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Author Topic: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA  (Read 14357 times)

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« on: September 15, 2009, 11:39 PM »
Hey!  My name is Sarah, and I’m a senior from Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania (just north of Philadelphia).  I’m majoring in molecular and cellular biology and Spanish, and I’m also pre-law.

-------------------------------------

Why Hopkins?

To make a really long story short, I decided to come to Hopkins because I wanted to go to an urban school, I wanted flexible course requirements so that I could take a lot of courses outside of just science and math, and the opportunities to do research here are amazing.  Being only two hours away from home is also a plus.   I absolutely love Hopkins and am so glad I chose to come here.

---------------------------

My Classes

Here are the classes that I'm taking this semester (senior spring):
Developmental Biology
Developmental Biology Laboratory
Stem Cells and the Biology of Aging and Disease
Intermediate German II
German Conversation
Italian Elements II

And here is what I've taken previously:

Senior Fall:
Genetics
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Human Genetics
Intermediate German I
Italian Elements I

Junior Spring:
Virology
Geography and Ecology of Plants
German Elements II
Argentine Literature
Intro to Spanish Literature

Junior Intersession:
German Elements I

Junior Fall (Abroad: Hopkins in Madrid Program):
Hispanic American Literature in the 20th Century
Superior Spanish Grammar
Spanish Golden Age Literature
Spanish culture and civilization
History of Spanish Art
Theory and Technique of Spanish and Hispanic-American Short Stories

Sophomore Summer:
Organic Chemistry I&II

Sophomore Spring:
Cell Biology
Cell Biology Lab
Biology Research for Credit
Introduction to the Human Brain
Physics of Modern Technologies

Sophomore Fall:
Biochemistry
Biochemistry Lab
Spanish Theater in the Golden Age
Biology Research for credit

Freshman Spring:
General Physics II for Biological Science Majors
General Physics Lab II
Calculus II
Fiction and Poetry Writing I
Don Quijote

Freshman Intersession:
Fiction for Foodies

Freshman Fall:
General Physics I for Biological Science Majors
General Physics Lab I
Advanced Spanish II
Calculus I
Expository Writing – What’s Up, Doc: Analyzing Humor

-----------------------------------------

My Extracurriculars

A few of the student groups/ extracurriculars I’ve gotten involved in are:

- Phi Mu Sorority: if you have any questions about Greek Life or rushing, ask!

- Sigma Delta Pi:  I'm the president of the Johns Hopkins chapter of the National Spanish Honors Society, which is a group that organizes hispanic cultural events on campus.

- Research: I did embryology research for a year at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which is right next to the Homewood Campus.

- College Democrats: we spread awareness about political issues and do fun things like tie dying t-shirts

- Student health advisory board: This group acts as a liaison between the undergraduate student body and the Student Health and Wellness Center.

--------------------------------------

My Dorm Life

This year I’m living in an apartment about 3 blocks from campus, but previously I've lived in Charles Commons and AMR1, Wilson House. 

---------------------------------------

Follow Me

Read my blog
and check out my profile page.

And if you have any questions, please ask!!
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2010, 06:19 PM »
Ben asked:

Quote
Hey! I was admitted ED in December and I plan on majoring in Spanish and something else, just not sure what "something else" is yet, haha. I was wondering if you could elaborate on your Advanced Spanish II class - I'm in AP Spanish now so I'm pretty sure that's the class I'll place into.

Muchas gracias!
Ben


Hey Ben!

First of all, congrats on your ED acceptance!  You must be really excited.  That's cool that you're into Spanish, and don't worry, you have plenty of time to decide on the "something else."

I'm sure you've done your research and probably already know about the placement procedure for foreign language classes, but even if you have AP credits, you need to take the Hopkins online placement exam and register for the class that matches your score.  If you took AP Spanish, you'll probably place into Advanced Spanish 1 or 2, which is really nice because it places you out of at least four courses that are required for the Spanish major.

I think Advanced Spanish 2 sounded a lot harder than it actually was.  Every night for homework, we would have one or two short stories to read and a grammar concept to look over for the next class.  For most of class, we discussed the readings, and then we usually discussed our opinions on a topic related to the reading.  These discussions were a huge help for me because the class was only fifteen people, so you couldn't get away with being shy.  Plus, there were only three freshmen, so it helped to talk with upperclassmen with more speaking experience.  In high school, my class didn't really take Spanish very seriously, and it was an incredibly different experience being in a class with fourteen people who were trying very hard to speak in Spanish all the time and improve their speaking.  It seems like most of the discussions we had were on immigration or problems that are occurring in Latin America and Spain.

