As I start my senior year at Hopkins, I’m already thinking about the end of it. It feels like I reached this year in the blink of an eye, yet at the same time, high school feels a million years away.
Although I plan on staying in Baltimore in the spring as well, my enrollment as an undergraduate student will end a little earlier than some, since I’m graduating a semester early. Graduation is an inevitable process for most college students, but I’ve heard many of my friends express the same nervousness and apprehension that I feel at the thought of having to move away, get a job and pay bills.
When I’m knee-deep in essays, internship applications and club responsibilities, I feel overjoyed at the thought of leaving Hopkins. But when I’m grabbing greasy chicken tenders and undercooked fries from UniMini with my friends at 1 a.m., I think about how I might never again have a time when I can be within walking distance of so many of my friends and have the energy to do things like this.
It’s a bittersweet thought. College can be stressful and hard, but it can also be really fun, joyful and exciting.
Every year of college so far has come with its own challenges and developments. I’ve struggled in classes, fought with people, cried, lost friends and made new ones. I start each year with a particular plan in mind, but roadblocks and surprises always pop up. I’m not sure what to expect this year, but considering this will be my last one at Hopkins, I want to cherish the time I have and use it well.
In addition to spending time making new memories with the people I love, I want to make sure I’ve explored everything this area has to offer. To help me keep track of my plans, I’ve made a bucket list of attractions in Hopkins, Baltimore and the greater DMV area that I need to try out before I leave:
- Go see a lacrosse game: Despite lacrosse being our only D1 sport, I sadly have yet to attend a game, but I’m hoping to change that this year.
- Climb up the stairs of the Washington Monument at Mount Vernon: For $8, I can have the honor of climbing up 227 steps of stairs.
- Take a paddle boat or water taxi around Inner Harbor: Instead of walking to Fells Point, I want to try taking a water taxi there.
- Eat some Maryland blue crab: I’ve had a crab cake, and now I need to crack open some fresh steamed crab.
- Visit the Smithsonian Castle in D.C.: As the Smithsonian Institution’s signature building, the castle houses artifacts from each of the Smithsonian buildings.
- Grab a meal in Little Italy: I’ve had coffee and dessert in Little Italy, but for some reason, I’ve never had an actual meal there.
- Visit the American Visionary Art Museum: The museum specializes in “outsider art,” art created by self-taught and non-formally trained artists.
- Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Va.: Converted from a torpedo factory, the art center houses galleries and publicly accessible artist studios. Also, you can literally go inside and watch artists create.
I hope to eat at all my favorite restaurants one last time (Limoncello, Thames Street Oyster House and Kim Bob Na Ra, to name a few), visit my favorite local museums again and take as many day trips as I can to DC, Alexandria and other nearby places.
Finally, I also want to take time for myself. I want to take advantage of the library and all the free newspaper subscriptions offered to students to read books, articles and other publications. I want to exercise more and swim and play badminton and just enjoy everything Hopkins has to offer. I hope by the end of this year, I can feel like I’m leaving college having made the most of it.
Aliza Li is a senior from Houston, Texas studying Writing Seminars. Her column features notes on her life as a student and writer.