Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 19, 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.



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.


How my family shaped who I am today

“This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times” plays from the speaker on my desk as I finish up my homework for the night. I fall down a wormhole, and I’m back in the passenger seat of my dad’s Ford F150. The heat is blasting, and the “heater seat,” as we call it, is on level three. It’s the middle of winter in Valdosta, Georgia, so it’s about 45 degrees. We hot-blooded country folk can’t handle it. 


How college has changed how I've viewed myself

Aug. 11, 2016 was the first day I stepped on the Homewood Campus as a student. Like many 18-year-olds, I thought I had a good grasp on who I was and who I wanted to be, and I was so excited for what this new journey would bring me. I was coming to a top university to play football and to study to become a doctor. College was going to be the best years of my life, right?  


How to not graduate “on time”

For most of my life, I thought I was dumb. Or at least, incompetent. It felt like nothing I did was good enough, and the bureaucracy of semi-decent public high schools didn’t help much. Additionally, as I was finishing up high school, I saw how expensive college was, and so I couldn’t take the idea of college seriously. I didn’t understand financial aid, and my non-English-speaking parents certainly did not either. It wasn’t like I felt like I was learning much in high school anyways – how could college be any better? I was always just so tired all the time. What was the point? Was I just doing it all for a piece of paper? 


COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LEE

My relationship with God and physics

Sometimes the things I say sound like the babbling of a romantic idealist. My motivations for physics are too far removed from reality, my reasons for loving the subject too “soft,” and so I don’t know if I have ever really fit into the straight-back mold of an algorithmic physicist. 


COURTESY OF KELVIN QIAN
Qian’s time with his dance group, the Eclectics, reminded him of a life beyond consumerism.

Searching for meaning during the crisis of consumerism

We live in an age of crisis. The ice caps are melting and the forests are burning. Above all else, if headlines are to be believed, we face the possibility of an uninhabitable Earth, societal collapse and human extinction. I’ve thought a lot about this over the past year or so. Unsurprisingly, this made me sad. 


PUBLIC DOMAIN
While it was hard to say goodbye, Im is excited for her semester abroad.

Looking forward to a semester abroad in Sweden

Here’s the news: I’m studying abroad this spring in Stockholm, Sweden. I have been dreaming of it since my senior year of high school and I am more than thrilled. However, I was surprised by my own hesitance to commit when I received the email that I had been accepted to the program.


PUBLIC DOMAIN
Buying a laptop encapsulates Farrar’s fiscal anxiety as a low income student.

The stress of high-stakes and limited-income life

I have to buy a new computer. Well, I don’t have to, technically speaking. But the screen is split open almost all the way around. Some keys have to be typed three times before they register. And I must always arrive to my classes that meet once a week rather early and make a beeline to an outlet, because the battery won’t last the two-and-a-half hour time slot. 


How to truly take a day off when you’re stressed

So it’s been a stressful week (as every other week at Hopkins tends to be) and all you want to do is curl up on your couch with warm cider and watch a movie. But it’s a Monday night and you have an early morning class tomorrow that you just can’t skip and a quiz on Wednesday that you just have to spend the whole of the next afternoon in Brody studying for. 


COURTESY OF KATY WILNER
Wilner reflects on how she has managed her eating disorder while studying abroad in France.

Grappling with my eating disorder while abroad

In case you haven’t seen Ratatouille, let me tell you how much the French love their food. Unlike in the States, where people juice their breakfast to drink on-the-go, in France, meal time is a serious part of the day. Most working adults take at least an hour to stop working, sit in a restaurant and eat a multi-course lunch.


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