There may seem to be a never-ending barrage of content posted by Hopkins students who flocked back to Charles Village in early September to escape their hometowns or get the most out of their leases they couldn’t cancel. But many people (including myself) can only watch from afar. While all my Baltimore housemates patronize the 32nd Street Farmers Market, I bemoan the block-long line at Trader Joe’s. As they check out the new Ministry of Brewing, I share a Pabst Blue Ribbon with my mom.
I know it can feel lonely being so far away, so I’ve come up with a guide to help all of us who can’t hear the preacher outside CharMar from our residence. Here are some of my tips to try and replicate the feelings of Hopkins while being so far away.
If you miss:
A-Level: Go to the nearest Chipotle (or Qdoba if you’re really desperate) and order your regular. Eat half of the bowl and set the rest aside, but don’t cover it. FaceTime your friend who is the most into college football and listen to them talk to you about the Bills or the Ravens aloud as you do your homework. I promise the scent and sound will only help you be more productive.
Clavel: If you’re over 21, make margaritas at home! After drinking two or three, grill up a quesadilla and I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference between your homemade dinner and the one you’d be having in Baltimore. For the full experience, find someone in your house to make a boomerang of you clinking glasses to post to your Instagram Story!
Fresh Food Cafe (FFC): Cook your chicken approximately two minutes less than the recipe calls for. Consume while listening to Ed Sheeran’s newest song.
M-Level: Get a Twitter! If you can’t loudly recount your weekend past in front of people from your freshman-year Introduction to Public Health section in person, do it online. You may have to fabricate tidbits as gossip is limited these days, but I can confirm that no one will fact check you.
Brody Cafe: Make your way to the nearest Starbucks and order the pumpkin cream cold brew. Not only will you shake from caffeine intake, it is also pretty sweet (as all the best Brody Cafe drinks are). While in line, select an acquaintance to randomly FaceTime and work on those small talk skills that have atrophied in quarantine.
Alkimia: Go to the closest coffee shop and order a cappuccino to stay (given COVID-19 guidelines, depending on where you’re from). Post a picture of it next to your Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Listen to a jazz playlist.
Gilman Hall mirror selfies: Break out that sewing machine you haven’t touched in years. Alter some of the clothing shoved in the back of your childhood bedroom’s closet (Y2K is back in, haven’t you heard?), follow a Vogue Get Ready With Me makeup tutorial, find a mirror and selfie away!
Fraternity parties: Buy some LED lights and stick them to your childhood bedroom walls; they will only strip the paint off a little. Put “Electric Love” on. Close your eyes and think about sweating with 100 other people in a basement.
The Baltimore Museum of Art: Download Google Arts and Culture and explore the galleries of 2000 leading art museums around the globe! Use the art selfie function to see what piece of art most resembles your face and post to Instagram to show that you are not only into art, but also cute!
The Beach: Buy spikeball. Practice, practice, practice. That way when you return to campus you can roll down the hill, defeat the final bosses of spikeball and claim the bottom of the Beach for good!
Karaoke at The Crown: Drink four to six beers, and open up YouTube. Put the aforementioned LED lights on. Belt your favorite karaoke classics without shame. May I recommend “Vienna” by Billy Joel, “Reelin’ in the Years” by Steely Dan and “If I Were a Boy” by the incomparable Beyoncé.
CharMar: It’ll feel embarrassing, but I know you want to do it. Go buy some bread and some chicken tenders and put them on a sandwich. Yes, it’s hard to admit that they are in fact chicken tenders and not “breaded chicken,” but that’s something we can all get over together.
Hopkins without campus can feel bleak. With no classmates to sit next to or friends to bump into on the Breezeway, it can feel hard to feel connected to Homewood. Keep your eyes out for virtual events, start to journal regularly, check the meme page regularly and make sure to create group chats with the friends that you miss.
Hopkins without people playing spikeball on the Beach or hammocking near the Freshman Quad isn’t Hopkins at all, but we can try our best to make ourselves feel as at home as we can. Check in with your friends, reach out to professors and most of all, thank God you don’t have to see that creepy Blue Jay statue standing guard the FFC.