Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 27, 2020

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.



COURTESY OF ELIZABETH IM 
Spending more time at home has prompted Im to relearn how to be a daughter.

Learning to be a daughter again

On one summer day of 2014, I boarded a plane headed to the US. For six years after that, I have lived in dorm rooms, with occasional and brief stays at home during the breaks. 



COURTESY OF ALLMARKONE 
Isaacs was a cox in high school.

Trying to cultivate healthy habits during quarantine

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time editing articles that have focused around the theme of joy. I’m not just saying this so that I can plug The News-Letter’s fall magazine, though you should definitely check it out — take even five minutes out of your day to read or watch one of these pieces and I guarantee it will brighten your day.  


Yang/CC by 2.0
Li remarks on the impact of artwork, including Mark Rothko's No. 14. 

Works of art have stories to tell

The painting is the size of two doors, thick stripes of color against a dark background. I stand in the hall and stare at it, my neck craning to take it all in. Mark Rothko’s No. 14, three rectangles of color — red, dark brown and black — on a 235.9 by 203.2 centimeter canvas. 


FILE PHOTO
Lola explores what writing can mean for her. 

Pushing my creative limits and reclaiming my artist identity

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.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser has discovered the joy of waking up early.

Finding my place in the sun

I have never enjoyed waking up early. In my opinion, it is pure cruelty to wake up at the crack of dawn, haul myself out of bed and leave the comfort of my pillows and blankets. I have slept through my fair share of alarms, shown up late to school on too many occasions and once even missed a train ride because of my inherent inability to wake up on time.


PUBLIC DOMAIN
In one version of Sleeping Beauty, the prince waltzes into the castle with no dragon to slay.

Changing and staying the same

I point to the blue moon. It’s snowing, and I invent reasons to believe that I haven’t changed. It’s pointless, though; I’ve changed, and it’s snowing, and it’s Halloween, and I can count on one hand the things that have stayed the same. On my other hand, I count the amount of people I have spoken to in person since March. I peel open a tangerine, and the wedges of fruit look like little crescent moons. The lamp behind me casts a moon-like shadow against the wall. I look at my hands, and they, too, are moons. It’s late, and I am so, so tired.


COURTESY OF JAE CHOI 
Choi traces humankind’s relationship to laundry back to antiquity.

Discovering the strange joy of laundry

For two whole days, our apartment was filled with the deafening racket of drills and hammers. A few weeks before, we had decided to get our own washer and dryer units to avoid using the communal laundry room a couple floors down.  


COURTESY OF ISABEL RIOS-PULGAR
Rios-Pulgar reflects on the power of music in her life.

Music is my safe space

If you ever saw me on campus, you saw me with my headphones on. It’s just a law of nature, like gravity. I’m always listening to music. I can’t help it. The headphones come on and everything else in the world goes silent. No more incoming texts, no more assignments, no more stress, and no more worries. 


COURTESY OF SANIYA RAMCHANDANI
Ramchandani discusses the importance of taking a break from social media.

Liberating myself by deleting social media

On Tuesday I deleted all of my social media. There were many factors behind this sudden decision, but the overarching one was that I felt like I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t always: I had to pretend to be okay. 


COURTESY OF MUHAMMAD ABIDI 
Abidi emphasizes how much one can learn from reading.

Reading is a powerful tool for self-actualization

If you are reading this piece, then you are already on the path to self-actualization. This is not necessarily because reading it will create newfound value in your life but because reading it reflects your willingness to learn from the experiences of others. 


COURTESY OF ADDY PERLMAN 
For fall break Perlman took a trip to Philadelphia with her roommate Kinsey Tyler.

Spending fall break in Philadelphia

My roommate Kinsey and I had been counting the days until fall break. For the first time, we had two days off school, and we had an increasing desperation to escape from the four walls we live and work in. As the semester neared its midpoint, our work ethic declined so rapidly that it was practically a resident of the Underworld. We decided we needed to get away, and we picked Philadelphia as our destination.


Setting goals during a pandemic

 I turned 22 on Monday, and a friend casually asked me what my three goals are for the next year. This probably shouldn’t have caught me so off guard — Jan. 1, the first day of school and your birthday are the only three acceptable times in the year to set goals, after all. But eight months into the pandemic, I haven’t thought about long-term goals all that much.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser reflects on a favorite childhood activity.

When life gives you apples, make apple pie

I loved apple picking as a child. Whether it was juggling the apples, playing hide-and-seek between the bushes or just spending quality time with family and friends, it was always an activity near and dear to my heart. However, my family sadly stopped going after one year when three of my family friends, my sister and I all got severe poison ivy from an apple tree we had climbed. 


PUBLIC DOMAIN 
Aghamohammadi considers representations of vampires through the lens of the pandemic.

In the company of vampires

There are vampires at this party — plastered in black garments, hair spiked with gel, mascara running down their cheeks like black tears. No one wanted them here, but they are, so someone must have invited them. By this point, it’s too late to kick them out, and I know better than to be rude to party guests, so I am letting them stay for now. And yet, they’re taking up all the space on the sofa and eating all the raspberry tarts and finishing what’s left of the sparkling apple cider, and I am getting sick of it.


Will46and2 / CC BY-SA 3.0 
Li shares her favorite Greek myths, including the one of Eros and Psyche.

Greek myths offer captivating and moving stories

I finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller yesterday. I began the book unsure of what to expect from a Greek myth adaptation, but by the end, I was in tears. In addition to evoking a sense of sadness, this beautiful and poignant story has reawakened my long term interest in Greek mythology. 


Keeping up with the online timeline

“Sometimes, when you've a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you'll never get it swept.” I am drowning in the virtual world. 


Struggling in my search for silver linings

I have been trying to practice gratitude. Throughout the day I tick off on my fingers all the benefits of being home and taking college classes remotely. I don’t have to be away from my family or pets for months at a time. I get to have my mom’s cooking. I can attend all my classes while wearing pajama pants. Tick, tick, tick. 


COURTESY OF SANIYA RAMCHANDANI
Ramchandani highlights what she values in a friendship.

What makes a true friend

 What makes you feel at home? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. I’ve never felt as homesick as I do now, and I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly changed to make me feel this way.


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