Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Voices

Hopkins is a diverse university where an incredible mix of cultures, academic interests and personalities coexist and thrive. Here is the section where you can publish your unique thoughts, ideas and perspectives on life at Hopkins and beyond.



ARANTZA GARCIA / DESIGN AND LAYOUT EDITOR
Koldas rereads old journal entries and promises herself to learn how to forgive.

My attempt to master forgiveness

Reading old journal entries is difficult to begin. If you’re a person who has never been good at facing failure, like I am, it is dreadful. For the last couple of weeks, even the thought of rereading my old entries was enough to make me nervous. However, a few days ago, I radically turned off the switch in my head that was keeping me from doing this. I wished to reflect. I wanted to see my growth, the steps I had taken forward, if any.


COURTESY OF AASHI MENDPARA
Mendpara reflects on her former obsession with teen magazines.

Here's to pining for the American teenage dream

I remember being 10 or 11 years old, sitting in front of my family’s desktop computer, staring at a picture of a girl. She was maybe 17, wearing a red varsity jacket with matching red Converse shoes and big gold hoops. Her hair was long, straight and blonde. She was sitting cross-legged on a baseball diamond, a bat casually resting on her shoulder. 


ARUSA MALIK / DESIGN AND LAYOUT EDITOR
Zhu reflects on her Shanghainese identity. 

Lost and found: Reclaiming my voice as a Shanghainese

Over winter break, my family’s activity and conversation revolved around a TV series called Blossoms Shanghai. Set in the ‘90s in Shanghai, the show interweaves stories of young Shanghainese fighting for their future in their own ways as the city undergoes tremendous economic changes.


ARUSA MALIK / DESIGN AND LAYOUT EDITOR
Swindle reflects on how her relationship with the piano has changed.

Learning to play piano

When I was seven years old, I started to learn the piano. I had a wonderful (albeit strict) teacher, who taught me a lot about how to place my hands on the keys, read bass clef and approach three-octave scales. I graduated from intro exercises to sonatinas after a couple of years and started performing annually at my teacher’s recitals.


Baltimore strong: The resiliency of cities

Like many other residents of Baltimore, I woke up on Tuesday morning to the news of the Francis Scott Key Bridge falling overnight when it was hit by a massive ship that was exiting the Port of Baltimore. It goes without saying that this was a devastating incident for the city, and our thoughts and prayers are especially with those who lost loved ones.


COURTESY OF KAITLIN TAN
Tan writes about her experience on her spring break trip.

Off-season: Reflections on the road

There is a strange peace to the sight of a beach town emptied. Arriving at Cape Cod at noon in late March, we were served a sight of pastel storefronts and wooden walkways that wove around one another in a tangle of overlapping outlooks and porches. My roommate and I were the only passengers on the large bus into town.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser reflects on a quote he encountered in January.

A small note on gratitude

While sitting at dinner during my class trip this past intersession to Brazil, I ordered a drink with a small yellow note attached to it. It said in Portuguese, “não espere ter tudo pra aproveitar a vida, se você já tem a vida pra aproveitar tudo.” Don’t wait to have everything to enjoy life, if you already have life to enjoy everything.


COURTESY OF RAGHAV AGRAWAL
Agrawal writes about the community he has found in the Baltimore Bike Party.

The sounds of Baltimore: Learning to listen

While running the risk of taking the name of this column too literally, it's time we talk about the sounds of Baltimore. While it may be famous for its crabs, Old Bay and Natty Bohs — its glistening harbor, picturesque parks and breath-taking sunsets — the voices of the city hold a special place in my heart.


COURTESY OF SARA KAUFMAN
Kaufman describes the learning curve associated with culturing cells in the lab.

A learning journey: My experience with cell culture

Working with cells requires knowledge, dexterity, time management and an absurd amount of confidence.  For years, I watched researchers culture cells in biosafety cabinets. I took notes as they changed out cell media (the liquid “food” cultured cells float in), passaged cells from one flask to another and conducted experiments on the microscopic organisms. 


ARUSA MALIK / DESIGN AND LAYOUT EDITOR
Mulani explains how her relationship with reading has evolved throughout the years.

I’m most myself when I’m reading

When I was younger, I was a voracious reader — that’s the word my mum used to describe me. I read on the breakfast table, on the way to school, during break and lunch time, in between classes, during classes, at the dinner table and under the covers at night.


COURTESY OF BUSE KOLDAS
Koldas reflects on becoming accustomed to an uncomfortably hectic schedule.

I’m always in a rush, and it’s the Hopkins normal

It has been seven weeks since this semester started, and I regret that I let the time pass me by, because I was so caught up in the resulting success that I forgot that progress also matters. Now, I’m scared: Will the weeks to come pass this fast, too? Have I made any memories I will look back to when I’m old in these past seven weeks?


COURTESY OF LANA SWINDLE
Swindle discusses how her relationship with school spirit has shifted since high school.

A love letter to lacrosse

I sat down with my friend in a sea of light and dark blue sweaters, flags, posters and hats. I’d never seen an audience so excited about a sports game, and I actually kind of loved it.



ARANTZA GARCIA / DESIGN AND LAYOUT EDITOR
Kye talks about her shifting approach to writing.

On seeking new inspirations for writing

At the end of 2023, I felt very burnt out with writing. I love writing, but I felt as though I had spent the fall semester writing excessively as I drafted, edited and often scrapped one short story after the next. To combat this, I decided it was time to seek out new inspiration. I often pull from my own life in my work (and I will continue to do so), but I wanted to work to make sure that I always had material, even if there was nothing in my personal life currently interesting to me as a writer.


COURTESY OF SARA KAUFMAN
Kaufman reflects on her experiences talking to strangers on the JHMI.

JHMI bus rides

It takes roughly 40 minutes to get from Homewood Campus to the medical campus. Those are 40 minutes spent crowded among strangers as you sit through rush hour traffic, but they’re also 40 minutes of freedom. 40 minutes where it would be incredibly inconvenient to pull a laptop out and start doing homework, so your only responsibility is to hang onto a railing and try not to fall.


COURTESY OF KAITLIN TAN
Tan reflects on how she has noticed pieces of the past appearing in the present.

A frosted lens

There was something peaceful about being awake when no one else was. Time seemed vast, unconstrained and unspecified. The air thrummed with possibility, a feeling like everything was opening up and endings didn’t yet have to be conceivable things.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser, a graduating senior, reflects on his years at Hopkins.

Letter to my freshman-year self

It’s my last semester of college now, and I don’t know how to feel, nor how to process any of my emotions about concluding my time here at Hopkins. I’m proud of how far I’ve come at this school, yet I’m also filled with an overwhelming feeling of panic when I think about having to graduate and move on to my next endeavors. There is so much that I still want to do and not enough time to accomplish it all.


COURTESY OF BUSE KOLDAS
Koldas describes some of the experiences that have affected her self-image and understanding of beauty.

I feel so ugly without my makeup on

Once you arrive at the 9 a.m. class you have to fight your inner demons to not skip again, you might look around the lecture hall and notice girls who look totally dolled up. They wear cute outfits, full faces of makeup and seem ready to kick start their day like the “girlbosses” seen on TikTok.


COURTESY OF LANA SWINDLE
Swindle writes about her New Year's resolution for 2024.

Resolving to let go in the new year

I found my New Year’s resolution not at 12 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, but rather at around 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day. I was back in New Jersey with my two closest friends at the time, in a final goodbye hangout before we all reconvened in the summer.


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