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I turned 21 about a month ago. While it wasn’t the absolute rager my pre-pandemic self envisioned, I had so much fun. My friends and I sat outside with takeout from One World, popped a bottle of champagne my parents had given me, and then it was time for cake.
Expanding my cooking skills has been one of my highlights of the pandemic. But, like many aspects of my life this semester, my cooking habits have become haphazard, and I haven’t dedicated as much time to making new dishes as I would’ve liked. I’ve certainly made some really good stuff, like spaghetti and meatballs, curry and spicy peanut noodles. But those are all things that were already in my repertoire, so they don’t count for creativity or expanding my horizons.
Last week I did a couple things I’m proud of. I updated my resume, which I’d been telling myself I would do for months. I also called the Counseling Center for drop-in hours, after finally accepting that I could probably benefit from therapy, which is something I’ve been working toward for years.
Last month, on their 27th wedding anniversary, my parents slept in separate beds.
This past weekend, my pod and I went downtown to Fort McHenry. We ordered takeout at an Indian joint in Locust Point called Himalayan House, went to the playground and dog park across the street while we waited for our food, ate some awesome chicken vindaloo (it was spicy enough to make my nose run, which is weirdly the best sensation), and walked around the fort before heading back to Charles Village. It was freezing, and we were only out for a couple hours, but it was a ton of fun.
In big things and small. In our day-to-day routines and more special moments. In old memories and new experiences. In songs and books. In the things we do for ourselves, the things we do for others and the things others do for us. These are just a few of the ways in which we can find joy in our lives.
It’s often easy to forget that I can aim for something more than simply existing during the pandemic, for something as lofty and non-apocalyptic as creative growth. The pandemic seems like it should override just about everything in life. Even the activities I’ve always loved to do, like cooking, creative writing and talking to my loved ones, have now reemerged as coping mechanisms. The pandemic has occupied their negative space, pushing right against them and attempting to take them over, too.
According to my mother, I was not a very difficult child, but I had my moments of being difficult. The story she always gives as an example of one of those moments is from when I was two years old and spent the night away from my parents for the first time. They were going to a wedding, so they dropped me and my older brother off at my grandparents’. I put up a bit of a fight when they tried to leave, but ultimately they succeeded.
Over the past few years, I’ve become something resembling an extrovert. I was more of a homebody during middle and early high school, but my social life got more active toward the end of high school. When I got to Hopkins two years ago, I moved into a double in AMR II and quickly became close friends with my roommate and other people in the dorm.
Quarantine has, I assume, pushed us all to some kind of edge, whether it’s manically honing dozens of hobbies and skills for a sense of productivity, or biding your time by lazing around the house and having regular existential crises, or maybe oscillating between the two. I personally tend more toward the “biding my time” option, but thankfully I’ve also been able to hone a skill or two here and there, particularly cooking. And a few weeks ago, I was able to cross off one of the things that’s been on my cooking bucket list for years.
You may not be on campus this semester, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to virtually connect to the Hopkins and Baltimore communities! And, hey, it never hurts to spruce up your feed on Insta and Facebook. These are some of the best accounts that Hopkins and Baltimore have to offer.
On my 20th birthday, at the end of March, I had been planning to dress up real cute, round up my closest friends, buy dinner, and then go out and party. It probably goes without saying, but that of course was not what ended up happening. And honestly, I’m fairly sad about it. There’s that surface-level disappointment of having missed an opportunity to look fly and get up to some... shenanigans, but beyond that, it was only while adjusting my birthday plans that it really first hit me just how much I’m missing due to social distancing.
As I write this, it’s day nine of spring break, one day until online classes begin and more days than I feel like counting until I return to Baltimore and the life I love there. I’m sitting on my couch at home in Brooklyn, wondering how the hell I got here and have been forced to stay here. I think it’s safe to say this wasn’t what anyone expected, even just two weeks ago.
Though necessary, the University’s decision to send students home and transition to online courses after spring break due to the coronavirus had students scrambling. We were forced to quickly rethink travel and living arrangements, pack our bags and say our goodbyes, without even knowing when we’d return to our friends and community.
I did something I thought I would never have to do last semester: I withdrew from a class. And God do I wish I had handled it differently.
Over the past few months, I’ve had so many X-rays and other imaging done that I’m a little disappointed the radiation hasn’t yet given me superpowers. They all happened during the 20 or so ER trips, doctor’s visits and physical therapy appointments that I had as a result of two injuries last semester.
I think we all know how ridiculously annoying it is for a song to be stuck in our heads for days upon days. There was one song last semester, however — one I hadn’t even heard in years — that implanted itself in my brain and refused to leave for a good long while at what was probably exactly the right time.
We know that rape is bad.
It’s been over a year since I first arrived at Hopkins, full of hopes, fears and vague expectations for my college experience. That arrival entailed much fanfare from overenthusiastic FYMs and even more awkward introductions and icebreakers between me and my classmates. I expected that, and I’ll even admit that I loved it in its cringyness.
The countdown to finals is getting dangerously low. Get excited, folks. Even the worst of procrastinators — myself included — are beginning to settle down and spend some quality time with their textbooks and laptops in order to prepare for this most hellish of hell weeks. Before that, though, is a four-day reprieve: reading period.