Johns Hopkins University
BackgroundInterview Date:Winter 2019
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in in Florida with a graduating class of about 1,000 students. There was a program for advanced students where students were very much so pushed to go to college, whereas there was another group that was pushed to graduate high school.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Medicine, Science, and the Humanities
Minors: Double minor in Psychology and French
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of the EMT unit on campus called HERO. I am part of bystander intervention training for freshmen. I am part of the Student Advisory Board, which is connected to the professional advising office. I am part of the Sexual Assault Resource Unit. I am also part of the Pre-Health Honor Society, Alpha Epsilon Delta.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
All of them do. I’m very active in all of them and try my best to make an impact in all the groups I’m in.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
Now that I’m in the more upper-level courses, most of my assignments are paper-based. There are small homework assignments, but most of it cumulates in an exam or a paper.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
Something they do well is making sure all of us are accounted for. My major is one of the smaller majors on campus because it’s newer, so they have a lot of faculty devoted to us. Something I think they could do better is having more scheduled meetings with our advisers. There is usually just a scramble to get us in on time so we can register for courses, but there hasn’t really been an effort to mentor us.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it depends on the group of people you surround yourself with. There are very competitive people at Hopkins, and if you choose to be around those people it can be like that. I know for some people and myself it has been like that at times, but I have found that it’s really about who you surround yourself with. Now that I’ve found a good friend group I think it’s more collaborative, but that definitely wasn’t my sentiment at the beginning of college.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Clue, which was going through short stories while you act as a detective in medical mysteries. I thought that was a really interesting way to relate to the medical profession. I also thought it was a good mix of the major because it connected medicine and science to the humanities.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
History of Medicine because it’s a lot of information that you have to digest into papers and essays, but you don’t have much time to learn the material. You’re just learning it for the exam or paper.
How accessible have your professors been?
For the most part, they’ve all been accessible. They all have office hours and are available by email to schedule meetings. I’ve never had a problem with meeting up with a professor.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always had a passion for learning French, and, since I’m pre-med, it’s hard to take a lot of humanities courses without taking the pre-med requirements. This major has allowed me to do both at the same time, so I haven’t regretted my decision. It’s allowed me to have a diverse course load, which I really enjoy.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: AMR III in Building A in a single dorm, but it was suite style, so I was connected to a triple room.
Sophomore: Charles Commons in a double. I had my own room, my roommate had her own room, and we shared a bathroom.
Junior: Off-campus in the Marylander in a two-person apartment.
What has been your favorite living situation?
My favorite living situation I think is a tie between Charles Commons and the Marylander because I really enjoyed my roommate. As far as space, my apartment is bigger, but living in the dorm had more of a community.
How was transitioning from Gainesville, FL to the Charles Village neighborhood in Baltimore, MD?
The biggest transition is that in the South people are very friendly and people are smiling and waving at each other. Up North it’s not like that at all. I got a few crazy stares the first time I tried to do that. Also, the weather was hard to adjust to. I never saw snow until my freshman year of college, and that was a big change.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never felt unsafe on campus because of the level of security we have on campus. There’s always someone standing around, especially outside the dorms and where people are walking home. There’s also always good lighting at night.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Ciao Bella in Little Italy.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Visiting Stevenson University because I have a friend who goes there.
Pros and Cons of being in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, MD?
Pros: (1) You’re close to a lot of stores and restaurants.
(2) A lot of Hopkins students live in the area, so you’re always around your classmates.
(3) Safety because Hopkins security is also in the Charles Village area.
Cons: Because you live so close to campus it never feels like you’re done studying even though you may have gone home. I never feel truly away from campus.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Johns Hopkins?
I don’t go out that much, but if I do go out I like going to different college parties. I don’t go to the parties students at Hopkins throw. I go to events at Morgan State or Towson. They have parties where all the colleges in the Baltimore area are invited. The parties are sometimes thrown by Black fraternities and are sometimes thrown by different groups who have a house. Sometimes I’ll go to those parties with my friends from Hopkins. I go on Friday nights or Saturday nights.
What makes you like those parties more than the ones at Hopkins?
I think it’s just for a change of scenery and space. It’s nice to go out and meet new people.
What kind of nightlife did you participate in during your freshman year?
Freshman year I didn’t go out at all [laughs].
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Hopkins? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m okay with it. I don’t really frequent the Hopkins parties a lot. If I could change anything, I would change how they let people in because sometimes you’ll show up to an open party and they’ll ask you who invited you. They also ask that sometimes based on what you look like. That’s something I would change.
Has being a person who identifies LGBT influenced your nightlife experience?
Not particularly, no.
What have been your favorite times at Hopkins?
During the events on campus, like Hoptoberfest in the fall semester and Spring Fair in the spring semester. Those events really help people come together and it’s a really fun time on campus.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friends through housing situations. Other friends I’ve met in class and through different clubs.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
There’s a lot to do. There isn’t something every weekend, but the weekends where people don’t have a lot of exams there’s always something to do if you want to do stuff.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think they socialize within themselves. I know a lot of the times the LGBTQ people will have their own parties, and the same goes for the Black students on campus, at least the people that I know. They’ll throw parties for themselves and for the people that they know and the people that like the way they are. [About 7% of the undergraduate students are Black or African American.]
Is the LGBTQ community its own community?
I would say so. At least for the people who are openly out, they tend to stick together.
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Hopkins by senior year? Do you think people leave loving Hopkins?
I don’t think so. I think they love the fact that they’re done. I know a lot of people who have said that once they graduate they’ll never come back.
How was transitioning to a school the size of Hopkins? [Johns Hopkins has 5,615 undergraduates.]
It was interesting. I [was used to] the University of Florida which has an undergraduate enrollment of 35,000 students, so I always saw a lot of students around. Going to Hopkins and seeing the size of the campus was really different. It’s very easy to know a lot of people at Hopkins. I really like the size of Hopkins and it didn’t take long for me to adjust.
How strong is the Black community at Hopkins?
I think we’re not many but mighty.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I used the career office once for an interview workshop. It was okay.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful professionally?
I learned Excel, but I feel that a lot of the useful stuff I’ve learned through self-teaching. I haven’t learned any other programming.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating was the office to your needs?
I’ve used financial aid, and I would say they are moderate. They do their best to accommodate everyone, but I don’t think they do to the fullest extent. I think that because I’ve heard other people’s stories where they’ve gone through a lot personally or with their family’s finances, and Hopkins did the bare minimum.
What is something a prospective Black student may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
There is a community out there for you. The Black community has done a good job of making everyone feel like they belong at Hopkins. I feel that some of us have Imposter Syndrome a little bit and that we didn’t deserve our spot there. So, I’d make sure that they know that the Black community at Hopkins is welcoming and that this can be a home for you.
What is something a prospective LGBT student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
I think it’s important to note that Hopkins has an entire office dedicated to LGBTQ+ students and they provide a lot of resources. Also, Hopkins has a very inclusive student body, especially for students who were out in high school. I’ve never felt ostracized or anything about my sexuality.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The classroom sizes so they can have an idea about how big the classes can get. I was shocked when I had my first lecture hall class.
Reasons to attend Johns Hopkins:
1) It’s a top 10 university in the United States.
2) It’s a very competitive school and the education you have by the end will leave you enriched.
3) There is some very, very intelligent faculty in some majors.
4) It is a welcoming community of people and it has helped me and shaped me in a good way. As long as you feel that you belong, this could be a good university.
Reasons to not attend Johns Hopkins:
1) It is difficult. The grading system is harsh, so getting used to that is difficult.
2) Hopkins may not be the best place for you personally to get your education.