Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 16, 2024


Lesser reflects on his time working as a tour guide at Hopkins and what “Why Hopkins?” means to him. 

During these last four years, I’ve worked as a tour guide for the admissions office. When we reach the last tour stop at Decker Quad, I always wrap up by answering the question, “Why Hopkins?” For me, the answer is simple: the people. 

At Hopkins, the people around me push me to be the best version of myself. Whether that be academically or socially, my friends here motivate me to seek opportunities both inside and outside the classroom while also creating a safe support system around me. I feel like sometimes we take it for granted, but it’s so inspiring to constantly be surrounded by an environment where people are constantly working together, enacting change, making new discoveries and engaging in their passions. 

As a tour guide, part of my job is to gush about my campus experience and outwardly promote Hopkins to prospective students, but I truly do mean every word that I say. I’ve loved my time here, and I’m so grateful for the experiences, opportunities and people that Hopkins has brought into my life. 

From late night study sessions in Brody Learning Commons to sunny spring afternoons on the Beach, I’m going to miss the sense of camaraderie and the feeling of being “all in it together” in both the exciting, happy moments as well as in the tougher, more stressful ones. Whether I’m looking back on rough nights spent cramming for Neuroscience: Cells and Systems exams in Milton S. Eisenhower Library or beautiful days spent listening to music and eating free ice cream on Wyman Quad, I reflect on it all with gratitude. I’m beyond grateful for the people who I’ve shared these experiences with, those who have motivated me to never give up and those who have stuck by my side even in the toughest situations. 

Not every moment has been easy, and any Hopkins student can share their reality of taking midterms and completing a stressful week of exams, assignments and activities. Nevertheless, what makes Hopkins so special is the people we see on a day-to-day basis, the ones that bring a smile to our faces on our walks through Keyser Quad or the ones that we spontaneously run into in line at Brody Cafe. I’m going to miss bumping into friends on my way to class and seeing kind and familiar faces everywhere I go. 

Speaking of community, I’m going to miss the student groups that have welcomed me in and given me a home away from home. Johns Hopkins Hillel and the Jewish Students Association have been an amazing space that I am so grateful to have been a part of since my freshman year, providing me with a place to hang out at any time and to have weekly Friday night Shabbat dinners alongside some of my closest friends. Further, I’m so thankful for the Brazilian Students Association, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, Blue Key Society, and the Ketzev a cappella group for giving me such memorable college experiences and introducing me to some of my dearest friends. 

If I’ve learned anything from my time in college, it’s to appreciate the little moments and to express gratitude for everything and everyone that brings me joy. I look back at minuscule moments from my freshman year — like sitting next to an unknown person in my First-Year Mentor group, bumping into someone on my floor of Scott-Bates Commons or building a snowman with a couple of “strangers” during our first Baltimore snow. I’ve now learned that these things are not minuscule at all, and that, in each of these situations, these “strangers” have become close friends of mine throughout college. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things because we never know what will happen next, who we will cross paths with or what our life will look like. 

At the end of the day, none of us are strangers. We’re all here because we are passionate people, whether that passion be directed at our loved ones, our academics, our life goals…we are all here because we are driven.

So, once again, I answer the question, “Why Hopkins?” and it’s because I’m going to miss every moment I’ve spent alongside my friends here.

To my freshman year self, who was worried about making friends in college and who was overwhelmed by everything around him when he first came to campus, take a deep breath and make sure to savor every moment of your college experience. To the Class of 2024, thank you so much for all of the great memories. I can’t wait to see where we all go next!

Gabriel Lesser is from Westchester, N.Y. and is graduating with a degree in Neuroscience, Romance Languages and Medicine, Science and the Humanities, and a minor in Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies. He is a senior staff writer for The News-Letter, with a Voices column titled, “The Road Lesser Traveled.”

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