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It’s hard to believe I’m currently writing my last article for The News-Letter ever. Though I have yet to walk across the stage at Commencement, this feels more like my true Hopkins finale. Yet this closing act of my studenthood hardly feels bittersweet. I can’t keep the corners of my mouth from turning up with gratitude while my fingers tap out reflections on the keyboard. Distilling a transformative, years-long college career down into one article is impossible, but I’ll do my best to wrap up a few final thoughts for posterity’s sake.
“You are like a ball of constant stress.”
Content warning: The following article includes topics some readers may find triggering, including sexual assault.
At this point, it’s not really a secret anymore, but, for those who don’t know, my name is Isabel, and I started @jhufreestuff on Instagram. To be honest, part of the reason I wanted to write this article was because of the theatrics (not surprising if you follow the account). The other reason was that I wanted a chance to reflect on what it’s been like to run this account for almost four years, which I can’t really do in one “face reveal” post on my Instagram story.
Dear freshman Leela,
I made my last batch of brownies today. Not my last batch ever, of course, but my last batch for a few, specific, important people.
Believe it or not, one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve had to make at Hopkins was to a building — the Gatehouse to be exact. The grayish-green building, worn down yet exquisite in its architecture, that remains unknown to most of Hopkins represents much more than a corner of campus: it houses the institution of The News-Letter, an organization that I have dedicated my entire Hopkins career to.
I wish I was cynical about goodbyes. No matter how many times I’ve had to close a chapter and let go, nostalgia and sentimentality always get the best of me. As I lament the end of not just my Hopkins career but the time spent with my friends, I’ve always envied those who are able to rationalize goodbyes and move on, though I know this graduation is going to hit differently for all of us.
As someone who started at Hopkins in the fall of 2020, many of my “college firsts” were virtual. It’s hard to define when exactly my college experience became “normal.” It could have been in my first in-person class sophomore year or the first show I was able to perform without wearing a mask. However, at some point, Zoom chats became study sessions at friends’ apartments and asynchronous classes turned into saving a seat for your friend before a lecture. Even though my current relationships have illuminated a bit of what COVID-19 stole from my college experience, I think it’s made the minimal “normal” time I’ve had at Hopkins all the more special.
Do you remember move-in day? Do you remember the pit in your stomach and the daydreams you had as you stared from the car window envisioning the next four years? I remember sitting in the backseat texting my roommate “I'm close” as we passed the “Maryland Welcomes You!” sign. However, off the highway, my daydreams were disrupted by a sudden and violent shaking of the car. My mother began to swerve around an army of potholes that dotted the roads in what could have been a real-life Fast and Furious.
This past Saturday, I spent my night in the Ralph S. O'Connor Center for Recreation and Well-Being. Instead of smelling like sweat and disinfectant wipes, the Rec Center was filled with the White-Claw breath of hordes of Hopkins students after a day of dartying. We were all gathered (way too close together) on the basketball court to watch Kehlani, this year’s Spring Fair Concert headliner.
The first night of Culture Show has always been one of my favorite days of the semester. As the semester winds down, that familiar, heady mix of exam stress, despair and sleep deprivation begins to set in. And yet, the Culture Show never fails to make me forget all of that. For two electric hours, I’m completely absorbed in seeing what all the incredible cultural groups on campus have spent the semester preparing, learning about different styles of music and dance and being humbled by Hopkins students’ commitment to carrying tradition forward into our campus today.
The Brazilian Students Organization (BRASA) hosted Dr. Filipe Campante, a Bloomberg distinguished professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Carey Business School, on April 26 for a discussion on the political and economic implications of the October 2022 presidential election in Brazil.
The University held its 52nd Annual Spring Fair from April 27 to April 30. This year’s Spring Fair, following the precedent set by the previous two years, was planned by the Office of Leadership Engagement and Experiential Development (LEED) in collaboration with Hopkins Student Organization for Programming (HOP).
The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly general body meeting on April 25 to discuss expectations for the 111th Senate, bylaw updates and a proposed constitutional amendment. It also confirmed senators to various committees.
If one thing is certain when it comes to the arts community at Hopkins, it is each artist’s individual passion. Whether it’s the many theater groups, orchestras or underground coalitions of rock-loving musicians, the arts of our lady Homewood are alive and well. But is this hidden culture that courses through the student body recognized as much as it should be?
One of my goals for my semester abroad was to take a solo trip. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, but I knew that the experience would be crucial to learning more about myself. After sitting on the idea for some time, I decided to go to Kraków, Poland for a few reasons. First, I have Polish heritage on my mother’s side. I grew up eating some Polish foods prepared by my grandmother: pierogi, babka and kołaczki, to name a few examples, and I was very intrigued by the possibility of having Polish dishes in Poland. Though I was most familiar with the country’s culture in terms of food, I was also interested in the nation’s history and nature, making the trip very appealing. I ultimately decided between Warsaw and Kraków and booked a four-night stay in Kraków due to the wide array of attractions available as well as walkability.
Growing up on the outskirts of Washington D.C., one of my favorite spots as a child was a bridge near my house that overlooked the trains rushing to and from our nation’s capital. Watching them with my grandparents was exciting for a five-year-old whose television habits involved Thomas the Tank Engine, Cars and other animated shows starring transportation. And so, my interests as a five-year-old included playing with a train set that I had at home, consciously observing bus and rail services, and reading books about our nation’s infrastructure and locomotives.
We made it, Blue Jays! Classes have ended, and summer is just around the corner. For some of us, that means leaving Baltimore for a few months. For others, though, it means even more leisure time in this lovely city! If you’re sticking around over the next few months, check out these events in Baltimore.