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.


Study hard, study smart

August 31, 2019

Of all of the things that can overwhelm incoming freshmen, the academic rigor of Johns Hopkins is one of the more common ones. Even though the students here are among the best and brightest that high schools have to offer, it’s no secret that a prestigious ...


COURTESY OF RUDY MALCOM

Malcom reflects on what he's learned from some of his most embarrassing freshman year moments

Mistakes and regrets from freshman year

August 31, 2019

Whether you’re still wearing your lanyard (please take her off), vomiting illegal liquids into the communal bathroom sink, or facing newfound commitment issues with romantic partners and extracurriculars, this year is sure to bring a multitude of missteps and debacles. But fret not! How else will you mature from a collegiate fetus into a wise Blue Jay?


Reflecting on choosing a major at Hopkins

September 1, 2019

“Are you planning on going to medical school?”  This question has plagued me since my decision to attend Hopkins. The University is known primarily as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — school. We have an outstanding, world-renowned medical school, fantastic research opportunities at various labs around campus and no shortage of a multitude of science and engineering advances made by Hopkins researchers. 

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Dear freshman year me

August 31, 2019

Dear Freshman Jessica, I have decided to take the time and effort to write you this letter because I know you need it. Really. You think you know better but you’re wrong. I can see through the smiles and the small talk and the social media posts and “everything-is-great-why-would-you-think-otherwise” facade. You’re homesick. You’re stressed. You dread large social gatherings. You sleep five hours a night (on a good night). You really hate calculus. You hate the rain and the humidity and the snow and are really starting to regret not going to sunny UCLA with the rest of Glendora High School. 


Exploring the anxiety of deciding a path in life

May 2, 2019

These past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. I guess you could call it a mid-undergrad crisis. Then again, it is kind of the opposite of a mid life crisis. In its typical upper-middle class description, mid life crises usually involve someone with expendable capital, plenty of skill and experience, who nonetheless struggle to find meaningful experiences for themselves as they pass the ‘peak’ of their life. 

COURTESY OF PIXABAY / CC0
Farrar feels frustrated about the number of paths he could take in life.

COURTESY OF CECILIA VORFELD
Vorfeld tells her trainees to give options, not advice in A Place to Talk

Why I try to present options, not give advice

May 2, 2019

The semester is coming to a close and so is my time as a trainer for A Place To Talk. I am most proud of my co-trainer and trainees who have all done such an excellent job over these many weeks of training and grown so much. The good news is that I will be the Internal Training Director next year! So, if I have convinced you to become a great listener, apply. Spring or fall, you are most welcome. Reading this column will have definitely taught you a thing or two.


Here's what I've experienced because I'm a woman

May 2, 2019

A Pakistani male artist Ali Zafar was recently accused of harassing another Pakistani female artist Meesha Shafi. Shafi claimed that the harassment had occurred on several occasions, and she had chosen to stay quiet about it because she had blocked it out. 


PUBLIC DOMAIN
Backlash against K-pop leads Qian to ponder traditional masculinity.

Learning how to express my unique masculinity

May 2, 2019

A few days back, I found an LA Times article online: “To fight K-pop’s influence in China, a club teaches young boys to be alpha males.” Intrigued, I read it. The author explains that a masculinity crisis has developed in China, thanks to the kinds of celebrities that were on Chinese media. After all, if you ever saw male K-pop stars, you would know how feminine their makeup is, how pretty their dyed hair is, how un-manly their style of dress is! Surely they are the opposite of what a real man is!


Reflecting on our time as Editors-in-Chief

May 2, 2019

It’s not often that you get to lead with your best friend. The summer before this year — our senior year — we road-tripped up to the Jersey shore and stood on the beach with no idea of the year that was ahead of us as Editors-in-Chief. We had been close for a long time, but this was the year that we became inseparable. Twenty-plus-hour News-Letter work weeks, bookended by weekends full of laughter, reflection and nights in Baltimore and Brody. And now, with only a few weeks until graduation, we can’t help but look back on this whirlwind year and marvel at how it’s all coming to a close so soon.

NEHA SANGANA / PHOTOGRAPHY STAFF
Ome and Ko celebrate the time they’ve spent working on The News-Letter

 
COURTESY OF DIVA PAREKH
Parekh reflects on the community she found during her years at Hopkins.

I was looking for the "American college experience." I found so much more.

