posted by Lauren B.
So one of the most common questions I get asked at Open Houses is "what is a typical day like at Hopkins?" Aside from "hey, so what were your SAT scores..." I find this to be maybe the most irritating question, and I think the activities of the past 48 hours can explain why.
This week is the middle of formal recruitment, otherwise known as rush, for the three Panhellenic sororities on campus (Alpha Phi, Phi Mu and Kappa Kappa Gamma). Rush started on Saturday with "ice water" round, and finishes up with Bid Day on Thursday. The start of formal pledging is one of my favorite things about spring at Hopkins and really made my year so much fun. But rush was only the beginning of this strange, strange week.
My pledge class at Ice Water.
First off, the weather has been bipolar, with two days of heavy snowfall and two days of balmy spring. Sadly, neither of the snowy days were quite snowy enough to merit a snowday, but it made campus look amazing.
Posted by: Dominique D.
Happy Spring Semester! This means more blogs and more Michael Jackson songs as titles. :o)
I'll talk about my spring classes in my next blog, so I will use this one to talk about my Intersession 2010 experience this time around, which trumped last year's.
Last year, I stayed home longer and came back to take an awesome class. This year, I came for all of Intersession and took 2 classes and assisted another one.
Imagine if you could go to school, but not have any real work to do. You have all the perks of seeing your friends, using your mealplan having emptier/quieter dorms, but no real work, just random 1-2 credit classes about things you like. Kind of amazing. I also got a lot of movie watching time in and lots of time to spend with friends outside of club events. Relaxing...
The first class I took was a sociology class called "White Privilege." Weird and blunt title, which I liked. We learned about how being white in American came to be a hidden privilege and the benefits that came/come with that privilege. The class was a nice mix of white, black and Asian, so that was pretty cool too. People in the early 20th century in America used to go to court to try to prove their whiteness, because if that was legally proven, then they had access to better homes, jobs, schools, services, healthcare, etc. Japanese and Indian were among some of the races that tried to prove their whiteness based on skin color, but the courts refuted their claims and said whiteness went beyond skin color. Many of the "new immigrants" from southern and eastern Europe were treated poorly by the "old immigrants" from Ireland and whatnot, comparable to the way blacks were being treated. After WWII however, they got new status as being "white." Very strange how our country has treated race...I could go on but there's not enough room in this blog.
The other class I took was a public health one, called "The Obesity Epidemic." This class was taught by one of my public health professors I had last year and he's great--very enthusiastic and animated when he lectures. Apparently, 70% of Americans are overweight and a third are clinically obese...which are astronomical figures. This epidemic isn't only in the US, but in other developed countries aqnd even in poorer, developing countries. The course tried to get us to think about WHY this was occuring, besides the fact that people are eating more calories than they are expending. The environment is the main culprit, as our teacher described it, because supersized, easy to get, unhealthy, cheap food is our default. He pointed out that life expectancies in the US shot up at one point in the early 20th century not because of new medicines or vaccines, but because the environment was changed through water sanitation.
Map=obesity...red is the most obese. Actually this map is kinda old...more states are red now
Changing the environment is a good way to make people healthier because people don't have to do anything...it sounds awful but it's true! We're more responsive and benefitted more when things are done for us and we have no choice but to live with it. Some things to change the environment include taxing junk food, advertising healthier foods, and soooo much more. If you couldn't tell I loved the class, despite the fact that each session was like 3.5 hours (well it was a 4 day class so it's ok).
The last thing I did was become a course assistant for a B'More! Freshman course, about cancer. Course assistants took care of registration of students. Each class was assigned a neighborhood to explore and assistants had to lead the students in our classes around, which was fun but a bit weird because I had a pack of 20 students following me. We visited local landmarks and took pics...and no one got lost or left behind so I was happy about that. Being a course assistant made me have to trust my leadership skills and be confident in my abilities to engage students and make them feel comfortable (especially important because they were freshmen). Not to mention, I made a cool new contact in the professor who taught the course. It was her first time teaching and she wants to go into it one day, so this was good practice for her. Plus, I met 20 cool freshmen, with whom I still interact when I see them around.
