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

Your guide to need-to-know Hopkins slang

By REBECCA MURATORE | August 31, 2021



While “The Beach” has no sand or waves, students still use it to hang out with friends and sunbathe.

Now that you’ve arrived at Hopkins, there is a lot you need to take in all at once. It is certainly overwhelming, especially when people are throwing around lingo and jargon that might as well be in a different language. Here are the explanations behind some of the most common Hopkins lingo to help you get the hang of things.

FFC: First and foremost: food. The Fresh Food Cafe is the main dining hall on campus, and it’s where you’ll eat many of your meals and run into many of your fellow freshman classmates. One meal swipe gets you access to the all-you-can-eat buffet with a variety of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Nolan’s: Nolan’s is another buffet-style dining hall located in Charles Commons. Open for dinner, it’s an option for when you want to change things up from the FFC, or if you live close by and are too lazy to walk elsewhere for food.

Dining dollars: Along with the meal swipes you can use at the FFC, dining dollars also come with every meal plan. These can be used to buy food at various dining locations around campus, such as Levering Kitchens in Levering Hall (which is open for lunch Monday through Friday) and CharMar.

J-Cash: J-Cash is money you can load onto your J-Card like a debit card. It can be used to make purchases at any of the dining locations or coffee shops on campus, as well as at locations on St. Paul Street, like Barnes & Noble.

CharMar: At Charles Street Market, you can buy groceries, get pre-made meals and even get tasty treats like crepes from the Crepe Studio. Along with accepting dining dollars, J-Cash and other payment options, CharMar also has the Meal-in-a-Minute option where you can use a meal swipe on a grab-and-go lunch. Located right across the street from the Beach, it’s where you’ll most likely get all of your food when you get sick of the FFC or have too many dining dollars left at the end of the semester.

The Beach: The Beach is the grassy expanse right behind the Hopkins sign. Sadly there are no ocean waves and sandy shores at Hopkins, but like other beaches, you’ll find many students lying out on blankets, tossing frisbees and soaking in the sun on bright days.

Brody/MSE: The Brody Learning Commons is the study space attached to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library (MSE). With private study rooms you can book along with open collaborative spaces, Brody is the perfect place for you and your friends to meet up and work on assignments together (or to socialize and pretend to get work done). MSE has multiple levels that become quieter and more secluded as you go down. Choose M-level or A-level if you don’t mind some chatter or want to collaborate with others, and venture down to D-level if you prefer a silent studying experience.

PILOT: The PILOT program is one of the best resources for academic support at Hopkins. At the beginning of every semester, certain classes offer PILOT sessions that you can sign up for. PILOT sessions act as small study groups that meet weekly with a trained student PILOT leader. During these sessions, the PILOT leader helps the group to review class material, work on supplementary problem sets and facilitate collaboration with classmates.

The Breezeway: The Breezeway is the open walkway at the top of the stairs between the Keyser and Wyman Quads. It’s a great place to stop and take in the view of the picturesque Wyman Quad below you. Be warned, though: If you stop for too long, you might get hounded by a student group fundraiser, as this is a popular spot for groups to set up and tempt you with Krispy Kreme donuts or boba.

JHMI: The “Jimmy,” as it’s pronounced, is a free bus that goes between Homewood Campus and the medical campus. With a stop right in front of Barnes & Noble, it’s a convenient option for getting to and from locations along the route, such as Penn Station. The Charm City Circulator, a Baltimore bus system, is another free bus option to take you around the city.

BME: Biomedical Engineering is a very popular major at Hopkins. You either are a BME major or will meet people who won’t let you forget that they are BME majors.

Ronny D: No, Ronny D is not a cousin of Ronald McDonald but the nickname many students use to refer to Ronald J. Daniels, the president of Hopkins.

The Hopkins bubble: Far too often, Hopkins students get trapped in the “Hopkins bubble” and rarely venture outside of the safety net of campus and Charles Village. It’s easy to get caught up in campus life, but while you’re in Baltimore for the next four years, try to make the most of it and explore! There’s plenty to see and do in Charm City, whether it’s trying a new restaurant in a neighborhood you haven’t been to before, going on a bike ride along the Jones Falls Trail or spending the afternoon wandering through one of the city’s many interesting museums. 

This list only scratches the surface of things to know about life at Hopkins, but hopefully it will help you feel a bit more confident in navigating your new home!

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