Heat, thunderstorms and sudden rises and drops in temperature were what September brought to Maryland. I had never appreciated Baltimore’s weather as a Maryland native, but the transition from summer to fall seemed particularly bad this year. In a few weeks, I ran out of patience trying to find the right transitional outfits and relied on a pullover sweater to keep myself warm on those chilly days.
Just as Baltimore was stuck between summer and fall, three weeks into my freshman year, I found myself reluctant to move on. Despite my remembering too well that high school wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, the reality of college life still felt overwhelmingly different.
After attending a small boarding school that had been my world for the past five years, I couldn't help but feel a pang of nostalgia remembering how all my teachers knew my name, when dorm parents would invite me along for a grocery run and when my advisor cared so deeply for me that school felt like a second home. Despite my frequent disregard for the “lights out” schedule, I found myself even missing the “good night” from my dorm parents that used to arrive nightly at 11 p.m.
As the first round of quizzes and projects began to creep in and workloads piled up, I was forced to quickly adapt to the fast pace of college life. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s summer, after a late September rainstorm, eventually yielded to the fall. The weather stabilized around 60 degrees and, though still humid, was no longer unbearable. The leaves, once rustling in the breeze, fell overnight and were collected and disposed of.
If life must move on, so be it. Like Baltimore's summer, it didn’t take me long to comply with the inevitable new reality. Like all other freshmen, I began to know a few people from classes and club meetings and eventually ventured out with my newfound companions. Finding myself amid a diverse group of individuals, I decided to give friendship a chance despite being unsure of whether it would work out.
In ways I could have never imagined, this group of friends understood my introverted nature like no other and cherished my presence. From Badminton Club to late-night Calculus III sessions to Kung Fu Tea right around the corner, it was those simple moments of pleasure that made me appreciate how the power of friendship transcended our differences.
Looking back, I am glad that I was given the opportunity to come to Hopkins, not solely for my academic pursuits but also for all the people that I have met and will meet. It is with them that I will discover hidden passions, embrace new experiences and create lasting memories.
With new companionship that was both comforting and reassuring, my heart grew lighter with each passing day. Perhaps the changing season was a gentle nudge from the universe, urging me to move forward in life. After all, moving on wasn’t a betrayal of the past but a new adventure of self-discovery.