Now THAT'S what a relaxing, but useful, Intersession is supposed to be like...so happy I got to partake this time around.
Until next time,
Posted by Jessica K.
Sometimes I wake up in Geneva and think I’m still dreaming. Perhaps it’s because for months I knew I was going to be in Switzerland for the semester and so it sometimes feels weird that I’m finally here. However, I don’t think that’s entirely the reason why I feel like I’m dreaming because as I go through out my day I keep thinking about how I must still be dreaming. It must be because Switzerland often seems like a giant fairytale in itself so I feel as though I’m just one of many characters in a fairytale entitled Switzerland, or Suisse, or Svizzera, or Schweiz, or however you say Switzerland in Rumantsch.
This country oftentimes doesn’t make sense to me. In comparison to Brazil, it really doesn’t make sense. And sometimes it makes too much sense that it doesn’t make sense. For example: the crosswalk button when pressed will actually change the stoplight to red and backup traffic, the public transportation system is run on an honor system, the trains from city to city never fill up and are always exactly on time and exactly the same price, the streets are not filled-up with chain restaurants (nor trash) and are instead filled up with local chocolate stores, and for some reason it’s practical for nearly all advertisements to be for watches.
Other times I just stop and look around and feel as though I’m in a fairytale setting: kids are free to play on the streets, the alps are on the horizon, the buildings are centuries old, one of my classes is taught entirely by World Health Organization lecturers, etc.
This fairytale that I am in was definitely not written by me. In my fairytale I wouldn’t have gotten a stomach flu last week (nor have passed it onto my roommate), nor blanked on a French test, nor had hundreds of readings and French verbs sent my way. If I wrote the fairytale my closest friends and family would be here (my dad would have definitely gotten to see the awesome Swiss Transport Museum I went to yesterday, my mom would have walked along the lake with me, and Matt would have shared fondue…), the world news would not be as depressing as it is, and this country would not speak 8,942 languages and dialects (a slight exaggeration), and the prices would not be so, so high (although $ may be what rungs the fairytale). And so maybe Switzerland is not the perfect fairytale, but it’s pretty darn close to it.
Next blog: A little about my accelerated six-week classes, my internship starting in March, snowshoeing on my 21st birthday weekend, and spring break plans. Stay tuned!
Photographs: 1, 3, 4: Luzern, Switzerland
Photographs 2: The "beach" on Lake Geneva (taken on my morning run).
I have been fortunate for the public health major at Johns Hopkins. In high school I thought that picking a major would be one of the biggest challenges that I would face in college. I knew I wanted a smaller school and an interdisciplinary major. However, I found that those two “wants” were sometimes hard to find within a school. Johns Hopkins has given me that combination. In the United States, there is a recent shift in demand by students for a more interdisciplinary education. And a shift for majors that are more “relevant” to the real world. As a result there has been a national shift in curriculum to an interdisciplinary approach. I am definitely one of those students who needed an interdisciplinary major.
I would like to think that Johns Hopkins is at the forefront of this shift and that it shows. The three most popular majors on the Homewood campus are all interdisciplinary: public health, international studies, and neuroscience. And another interdisciplinary major was just introduced that I think will jump in popularity in the coming years: global environmental change and sustainability.
For the case of simplicity, I’ve broken up this blog into answers to two sections…
What does the public health major give its students?
Well the easiest way to answer this question is to check out the public health major checklist (click here: http://www.jhu.edu/advising/checklists.html), since by far the greatest thing the major gives is a great range of courses. You’ll notice that the public health major is divided into two tracks natural sciences and social sciences. About two-thirds of public health majors are natural sciences majors. Most natural science public health majors attend on applying to medical school (or at one point thought they wanted to go to medical school…). However, there are other natural sciences major that do not attend to go to medical school and just have more of a science-mind. For me, I’m a social sciences public health major.
