which was partly scary and partly exciting.

2. Hopkins really redefines the word “homework.” In high school I used to think answering two questions at the end of a story for English class was a sufficient amount of homework, but I was quickly proven wrong starting September 4, 2012. I didn’t think I would ever be reading more than 100 pages of a political journal in one night, or forcing myself to start studying for a test a week in advance. Perhaps that is because the academic motivation is so high at Hopkins that it becomes difficult to slack off. The fact that there is always work I could be doing is quite telling of the level of the university we attend.

3. Coffee is a lifesaver. In high school, there were times when I really needed it just to get through the day. In college, that became every day. I never expected to be “that girl” who was constantly walking around with a cup of coffee, but after so many late nights with minimal sleep it really felt like caffeine was my best friend. You could imagine my immense disappointment when I found out the Brody Café isn’t open 24/7.

4. At Hopkins, everyone who is anyone is at the library on Sunday evening. I just want to find a nice, comfortable spot to do all the work I procrastinated on over the weekend, but unfortunately so does everyone else. The air is filled with tension and anxiety, but also with collaboration and encouragement. If you happen to be freaking out about a Monday morning chemistry test, chances are you will find at least one other person to freak out with.

5. Don’t be a cynic. There are far too many people who will go far beyond their duties just to assist you. All of the resources that are available to us (the Learning Den, Writing Center, professors’ office hours, the Career Center) were designed to help keep students on track. I learned that getting sucked into the stigma that Hopkins is cutthroat competitive would have definitely detracted from my experience here.

Oh, and always have a designated pair of frat shoes. Trust me, you’ll need it.

Aishwarya Raje is a freshman Economics major from Princeton, N.J. She is a staff writer for The News-Letter.

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