For the last twenty minutes or so of class, our teacher elaborated on what the book said about the grammar concepts we read.  Each day was a new grammar concept, so we really covered a lot over the semester.  Most of the grammar lessons were a review from high school, but we moved at such a fast pace that I didn't feel like it was too repetitive or anything.  There were a couple topics that I didn't really understand in high school and was glad we covered again.  

About once every two or three weeks, we had to do an online quiz based on the grammar we learned and a separate online quiz on the readings.  These really didn't take long and all, and they really helped pull up everyone's grade.  We also had to do a speaking assignment and mini writing assignment after every few readings, which were also a good opportunity to pull up everyone's grade.

As far as exams, we had 3 exams throughout the semester, and each exam had a multiple choice, reading, writing, and speaking component.  The papers we had to write were 700-900 words, amd they were on really random topics.  The only topic I remember was the one for the last paper - it was something about when an immigrant turns from being a foreigner to a member of his/her new country.  Writing these papers helped my writing immensely, even though there were only three papers.  Even though I don't think the grammar aspect helped me that much because we learned a lot of grammar in high school, this class was completely worth it just for the amount it helped my writing.

When I first placed into Advanced Spanish 2, I was hesitant to register for it because I was a little intimidated, but it definitely wasn't too hard.  Even though it's a 300 level class with very few freshman, it was actually the class that required the least work.  It kind of sounds like a lot of work, but realistically, the nightly readings/grammar sections don't take long at all.  The papers were the only time-consuming component to the course.

After you take Advanced Spanish 2, you usually take a literature or history course in Spanish.  Next semester, I'm taking an course where we read and discuss Don Quixote, which is probably going to be a lot harder, but I think having the extra grammar, speaking, and writing review in Advanced Spanish 2 is going to help a lot.

I'm planning on writing an academic blog about Spanish within the next couple of days, so definitely check it out!  Y si tienes mas preguntas, dejame saber!   :)

-Sarah
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

benruns

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 07:21 PM »
Thanks a lot for the reply, it really helped! My Spanish class now is very frustrating for me because I'm trying to advance myself and stuff but my teacher just caters to the students that have no business taking AP Spanish and she just speaks English the whole time. No puedo esperar tomar una clase en Hopkins donde las personas actualmente QUIEREN estudiar espanol!

acejhu3

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 10:45 AM »
Ben, I totally, totally feel your pain. I'm in AP Spanish this year and although I ADORE my teacher, I feel like I'm learning very little and not really moving towards fluency. I want to speak Spanish all class, but a lot more of the students are more content to just gab in English, so they get away with it.
This is why we should be excited for college Spanish, when it's taken more seriously! :)

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 12:09 PM »
That's exactly how I felt last year!  You guys have nothing to worry about - college Spanish is totally different and everyone really does take it much more seriously.  Everything is done completely in Spanish, and I don't think I ever even heard my professor speak English until one of the last classes.  Plus, there were some native speakers in my class that were taking the class to improve their reading and writing, and they really helped bring up the level of the class discussion.  The other good thing about college Spanish is that if you're good at grammar, you're going to end up taking very few grammar courses and instead, you'll get to choose literature and culture courses.  In high school, I hated grammar lessons - especially going over weird verbs like pluperfect subjuntive and stuff, and last semester was the last time I'll ever have to take a grammatical Spanish course!  Yay!

Btw... you guys should check out my blog about the Spanish major - it gives a little more detail about what classes are like and what courses are offered.   :)
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

jkrunsalot

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 02:00 PM »
Hey Sarah,
My name is Josh Kays, a high school senior from outside of Philadelpia in the Delaware county area (philly shout out! ). I was recently accepted into Johns Hopkins, xxx, and xxx, and I'm having trouble deciding. What would you say are your 5 favorite and least favorite things about Johns Hopkins? Please be honest!

I was also wondering how tough it is to double major like yourself, and and how hard it is to keep yourself motivated.

Thanks! :D

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 10:18 PM »
Hey Josh,

Congratulations on your acceptances!  That's very exciting.

