JHU is a great school, not too big though at times it can feel pretty claustrophobic depending on your social circle. Most people don't have much to say about JHU when you tell them you go there aside from "Oh? Are you going to become a doctor?" which gets really tiring. Also you have to constantly hear it being called "John Hopkins" or even worse "John Hopkin". Aside from that they also never really know where in the country it is. I, myself fall into the studious type with tendencies to slack. I often find myself spending 12 hours plus on campus for classes and studying and often times pulling all-nighters stalking the halls of the library. Though other times I will skip classes and go out partying on a Wednesday. Baltimore has a large array of clubs and bars so there is usually something for everyone, though getting around town can be a hassle if you don't want to constantly pay for cab fare.
As there is a split in the types of students at JHU there is also a split in school pride. Lots of kids avoid school functions and things which some say JHU is well known for (read: Lacrosse) and in general no one really goes around yelling "YEAH HOPKINS!" unless they are in a team or good friends with them. Mostly people at JHU have one thing on their minds, which is graduating unscathed. JHU is competitive and very demanding. The competition is not particularly vicious as rumor has it, but you will work a lot regardless of your major (though some question that, as I would to but I'm not here to point fingers). Though the disparity of work does show up often, as the engineering school students occasionally call the Arts and Sciences students "Arts and Crafts majors". This isn't completely fair as some engineers do almost no work while some neuroscience majors are the most studious people on campus.
The most annoying part of JHU is the lack of many things you'd expect on a college campus, its size limits what it has. There is no 24hr cheap good food place on campus, you have to go off campus (though really the walk isn't too far) and even at that the few 24hr places there are in the area get old fast. LIkewise there is only one location to study that is open 24hr. The area around JHU is also not the college friendliest place in the world, there are often many noise complaints and Baltimore has a law that two in a certain period leads to your house being closed so it is a big issue. The school doesn't do a great job of defending students and as we are also not very organized aside from the few committed students nothing gets done about it.
Best thing = NO CORE CURRICULUM. You can dive right in and start doing whatever you want, taking really advanced classes in the areas you care about....you don't have to waste too much time taking required courses across the disciplines, which is super-nice. It makes double majoring, even in very diverse subjects, very easy. I would create residential colleges (a la Yale or Princeton or Rice) to make the living situation on campus more cohesive with students' lives. The construction of more on-campus housing is great, but the sense of community could use some improvement despite the great strides that it's made lately. The school is the perfect size - a great mix of small liberal arts environment with the fantastic resources of a MAJOR research institution. You can easily access all of the grad facilities and programs, and they're always dying for more students to do research in all kinds of labs. You don't have to wait to take interesting classes. People always assume that I was a science major (I was) b/c I went to JHU. That's okay - they respect that it is a hard school academically, and so they recognize that I probably put in a lot of time and effort to to do well there. Students don't really "end up" at Hopkins - they generally choose to be there (perhaps not as much self-selection as UChicago, but close, and in some cases for different majors). The food has gotten SOOOOO much better since I was a freshman 5 years ago. Wow!
When I tell people I go to Hopkins, they're like wow, that's a good school. It's nice, but sometimes annoying when people automatically think that all you do is study and that you're probably pre med. I spend most of my time in my dorm, and a lot of that is studying with friends, because thats what we call "socializing" here. There are no controversies here, because no one cares about anything. The student body is apathetic. It's unbelievable. We had a controversy here last year about a fraternity's party, and different groups tried to have demonstrations, but no one showed up. There's also no school pride. No one really goes to sports events. We have the best lax team in the country, and there are still kids that won't go to the games because they have too much homework. And other than lacrosse, people really don't go to any games. I feel like that's my biggest problem with Hopkins: students here don't seem to care about or like the school.
The administration is fine.. we don't see them much.
We live in a city with a lot of schools, but we don't take advantage of it. People barely leave campus. Mostly this is because you can't get around easily without a car. People are also not very spontaneous, so maybe that's the reason. Everyone always either has too much work on a saturday or thinks they have too much work.
