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.


What we miss by classifying autism as a mental illness

November 29, 2018

Writing about mental health is a touchy subject for me. That’s not because I am dealing with anxiety, or depression or another form of mental illness myself. I am extremely fortunate in that I don’t, to my knowledge, have a mental health issue or ...

COURTESY OF ARIELLA SHUA

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Growing up and learning to live with my evolving OCD

November 29, 2018

When most TV shows or movies portray a character with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), that character can usually be found washing their hands for 15 minutes straight or flipping a light switch on and off five times before leaving a room. And to most of the world, that’s what OCD is. 


KIMBERLY VARDEMAN / CC BY 2.0

Finding relief in a cookie: How baking alleviates my stress

November 29, 2018

The latest pop smash echoes through the room, shots of grapefruit-flavored vodka line the worn table and the scent of cinnamon wafts from a tray of snickerdoodles in the corner. One of these things is not like the others. What is a plate of freshly baked cookies doing at a college party? 


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Being a bystander: How can I help someone I know who is struggling?

November 29, 2018

The quick answer: It depends. It depends on the struggle. The enormity of this question paired with the spectrum of mental health issues, possibilities and struggles, makes this answer near impossible to tackle in a mere 1,000 words. My experiences as an A Place to Talk (APTT) trainer, QPR-certified member, Sexual Assault Resource Unit (SARU) hotline respondent, psychology major and hospice volunteer will hopefully prove useful, though.


Why I’m not going to forgive my abusers, and that’s okay

December 3, 2018

Forgiveness is a complicated thing. It is touted as the one path to inner peace. Bitter people are never happy; angry people are never at peace. Accepting this was hard for me, because I am angry, and I am bitter, and I don’t think I want to let go of that. I think my anger is what drives me, and some may say that is no way to live your life, but I think it has been the only way to live mine.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. (72).png

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Navigating dating and relationships with mental illness

November 29, 2018

I usually don’t like to tell people I’m dating about my struggles with mental health for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s something that I’ve learned to cope with mostly on my own. With obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit Disorder (ADD), difficulties mostly pop up on a brief, day-to-day basis, and I’ve adapted to handling small anxiety flare-ups and focus issues without too much help (though there is no downplaying the amount of help from family and friends I needed in order to get to this place of daily comfort with my disorders). 


Self-care tips from The News-Letter editors

November 29, 2018

Sometimes it helps to set everything down and stare into space for a few minutes. If I’m at home, I like to open the window, sit on my bed and focus on something aesthetically pleasing in my room, like my succulent, Luna. I’d listen to something instrumental to slow down my heart rate and breathing: Studio Ghibli soundtracks, Hilary Hahn’s Bach recordings, Schumann and the “Peaceful Piano” playlist on Spotify are always helpful. Afterward, I always feel more grounded, alert and focused. 


Using Google Maps to keep homesickness at bay

November 28, 2018

Humans, by nature, love to measure things. Throughout history, civilizations and individuals alike have consistently created systems of measurement: Ancient Maya charted the skies and compiled a calendar to measure time; physicists work to calculate the scale of our universe; English bishop John Wilkins invented the metric system in the 17th century.


Taking in the wisdom of accomplished people

November 28, 2018

Twist the burette, open the tap with your non-dominant hand, swirl the flask and voila! A quick and easy titration,” my chemistry lab professor said. He had been watching me do the lab and stepped up to teach me his titration technique. I observed with awe as he transformed a 10-second process into a one-second feat. 

COURTESY OF VAGUEONTHEHOW
Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen, the protagonist, on The CW’s The Flash.

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A go-to dish from home is the arancini at his uncle’s deli in Fairfield.

Explore what your local food scene has to offer

November 28, 2018

The moment my bus pulled away from the curb of Newark’s Penn Station — only late by a modest 12 minutes, impressively enough — I felt it. With only half a cup of coffee to assuage its relentless appetite, my stomach began to rumble in longing for the hometown staples I’d savored over Thanksgiving break.


A tradition passed down through generations

November 28, 2018

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would give you a story to be thankful for.  A long time ago, two mortal enemies formed rival sororities for their high schools. They were each going to take 50 girls from their grades to form pledge classes. Who would recruit whom? Which would be more popular? Who would win? 

COURTESY OF ADDY PERLMAN
Pledges bobbing for apples as part of their quest to become sisters.

 COURTESY OF DAVID SHANKBONE/ CC BY-SA 3.0
Michael Bloomberg’s donation made this Thanksgiving extra sweet.

What made this year’s Thanksgiving unique

November 29, 2018

I have to admit, this Thanksgiving was probably my favorite of all time. I talked to some family I hadn’t seen in years, had two Thanksgiving feasts, reconnected with former classmates at a Friendsgiving, and it was all topped off with a nice little $1.8 billion cherry from Michael Bloomberg.


 COURTESY OF STACEY MACNAUGHT/CC BY-SA 2.0
The process of reporting an abuser via Facebook highlighted rape culture.

What I learned from the process of reporting an abuser via social media

November 14, 2018

About three weeks ago I made a Facebook post which, since then, has uprooted my life. When I made the post I did it with the intention of giving my friend a voice who had remained quiet for so long. What has followed has taught me a lot about what happens when you finally speak out about abuse — especially when explicitly stating the perpetrator.


Realizing my first job isn't the end all be all

November 15, 2018

I was having a conversation with my grandmother about my job prospects as I walked home in the rain the other day. She asked me what I wanted to do after college, which, of course, is every senior’s favorite question right now. I told her about how I was considering a lot of paths, from data analysis to marketing to management. I wasn’t sure which one was right. 

COURTESY OF MARCIA ZIMMERMAN
Marcia’s mom, Sherry Levin, playing for The College of the Holy Cross. 

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Anna found comfort in binge-watching the show M*A*S*H, which was filmed in California.

An ode to M*A*S*H and my home state, California

November 15, 2018

The first time I visited Malibu Creek State Park was the day before I moved out of California. I had just graduated high school, and, like most kids about to live away from home for the first time in their lives, I was terrified. I spent that summer holed up in my room, watching quite a lot of television and trying to soak up as much time with my family as possible.


Exploring mental illness through artistic expression

November 15, 2018

I both love and hate the idea of coping with mental illness through artistic expression. On the one hand, it’s a great way to “pass” an emotional imprint of something negative out of you and turn it into something you’re proud of. A sort of metaphysical turd, if you will. 

COURTESY OF INSAPPHOWETRUST/ CC BY-SA 2.0 
Maria Bamford’s comedy has influenced Katherine’s own artistic work.

thanksgiving

Investing more in my relationships with others

November 15, 2018

It’s been a little over two months since I left my home in New Jersey. This period of time has been filled with long nights of studying; meals at the FFC (Fresh Food Cafe); a fear of getting hand, foot and mouth disease; and so much more. But, having been so caught up in my daily tasks, I haven’t had the time to reflect. So that’s what I’m taking a moment to do now.