All public health majors are united by four public health classes: The Environment and Your Health, Fundamentals of Health Policy and Management, Biostatistics in Public Health, and Fundamental of Epidemiology. These courses give a general understanding of four key areas of public health. They’re also a great place to meet other public health majors and to just get a general understanding of what public health is and what it entails. Other requirements that both majors take are Biology and Calculus. The other thing that unites public health majors is the requirement that at least 15 units of courses (equal to 10 Homewood credits) must be taken at the Bloomberg School of Public Health during your senior year. Most older public health majors I have talked to LOVE these courses and say that despite the shuttle ride to the other campus, that these courses are often their favorite classes. This is because you can take classes that are less general and more particular to your interest in public health, you can a feel for what graduate school is like, and you are surrounded by other students in your courses who are usually much older with tons of experience. Seriously, I’m psyched for my next semester when I get to take classes there. Public health majors—both natural and social sciences—are also united with the opportunity to do a rather long honors thesis if they have a GPA of 3.3 within their major. The public health major also gives its students the opportunity to apply to a one-year accelerated MHS (Masters in Health Sciences) in Epidemiology (just added this year), Environmental Health, and Mental Health. Students can apply for these masters at the end of their junior year.
So what sets natural sciences apart from social sciences? You’ll see on the checklist that social sciences majors pick two disciplines. Three courses from one department in Group A (Anthropology, History, Psychology, Sociology, or Africana Studies. And three courses from one department in Group B (Economics, History of Sci/Med/Tech, Political Science, and Geography & Environmental Engineering). Along with these social sciences courses you take three social sciences electives.
Personally, my two emphases are Sociology and Geography & Environmental Engineering. I picked these two simply because the classes I was most interested in happened to be within these two areas. You begin to realize through taking these classes that health can be tied into so many departments within the Homewood campus and begin to develop a better perspective of health. Sociology in particular has made me question how we think of health within a society.
Public health academic advising is also great. We have three full-time academic advisers located in the Greenhouse who are all very wiling to help you (and calm you down) about thinking about the scary future. You’ll have to meet with them every semester to figure out the schedule, but they are always willing to meet throughout the semester whether its to discuss recommendations or a class that you may be struggling in. I’ve had a great experience with my adviser. The public health studies program also sends us weekly newsletters of public health opportunities and announcements to keep all the majors in the loop. And recently they created a LinkedIn group to keep us connected with alumni.
I hope by now you can tell that the social sciences public health major is truly interdisciplinary. There is no public health department simply because the professors I take classes from are coming from all different areas of the campus. I’ve really never hated a required class that I’ve had to taken. And with so few required classes and so many options within emphases, I actually have had a harder time deciding limiting my choices each semester.
What the public health major has done for me?
Opportunities. (Is the easy one word answer.)
But seriously…when I visited colleges I kept telling my mom that I did not want a school to define who I was. I don’t know why I was so hesitant about this since now I realize that every school will shape you in someway. I have a hunch that public health will follow me into my career; even though by no means does everyone end up going into the field they majored in during their undergraduate years. Taking these courses has made me question how countries develop, the best “paths” for countries to develop in, and why some people are more unhealthy than others and what social forces may be at work to have done this, etc.
I’ve been amazed by where the public health major has taken me.
I spent my freshman year taking public health classes and figuring out whether or not that the major was right for me. Over that summer I tried to get my foot in the door of public health by interning at my local health department working on the CHIP project and also interning at a maternal health consortium. During the fall of my sophomore year I started working at the Center for a Livable Future as a research assistant on work study. It was here that I started learning about food systems in the United States. I absolutely love my job at the Center for a Livable Future and love being surrounded people that are so committed to fixing modern agriculture. During my summer before junior year I decided to get more involved with epidemiology and went on a grant-sponsored trip that I got through the public health studies program in Vitoria, Brazil. I worked on an HIV/TB co-infection study that a Hopkins professor was working on there. Into the fall I decided to do for-credit research on TB research with the same professor on a literary review of TB/smoking articles. And where am I now? Studying abroad in Geneva, Switzerland on a Boston University program where I not only get to take some public health classes (and French), but I also get to intern at the Worl Health Organization and work on the Global Health Burden report from March until the end of the May. And I’m not even done with my major!!!! Who knows what’s next…
Additionally I’ve gotten involved in extra-curriculars. There are a lot of public health groups on campus like Public Health Student Forum, Project Health, and Epidemic Proportions. Check out the link to the public health program below to read about these groups. I was co-president of Public Health Student Forum in the fall and hopefully will continue next fall—currently our group runs a Public Health Awareness Week and is now planning for Johns Hopkins’ first undergraduate conference in public health that’s debuting in April.