When I tell people I go to Hopkins they ask me what type of doctor I want to be. Just because we have the greatest medical school in America does not mean that's all we have to offer. As an IR major I have access to some of the greatest minds in the nation. Social sciences and humanities are often overlooked because of the great natural science reputation. We're actually top ten for a lot of humanities programs.
So, JHU, all-around, great university, great experiences; academically challenging, but ultimately rewarding. I've certainly met some people I never hope to lose touch with, I've had some moments I'll never forget, and I've had some classes and lectures that have completely changed my outlook on life. Although I am pre-med, I have tried my best to explore the various disciplines I won't really get the chance to in medical school, including physics, mathematics, and anthropology. Freshman year was absolutely amazing; one of my favorite experiences was living in the AMRs, really living very closely to a group of peers over the course of one year. I've spent a lot of my time at Hopkins as a member of the JHU Muslim Association and the Interfaith Center.. meeting people from my own faith and others which can simulatenously express such diversity and commonality was enlightening.
Hopkins is a school that is a good fit for a lot of people. It is a medium sized school with about 4,400 undergrads. You get to know a lot of people on campus, especially in your year, but it is big enough where you can meet new people every day. It's an impressive school with lots of majors ranked in the top 10 in the country, even outside of the natural sciences and engineering. It has stuff for everyone.
The best part is being in a city, despite Baltimore being a rough city, there are plenty of great parts to it to discover. I would change the emphasis on research instead of learning if I could, but the emphasis is definetly on research and undergraduates are left to fend for themselves. Learning is not the goal, making money is. Which I don't agree with. The school is small, but it's nice because you get to know people. People always are impressed when they hear I go to Johns Hopkins or they've never heard of it or they refuse to call it Johns Hopkins and ask me if "John Hopkins is a good doctor school". Most of my time is spent either sleeping or in the library. A fair amount of time is spent in the weight room or the gym too. A significant portion of my time is spent in PJs as well (a local bar). Baltimore is a collegetown, however, it is difficult to meet people from local schools and Hopkins is known for being snobby and looking down on local schools, so the people kinda hate us. JHU's administration is really frustrating, they don't seem to care about the students, mostly just on making money. It's something you can't really understand or know about until you arrive on campus and experience it for yourself. If you have a lot of money you may never notice it, but for a lot of my friends they are taking out huge loans to be here and the administration doesn't care that we'll be 200,000$ in debt after four years of undergraduate school. It's not a priority for undergraduates to be happy. It's seen as a privilege for us to be attending THE esteemed Johns Hopkins University. School pride was surprisingly lacking, the majority of students are foremost concerned with their studies. The athletes have a lot of pride for each other, but overall pride is lacking. THe most frequent student complaint is that all the classes assign too much work and the exams are too difficult. It's very stressful and requires a TON of work to do well in classes. People are also very cutthroat. Several friends have had their notes and books stolen from the library.
The best thing about JHU is the student body. It is so diverse and made up of entirely unique and interesting people. The size is perfect, in my opinion. It's small enough that I recognize faces most everywhere I go, but it's big enough that I see new faces all the time.
The best thing about JHU is the people. The students are amazing individuals, and I am inspired and honored to be apart of this student body. It is the perfect size to make a mark with my own passion if desired. If I could change one thing about Hopkins, it would be that students should take no more than 16 credits per semester. Most people react positively when I tell them I attend Hopkins because it is academically a very prestigious institution.