In no particular order, here are my five favorite things about Hopkins:

1) Research opportunities.  You've probably heard on a campus visit/tour about how with a few emails, it's pretty easy for undergrads to find a research position on campus or at the School of Public Health or Medicine, but what I think isn't talked about as much to prospective students is how Hopkins has thousands of dollars in grant money available for students to pursue research outside of Hopkins labs.  Obviously some students apply for grant money to do science research, but students have done some really incredible research in the humanities as well.  Like check out this article: http://www.jhu.edu/news/home07/pura/kennedy.html - a Hopkins student got to travel throughout Europe to study literature, and the university paid for it.  This isn't like a hugely uncommon thing that just a few students get to do either - in 2008, there were like 50 students who received the Provost's Undergraduate Research Award (just one of the many grant/scholarship opportunities for undergrads), which is funding up to $2500 for research. So I guess the bottom line is that Hopkins wants its kids to learn outside of the classroom, and it does a tremendous job to ensure that that's possible for everyone.

2)  The professors.  That's a pretty broad topic, but the faculty here is incredible.  Here's a good example: JHU_Joe and I had this physics professor for the first half of the semester who was such a cool guy with a great sense of humor.  I always thought of him as the professor who occasionally shocked himself on his electricity demonstrations and made Anchorman references in class, but then Joe explained to me a couple of weeks ago that he does some of the most cutting-edge physics research in the entire world.  (I don't remember exactly what his research was - something about proton collisions - maybe if Joe's reading he could explain it again because it was really cool :) )  Also, just last week I learned that my Spanish professor is the editor for some versions of Don Quijote that are distributed in public schools throughout Madrid.  It's really awesome that even as freshmen, we get to take classes from professors that are so advanced in their fields.

3) When I was deciding on colleges, I really didn't put much weight on distance from home (as long as it was bearable car ride away), but now that I'm here, there are a lot of advantages to only being two-ish hours from home.  It made move-in really easy.  When I had tonsillitis, my Dad drove down here to go to the hospital with me.  My sister is planning to come down to see a lacrosse game because it's only an hour train ride from 30th Street in Philly.  Even though I'm perfectly content here at school, just knowing that I can hop on the train whenever to go home is comforting.

4) No core curriculum.  This was super important for me in choosing a school - I didn't want my school telling me that there was anything I needed to take.  At Hopkins, we have distribution requirements, which means that you need x amount of credits in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, etc along with the required classes that pertain to your major, but Hopkins isn't going to make you take math or history or chemistry if you absolutely hate it.  Personally I'm not a fan of history, but here I never have to take a history course again.  Some of my friends hate English class, so they're taking humanities classes in anything from philosophy to Italian to fulfill their humanities requirements.  This freedom to take whatever I want is what's making it entirely possible for me to double major in two completely unrelated things.

5)  Location.  I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of the direct surrounding area of Hopkins, but there is a free shuttle to the Inner Harbor, Towson, Peabody, the Medical Campus, Penn Station, and other places, so you have access to free transportation to pretty much anywhere you would need to go within like 15-20 minutes of here.  The Inner Harbor has some great restaurants and is a neat place to walk around.  My friends and I love spending weekends in Towson - there's a mall, a cinema, and a lot of good restaurants and cafes.  The area around Peabody is really pretty and historic.  The DC area is only a $7 train ride away, so students go there a lot for weekend trips just for fun or for concerts.  Philadelphia is obviously a short ride away, and the school runs a few cheap trips to New York each semester, so there's always somewhere fun to get if you ever feel the need to get off campus.

My least favorite things:

1)  I miss the food you can get in downtown Philly - especially the Italian food.  There are a lot of good restaurants in Baltimore, but it's not like downtown Philadelphia where you can go to South Street or Reading Terminal Market and get some really good food for relatively cheap.  I really don't have any big complaints about campus food - breakfast in the freshman dining hall is really good, and for lunch and dinner there are a ton of options in the dining halls and markets across campus, so there's definitely something for everyone.

2)  I like that Greek life doesn't define the social life here, but there are I think 11 frats and only 3 sororities (we're getting a fourth next year) besides the multicultural and community services sororities and fraternities.  I kind of wish that was a little more balanced.  

3)  As I mentioned before, Charles Village, the immediate area around Hopkins, isn't as much fun as the Inner Harbor or Towson, which are both short shuttle rides away.  Charles Village is fantastic in terms of cafes to study in, grocery stores to get necessities, and affordable restaurants, but after seeing how pretty the area surrounding Peabody is, I'm a little jealous that Charles Village isn't quite as scenic.