My advice is just to explore. Especially explore the opportunities that the Bloomberg School of Public Health has to offer. So many professors are looking for undergraduate help and love to share their passion for public health with others.
Lastly, the public health major has given me some of my best friends. Although I definitely still have friends in other majors, I’ve realized that some of my best friends are public health majors. Many of us just “click” because we have similar interests.
So you ask me what I plan to do in the future? Well I still don’t really know. My opportunities have helped me narrow things down, but all I really know is international public health is my love.
I should also mention that public health has a newly updated spiffy website: http://krieger.jhu.edu/publichealth/
Student Organization Name: Hopkins Christian Fellowship
Category of Group: Religious
Your Name: Dominique Duval
Your Year: c/o 2012
Your Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Your Position : Freshman Coordinator
Hopkins Christian Fellowship (HCF) is my favorite group here, and most of my closest friends are in it. And no this blog won't be preachy or anything, so no worries! We get a decent amount of questions about religious groups on campus so I thought I'd share my experience with one.
If you choose to be affiliated with a religion or faith, there are many groups at Hopkins to accommodate that. Since I am a Christian, when I came here, I naturally scouted out the groups...and to my chagrin I found that there were annoyingly a bajillion Christian groups on campus. HCF caught my eye specifically because there was free food. :) And it was a non denominational group with no religious requirements whatsoever...and it's all history from there. In addition to Christians, HCF has individuals who choose to identify themselves as atheist or agnostic. And people of other faiths are welcome to and have attended our meetings.
In the beginning of the year HCF has a week of free food events and info sessions to get students who may be interested more interested. We call it "New Student Outreach." We also work with the Veritas Forum, which hosts theologists/Christian apologists. And we usually get a lotttttttttt of students to come out so that's good.
This week, HCF is co hosting an event that will have a Biochemist and an Astronomer talking about Christianity as it relates to their studies.
I just love that HCF is such an open community, but with clear objectives and goals. It also really focuses on community outreach, so for those who aren't so into the faith aspect of the group, there are a lot of community service events that are separate from the religious meetings. Additionally, we have this thing called "Spring Break Plunge" where those who don't want to go home over spring break (or can't) stay in Baltimore and live in a house in Southwest Baltimore, and do a different service project each day. There is a longer version of Spring Break Plunge that occurs during the summer, called the Baltimore Urban Program. And of course I can't forget the retreats we have twice a year! They are beautiful opportunities to get off campus to go to a serene campsite in eastern Maryland.
We meet each Wednesday at a large group meeting, and there are several small Bible studies for those who wish to come. We have a President, vice president, prayer team, Bible study team, and events team (that puts on cool stuff like movies...yes normal movies like Star Wars and Batman, we're not stiffs..and lots of other events ). My specific position deals with focusing on freshmen, and I love it because they remind me of the newness and excitement that came with being one. Their concerns were/are mine, and I was put into this position because of my experiences and my ability to communicate things. I love it!
So, like I said before, there are many religious groups on campus that will suit your needs...but HCF caught my eye in the beginning and I am definitely here to stay!
Posted by Lauren B.
I think one of my favorite things about Hopkins is how involved the student body is, both in terms of on campus activities, and more importantly, in the city of Baltimore as a whole. None of my friends here are simply students; they are also presidents of clubs, captains, RA’s, athletes, etc. Since I’ve arrived on campus last September I’ve really tried to branch out, and try things that I never would have done at home. To that end, I’ve written for the newspaper, written a real resume, blogged (obviously), joined a sorority, tutored at a Baltimore City high school, trained for and run a half marathon, done internships, hosted overnights, gotten a job, and more that I’ve certainly forgotten.
