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 STEPHANIE LEE
For Lee, it’s important to figure out which battles are worth your time.

Learning to pick my battles and save my energy

October 31, 2019

It was 2:16 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. I was hunched in front of my computer in a baggy T-shirt, no pants on, furiously pounding away at my keyboard. Line after line after line of angry, black text appeared as fast as my acrylic nails would allow me to type them. 


My experience with representation in politics

November 4, 2019

These days seem like a high-water mark for minority political representation. It seems especially so for Asian Americans, with prominent Asian American figures like Andrew Yang and Kamala Harris running for president and record numbers of Asians getting elected into office. But that’s all at the top — how much does that translate to my own experience as a politically active Asian American?

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COURTESY OF CECILIA VORFELD
For Vorfeld, services like A Place To Talk are great for seeking support.

The self-care alphabet: a conclusion (part II)

October 31, 2019

I am back at it again! Self-care. Just as important this time as last. These tips and tricks never grow old. It’s just up to you what you want to make work for you. And with that, here is the second half of the self-care alphabet for you:


Halloween songs are bad, but they still slap

October 31, 2019

This week we’re gonna take a deep dive into my childhood. I’m kidding (kind of). I threw it way back and listened to the weird Halloween songs teachers played for us in elementary school, only half of which are actually Halloween songs. 

PUBLIC DOMAIN
Despite its subpar quality, nostalgia still draws Beaver to Halloween music.

COURTESY OF GABI SWISTARA
Maggie, Swistara’s own rescue dog of seven years, is getting her Halloween costume.

Showering “kill shelters” with love and support

October 31, 2019

Everybody seems to love puppies and kittens and animals of all kinds — they’re cute, vulnerable, funny, companionate — yet so many people have misconceptions about how humans interact with animals. As someone who grew up with animals, spent most of her life as a pescatarian and vegan and volunteers at an animal shelter, I wanted to highlight some of these misconceptions and actually explain the truths behind them. 


Imagined villages: memories of a time past

October 24, 2019

I) I grew up with my great-grandmother and the taste of her mayujie, a crepe-like delicacy from Dachen Island. I remember long nights sitting beside her, my chubby hands against hers, as she guided me in folding my first roll. And so we sat, that Saturday in 2004, rolling hundreds of mayujie at the dining room table.

COURTESY OF BONNIE JIN
Jin reflects on the island community where her relatives grew up, which no longer exists.

COURTESY OF GABI SWISTARA
Swistara keeps a journal of the little moments that make an impact on her.

Finding happiness in the little lollipop moments

October 24, 2019

I feel as though I was happier in high school than I am now, and there are probably a number of reasons for that. One I’d like to discuss, though, is the fact that I’ve stopped giving credit to my lollipop moments. 


Where should the line for financial aid be?

October 28, 2019

Moving off campus is expensive. Like, ridiculously expensive. For the first time in your life you have to start worrying about rent, renter’s insurance, electricity, internet and water. This is, of course, along with the one-time payments like security deposits or application fees. But that is only the start. Unless you go for a more expensive, furnished apartment or take over a room from a graduating friend, you have to buy an apartment’s worth of furniture.

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COURTESY OF DIVA PAREKH
Parekh’s trip offered her a new perspective on disconnecting from work.

What it means to really take a break from school

October 23, 2019

Like most people at Hopkins, I had a bit of a hell week about three weeks ago. Three big projects, two tests, all within the span of about four days — if you’re a Hopkins student, you probably know that drill. 


Learning to appreciate my small-town home

October 23, 2019

I watched from the circular window as the fields of corn and the old courthouse shrunk to figurines. I left Valdosta. And I had been dreaming of this day since I was a kid. I always craved a life in a bustling city up north or out west, and it was finally my time. Baltimore needed to get ready for the country girl coming to town.

COURTESY OF ADDY PERLMAN
After dreaming of city life, Perlman has come to love her small hometown.

