Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 9, 2022
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COURTESY OF LAURA WADSTEN

Wadsten spent countless hours hanging out on the rooftop terrace of Mattin Center.

Since I first stepped on campus in 2018, lots has changed (obviously). For the sake of prosperity — and so I can reminisce in pre-pandemic nostalgia — I racked my brain for some places, policies and things that just aren’t what they used to be. For better and worse (mainly better), this school is a different place than it was four years ago. Hopefully this list gives your imagination enough fuel to picture a similar yet unfamiliar Hopkins.

  • If you lived in Wolman or McCoy, mealtime included a built-in workout. Freshmen were barred from Nolan’s, so the Fresh Food Café (FFC) was the only place to use those required meal swipes. Yes, it did get old much faster. 
  • Where now lies a massive crater with cranes and dump trucks was once a beloved-but-underrated set of short, modern buildings. RIP Mattin Center, which housed such treasures as the Digital Media Center, art and dance studios, Swirnow Theater and, my personal favorite, Bamboo Café. The best use of dining dollars, the shrimp tempura and warm broth brightened many a dreary afternoon, and I miss the quiet, chill vibes perfect for studying or catching up with a friend. I can’t forget to mention all the mildly-confusing rooftop terraces and walkways, which were the perfect spot to enjoy a sunny day when the Beach got too packed. But a massive construction site is cool too, I guess.
  • We are so fortunate to have the Baltimore Museum of Art right in our backyard, and in the pre-pandemic era, a spontaneous trip was usually in order after a tough day of classes. The museum’s halls are still a great place to lose yourself (or just cry, according to Magazine Editor Claire Goudreau), but it just takes a little more planning now. Pro tip: Plan a trip soon, I promise you won’t regret it. 
  • Only seniors will remember Garland Hall, the former centralized hub of student and administrative services. Advising, Student Disability Services, Employment Services, the Registrar, Financial Services and more were housed in the massive building that sits in the center of Decker Quad (between Mason, Levering and Hodson Halls). Not having to walk all the way to the Wyman Park Building? Yeah, it was pretty convenient. Garland is also an important part of University history, as the site of the 2019 Sit-In in opposition to the private police force, which lasted 35 days and concluded with Baltimore City police arresting protesters. You can read more about the Garland Hall Sit-In on The News-Letter’s website. 
  • Levering Kitchens have basically always been the best lunch spot on campus, but the options used to be a bit more like those at a mall food court. These upgrades were certainly for the better. And now I’m hungry for tacos.
  • Brody, where would we be without you? Aside from the obvious difference of naked vs. masked faces, our beloved study spot used to be open 24/7. And people took advantage of those hours — Brody was bumping on Friday nights.
  • PILOT was optional, including for math classes. I made the mistake of not signing up my first year, meaning I learned (or more accurately, failed to learn) Calculus 1 and Microeconomics the hard way. This change is a welcome policy, and I can’t say enough good things about the PILOT program.
  • When it was time to buy necessities or look for a balanced and tasty meal, Eddie’s Market was the place to go. The long-time local staple was recently replaced by Streets Market, so you can still grab your groceries, but I must express sympathy for anyone who didn’t get to savor Eddie’s famous deli sandwiches. 
  • Blue Jay Shuttles didn’t go very far — and if you wanted to go to Power Plant on a Thursday, you had to get an Uber or Lyft. I’m glad to see students using this helpful service to venture farther outside of Charles Village and pop the notorious Hopkins bubble.
  • If you were under the weather and couldn’t make it to class, a doctor’s note was required in order to be excused. Back then, the only “pandemic” we knew was the great hand, foot and mouth outbreak of 2018. No freshman dorm was safe from its grasp. 
  • The News-Letter was in print! Every Thursday morning, our Managing Editors would deliver stacks upon stacks of broadsheet to various points around campus. Way back in the day (long before I even knew what a Gatehouse was) students had to dig in their pockets for change to buy a copy. Maybe someday you’ll see us on newsprint again...
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