Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 15, 2024

The lessons and experiences Hopkins has given me

By ADDY PERLMAN | May 1, 2021



Perlman looks back on her four years at Hopkins as she prepares to graduate.

So this is it — the last week of college. And yes, my last article. Goodbye, Perls of Wisdom. It’s been fun. I’ve taken the trip down memory lane a few times this semester. I’m more sentimental than I expected. Until this week, I had the false idea that school was ending for the summer and I’d be sitting on the beach with my friends in three short months. Obviously, that’s not what’s happening. 

This week I had to face the daunting fact that I have to say goodbye to all of my best friends. Yes, we will see each other, and hopefully they will learn to put up with my “grandma-like” texting style. FaceTimes will be a must, but the calls will become less and less frequent as we all get busy with our new lives — whatever those may be. 

I’m still in the category of having no idea, so my next little phase of life will be a chaotic one, but I’m welcoming the uncertainty and the spontaneity. I’m terrified but beyond thrilled.

This last week was spent finishing up my last classes. I’m sad to be done, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the experiences I’ve had. This semester alone, I wrote a pilot, learned how to make a podcast (check out Bend Over and Cough) and created a chapbook in my final poetry class. I’ve grown closer with Writing Seminars majors and have even made new friends in this final semester. 

One of my favorite parts was finishing my poetry track with the professor I started it with. I didn’t realize how much I had learned until it was over. My writing has changed — and hopefully gotten better — but what I’ve truly learned is to be confident. 

I still sweat and almost pass out when my work is handed out for workshop or when I have to read in front of the class. That feeling won’t ever go away. Having your work critiqued is terrifying, but the comments that once made me want to switch majors have become moments of growth. I want to thank the Writing Seminars department and the wonderful professors for helping me become the person I had always hoped to evolve into during my four years here.

While I did come to Hopkins for the academics, I will be leaving with people who understand me, who put up with my constant antics and who love me for me. I waited my whole life to get to college. I think a lot of us felt this way, and when I arrived, I was afraid my expectations were never going to be met. 

I was wrong — so wrong. While college was not like the movies I had watched all through middle and high school, it was exactly the experience I had dreamed of, even if I didn’t realize it. I’ve made memories I will never forget.

Freshman year, I hopped the fence of Beer Garden with my new friends. I threw up during bio lecture, which we all know is not small. I had my heart broken. I went to my first formal. I failed my chem exam. I wanted to transfer. I made best friends. 

Sophomore year, I spent every day on M level but never opened a book. I met two people who would completely change my life. I ate “chicken tendies” with my soulmate and couple’s massage partner, and I fell for my fellow pickle connoisseur. I learned to drink through veggie straws, and I figured out who I really was. It was the best year of my college experience. 

My junior year was my most serious year. I thought I had to figure my life out. I wish I could go back and tell myself everything would be fine. That spring, we all went home. Some of my favorite people graduated, and then senior year was on the horizon. 

While it hasn’t been a conventional year, it has been an amazing one. I’ve gotten to spend quality time with people outside of frat basements and crowded parties. I’ve gotten to actually connect with people and become their friend. I’ve gotten to cement friendships I know I’ll have forever. 

I’ve spent time with my “pham” who I love so much. They are all so weird and funny and exciting, and they have made my senior year one that has been filled with love and laughter. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I know we have many more bodysurfing trips in our future. 

Senior year has also been one where I realized the people I have loved for the last four years won’t be living next door to me anymore, but I know they will be part of my life forever.

Thank you, Hopkins, for giving me an unimaginable experience. To my friends, professors and advisors, you all have changed my life. See you all soon!

Addy Perlman is a senior from Valdosta, Ga. studying Writing Seminars and Medicine, Science & the Humanities. Her column is a collection of anecdotes and personal revelations with a hint of social commentary. 

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