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.
I recently passed the Rec Center and noticed the blown-up photograph of students on treadmills. I suddenly came to the realization that, in my four years at Hopkins, I have never set foot in the exercise room there. (My trips to the Rec Center have always been for the squash courts — please don’t judge me and my athletic inclinations.)
After a longer-than-expected hiatus from the Gatehouse (The News-Letter’s office), I’ve somehow found myself back here again to write my last column. It feels fitting. There is something comforting about being back in the space where I spent so much of the last four years. In fact, there were many weeks where I spent more time here than I did in my own apartment. It feels good to be back, though more than a little bittersweet.
I love a good sense of symbolic closure.
In April 2020, sitting at computers almost 3,000 miles apart, we were elected to be Editors-in-Chief of The News-Letter. By then, we’d been doing remote production for about a month, but at the time, we believed that things would soon return to normal.
Last weekend, one of my friends helped me take graduation photos around Decker Quad. It was unusually cold and windy. We posed in front of the lecture halls and admin buildings that framed the well-tended lawn, forcing smiles against cool gusts of spring air that whipped across the quad.
When I was nine years old, I convinced my family to drive 3.5 hours to Hershey Park to see a Selena Gomez concert. As a huge child fan of the Disney show Wizards of Waverly Place, I was thrilled beyond belief to finally see Selena in person.
As a writer, I started off wanting to explore the cool things, the unusual things, the macabre things — murders and betrayals, lies and promises, abuses of power, grossly violent crimes and what leads people to such dramatic actions. In my freshman year, the first story I wrote was about a man who got caught in a grocery store shooting.
My mother has always been my icon. She’s a strong, career-driven woman; I grew up watching her get dressed at 7 a.m. every morning and have been an audience member at countless panels where people attentively listened to advice I cribbed about receiving on a daily basis. There is no question that my feminist ideologies largely stem from living with a powerhouse, but many equally important teachings have come from my father.
I can’t escape them, flowers — snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, other ones with sheaths of pink or jade. Walking to campus, to the grocery store, to the park — they’re ubiquitous, the shape of blooms worldwide. I can’t help but pay attention.
In my old house, above the cabinet with plastic bags and a large sack of rice was a drawer with a stack of used printer paper. Every time my parents no longer needed a printed document or form, they added it to the stack in the drawer rather than throwing it away. This scrap paper stack was available for anyone in my family to use, but it was primarily meant for me.
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.
The recent announcement that campus should return to near normal in the fall provided me with a sense of hope that has been unfamiliar to me in the past year. The fog finally seems to be lifting as people get vaccinated and things open up again. I’ve been thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to doing once restrictions have eased up.
In one scene in Ling Ma’s 2018 novel Severance, the protagonist Candace Chen visits Hong Kong on a work trip. She takes a cab at night, and the view becomes an “aching stream of billboards and advertisements.”
I recently stumbled upon a video of my 3-year-old self lying in bed, holding up a Fodor’s Washington, D.C. travel book with a confused look on my face. At the time, I couldn’t read yet, and I most definitely had not developed my passion for making travel itineraries, but I could pinpoint certain words and pictures that interested me. In the video, you can hear me excitedly yell, “I found the letter G! G is for Gabi...” in a barely coherent mix of English and Portuguese.
Tomorrow I get my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since Florida expanded eligibility to all residents 18 years and older on April 5, I’ve been obsessively checking the Walgreens and CVS websites for appointments. I know my vaccination won’t change anything immediately except cause soreness in my arm and maybe some cold symptoms, but the moment feels significant.
I looked at my phone and realized it was April 11, which meant it would soon be April 12. That meant the most important month of the year was just around the corner for me: Ramadan (or Ramzan, the debate is kind of annoying at this point), and I was not prepared. Once a year, millions of Muslims (and some non-Muslims too) fast from sunrise to sunset, and yes, the fast means not even water.