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.
What a year it has been so far, and we still have three months to go. One thing that the added time from quarantine has allowed me to do is binge-watch pretty much every show ever made. But it also has given me the opportunity to learn about various productivity methods.
I will shamelessly admit that I am one of those people whose camera roll and Instagram stories are filled with sunset photos. The beautiful blend of warm and cool palettes against the city landscape never fails to give me a sense of peace and a reminder of how beautiful the Earth can be, especially after being stuck inside for so long.
On the afternoon of March 13, I got my admissions decision from Hopkins. I opened it in my car, parked in the mostly deserted senior parking lot of my high school. Some track athletes were talking a little ways off. When I read “You’ve been admitted,” I hoped they couldn’t hear the screams coming from inside my Mazda. I double- and triple-checked my portal, and when I was partly convinced my acceptance wasn’t a mistake, I drove home floating.
It is hard to sit still enough to write. It is hard to be still. There is some nervous energy that runs through my body, making my heart beat faster than it should, my mind race faster than it should, and making me unable to write in a manner that would be of any value.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.