I think I’m tied for my favorite on-campus activities. I love being in a sorority, and frankly that would be the easiest to write about… as no other SAAB members are in Phi Mu, they’d be pretty unlikely to blog about it. I think I’ll save this for after rush though, when I know a bit more about the process. The other activity I really enjoy, however, is tutoring. I’ll hedge my bets and hope no one else writes about tutoring, and go for that one.
I am involved in the COACH program, which stands for College Opportunity and Career Help. This program is run through the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, just across the street from Hopkins. I got involved at the start of freshman year, with the program’s pilot year in Baltimore, and I’ve really enjoyed it.
COACH tutors work with small groups of high school seniors and juniors to help them handle the daunting task of applying to college. We worked on personal statements, essays, SAT prep, organization, financial aid applications, and then when March rolled around, deciding where to actually go!
The results of this program have been fantastic, and the group at Mergenthaler High School (where I tutored) had students accepted to Towson, UMD at College Park, Penn State, and Hopkins, just to name a few. It was really gratifying to see these students succeed, but I found the best part of the program was getting to know the girls in my group, learning about their lives and experiences, and their ambitions. Last year I was only a year older (at most) than these girls; it was so easy to relate to them.
It was incredibly inspiring to see these amazing young men and women overcome financial and personal obstacles to realize their academic ambitions. I was so impressed by how sure they were of their plans—I had girls in my group who wanted to be preschool teachers, engineers, doctors, and soldiers—and how hard they had worked to get to that point.
From the Greater Homewood website…
Last year fifteen Johns Hopkins University volunteers worked with over 150 students in area high schools to increase college applications and acceptance rates. Results from our work at Baltimore City College, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, and Western High School are available here. COACH volunteers helped students locate scholarships that amounted to $588,571 combined.
I really enjoy being able to get off campus into Baltimore and see what the rest of the city is like. As much as I do love Hopkins, and the “oasis” feel of the campus, I can’t imagine living there for four years and not giving back to the community and city somehow. The COACH program is just one of the many programs on campus that establishes a direct link between Hopkins students and Baltimoreans, but it’s one of the few that works in a high school setting. I really enjoy being able to relate and offer relevant advice to the students I work with.
Everyone at Hopkins has that one activity they really love, and that is what COACH is for me. Though it's a new(ish) program at Hopkins, I think it is one that will become much more prominent on campus in the next few years, and I can't wait to see that happen!
I'll be posting another blog in the next week or so about Intersession, where I've been for the past two weeks, and my plans for the coming semester! Hope everyone's having a great New Year so far!
P.s. I’ve just found out that if you go to the website, a lovely picture of me and one of my tutees pops up! She’s now busy being fabulous at Towson University, doing ROTC and planning her amazing future.
Posted by Lauren B.
I'm currently stranded in the New Orleans airport, watching and laughing as the departure time on my flight back home moves further and further away. I've now got about five hours to kill, which, coupled with the airport's free wireless, has given me the perfect opportunity to blog about my winter break.
I'm actually looking at train tickets back to Hopkins as I write this, so if Amtrak works with me and my last minute planning, I should be back to Baltimore in less than 24 hours. This break has gone incredibly fast, in part because it's a full three weeks shorter than winter break freshman year (I signed up for Intersession) and in part because I've been so busy.
For the past five days, I've been in New Orleans with my family. We'd never been here before and it turned out to be a fabulous trip. We stayed just outside the French Quarter, so we got to see the craziness of Bourbon Street without actually having to listen to it round the clock--my parents were a bit appalled, but I think 2 years of college desensitized me a bit, and Bourbon just seemed like a really big, spread out frat party with a lot more adults.
I was able to cross three states off of the travel list--on Tuesday we drove through Mississippi, Alabama (which I slept through) and rural Louisiana. We visited quite a few interesting places that I certainly wouldn't have been able to find "up North." I also got to visit my roommate from Hopkins, Laura, who was staying with family just north of New Orleans. It was great to be able to see her and her family, and good to hear their input on what we had to see in New Orleans.
