Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 8, 2021

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 SANIYA RAMCHANDANI
Ramchandani emphasizes how much she has relied on her family and friends in the past few months. 

Seeking comfort in my support system

When I say I miss being able to travel, I don’t mean exploring new cultures or backpacking through cities. I mean I miss knowing that if my family needed me or I needed them, either of us would hop on a plane, no questions asked, and be there in a heartbeat. It’s no easy feat going to and from home these days. Each journey is almost 30 hours of paranoia, requiring constant sanitizing, continuous mask-wearing and cutting off and throwing away protective clothing at every destination. And then, of course, there is the collective month and a half of hard quarantine I will have completed in the 12 months alone. 


Jorge Royan / CC BY-SA 3.0
Li discusses the importance of libraries in her life. 

Revisiting my love of libraries

The summer before junior year of high school, I found my old library card buried under a stack of coupon clippings and junk mail. The edges were slightly bent and misshapen, and the colors had faded to a grayish blue, but it was a treasure nonetheless. The card was not only a ticket to a place of knowledge and imagination but a valuable memento of my childhood.


COURTESY OF AASHNA SUNDESHA
 Aashna’s last text exchange with Bradlee.

A letter to Bradlee

Dear Bradlee, I remember you asked me a couple of weeks ago how I write poems because you couldn’t think of what to write for your IFP assignment. I told you that I draw inspiration from whatever is happening in my life. I wish so badly that this wasn’t happening in my life right now, but this is how I write a poem goob:


COURTESY OF MICHELLE LIMPE
Limpe discusses the importance of romanticizing your life.

Falling for the simple moments

On the first day of Thanksgiving break, a few of my friends and I met up to have dinner. While a dinner may not sound like anything special, the long months of quarantining at home made the simple meal with friends feel like a luxury. 


COURTESY OF SANIYA RAMCHANDANI
Ramchandani appreciates the strong women in her life, some of whom are pictured above.

Setting New Year's resolutions for 2021

This has been a strange and unprecedented time. The year 2020, for the most part, has been hell on wheels. That said, the personal growth I have achieved in this one year is comparable to that of the last six years combined. 


ACHIM RASCHKA/CC-BY-SA-3.0
Perlman bluntly shares her views about some aspects of the holidays.

Holiday music has gone too far

The day after Thanksgiving, I heard the first Christmas song. On Nov. 27, “Frosty the Snowman” played in South Georgia. There was no frost, and there were no snowmen. It was almost 70 degrees, and people were eating their way through leftovers. Why does it start so early? 


COURTESY OF RYAN AGHAMOHAMMADI
Aghamohammadi’s dog Suki (left) passed away on Dec. 2, before this article was published.

What it means to leave

In short, my dog is dying, and I feel heavy with that certainty. She is 16 years old; I’m 20. I have no articulable sense of what life is like without her. I’ve grown up with her, cared for her throughout primary school and said goodbye when I went off to college. Now the word goodbye pearls like a drop of water on my tongue.


COURTESY OF JAE CHOI 
Quarantine has caused Choi to reflect on his notion of home.

How the pandemic has informed what home means to me

As I scroll past dozens of Thanksgiving posts on my Instagram feed, I feast my eyes on luscious meals and cheerful Duchenne smiles radiating behind face masks. But this doesn’t look like any ordinary Thanksgiving. Aside from the obvious fact that people are donning masks in many of these photos, the celebrations this year have taken on a smaller scope, with fewer festivities and fewer seats at the dinner table. 


COURTESY OF ISABEL RIOS-PULGAR
Rios-Pulgar visited home for Thanksgiving break.

Time is out of our control, and that's okay

I am a semester away from graduating. Honestly, even writing out that sentence feels weird. It seems unreal. Something I’ve dreamt of since I saw my parents’ college graduation photos is about to (hopefully) come true next May. Whether it’s in person or on Zoom or Minecraft, by this time next year, I’ll have a Hopkins diploma with my name on it.


MIKE CIELSIELSKI/JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Limpe joined the Filipino Students Association at Hopkins.

Leaving home reconnected me with my culture

This summer, on June 12 — which coincided with Philippines Independence Day — Netflix released a much-awaited special by Filipino American comedian Jo Koy. My family and I, fans of comedy, were so excited to watch it. I had watched some of Koy’s previous shows and always loved his performances. 


COURTESY OF ELIZABETH IM 
Spending more time at home has prompted Im to relearn how to be a daughter.

Learning to be a daughter again

On one summer day of 2014, I boarded a plane headed to the US. For six years after that, I have lived in dorm rooms, with occasional and brief stays at home during the breaks. 



COURTESY OF ALLMARKONE 
Isaacs was a cox in high school.

Trying to cultivate healthy habits during quarantine

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time editing articles that have focused around the theme of joy. I’m not just saying this so that I can plug The News-Letter’s fall magazine, though you should definitely check it out — take even five minutes out of your day to read or watch one of these pieces and I guarantee it will brighten your day.  


Yang/CC by 2.0
Li remarks on the impact of artwork, including Mark Rothko's No. 14. 

Works of art have stories to tell

The painting is the size of two doors, thick stripes of color against a dark background. I stand in the hall and stare at it, my neck craning to take it all in. Mark Rothko’s No. 14, three rectangles of color — red, dark brown and black — on a 235.9 by 203.2 centimeter canvas. 


FILE PHOTO
Lola explores what writing can mean for her. 

Pushing my creative limits and reclaiming my artist identity

It’s often easy to forget that I can aim for something more than simply existing during the pandemic, for something as lofty and non-apocalyptic as creative growth. The pandemic seems like it should override just about everything in life. Even the activities I’ve always loved to do, like cooking, creative writing and talking to my loved ones, have now reemerged as coping mechanisms.


COURTESY OF GABRIEL LESSER
Lesser has discovered the joy of waking up early.

Finding my place in the sun

I have never enjoyed waking up early. In my opinion, it is pure cruelty to wake up at the crack of dawn, haul myself out of bed and leave the comfort of my pillows and blankets. I have slept through my fair share of alarms, shown up late to school on too many occasions and once even missed a train ride because of my inherent inability to wake up on time.


PUBLIC DOMAIN
In one version of Sleeping Beauty, the prince waltzes into the castle with no dragon to slay.

Changing and staying the same

I point to the blue moon. It’s snowing, and I invent reasons to believe that I haven’t changed. It’s pointless, though; I’ve changed, and it’s snowing, and it’s Halloween, and I can count on one hand the things that have stayed the same. On my other hand, I count the amount of people I have spoken to in person since March. I peel open a tangerine, and the wedges of fruit look like little crescent moons. The lamp behind me casts a moon-like shadow against the wall. I look at my hands, and they, too, are moons. It’s late, and I am so, so tired.


COURTESY OF JAE CHOI 
Choi traces humankind’s relationship to laundry back to antiquity.

Discovering the strange joy of laundry

For two whole days, our apartment was filled with the deafening racket of drills and hammers. A few weeks before, we had decided to get our own washer and dryer units to avoid using the communal laundry room a couple floors down.  


COURTESY OF ISABEL RIOS-PULGAR
Rios-Pulgar reflects on the power of music in her life.

Music is my safe space

If you ever saw me on campus, you saw me with my headphones on. It’s just a law of nature, like gravity. I’m always listening to music. I can’t help it. The headphones come on and everything else in the world goes silent. No more incoming texts, no more assignments, no more stress, and no more worries. 


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