Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

Everything I incorrectly predicted about my college experience

By CHISOM UWAKWE | May 21, 2024



Uwakwe reflects on what she thought her college experience would be like.

If I had a nickel for every incorrect prediction I made about my college experience, I would have... a lot of nickels.

On March 14, 2020, I let out a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. Staring back at me and my parents was the long-anticipated email from Johns Hopkins University congratulating me on my admission to the Class of 2024. I vividly remember spending the rest of that evening daydreaming about the four years ahead of me. During my spring break, I would get to visit Baltimore and tour the campus to get a feel for what was to come. At my high school graduation, I would proudly announce to family and friends that I would be attending Hopkins and majoring in Neuroscience (one of the biggest reasons I made my decision). At orientation, I would meet tons of new people who I would later recognize in the classes we shared. 

The next four years of my life would be the start of a new chapter where I completely reinvented myself and figured everything out. Being as naturally smart as I was, I would ace all of my classes with little effort, get involved in research and several organizations and master my piano skills. I would get to experience living on my own and have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And at the end of it all, I would be dressed in my cap and gown again, showing off the medical school I would be attending.

Not even 24 hours later, God made it known He had other plans.

As I’m sure we all know, the global crisis that was the COVID-19 pandemic had everything come to a screeching halt. With everything shutting down, touring the Homewood Campus was suddenly off the table. All graduations were postponed and/or made virtual. No matter, I thought, life happens. Everything else I planned would surely come to pass.

Well, it did, but not exactly.

Over the summer, Hopkins informed all students that the following semester would be fully virtual, including orientation and all extracurricular activities, until conditions surrounding the pandemic improved (Zoom University is making it to the history books, I’m calling it now). The majority of my fall semester was spent in my home library, glued to my laptop and frantically trying to finish up the calculus homework that took way longer than it should have. At the time, I had been blissfully unaware of the Hopkins GroupMe and Discord servers, so I didn’t exactly get the head start in the social department I had hoped for.

Then came the following spring, and we were finally allowed to move into our dorms (how I managed to set everything up without any extra help will forever remain a mystery). That semester wasn’t much different, honestly. All classes and activities were almost entirely virtual, and it seemed like I only ever went out to grab food or get my third COVID-19 test of the week.

Sophomore year came and went. Junior year flew by before I could blink. The end of senior year snuck up on me when I thought time couldn’t go by any slower. In those years, classes never got any easier. Juggling extracurriculars while studying for the MCAT was a nightmare. And even after pandemic restrictions were lifted, Ms. Rona would still decide to pay a surprise visit just for giggles.

But there’s one prediction I made that I haven’t mentioned yet, and I think it’s the only one I got completely correct.

No matter what, I would make it to the other side and look back at my memories of Hopkins with fondness and gratitude.

In between the days of feeling like my life was over because I failed my physics exam, I developed study skills that will prove crucial in med school. When I wasn’t wasting my life away in bed because I was too exhausted to get up, I was grabbing bubble tea and playing Mario Kart with my friends. I’m certainly not a piano master, but I now have a laundry list of pieces that I’m eager to learn. I didn’t hit submit on AMCAS in the summer of my junior year, but I now have the opportunity to fine-tune my skills and ensure I’m on top of my game when the next cycle begins. I had the opportunity to present a novel research project at DREAMS, making me eligible for departmental honors. I found my second family with the Melanotes, where I rediscovered my love for singing.

And at the end of it all, I’ll still be dressed in my cap and gown, standing next to the most talented and hardworking people I’ve ever met.

Just as I predicted four years ago.

Chisom Uwakwe is from Grand Terrace, Calif. and is graduating with a degree in Neuroscience and Psychology.

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