Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 18, 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.



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.


COURTESY OF AASHI MENDPARA
Mendpara reflects on her relationship with storytelling.

The spunky, sticker-collecting storyteller

I remember being asked, "What are three words that describe you?" in the fifth grade, and I decided spunky, sticker-collector and storyteller was the only combination that fit (this stuck for about seven years). Stories became my way to observe and store the world I hope to remember through my senses. I just want to slice into my deepest, most cherished memories and stuff them with the details I seek to share as a writer and human being. 


COURTESY OF MOLLY GREEN
Green reflects on how pasta alle vongole shows up in her life.

On Venezia and pasta alle vongole

I’m sitting in a tiny restaurant on a side street in Venice. It is late for lunch, nearly 3:30 p.m., and the restaurant is empty. The chipped brick walls curve up into the cracked white ceiling and the creamy tablecloths have little flowers printed on them. I order pasta alle vongole, or pasta with clams. 


COURTESY OF SARA KAUFMAN
Kaufman reflects on her journey with learning.

Learning to fail

A few months ago, I began drafting an Admissions blog post about the beginning of my freshman year. I wrote about leaving home and finding a new one with my roommates in AMR III. I wrote about joining clubs and trying new activities. I wrote about walks around campus and dinners at Nolan’s… and then I stopped writing. I figured I could ramble about the ordinary, or I could turn attention to the taboo — highlighting what so many of us hide in the name of “success” seemed far more valuable. 


A semi-graceful guide to your early twenties

It seems as if every time I write, all I can think about is aging. As 2024 begins, I am on the cusp of my twenty-first year. This milestone comes with its own set of hassles, yet twenty is a big year for most. For some, it’s the first time they are living away from home; for many, it’s a moment of self-discovery and finding their identity; and for most, it’s the start of accumulating existential dread for what’s to come (kidding, kinda).


COURTESY OF KAITLIN TAN
Tan offers a glimpse into her grandfather's life.

For my grandfather: A memoriam for the living

My grandfather has been asking me to write his biography for years. A tome, he said. Something hundreds of thousands of words long to capture his every struggle and triumph. I brushed it off as a joke, and though he would laugh along, there was always a somber undertone to his request. He wanted to be heard. He wanted to be remembered and seen and celebrated.


COURTESY OF BUSE KOLDAS 
Koldas reflects on how seemingly insignificant decisions affected the trajectory of her life. 

I’m scared of the butterfly effect

This Thanksgiving was full of gratitude, coziness and nostalgia for me because I spent it revisiting a family I got to know back in 2019 and haven’t seen since: the Gatniks, the family that hosted me when I flew to the U.S. for the first time in my life back in ninth grade as part of an exchange trip.


COURTESY OF JULIA MENDES QUEIROZ
Mendes Queiroz recounts how her life has changed since her dad’s passing.

Dealing with the loss of a parent while in college

The first time I went to see him at the hospital, I was in denial, staring blankly at the monitor that showed the stats of all patients in the ICU. When a nurse asked me what was wrong, I told her, “This is not happening to my father. This is a bad dream.”


COURTESY OF BUSE KOLDAS
Koldas reflects on how her Turkish background has shaped her identity. 

Is being Turkish my only personality trait?

Was it about my accent? Honestly, I didn’t even know I had one until I started at Hopkins. People would tell me they couldn’t understand what I said because of it, or that I had the “typical Turkish accent.” What even is that? And how does everybody know what it is except for me, the only Turkish person in the room?


COURTESY OF LANA SWINDLE
Swindle reflects on going home to New Jersey after spending two months at Hopkins.

Still waiting

I never understood it, you see — never knew how someone could walk into my room (in its heyday, no less, with all the homework and books and everything piled everywhere) and call it small. It was many things, but it was never small. Not to me.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser reflects on his outlook toward the future. 

Looking ahead optimistically, even when I can’t see clearly

I’m not 15 or 16 anymore. Today, I’m 21 years old, and I’m a senior in college. As such, I’m constantly thinking about the future, whether I intend to or not. I think about what’s to come after graduation, which quickly leads me down a spiral of endless thoughts and what-ifs.


COURTESY OF VICKY ZHU
Zhu reflects on her relationship with the piano. 

Hearing myself and seeing the world through piano

Since the moment my fingers touched the 88 black and white keys for the first time, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the piano. While the joy that the piano brings to me always outweighs the frustration, it is those challenging moments that have made me grow as a musician and person and enabled me to love the instrument more and more.


On holding space for younger selves

The other day, I watched myself age by scrolling through my camera roll. Picture by picture, video by video, I saw change and growth in ways I hadn’t expected. It spurred a little reflection.


COURTESY OF MOLLY GREEN
Green reflects on her semester abroad thus far. 

A Wednesday in Bologna

I wake up to the gentle sound of rain outside. Movie posters and postcards from my recent travels litter the walls and a soft, gray light escapes through my curtains and into my room.  I’m making breakfast when I hear a familiar tap on my balcony door.


Climate anxiety

I’m a very anxious person. I worry about future finances, the weather tomorrow, my talent as a writer, how much people will like me — and of course, the possibility that the world will end by the time I’m 28.


COURTESY OF ISABELLA MADRUGA
Madruga reflects on the beginning of her semester abroad.

Put Japan on your study abroad list

Whenever I told people I was studying abroad, I felt like I was lying. I felt as if I hadn’t done anything to deserve such a rare once-in-a-lifetime experience — the kind most people don’t get.  Ever since I met with my academic advisor and realized I could study abroad and still graduate on time, I had been set on going somewhere. I wanted something completely different from everything I knew.


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