Lovely New Orleans.
Posted by Jessica K.
I honestly cannot believe that it's the day after Christmas. As I said in my last post, I came back to Hopkins and looked at my calendar and was startled by the fact that I was in my last full week of class. I tried my best to buckle down and get my 60+ pages of writing done in the two weeks that I had. And I did. I worked my hardest without losing my sanity and though I didn't get all the grades that I wanted, I know that I tried and that's what really matters. In the end, I relate to many other SAAB members, especially the upperclassmen, who seem to be glad that this semester has wrapped up and are ready for the new year.
I stayed at Hopkins until the very end. I think Baltimore just didn't want to let me go since the day I was expected to leave ended up being the same day as the snow storm of '09. So I stayed on campus and enjoyed the day with senior public health majors who were still on campus since they take Bloomberg School of Public Health classes, which are on a different academic calendar. I also observed Baltimore's inability to know what to do with 18-inches of snow. Let's just say that I don't think plows or salt are in the city's budget.
The next day my mom drove down, helped me finish packing up my room, and moved me out. And now, well, I'm back in New Jersey surrounded by a pile of stuff as I try to sort it until piles--stuff for Hopkins (next year), stuff for Geneva (next semester), and stuff just to put away. I was looking forward to a relaxing time back in New Jersey, but I think that this unpacking and packing and cleaning process will keep me busy. And if that doesn't, then I'm sure these tasks will: finishing up my research work, reading, hanging out with friends, trying to figure out ideas for the summer, and whatever other miscellaneous tasks come my way: going to the Swiss consulate, the DMV, etc. You think as a student that winter break would leave me with an empty to-do list, but it has seemed to have done the opposite.
It may have finally hit me that I won't be returning next semester. I think it's been the combination of saying "goodbye" to my room, friends, the admissions office, co-workers, etc. combined with logging into ISIS (the website that allows students to check billing and financial aid, register for classes, view grades, etc) and seeing my 'schedule' for next year. Now instead of my usual semester's list of five courses it simply says: AS.990.990(01)-Off-Campus Study.
I really do not know what's in store for me next semester. All I know is a typical spring semester at Hopkins--filled with cherry blossoms, lacrosse games, and Spring Fair--will quickly be replaced with a semester in Geneva, Switzerland. I keep hearing that study abroad is a great opportunity, a transformation, an eye-opening experience, etc. But only the future knows what this means for me in particular. In my next post I'll write about the study abroad process at Hopkins--with a personal twist.
Posted by Dominique D.
Let me just apologize in advance for what’s going to be a long blog, but it’s something that I feel needs to be addressed, as I reflect on my semester. (And yes, the title is yet another MJ song from the musical The Wiz...an African-American version of The Wizard of Oz. :) )
So back to winning. I'm a Hopkins student (duh). And that means that I strive to do my best. I know what I am capable of, so I push myself towards being the best I can be. I know what I can't do, so I settle for the next best thing in those cases. I do what I can to ensure my success in classes, but in a reasonable manner. I care a tremendous amount about my grades, as being good in school is something that I have prided myself on for years and years.
But being a Hopkins student also means that when I fall short of something I think I could have done better on, I beat myself up and have a hard time accepting it. I overanalyze and try to find where I went wrong, what I could have done differently, etc...then I end up an unhappy mess. And who wants to be that?
This past semester was my lightest in terms of the workload. I only had 4 classes.I had a great schedule, and I didn’t have to smush a ton of classes in one semester to fit my minor in either. I was able to watch television and chill, and I had more time to myself. While my roommate had 4 consecutive tests every few weeks (forcing her to only have a few days to study for each), I had seven exams total for the semester, giving me plenty of time to study but relax at the same time. As a result, I was a lot less anxious and worried about exams and grades than I’d been in semesters past. I mean, I had moments of anxiety, but they passed.
But orgo had something else in mind. I wasn’t happy with my test grades, considering how well I knew the material. When I went to discuss my progress with my orgo professor, even he said he expected me to do well in the end because my exams looked that they were hurt by test anxiety issues, rather than comprehension issues. That conversation made me feel a lot better.
