Every once and a while I have invited others to pen a Guest Entry to the Hopkins Insider Blog. Past guest entries have been written by Mom, my colleague Mark Butt, and a few students. To read all these past entries just click the "Guest Entries" listing in the Categories list on the left.
Today's guest author is a good friend, an amazing colleague, and someone trying blogging for the first time. I hope you enjoy the ramblings of Associate Director of Admissions, Jameel Freeman. (Check out Jameel's Admissions profile to learn more about the man, the myth, the legend.)
So I have been meaning to try my hand at blogging and forgive me in advance for any grammatical errors and omissions. My name is Jameel Freeman, Associate Director of Admissions and I am the regional representative for students residing in Maryland, DC and West Virginia. I first have to show some love to my MD, DC and WV prospective students and current Blue Jays. Let’s keep showing the world how the best students roll!
Now of course I’m kidding, we have wonderful students from all over the world; I just have a special fondness for the kids in my region! As with my colleagues, I have many other responsibilities here in Admissions but I’m really proud to serve as the Maryland representative, the home state of Johns Hopkins and much of my family.
I wanted to write a blog because it’s a great time of year to do so and I was encouraged by my colleague Daniel Creasy who directs our Hopkins Interactive website. The holidays are here and no matter what you choose to celebrate (or not!) from now until the middle of January, we will all most likely be spending time with our families. This is a great time for apple pie, UNLIMITED ESPN, College Football Bowl games (Go UNC Tar Heels!), NFL, more cake and pie, visiting that mean relative nobody wants to visit, NBA, college basketball, NHL, and yes, MORE PIE. As you can see sports and pie dominate much of my outside life and I’m very proud of it! Thank goodness the gym isn’t too far from my house!
As we move to close out 2008, let me first wish all service men and women a fast and safe return home to the States or their native country. Let us also remember those whom we have lost through death and gained through life. Finally, let us not forget those families who are facing financial difficulty due to unfortunate economic circumstances nationally and globally.
It also brings about the time of year where I get to know my colleagues extremely well as we work to admit another class of wonderful scholars to Johns Hopkins University. We will spend long days and nights from now until May (we aren’t quite done on April 1!) reviewing applicants, meeting in committee, looking at data, planning programs, eating a lot of (unhealthy) food, speaking on panels, etc. You would think that one would go crazy seeing all of these responsibilities, knowing that our social lives are pretty much non-existent until May but honestly we look forward to it. This time of year is why we are in Admissions; it’s what we were meant to do. To see the academic and extra curricular accomplishments that you students have witnessed thus far in your life is enriching. We read and discuss, praise (and shake our heads!), and try to understand what makes each of you so different and unique. It’s the reason I’ve been in higher education going on 10 years and the reason I plan to stay…unless ESPN finally hires me as a SportsCenter anchor!
Now I understand that this time of year brings nervous energy, excitement and anxiety to many applicants. Whether you applied Early Decision or Regular Decision, you are most likely nervous about the outcome that can determine the rest of your adult lives……….no pressure right? :0) With that being said, remember that we ALL have been through this. From our own personal experiences with the application process to your teachers, family, and friends experiences through the admission process, we have all been there. The restlessness, not being able to sleep, the excitement, it’s totally normal. Regardless of the outcome of your decision, you’ll find that this is the beginning of a series of exciting moments in your life and in the end it all works out. You will find the school that will prepare you for excellence and for those attending Hopkins we love that we have the opportunity to assist with your goals. So try and relax, eat some cake and pie, watch a game or two if you like, and stay focused seniors as you move towards the process of completing your applications!
This time of year also brings on reflections for me and my time in college. I was thinking the other day how great college was for me. The great thing about being a high school student is that many of you are totally unaware of the fun and excitement that awaits you. In my opinion, your college years are hands down the best years of your life, especially if you pick the right school and you make your experience truly amazing. I had the time of my life because it was totally what I made of it. Now what school that may be lies with you and your own personal preferences and research. No school is going to be perfect and it’s up to you to make the most out of your experience at whatever school you choose. I know that many feel like there is only ONE school in the world for you and in reality, that’s probably not true. There are probably a few (at the very least) schools that are great for you, you just have to investigate! I always say this because admissions decisions will vary and many of you will get great offers of admission to your top schools and unfortunately many may not get in everywhere they hoped to. Here again, we’ve all been through it at some point in our lives and it all works out. Just remember it’s what you make of it!
College for many symbolizes growth; academically, socially and professionally. The friends you make, the faculty you interact with, the games and clubs you attend/join, the late night pizza runs you embark on, it’s all growth. You’ll grow from a young adult to an adult, you’ll gain a great education (hopefully!) and you will start to see that college wasn’t totally an academic education but more so a personal education of whom you are and what you have become. I’d say it’s 60% academic education and 40% personal education (but don’t tell your parents that-although they probably already know!). So you should be excited, the best is yet to come for you and I’m happy that by even reading this blog many of you are considering Hopkins!
For the new students arriving via early decision, I look forward to seeing you on campus. The longer I am here and the more I discover about Hopkins, the more my not so secret love affair grows with it. I suspect many of you who have applied Early Decision have found some of these things out already! I’m so proud to be a member of the Hopkins family, we are a pretty awesome group of faculty, staff and students and we welcome you with open arms to our community (no singing songs or holding hands in a circle--unless you really want to!). So as you go about your winter break, remember these simple things students: 1) The college admissions process is crazy at times but a means to a worthwhile end. 2) Life is what we make of it and enriched by those we choose to share it with (even if it’s the mean relatives we visit!) and 3) When everything else fails, there is always ESPN, cake and apple pie! Enjoy your winter break students and welcome Early Decision Class of 2013 candidates to the Hopkins Family.