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How I have changed as a person in the last year

October 21, 2019

The transition between sophomore and junior year has been far more daunting than the previous year’s experience; moving off campus, realizing CVS isn’t at my doorstep when I run out of toothpaste, having to pack lunch because running home in the middle of the day would take a minimum of 30 minutes and always having a mini umbrella in my purse are just a few of the things I’ve had to adjust to. Below, I’ve outlined 10 things that, in the past year, have really helped me grow as a person:


Living as a foreigner of Chinese descent in China

October 17, 2019

It was over a year ago when I visited the city of Wuxi during my study-abroad program. I was with my roommate, a student at Donghua University, the university in Shanghai that hosted the program. And we were with three of my fellow study-abroad students plus their roommates, who were also local Donghua students.

Courtesy of Kelvin Qian
Qian often felt as if he was between two worlds in his time abroad.

COURTESY OF MANAVI MONGIA
A lack of planning taught Mongia about the value of improvisation.

What a trip abroad to Oktoberfest taught me

October 17, 2019

While many of you were probably downing Natty Bohs at a darty this past weekend, I was in the presence of slightly more tolerable beer at Germany’s Oktoberfest. Somewhat misleadingly, Oktoberfest actually kicks off in September and runs for a few weeks into the next month. What began as a wedding celebration 200 years ago has evolved into a check-box on the travel list of every student studying abroad.


Examining my anxiety and how I can manage it

October 16, 2019

How would I describe anxiety? Like thoughts but on steroids, on overdrive. Each one hits you like a knife slicing through your brain. Like this blackness that you swim in. You want to come up for air but you can't. It’s like your chest is made of a thousand stones and a rib cage that seems to be rigidly attached to your heart. Like something is itching inside of you. But instead of itching, it’s like someone is ravaging your insides and you can't stop it.


COURTESY OF CECILIA VORFELD
For Vorfeld, self-care can be as simple as taking a break outside with friends.

The self-care alphabet: an introduction (part I)

October 16, 2019

After writing my first piece for The News-Letter about self care, I heard so much positive feedback about it that I was inspired to write on self care again. I had just come back from a large group meeting at A Place To Talk Large, and we had explored the different objects, people, memories and places that are the most important to us in our lives. It really made me reflect on the things that make my life so great. I do love my life, and I think this love is due to my many ways for taking care of myself. I believe that you are capable of loving your life when you take good care of yourself.


I watched all of Netflix’s Tall Girl and it was awful

October 9, 2019

This week I watched Netflix’s newest original movie, Tall Girl. This movie starts with a guy starting to ask out our titular tall girl, Jodi (played by Ava Michelle), until she stands up. She is a tall, blonde model-type, which is obviously a fat “no” for little boys in high school. And she follows up with, “You know that really, really tall girl you go to school with?” Eye-roll.

EDA INCEKARA / PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
Beaver weighs in on Netflix’s latest original movie Tall Girl, directed by Nzingha Stewart.

COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE
While it can cause problems, being impulsive plays a large role in how Lee experiences the world.

Be impulsive­­: You might learn something new about yourself

October 9, 2019

The bathtub itself took 30 minutes to clean and another 10 to fill. For a quick 20-minute dip, it resulted in quite a long series of catastrophes, including my almost dropping my laptop and my copy of Jonathan Spence’s The Search for Modern China into the disappointingly soapy water. It was stress-inducing rather than stress-relieving.


Reflecting on my experiences as a younger sister

October 9, 2019

This is for my older brother. It is a life-changing experience to be a little sister, and it was a surprisingly emotional moment for me to see him get married. I shut down. I got defensive to hide the feeling of losing my big brother. 

COURTESY OF GABI SWISTARA
Swistara explains why she won’t take her brother’s love for granted.

GAGE SKIDMORE CC BY-SA 2.0
Biden is often seen as the most electable Democratic candidate for 2020.

Electability is a concept I can’t support in 2020

October 9, 2019

Over the past few months, I’ve heard a refrain from my peers when talking about Democratic hopefuls for President: “I like X candidate, but I should probably vote for Biden because he’s the most electable.” Voters in the Democratic Party (disclaimer: I’m one of them) like to throw around the word “electability,” but what exactly does this mean? As a young person excited about civic participation, I’ve taken a more critical look at the claim that former Vice President Joe Biden is our most electable — and only —  option.