Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 21, 2021

Adjusting to the challenges each new year presents

By ADDY PERLMAN | September 19, 2019



Perlman reflects on the struggles she has dealt with over the first few weeks of her junior year.

So it’s junior year, and it sucks. I thought the transition would be easier because I’ve been doing this whole thing for two years now. 

Freshman year is the year of bewilderment. Everything is new, and you feel that every waking moment is going to turn from the best time of your life to a cellblock in hell. 

Sophomore year you’ve totally mastered this college thing, but then second semester you find yourself just as confused as freshman year. I was completely lost sophomore year because I dropped pre-med three weeks before the end of the semester. I had the “oh no I’m going to move back into my house, inhabit the garage and live off of only Diet Coke and Cheetos” moment.

I took the summer to travel and find myself. I believed I did, but that was because of the fear of returning to school with no direction. 

Moving furniture up two flights of stairs in The Allston in the blistering heat, I was starting junior year in a sweat. Two of my best friends occupied the other rooms of the apartment and I couldn’t wait to live with them.

I thought my third try at this would go smoothly, but it turned out to be the hardest transition for me. Truly living on my own proved to be challenging. I actually had to cook for myself, and at home, my family never cooked. I essentially learned how to open a can before freshman year so that I could heat up my many cans of soup. Now I can’t rely on the FFC or Dining Dollars to save me. And I’ve been banned from using Uber Eats. 

But the problems were more than that. Being an upperclassman freaked me out. I was getting closer to graduating into adulthood, and my future plan currently consisted of traveling the world and stumbling into a job, hopefully one involving elephants. Seems plausible, right? 

Besides trying to figure out the rest of my life, I had a mini-vacay at MedStar because of kidney stones and some mysterious disease from my trip to Africa. Trying not to die, I desperately attempted to keep up with schoolwork and it was only the second week. 

From trying to figure out how to live together as best friends and as roommates, to trying to fix a broken Wii to begin the Just Dance battle, the three of us have really been put through the wringer. I lost my first set of keys within a week. We have no central AC, and one of my roommates’ window units was installed late because it was put in the wrong room, so she slept with multiple fans hitting her bed for the first two weeks. Our refrigerator broke, and my other roommate had to fall asleep to the rhythmic dripping from the shower, which goes from “the depths of hell to Antarctica” with one turn, as my roommate says. We aren’t allowed to install a dishwasher, and the fireplace is just a metal wall.

But we love it. It’s our home. It has beautiful windows, hardwood floors and is next to Carma’s with those incredible grilled cheese sandwiches. But the best part is that we’re together — though proximity to a great grilled cheese is still a close second. 

So far, junior year has been a downward spiral, but I can feel it getting better. Kidney stones are gone. I faced an emotional crisis but recovered. I ran into a glass door in front of several people, and my dignity is, well, was it really there in the first place? It may not look like it, but hey, it can only go up from here. So, here’s to another year of fun, of studying and of memories. 

Who am I kidding? What do I know? So, if it doesn’t get any better, clear out the basement, Mom and Dad, I’ll be coming home. 

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