4)  Even though you're allowed to have a car here, there's no good place to park it.  It would be nice to have a car so that I wouldn't have to pay for train tickets/ follow the shuttle schedule, but realistically even if I did have a parking spot, there's no way my mom would ever let me bring the car to Baltimore.  I'm not the best driver.

5)  This is a little unfair for me to say seeing that Baltimore had a really unusual amount of snowfall this year where there were like 3 feet of snow on the ground for like half of the month of February, but the school could have done a better job of salting the pathways.  That sounds like a ridiculous complaint, but I can't think of another least favorite thing about this school, and I seriously slipped and fell five thousand times a day for like three weeks because the paths were just sheets of ice.

To answer your other question, it isn't hard to double major at all because there's no set of required courses you have to take here, and AP credits make it even easier.  Having a double major I think keeps me more motivated because if I didn't have Spanish courses, I'd probably feel a little overwhelmed with all the science, and I don't think I'd enjoy it as much.  

Let me know if there's anything else I can help with, and good luck with your decision making!  :)

- Sarah
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

Gem

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 09:39 PM »
Hi Sarah,
I was just wondering if it's possible to double major in something and Spanish? If not, spanish as a minor? If I did pick Spanish as a major or minor, what should I expect?

Also, I haven't decided on what the something is.
Do you have any suggestions on how I can pick the "something"?
I'm interested in the BME program and Medicine, generally. But I'm not 100% sure.

Thanks,
Gem

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2010, 12:35 AM »
Hey Gem, thanks for your question!  

Yes, it's very possible to double major in Spanish!  Since a lot of Spanish majors here are double majoring in something else, the department has actually structured the major requirements to be very double-major friendly.  Here is what's required for the Spanish major:

1)  grammar courses (Elements I & II, Intermediate I & II, Advanced I & II)
If you took Spanish in high school, you can skip some of the easier grammar courses by taking the Hopkins Spanish Placement Test.  Most people I know who took Spanish in high school placed into Advanced Spanish I, so they got to skip the elements and intermediate courses and only had to take Advanced Spanish I and II.  

2)  Introduction to Spanish Literature - This is a required semester long course that every Spanish major takes.

3)  5 additional upper level courses - You have a lot of options to choose from, so you can take what sounds interesting to you.

4)  30 credits of distribution requirements - This means that you have to take about 10 courses that are NOT in a humanities department.  If you're interested in double majoring with BME or something science/math related, this should be no problem because the courses you take for your other major will fulfill this requirement.  This works the other way around too - the credits that you earn for your Spanish courses will fulfill your distribution requirements for any engineering/science/math major that you might want to pursue.  This is a big reason why I chose Hopkins: other schools don't have the same system of distribution requirements, so this is a good place to be if you want to double major in two unrelated subjects.

That might sound like a lot, but look at it this way: if you've taken Spanish in high school, you would probably have to take about 8 semester long courses to get a Spanish major or 6 courses to get a minor.  If you've never taken Spanish before, it might be about 12 courses for the major or 10 for the minor.

We actually have 2 different Spanish minors here at Hopkins: Spanish for the Professions or Spanish Language and Culture.  The requirements for the Spanish Language and Culture minor are the same as the requirements for the major, but you only have to take 3 upper level courses instead of 5.  For the professions minor, you have to take the grammar courses, an upper level translation course, either Medical/Legal/Business Spanish (choose one), and one more upper level course of your choice.  So the major is only like 2 more courses than either of the minors.  

I'm kind of in a similar situation as you because I'm double majoring with bio.  My plan is to take a lot of bio this year and then take 5 or 6 Spanish courses next fall when I go abroad so that I'll be done with the Spanish major by next spring.  

Hopefully this all kind of made sense... that was a lot of rambling so if there's anything that's confusing or anything else that you'd like to know, just ask!  If you have any questions about any particular classes or study abroad or Spanish (or medicine!) related extracurriculars, I'll definitely try to help you out!  But in a nutshell I would say that if you're interested in BME/ something with medicine and Spanish, don't steer away from it because it sounds hard - it's totally doable with some careful planning and it's a great combination :)

-Sarah
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 12:55 AM »
Also (as if that wasn't already enough to read, haha :) ), as far as choosing the "something" goes, you can really choose any major you want and still be pre-med if you're interested in going to med school.  I have pre-med friends who are writing seminars majors, econ majors, and one is a music minor, so you don't necessarily have to pick something sciency.  If you're interested in BME, don't hesitate to ask JHU_Sydney what she likes about it.  Or if you have any questions about biology I can definitely help!
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

Gem

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2010, 09:25 PM »
Thanks, Sarah!
I didn't expect a full-on response. You gave me more than enough information :D
And it all sound so interesting especially the Study Abroad part. Would you like to elaborate on that, please?
Where are you going? How does the program work? And what will you do when you get to your destination?
 
