Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 19, 2020

A summary of my first semester at Hopkins

By GILLIAN LELCHUK | November 20, 2014

The conclusion of my first semester here at Hopkins is approaching, and I’m feeling a little nostalgic for my initial arrival. I showed up at Hopkins with bright eyes and excitement for the classes that I’d chosen, for my future, for my major in Writing Seminars and my minor in mathematics.

Well, that bubble burst. Not completely, but enough to have realigned my expectations for college. I suppose that my eyes are still bright, but they’re pretty tired, a little bloodshot and accented with deep, dark bags that would leave Mary Poppins jealous. Why? Well, it comes down to one thing: Hopkins is hard.

I know, shocker — this elite university requires you to actually study and learn and work for your grades? I don’t know why I expected college to be as easy as do-your-homework-and-get-by high school, but getting my first calc midterm back brought me down about 26 notches on the I’m-the-smartest-kid-in-the-room scale.

Yeah, so I’m no longer a math minor. Did you know calculus is hard? I didn’t then, but I certainly do now. But hey, I’m finished with my NQE distribution requirements, so who I am to complain?

Really, though, the rest of the semester has been pretty great. With the exception of calc and a philosophy class required of me for my major, I’ve actually enjoyed my classes. I’m taking a freshman seminar for which my only homework is to watch a movie each week, so that’s way better than anything I did in high school.

As far as academics go, I would consider my first semester a success. And as far as everything else, I’ve met so many amazing people, and I am so grateful for all the extracurricular opportunities afforded to me here at Hopkins.

Just last month, I was the assistant stage manager for the Barnstormers’ production of Is He Dead? by Mark Twain. At first, I was a little apprehensive about making such a big commitment my first semester, but I am so thankful that I was welcomed so quickly into the theater community. If you didn’t get the chance to see our show, you should definitely check out our musical in the spring — more information to come.

The biggest adjustment has probably been getting used to dorm life, but I’d say I’ve adapted pretty well. My roommate and I get along, and I am not complaining about my unlimited meal plan or about Building B’s proximity to the FFC. Note: the freshman fifteen is not a myth. I am probably headed toward the freshman fifty, a phrase I once used as a joke. Now, it is a real possibility.

Amidst all my studies and extracurriculars, I’ve managed to explore Baltimore a bit, and the city seems pretty cool. We’ve got a lot of nice restaurants, a pretty good transportation system and our concert venues aren’t too shabby. I haven’t had the chance to check out the farmer’s market, Fell’s Point or Hampden, but I’ve still got plenty of time left for that.

Fall in and of itself is something new to me. I’m from Southern California where palm trees stay green all year, so getting to watch the leaves actually change color has been incredible. While I’ve already experienced temperatures lower than what I’d thought possible, I’m excited to finally have a real winter. With finals looming ever closer, I’m looking forward to a nice, long, relaxing winter break. I might be a little more jaded than I was upon my arrival, but I’m enthusiastic about next semester (no more math!). I look forward to spending another three and a half years with the Blue Jay community.

At Hopkins, we truly are a community. Whether that involves finding someone to sit with in the FFC, watching a complete stranger’s laptop in the Brody reading room or participating in a rousing round of condom bingo, the Hopkins community is always present. We may not be very present at sports games, but you won’t have to look far to find a study buddy.

That’s it then, as far as this semester went. Now I just need to get through finals, and then I can head into the spring semester much more levelheaded.

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