I don't know what the best thing here is, because half the time I hate it here and the rest of the time, it's all right. Spring Fair is pretty fun. Can't think of much at the moment (I'm rather tired). When I tell people that I go to JHU, they are usually fairly impressed. (Unfortunately, this is often followed by the question: "So you're going to be a doctor?") I'm pretty impressed, too, as I still really don't know how the hell I got in here in the first place. I don't think I'm the best person to answer these kinds of questions, but oh well. The campus is very pretty. And the Harbor and Towson Town Center are nearby, which is nice when you have free time. I usually don't unless I force it, but I think that's the case for most people here. Probably at a lot of colleges. I wonder a bit about the ability or wisdom or sanity of the administration, if only because they decided to implement a drastic scheduling change in the middle of the school year. Up through last semester, classes were either MTW, or ThF. And I hated the engineers who could play with their schedules and give themselves four-day weekends. As of this semester, classes are now MWF or TTh, like most other schools. We'd heard about this plan maybe two or three years ago, and then it sort of faded away. So the change was very sudden, and the timing just seems strange to me. But it happened, so whatever.
The best thing about JHU is that you can have as much or as little of a presence as you want. It's a small school, so you can make an impact in student life, get your teachers to know who you are, etc - or you can just coast by. For me it's the perfect size, because I know a lot of people but don't know a lot more, yet still don't feel like I'm drowning in anonymity like I would at some 40,000+ university.
If I could change one thing it'd be the bureaucracy. It's way too hard to get things done, sometimes, because paperwork, complicated procedures and unhelpful university staff get in the way.
When I tell people I go to JHU, most assume I want to be a doctor.
I don't spend much time on campus. There's not really a "college town" either, though now there's this row of shops on St. Paul that is kind of a sad attempt at a college town, and at least an improvement on what it used to be. There's 0 school pride, outside sports. Still, no one really came here for school spirit, so it's not something anyone worries about - the biggest complaints are usually the food, the housing, and the administration, instead.
The best thing about JHU is the campus. The beautiful Georgian architecture, brick buildings, cherry blossums, and large grassy quads were some of the many factors in my decision to attend Hopkins. Although, I do not think that JHU has the strongest sense of community, the quads allow people to congregate on "the beach" as they sun themselves and attempt to do homework on the large grassy area outside the library. People play frisbee, soccer, football, and it is really entertaining and community-orientated to sit out on the beach on a sunny spring day. In the wintertime, there is the Lighting of the Quad where all the lamp posts are adorned with Christmas tree lights and the Gilman Hall Clock Tower shines red and green for the holidays. No matter what season, JHU is a beautiful place to be. In terms of Baltimore, the location of Baltimore in the middle of a bunch of East Coast cities is really wonderful. The fact that you can get to Washington DC and Philadelphia in an hour, and New York in two hours makes road trips and weekend visits very conveninent. Batlimore itself is an interesting cultural city with lots of funky and unique neighborhoods. One can take the free shuttle to Hampden and find a wide array of shops from anitque shops to ritzy/expensive clothing boutiques. As a city, Baltimore has a good sense of humor, and you will be suprised with what you find. With great restaurants all over the place, a favorite tradition is Vacarro's on Monday nights in Little Italy for all you can eat desserts. The Inner Harbor, may be the main attraction for most visitors, and as beautiful as it is, the longer you stay in Baltimore the more you may expand your visits to include other historic neighborhoods like Mt. Vernon, Fell's Point, Mt. Washington, and Canton. There are a lot of bars in Baltimore and on Halloween everyone puts on a costume and heads down to Fell's Point for one of the largest Halloween parties ever. The streets are filled with all types of people wearing crazy costumes. For those who want to party on or near campus there are frat parties, off-campus parties, and local bars and clubs which students frequent. Although some people believe the only thing Hopkins students do is study, this is not true. There are quite a few people that go out multiple times per week, if not every night. Overall, Hopkins is a suprising school and Baltimore is a suprising city. The public transportation in Batlimore is sometimes frustrating, and most people take cabs, but the admistration does its best to make students feel safe and allow them to travel about the area. There is a local shuttle system that you can call, as long as you are within a mile radius of campus. There is also a shuttle that stops at the different Hopkins campuses in Baltimore, including the Peabody Conservatory and the Medical School. Conveniently enough, it even stops at the train station. Finally, there is a Collegetown Shuttle that stops at local Baltimore universities and downtown at the Inner Harbor.
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