So when I saw my final orgo grade that was far from anything I’d ever seen as a final grade, I freaked out. I felt like it was so unfair. How could I have understood the material so well and attended tutoring sessions and worked so hard, but end up with a crap grade that looked like I’d studied a little (which some people did and even they did better than I)? I’d never gotten a grade like that before so I didn’t know how to react or what to think.
I felt like I could not afford to have this blemish on a transcript. I felt ashamed next to my peers who were taking say, 5 science classes at once and still excelled in all of them. How could I only have 4 classes, which were not that demanding, and only one final and one paper, yet still do badly? At Hopkins, it seems like bad grades are some sort of blasphemy because everyone is so smart and can do so much. My goal of being able to say I completed undergrad at Hopkins with all good grades was gone.
So yea, I felt like I couldn’t win--I felt this way because everything was in place to ensure my success in orgo..the time, the resources, the study habits. So I could not understand why I hadn't performed better. This bothered me so much it overshadowed the other 3 A’s I’d gotten in my other classes.
Was I losing my mind? Of course I was! I was totally hysterical, and I was making it a much bigger deal than it needed to be. But for me this WAS a huge deal. It’s always hard experiencing something undesirable for the first time. However, after I calmed down, I saw a brighter side of the situation, regardless of the orgo grade and regardless of the general stigma of bad grades, period. Yes I got good grades in the midst, but one terrible grade can kinda steal that away from you. It shouldn't though.
When you feel like you can’t win, the key is to CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. No need walking around in a funk about something you can’t change, especially when you did the best you could. Usually when you put in a lot of effort you see it--but there are times that does not happen...and we just have accept it and brush ourselves off. So here are some things that are helping me deal.
--Be realistic and have an open mind. It’s pre med at Johns Hopkins (heck, it's Hopkins in general)—the classes will be hard. And in all honesty no one is immune from doing poorly once in a while. I don’t necessarily mean for the final grade, but most people see some bad test grades during their time here. I was always thinking that I could never do badly for a final grade because I never had before. How stupid. Well, as they say, there is a first time for everything, right?
--No need to be ashamed. People may make you feel badly because they did better than you did, but you can’t compare yourself to other people. I did the best I could for Dominique, and that’s all I can ask of myself. I’m not happy with the result but it can only hurt me personally as much as I let it.
--Erm, it’s JUST A GRADE. It seems like so much more because so much weight is placed on the value of grades…but remember there are so many more factors that contribute to that grade. Test anxiety issues, personal/familial problems, health issues…I was so mad at myself that I forgot I’d been battling chronic severe headaches and bad carpal tunnel along with other health things--and I can say that I am proud of myself for working through those instead of using them as an excuse for not trying as hard.
Life does not stop, nor should you let it...and I realize that I did what I could given my circumstances. We keep saying this, but you really aren’t your grades!
--It’s a chance for improvement. When you do badly then improve drastically, that is JUST as, if not more, impressive than doing well all along. This is what I will be aiming for come next semester. And this, my friends, is what causes grad schools and internships and whatnot to take interest in you, despite some undesirable grades.
--It’s not the end of the world … if you want something, you can reach it regardless of bad grades or whatever else you may be experiencing. Then when you get to where you want to be, it’s more rewarding.
Now as I’ve said, sorry for this long blog … but I just felt as if I needed to address this whole issue of bad grades, because everyone has a chance of getting them no matter how good you were in high school. College is a whole different animal and the ONLY thing you can ensure is that you do your best.
When life gives you bad lemons, throw ‘em away and get some fresh ones to make a good batch of lemonade. What's even more important than your final grade is your growth and what have learned from your experiences as an undergrad. Sometimes we have to struggle so we can learn how to change the way we look at things, which I personally think is more valuable than getting the best grades ever. I know it feels like you can't win when your best is not good enough to guarantee you a good grade, but you actually can win, if you just change your perspective and give yourself a break. =]
Until next year, (: P)