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Johns Hopkins University

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What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

There are many different stereotypes when it comes to Johns Hopkins University students. They range depending on different variables including major, gender, year, etc. The main stereotype which usually pertains to all students, however, is that everyone is super competitive and that no one looks out for anyone else. For instance, people aren't too keen on studying in groups or helping out with homework. Everyone just looks out for themselves. Some people even say that when in class, some people will not even lend you a pen or a calculator because they want to do whatever they can to stay ahead of you. The truth about this stereotype is similar to many other stereotypes in the world - it depends on the person. Truthfully, I have come across those people that will act as though they haven't completed their homework as yet so they "cannot help you" with yours or they haven't started to study for a certain exam so they do not want to "study together." But at the same time, I have come across other students that are more than willing to help with homework, studying, and anything else you need help with. Of course everyone is really focused and really busy with homework, exams, work, research, internships, etc. so it cannot be expected for people to bend over backwards for another. Fortunately, the students who refuse to ever help allow you to find the nicer bunch who aren't out only for themselves.

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When I hear people talking about Hopkins, the image that comes to their heads is of competitive pre-med students who spend most of their nights and weekends at the library. And considering that many people also see Baltimore as a dangerous city, that factor gives students more reason to stay secluded in the Hopkins bubble, right? Wrong. I don't think I have pulled a single all-nighter here at Hopkins, and I'm now a senior. Most of my friends, and many of the students I know, have learned how to prioritize their studies, and still have time to go out to dinner at the Harbor, or watch a movie at Towson, or participate in community fairs and festivals throughout Baltimore. I do not doubt that you can find some students who are interested in studying alone, but I have not met any. Since my freshman year, I have studied with friends, classmates, and colleagues in our common rooms, the hallways, the cafeterias, and the quad. You learn to build a community, and when you're around intellectual people like yourself, you learn very quickly that it is much more valuable to socialize with them and learn something new, than purely from a textbook.

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When I first stepped on campus, my notion was that the campus was going to be mainly composed of students of Asian-American or Caucasian descent, with a lack of a major social scene. I was wrong on both accounts. First of all, the student body of Hopkins is very diverse, with many different ethnicities and backgrounds represented. There are many international students as well, which adds to the diversity and creates a great blend of cultures. When I came to Hopkins, my expectations for a great social scene were very low. However, within the first week of classes, my views changed. While there are definitely a group of kids who prefer to avoid the social scene and stick to the peace and quiet of their rooms, there are just as many kids looking to have a good time on weekends. There are always parties going on, and the whole student body is always welcome. The social world at Hopkins was one of the things that impressed me within the first few weeks of attendance in that I realized that the entire stereotype about great academic schools having poor social scenes was false.

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Whenever I introduce myself to people back home and tell them that I go to Johns Hopkins, the immediate response is "Oh, so you want to be a doctor?" And, while there ARE many pre-med students at Hopkins, my personal answer is always a resounding "No". Because of the world-reknowned hospital that we have here at the Hopkins campus, the basic stereotype revolves around medicine: students here are expected to want to become a doctor, and, as such, must study 24/7. However, this isn't at all an accurate stereotype of the school. There definitely are students who spend a good majority of their (free) time in the library, studying for midterms, but there are also many many students that participate in all the other activities on campus, from using the gym, exploring the local area, to partying (yes, we do have parties). However, it's pretty safe to say that many of the students that you meet here are hard-working and academically driven. Just not everybody.

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People assume that students at Johns Hopkins are cut throat students who are completely concerned with grades and not about enjoying the full college experience. And of course everyone is pre-med. Neither of these stereotypes are accurate; yes students do take their classes seriously and yes we do have a lot of pre-meds, but there is a lot more that the students have to offer. For example, I am a writing seminars major. Few people know that Johns Hopkins has the second best creative writing program in the country. Also, we do like to have a good time here. Students frequently go out Thursday through Saturday and there never is a lack of parties or frats to go to. Of course if you aren't interested in that, there is no pressure to go out. There are always campus run activities going on and a large group of students attend.

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When high school students think of Johns Hopkins University, their minds tend to picture a bunch of nerdy students who live in the library and never see the sun. They picture students who study 24/7 and do not socialize with other students. This is a huge rumor that tends to be the stereotype of our school. So many students at JHU are involved in a plethora of activities, sports teams, and fraternities/sororities. Everyone at Hopkins finds friends who they can connect with, whether they are fellow teammates, classmates, or roommates. If you're worried about the social life stereotype, no need to be. You can make friends by simply joining a student group, an intramural sport, or Greek Life. You can be a student that attends all the frat parties or be a member of the chess club, or both!

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Most people think that Hopkins is a school full of nerds who don't have social lives and are incredibly competitive. I believed these stereotypes when I was applying, too. From personal experience, though, I can safely say that this isn't really the case. Yes, you will find students who do fit this stereotype, but they're not the majority here and, to be real, you're going to find that at any college, not just at Hopkins. And if anyone has any doubts about the social scene here, well – they shouldn't. A bunch of Loyola and Towson kids come to Hopkins parties every weekend, not the other way around. On campus, there are more than plenty of things to do, and that's not including all of the places in the Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon that are just a cab ride away!

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Stereotypes of Hopkins students usually characterize the student body as cutthroat and science-centric. I think that both stereotypes used to be true, but are no longer valid. Based on my experience, Hopkins students are motivated and ambitious, but not cutthroat. Students compete not with eachother but against their own expectations. Hopkins remains the best research institution in the US, but has vastly diversified its academic strengths in the past few decades. Many students come to Hopkins knowing only its science programs, but find once they are there that Public Health, Writing Seminars, International Relations or Economics is more interesting to them. As an undergrad, I see a huge range of majors and interests every day.

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Not true at all. Only around 20% of campus is pre-med, and students are not cut-throat. Granted, academics here are very strong and students do not take them lightly. However, if you are ever struggling in a class people are very friendly and willing to help you out-- I have even been offered a set of notes to help me review for an exam by a complete stranger! We also have great humanities programs (for example, writing seminars) and lots of students are involved in the arts. One of my favorite things to do on campus is actually to go see the numerous a-capella groups perform (check out www.octopodes.org to hear the Octopodes, one of the many a-capella groups).

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At Hopkins, everyone is smart, whether they choose to be blatantly obvious about it or mask it with excessive imbibing habits. The majority of the student body is socially awkward, thus leading to the establishment of the "Hopkins 500", or the '500' students at Hopkins that are actually social and enjoy 'going out'. The figure in reality larger than 500, but this title exists to communicate the smallness of the overall social scene. There are many premeds, and while they are definitely competitive, I have experienced a slightly less cut-throat environment than I had prepared myself for based off of rumors/stories I had been told.

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