Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 24, 2024


Mercier and Dorfman have taught an intersession class called The Art and Science of Happiness every year since 2018.

The science of happiness and joy

A student achieves a major academic success, a young couple buys their dream home, a retiree escapes to a tropical haven. Each person feels elated, incandescently happy. Then a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation takes hold, and the wonderful feeling subsides over time.

Following advice from O, The Oprah Magazine, Wadsten created a list of all the things that make her happy, including delicious food.

Learning to manifest joy in a time of constant stress

I’m going to be honest, when I heard the fall magazine was going to center on the theme of joy, I didn’t think I’d have an article to write. Being a Hopkins student is stressful enough at the best of times, let alone during the chaos that has been 2020. 

Over the course of the pandemic, Grant has noticed people revert to Austen-like hobbies such as baking, walking and gardening.

Musings on Austen-tacious hobbies

Three Jane Austen novels deep into quarantine, I found the pattern. I glanced out of my bedroom window, situated at the front of my house facing the street, then back to my copy of (the extremely underrated) Mansfield Park and back again. In quarantine, one of the first things I noticed upon returning home to my locked down state were the walkers. 

Cosmo Sheldrake’s album The Much Much How How and I reminds Ravi of the nonsense world of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.

On fairy tales, nature, nonsense and The Much Much How How and I

I’ve always loved nonsense. Nonsense words. Nonsense phrases and rhymes. Nonsensical conversations. So fittingly, my favorite poem as a child was Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. I always loved how the words meant nothing but I still knew what they were saying. In Jabberwocky, sound plays the starring role. 

Zimmerman first discovered the marsh on a walk with her mother.

Finding joy in the unfamiliar

My instinctual idea of joy mimics the physicality of the word itself: a short burst, a dynamic syllable emerging from the mundane sentence around it, full of energy and brief color like a small dancer lifting her head and jumping in the air for pure love of movement.

Baik takes weekly walks at the Gwynedd Preserve near his house.

Two hundred seventy-nine acres of joy at the Gwynedd Preserve

The hardest part of doing school at home for me is not being able to differentiate when I should be doing schoolwork and when I should be using time for myself. What ends up happening most days is that I spend hours in my bedroom, alternating between lying on the floor or sitting hunched over my desk.

My Cousin Vinny brings back the love and comfort of my yute

You know that feeling when you look around Hop and feel incredibly detached from what life was like at home? Then your mind shifts back, and you remember your home friends, your family, your spot on the couch and that one food you love that just doesn’t taste the same in Baltimore (currently missing good pizza). 

Shua revisits the things she loved as a child, like watching cartoons.

Returning to my childhood pastimes to relive happier days

“We decorated our Club Penguin house for Halloween. Y’all should see it.” The above quote would not be out of place in 2006. Those were the good old days — back when Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody dominated the airwaves of Disney Channel, when headbands, North Face jackets and Crocs studded with Jibbitz were the height of fashion and when snack time was only complete with a pack of Fruit Gushers or Dunkaroos.

Maras started her “chefsta” by posting photos of pies she had baked on Pi Day.

A sweet (and savory) escape

Coming back home on March 12 was a very surreal, and ultimately very boring, experience. The final three days of school that were supposed to launch us into spring break were instead filled with long hours where I spent more time on YouTube and Hulu than should be legal. As my eyes glazed over during my 200th consecutive episode of Chopped, I knew there had to be something more to this life of captivity than met the eye.

Margulies has learned much of what she knows about joy from her mother.

When Joy is your middle name

My mom’s name is Ellyn Joy Weisfeldt Margulies. From the day she was born, she was stuck with joy being a part of her life whether she wanted it to be or not. As a consumer of mass media, I know that the classic response to such a prescriptive name would be to live in lifelong defiance of her so-called destiny. 

36 Questions — The Podcast Musical stars Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton.

36 Questions: Choosing pain to find joy

Science and love are thought of as two concepts that exist virtually separate from one another. While science uses facts and data to conduct experiments for the purpose of explaining the paradigms of the world, love is a feeling that is unpredictable and unique to each person experiencing it. Never mind the scientists who try to attribute love solely to a series of biochemical reactions in our brains — we know that that isn’t all there is to love. The 36 questions, however, are an idea that brings both science and love together.

The above scrapbook documents Mahesh’s gardening achievements, from herbs in her apartment to the garden her significant other Alex maintains. 

On the joy of gardening

In my freshman year at Hopkins, I did my first service project through Baltimore First. Every other week I would visit Carmine Gardens, tend to the crops and maintain the landscape for sustainable growth. I befriended Hopkins alumni who taught me about the value of civic engagement and working with the community.

During quarantine, Abrams has connected with friends while playing online game Among Us.

A belated love letter to Among Us

The basic premise of the game Among Us is simple. You are a crewmate on a ship with 4-10 other players and one or two of the individuals is an imposter trying to sabotage the ship and kill the rest of the players. 

Amid the monotony of a pandemic, Wilner has found joy in planning things to look forward to, from trips to Brooklyn to barre classes.

Looking forward to the little things

I used to do guided meditations almost every day. Square breathing — breathing in for the count of four, holding for the count of four, exhaling for the count of four, holding for the count of four, repeat — became second nature.

For Gutierrez, platforms such as Zoom and Discourse have provided a way to connect with friends, despite physical distance. 

Connecting with friends in a virtual world

I initially had a bit of trouble trying to think of a concept or action that really resembles joy — especially during this quarantine period, it’s much easier to fall back to negative emotions and feelings. Eventually, I realized that what got me through these past nine months and brought joy into my life while I was physically isolated were the interactions I had with my friends online.