Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 3, 2020

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.



Staying true to myself in eight semesters abroad

Sometimes it’s as simple as wishing that a pair of shoes that are currently sitting in my closet in Singapore were with me in Baltimore, and sometimes it’s wishing my mom could drive to me in three hours when I’m having a crappy mental day instead of having to travel upwards of 20 hours in cars, planes and trains to get to me.


COURTESY OF KELVIN QIAN
Qian’s Chinese-American identity gives him a unique perspective on Chinese nationalism.

How my views on Chinese nationalism have evolved

Chinese nationalism has been making the news lately. We’ve all seen it in action, whether in the form of giant military parades in Beijing, the National Basketball Association’s expulsion from China over a single tweet or that big Chinese flag that was hung up in Brody.


COURTESY OF ADDY PERLMAN
A trip to her parents lake house reminded Perlman to keep true to herself.

Why I’ve decided to go with the flow this year

An alligator suns on a log. It’s winter, but we’re in South Georgia, so that means it’s 80 degrees, but perfect. My parents and I are lounging on Adirondacks on the deck my dad built to surround our quaint cabin on the lake. I’m reading Becoming, and my dog is playing with her tiny ball. Silence.



Learning to listen to my mind and my body

Lately I’ve had to give this explanation to a lot of people in my life, so I figured I might as well write it down. If you’ve spoken to me at all recently, you know that I’ve been caught up in a medical whirlwind for the past few months. 


Resurrecting an Italian Christmas culinary tradition

Every time I return from a break in the espresso-stained, red sauce–laden part of New Jersey I call home, I feel uneasy. I just spent a week consuming at least three cloves of garlic a day and beginning all conversations at a 7/10, but as I try to settle back into Baltimore, I wonder if I need to tone it down.



TED EYTAN/CC BY-SA 2.0 AND PUBLIC DOMAIN
Perlman reflects on celebrating two different winter holidays as a child. 

Growing up celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah

Once upon a time in a flyover town, an only child slept in her wooden castle and was tucked away in her princess-themed tower, which overlooked the splatter-shaped moat with a swirling slide attached. Her blinds were drawn, and under the covers, she read with her flashlight because the anticipation of Christmas morning was overwhelming. The cookies were iced and were waiting downstairs for Santa Claus. Carrots and nuts for the hardworking reindeer occupied an extra dog bowl on the brick front step.


COURTESY OF KATY WILNER
Wilner is relearning the value of being alone after years in relationships.

Using a semester in Paris to fall in love with myself

I have never been a very independent person. It’s not simply that I enjoy the company of others, but the idea of doing certain things alone fills me with debilitating dread.  This kind of thinking used to limit so much of what I could do, whether it be going to a restaurant, taking a trip or even riding the metro alone. I make my friends do everything with me, even if it is something as mundane as buying groceries.


Learning to confront my conflicts with friends

The first article I wrote for this column was called “Investing more in my relationships with others.” In it, I discussed my desire to be a better son, brother and friend by putting my all into my interactions with others.



COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

Struggling with validity in the Latinx community

I am Laís. I am Latinx, I am Hispanic, I am Brazilian, I am a woman. These are all my “identities,” and I accept these identities now, but that wasn’t always the case. I know in my heart I’m apart of the Latinx community, but why do I feel like because I have white skin and European heritage, that I’m not a valid member, even when it’s the identity I fit into the most? 


23andMe, myself and I

I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that b—. Well, not quite, but love you Lizzo. I took a DNA test in January, got the results a month later and found out that I’m not 100 percent anything. Don’t worry, it wasn’t some shocking turn of results — I knew my DNA would prove to be a multicolored pie chart.


COURTESY OF SARAH Y. KIM
As a child, Kim wore hanbok for special occasions.

Reconnecting with my Korean heritage in America

There is a cemetery in Korea whose name I do not know, far away from Seoul and deep in the mountains, where my maternal ancestors are buried. Apart from my grandfather who passed when I was eight, I do not know their names or faces. 


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

My definition of home and how it’s changed

What does it mean to go home? What, and where, is home? To most, physical roots are important to our identities: where we were born, where we live and where we come from. Sometimes, I’ve seen people get offended when someone from just outside of New York City say that they are from New York. I understand the indignation; I also have the urge to call out people who claim they are from Seoul when they aren’t. But why do we have this urge? Why does it bother us when someone who is not “really” from your hometown claims to be from there?


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

What I learned from painting my fingernails

Unlike Macklemore, when I was in the third grade, I didn’t think that I was gay. During my childhood, I was instead a mouthpiece of heteronormativity. While in kindergarten, a friend declared that she would one day marry a woman. I argued to her that this was impossible. Even earlier, when a boy in my preschool class showed me his navy-blue fingernails, I insisted that his hands resembled a girl’s.


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

Queerness, closets and coming out in college

It’s been over a year since I first arrived at Hopkins, full of hopes, fears and vague expectations for my college experience. That arrival entailed much fanfare from overenthusiastic FYMs and even more awkward introductions and icebreakers between me and my classmates. I expected that, and I’ll even admit I loved it in its cringyness.


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

On whether I should identify as white

“Well, you know, you look... different.” So said one of my friends during a casual dinner conversation one night. We noted that we were the only non-Asian people in the Japanese restaurant. The talk turned to race and how we ourselves identified. Both of us are Jewish, and both of us identified as white.


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

Moving to a city from rural middle America

Since moving to Baltimore and being at Hopkins, I’ve realized more and more the ways in which my upbringing in essentially the middle of nowhere influenced me. I spent as much time as possible during my childhood years outside, running through the woods and jumping in the lake with my little brother. The gravel road we lived on had virtually no traffic and we knew our neighbors well, so we had free reign to explore the acres of forest surrounding our log home. This may sound incredibly primitive, but one of the favorite activities of my siblings and I was to patrol the woods for dead trees and knock them down. Yep, it was a blast.


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