Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 25, 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 BONNIE JIN 
Jin discusses the importance of optimism in her life.

Why I still choose optimism over despair

1. I recently found my "Hopkins Bucket List" while cleaning in quarantine. Fourteen theses bulleted on a sticky note, I'd stuck the page in a bright red Leuchtturm 1917 days before O-week.


COURTESY OF JAE CHOI

Choi spent many summer nights gardening with his mother, who taught him several Korean proverbs.

My summer in Korean proverbs

Each night around 8:00 p.m. this past summer, I would walk out into the backyard with my mom to water the plants in our garden. I usually started around the squash plants and then worked my way over to the lavender and rosemary before misting the flowers at the right edge of the bed. This was often my favorite part of the day. There is something ineffably comforting about providing nourishment to flowers and herbs after long hours of studying and running errands. 


COURTESY OF SOPHIA LOLA
Lola has come to enjoy living alone. 

Learning to enjoy living alone

Over the past few years, I’ve become something resembling an extrovert. I was more of a homebody during middle and early high school, but my social life got more active toward the end of high school. When I got to Hopkins two years ago, I moved into a double in AMR II and quickly became close friends with my roommate and other people in the dorm.  


Building meaningful relationships over Zoom

The past few weeks have been challenging, to say the least. The difficulties presented by the already fluid schedule of college life have only been exacerbated by the fact that I never technically have to leave my bedroom if I don’t want to. This flexibility makes it easier to procrastinate, shortens my attention span and all but kills my motivation. 


PUBLIC DOMAIN
Aghamohammadi contemplates the ghosts that haunt him.

What we live in

One night, after we have shut the doors behind us, I dream my home is haunted. In the dream, I lie in my bed in the inkblot dark, twisting my hands through the sheets, when the faintest white glow softens the room. I rummage through the drawers of my nightstand and strike a match.


Reflecting on myself as a senior

So I thought I’d have my life all figured out by now. I would be a legal drinker and one step closer to a mortgage. I was positive I would have every step planned from graduation to grave by the time senior fall came around. Oh, how I was wrong. 


Hequals2henry/CC BY-SA 3.0 
Li discusses her experiences in Houston’s Chinatown and her Asian American identity. 

A love letter to Chinatown

The roast duck at Alan’s deli next to Great Wall supermarket hangs in a neat row, skewered in place by the neck and dripping with oil. My mom half-shouts to be heard over the sound of a chopping knife as she orders duck, char siu, and crispy pork belly from the man behind the counter.


PUBLIC DOMAIN
Isaacs remembers her friend, who loved snowdrops. 

In my thoughts always

This column is not an easy one for me to write. In fact, it is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write, and I have tried to write it several times before. I’ve tried writing poems and stories and articles and letters, and nothing has ever felt quite right. 


COURTESY OF SOPHIA LOLA
Lola spent several hours making nacatamales, a Nicaraguan dish.

A love letter to my heritage and very good food

Quarantine has, I assume, pushed us all to some kind of edge, whether it’s manically honing dozens of hobbies and skills for a sense of productivity, or biding your time by lazing around the house and having regular existential crises, or maybe oscillating between the two. I personally tend more toward the “biding my time” option, but thankfully I’ve also been able to hone a skill or two here and there, particularly cooking. 


How friends help you grow

If you know me personally, you know that I spend a lot of my time either with my friends or talking about them. I can’t help it; I really attribute a lot of my personal growth and who I am today to them. Without them, I’m not very sure where I’d be or even who I’d be.


COURTESY OF SANIYA RAMCHANDANI
Ramchandani likes to write down her takeaways from a setback and store them in this box.

Using setbacks to strengthen yourself

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a well-known cliché. Though Nietzsche was a little more eloquent in coining the phrase, this is the version that’s ingrained in our minds, thanks to Etsy’s wide array of t-shirts and pillowcases sporting it, and Kelly Clarkson’s 2011 hit song. So, it’s no secret in 2020 that failure is an opportunity to learn as opposed to something necessarily negative, but I’ll be the first to admit that when I’m down, I don’t want to hear that.


COURTESY OF ELIZABETH IM
Im snaps a photo of the sky after a storm in Jeju Island, where she currently is staying.

The process of deciding to take a gap semester

In my last column, I boldly claimed that I had learned to listen to what I want through my study abroad experience in Sweden. Yet listening to my heart still proves to be a challenge. Even if I’ve wanted to follow my desires — my true inclinations — sometimes I didn’t know what they were.


COURTESY OF ZUBIA HASAN
After landing in Baltimore, Hasan admires the significance of her surroundings. 

My life is a movie

As the plane landed in Baltimore, the sun set. A brilliant fiery globe, fiercely yellow against the red sky. My first thought was ‘Wow, this means something.’ A new start maybe. The sun setting on my old life and a new dawn breaking. My second thought was to dismiss this — I have often chided myself for my romantic notions, my silly thought process, my living life as if it is a novel or a movie.


COURTESY OF ISHAN KALBURGE
Kalburge reflects on what the past few months mean for his generation. 

Living through COVID-19 as a freshman

To say, “I graduated from high school in 2020,” holds a lot more meaning than we might have thought it would. For those of us who wear that badge, it means an orchestra of mixed emotions, and with good reason: As graduating seniors, we expected the nine months between college application deadlines and the first day of college to be smooth sailing. And suffice it to say, we were royally ripped off. 


LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART / PUBLIC DOMAIN
In Greek mythology, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a werewolf as punishment for testing his omniscience.

Werewolves and internalized shame

I can’t sleep. The humidity thickens the air, but the storm is long gone. My house is dark without power; only a few candles are lit here or there. The moonbeams drift in, shallow and blue, but the moon is so large it fills the window panes. These days, I am waiting for confirmation that I’m walking the right path.  


COURTESY OF MICHELLE LIMPE 

Limpe reflects on her fitness journey in quarantine.

Exercising toward a healthy mind

Even before the pandemic hit, staying at home everyday always left me feeling restless. I am the type of person who needs to be out and about doing something productive, whether it’s finishing errands, meeting with friends or simply walking in the park.


What chronic illness taught me about life

Life has a funny way of teaching you a lesson sometimes. When I was little, I was solely focused on being the best: the best student, the best friend, the best daughter, the best everything. I would do whatever it took to meet that goal. Sleepless nights, high levels of stress, and infinite hours of overcommitment became my life. 


Feeling supported in uncertain times

There’s no denying that this has been an incredibly strange summer. For me it began with frantic plane rides, a hotel quarantine and a country-wide lockdown. Everything I thought I valued and considered important was put into question. As the world battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this summer has turned into an extended period of self-reflection. I understand how incredibly privileged I am to have typed that last sentence. Essential workers and healthcare workers are working tirelessly day in and day out to keep us safe and minimize the damage of this horrible virus. Yet I have the ability to wear a mask and spend time with my family and close friends. 


COURTESY OF ZUBIA HASAN
Hasan reflects on the depressing monotony of the current state of affairs.

Waiting for my movie moment

I really think I have lost the ability to write. I write a few lines, then I erase them. I repeat the process until the page is finally blank and I have no more starters, no more words. I really think somehow I have lost the ability to create.


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