When I moved into AMR III on a balmy August day, I knew a couple things: 1) I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and 2) I was ready to take advantage of all things Hopkins. I applied early decision way back in 2017 (I’m feeling old), essentially hoping Johns Hopkins himself would throw a “life plan” right in front of my face. That came true, kind of.
An ad in the Public Health Studies newsletter piqued my interest during the second week of classes, and I decided to sign up for the SciTech section of The News-Letter. I figured it would be a good way to meet people and get experience writing about science. Little did I know that I’d get those things and much, much more.
It wasn’t until January of my sophomore year (yep, right before you-know-what happened) that I realized some of the best experiences of my Hopkins career were late nights laying out pages in the Gatehouse, interviewing students about their work and attending events I probably would have skipped if I wasn’t writing about them. The News-Letter pushed me out of my comfort zone and toward my passion.
Now, as I enter my senior year, my sights are set on journalism (please, someone hire me). I’d never even considered this career before coming to Hopkins, so I guess my pre-college wish came true! However, becoming the next Wolf Blitzer (hey Hopkins alum) isn’t the only reason you should join The News-Letter.
Writing for the paper is the best way to get to know our University and all the people who make it great. Writing for the paper teaches you how to write and talk to strangers. Writing for the paper is rewarding — you will see the fruits of your labor published on the internet. And, of course, writing for the paper means you’ll form relationships working in the Gatehouse.
We cannot wait to read what you write (or copy edit or design or draw)!
The first few days of 2020, I was completely unaware of the virus that was about to change our lives forever. I had no idea that, a year and a half later, I would be entering my junior year of college without ever having a spring break or that I had mere weeks left in on-campus housing. What I did know, however, was that I was completely apathetic to the idea of going back to school in a few weeks.
Winter break was rapidly coming to an end, and I had come to the realization that, despite having gotten through the first semester, I was still much more comfortable at home in Brooklyn than at Hopkins. I didn’t miss school in the same way I had missed home during the fall, and the thought of returning to Baltimore at the end of the month was not exciting to me. Tired of dwelling in my apathy, I decided to look for opportunities that would make me more enthusiastic about my second semester of college. That is how I found The News-Letter.
I sat silently through my first News & Features meeting in the Gatehouse, lacking confidence in my journalism skills as I had absolutely no experience. I was used to writing coming somewhat easily to me, but this was not the case with The News-Letter. The first few articles I did submit came back full of comments from the News & Features editors; the versions that appeared in the paper were virtually unrecognizable from my first drafts.
I kept at it, though, driven by the feeling that I was finally contributing something meaningful to the campus and community around me. When we were sent home that March, I knew that I wanted to keep writing for the paper. Though I was back in New York, hundreds of miles from Baltimore, covering student groups’ transition to virtual events and COVID-19 updates from University leaders allowed me to feel a part of the University even though the Hopkins community was spread across the globe.
Over the course of that spring and summer, during a time when I could have given into January me’s wishes and completely disconnected from campus, I felt more involved than ever. I spoke to countless peers over the phone during interviews and learned more about my classmates, Hopkins and Baltimore than I had when I had been waking up there every morning.
Even once I was back in Baltimore, The News-Letter allowed me to connect with the city I was living in beyond just the “Hopkins bubble.” During interviews with fellow students, I received restaurant recommendations, heard about the organizations they are involved with across the city and learned about how my peers have made Baltimore feel like home.
Beyond that, I was able to speak with city representatives and residents of the communities surrounding Hopkins. I spoke with residents of Charles Village about how the University’s decision to bring students back in the spring impacted them. For The News-Letter’s 2020-21 Poynter College Media Project, I spoke with activists in the city about the role of the Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore. I know with certainty that I would never have had these conversations without The News-Letter’s facilitation, and I am so glad that I did.
Entering junior year, there are still a lot of unknowns: Mask mandates and social distancing guidelines are changing both at a campus and city level. The pandemic is far from over, and the only certainty with it, I feel, is its unpredictability.
There are, however, some things I know for certain: The News-Letter will cover these changes as they come. Its dedicated, spirited, tireless staff will continue to inspire me. And, of course, my college experience has been forever improved because I joined this paper. I am happy to report, days away from moving back to Baltimore, that I am now very excited to return.