May 1, 2019

About a week ago, I was sitting down in Brody Cafe interviewing another student for an upcoming feature about Earth Day in the News & Features section of The News-Letter. He explained that he and some of his peers were working on planting a butterfly garden outside the FFC. They were going to plant milkweed in that little patch of land so that migrating Monarch butterflies could stop and feed while making their long journey home.


Discovering the good in bad music

April 25, 2019

Everybody has music that defines their childhood. Maybe if your parents were massive dead-heads, you’ll think of The Grateful Dead. For a lot of people, it was whatever was on the radio, or what their older siblings were into; usually some combination of The Killers, The Backstreet Boys or Destiny’s Child.

COURTESY OF ADAM BIELAWSKI CC BY.SA 3.0
While Farrar knows Flo-Rida’s music isn’t great, its still important to him.

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Learning how to express my voice as a survivor

April 29, 2019

We don’t talk about what makes us uncomfortable, but we should. Sexual assault is not a new phenomenon. It is not, and never will be, a result of the way someone dresses or the way someone acts. Burkas and ball gowns know assault just as booty shorts do. The male gaze is as pertinent as ever; the powerful gazing upon the marginalized as if their stares can strip autonomy. It’s the 21st century and survivors are just now finally gaining space to be able to share their experiences. 


The best ways to keep up with politics as a student

April 25, 2019

As a busy Hopkins student, I’m guilty of joining my peers in a familiar refrain: “I wish I had more time to read the news!” Throughout high school, my family always had cable television news or the news radio station as a backdrop to our daily lives. Without this passive flow of information in my college routine, I’ve had to adjust how I consume my news in order to stay up to date with the latest political happenings.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BILLYTFRIED / CC  BY.SA 3.0
Sandwiches like #1’s and pasta salads are a staple across Italian deli’s

Finding community in my uncle’s Italian deli

April 25, 2019

In the weeks following spring break, I’ve been struck, yet again, by constant hankerings for the flavors of home. As I’ve already written in this column, these cravings include the meals my mother and the other phenomenal home cooks in my family dish out to my clamoring cousins and me. However, I also find myself longing for my favorite bites from mom-and-pop businesses all over North Jersey.


Opening myself up to embrace change in life

April 18, 2019

I’m not the type of person who opens up. I don’t have a lot of experience letting the people around me know how I’m feeling at any given moment. I often feel like I’m caught between who I am and who other people think I am. As a result it feels like I’m constantly walking on eggshells to be the person everyone expects me to be. That’s always been difficult for me, but I thought it was just normal. I thought walking on eggshells was human nature.


 
COURTESY OF ARROSER/ CC BY-SA 3.0
A pair of Louboutin shoes or a sparkly coat can be a source of confidence.

Owning my style and being more confident in my fashion choices

April 18, 2019

This morning I emerged from the shower, fully prepared to dress myself in the clothes I had picked out last night, and paused. “What am I getting dressed up for?” I flashed back to 16-year-old me picking out high-waisted black pants from my uniform and remembered hearing, “You’re going to school, it’s not a fashion show.” Slightly reluctantly, I zipped up my red knee-high boots, wrapped my sparkly black, white and red coat around me, and tossed my tote bag on my arm.


Reconciling political differences in friendships

April 18, 2019

In this week’s issue of Art and Activism, I will be taking a break from my regularly-scheduled programming (i.e. socially-engaged film and fiction) to talk about socially-engaged theatre, specifically the Barnstormers spring musical production of Cabaret. First performed in 1966, Cabaret focuses on a cast of characters in a seedy nightclub in 1930s Berlin. The German political scene is rapidly changing as an American man named Clifford Bradshaw falls in love with one of the nightclub’s dancers, an English woman named Sally Bowles. 

 
COURTESY OF LAURA NUGENT
Cabaret made Oing rethink how to reconcile differences of opinion.

COURTESY OF KELSEY KO
Ko was raised by her grandmother in Korea until she was four years old.

Reflecting on the experiences of the women who made me who I am today

May 2, 2019

My grandmother grew up in an orphanage — not because she didn’t have a family but because she couldn’t find them. She was six-years-old, maybe seven, when she was separated from them during the Korean War. Raised by the Anglican nuns at the orphanage, she graduated first in her class and left at 18-years-old to pursue a college education during a time when few people, let alone women, had college degrees.