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 guess I’m officially an adult. As a huge Taylor Swift fan, I’ve waited for the year I turn 22 since the year I turned 15, but I didn’t think, “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time,” would resonate as much as it currently does. Up until this moment, I’ve always known where I have to be and what I have to be doing; the next step was always right there. Now, I am responsible for no one but myself, and technically speaking, I can do whatever I want.
I still remember the whispers of a novel disease and the potential onset of a pandemic that crept through the quads of Hopkins a year ago. Among them was the speculation that all of us students might be sent home, which gradually became more likely as other universities announced that they were closing.
I’ve never considered myself much of a chef. Growing up, I only knew how to prepare the basics. From making Bisquick pancakes with my dad on Sunday mornings to rolling Brazilian brigadeiro chocolates with my mom in the middle of the night, I learned to cherish the time I spent cooking with my family, even if we were making the simplest of items.
Since the start of high school, I thought the idea of college was alluring, for more reasons than the picturesque red brick and the independence it promised. I wanted a space to grow intellectually rather than regurgitate facts about U.S. history. I wanted classes where my beliefs would be challenged and where I would learn from peers with backgrounds different from my own. What I sought in college, I have found in one of my classes this semester.
When I was in what my secondary school called the Vth and all of America calls freshman year of high school, I took part in an exchange program with a school in D.C. When our plane landed, we were shuttled to the school in yellow school buses. We passed the Watergate Hotel on the way. My friends bought hoodies and coffee cups with the school’s name on them to take home to London.
Last week I did a couple things I’m proud of. I updated my resume, which I’d been telling myself I would do for months. I also called the Counseling Center for drop-in hours, after finally accepting that I could probably benefit from therapy, which is something I’ve been working toward for years.
I’ve been playing the violin for as long as I can remember. I first picked it up around the time I was 7 years old, when my parents forced me to take lessons. These lessons continued through middle and high school, and daily practice was a mandate.
My March 2020 began at midnight on the steps of a movie theater. My friends and I had just gone to see Parasite. The five of us sat huddled side-by-side with enormous bags of popcorn and candy, enthralled by every twist and turn the movie had to offer. We even chuckled when one of our friends pulled out a disinfectant wipe to clean her theater seat.
For Lent this year, I have chosen to fast from boba. One of the traditions of this religious season is offering up a Lenten sacrifice, a luxury or comfort that one deems difficult to give up. For me, that sacrifice is boba tea.
I am a collector of stories, and Karachi was always the greatest love story of my life. I constructed a narrative in my head, a running script. I was a girl so entangled in the streets of my city that every time I left, it was as if the film reel was paused. It would only play when I came back to my city streets again. For the longest time Karachi felt real; everything else was just an imitation.
In celebration of Lunar New Year, I helped one of my roommates prepare a hotpot dinner. When the pot began to boil, a rich aroma filled every crevice of the apartment. Fish balls and chunks of tofu, glistening with crimson streaks of fat, bobbed up and down in the beef tallow soup base. After allowing the soup to boil for a few minutes, we added beef and pork slices to the broth and waited.
Only five weeks ago, I was at a birthday dinner, sitting opposite a gentleman who was berating me endlessly about how useless coding and data science are. “In 10 years, we won’t even need humans because there won’t be computers. The computers will just run themselves,” he proclaimed. If anyone can make any sense of that sentence, do let me know. I’ll buy you a cookie.
How do I stop present cruelty from marring the untouchable beauty of the past? There is something so romantic about the past. Something so beautiful, so untouchable, so untainted about past memories. They drift into your head like clouds and bring with it fuzzy thoughts of love, maybe a muted pain, perhaps even an enchanted sadness. It really is impossible to think about the past without some or all of these feelings because, as always, the past is gone, not belonging to us but to an approximation, an imitation of thoughts, a re-enactment of memories like a vintage film reel.
I feel like I’m treading water in the middle of the ocean during a storm, and my arms are getting mighty tired. I’m stressed. I’m scared, and I don’t want to graduate. I mean I do, but I don’t. The last four years have been transformative. All during middle school and high school, I told myself that I just needed to get to college and then my life would be exactly what I wanted. I was so wrong. It hasn’t been like the movies; it’s been better.
My love for poetry started in sixth grade. I think, before then, I believed I was too good for it. I thought poetry was the cheesy, sappy stuff of valentines and love letters. But that was the only kind I had been exposed to — the kind with red roses, blue violets and plenty of predictability.