I'm definitely considering that in college despite which college I end up going to. However, I would really like to go to Hopkins and your reply really motivated/inspired me.

Please don't get tired of replying. :X

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 12:00 AM »
Hey no prob!  Ask as much as you want, I'm glad to help :)

You can pretty much study abroad anywhere you want.  There are certain study abroad programs that are Hopkins sponsored, meaning that the school organizes them and you go with all Hopkins students.  However, if there is somewhere that you want to go that Hopkins does not have a program for, we have a study abroad office that connects students to study abroad programs run by independent organizations or by other universities.  All of the people in the study abroad office are sooo helpful: you can name anywhere you want to go and they'll give you information on like a million different programs that go there.

If you're interested in checking out programs a good place to start is the study abroad website:  http://web.jhu.edu/study_abroad

I think I want to go to Spain next fall, so I've been researching a bunch of different programs and trying to decide where exactly I want to go.  Hopkins sponsors a program in Madrid, but at the beginning of the semester I wasn't so sure if I wanted to do the Hopkins program because I think I'd enjoy being in a place with more of a small town feel.  The study abroad office helped me find a program run by an organization called CIEE in a town called Alcala de Henares in Spain, and I was really set on this program until talking to my Spanish academic adviser.  He knows me really well and after looking over this program he told me that he thought the Hopkins program in Madrid would be a better fit for me.  He said that based on what he's observed from study abroad programs, the Hopkins Madrid program is much more Spanish-immersive than other programs.  Also, the Hopkins Madrid program is unique because you experience life at a Spanish University (you're enrolled at Universidad Carlos III for the semester) but you also get the experience of a homestay with a Spanish family.  The other advantage to doing the Hopkins program is that the department designed the program to be relevant to the Spanish courses taught at Hopkins.  For example, Hopkins has a course on Spanish theater, so part of the Hopkins Madrid program is to take excursions to the hometowns of the authors we studied and to the places where the plays took place.  There's also a course at Hopkins on Don Quixote, and the students take an excursion to see Cervantes's hometown as well.  To me that's the coolest part of the program: it's designed so that you can apply what you already learned about at Hopkins and actually see how the people that you study used to live and how they were influenced by these places.  After having this talk with my adviser, this program sounds really amazing and I think I definitely want to go to Madrid next fall!

For more details on the Madrid program, I'd highly recommend checking out the JHU in Spain blog http://hopkinspain.wordpress.com/ - it's really cool and was pretty much my favorite way to procrastinate this semester.  But definitely read a little bit about the other programs that Hopkins offers on the study abroad website - I know a lot of people who have had amazing experiences on all of them.  Even if you don't want to study abroad for a whole semester, Hopkins offers a lot of options for Summer abroad and also for Intersession abroad, which is during the month of January.

Also, JHU_Jessica was in Switzerland last spring, JHU_LaurenB was in South Africa this fall, JHU_Tess is taking an Art History course in Madrid next month, and JHU_Becca was in Italy last January and is thinking about going to France next year, so if you want to know more about any of those programs they would be more than willing to fill you in!  And of course if you have any other questions for me, ask away.

Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

lnem1281

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2011, 04:15 PM »
Hi Sarah,

I met you last year when I came to JHU for a campus tour, I remembered you because I live right down the road from where you live in Philadelphia!  I am in my Senior year of high school now and getting very anxious to find out where I will be going to college in the Fall.  I loved Hopkins and after reading your blogs I even love it more!
I attended an overnight visit in the fall and roomed with a girl in a Sorority.  After that visit I left feeling unsettled about the whole Greek life thing.  Can you elaborate on your experience with Greek life?  I get a sense that it can sometime be all consuming and I don't want to be at a school where Greek life is the only social thing to be involved with.  Thanks for being so open and willing to share information, it is really helpful!  I hope I can do the same if I am so lucky to end up at Hopkins next year!

Thanks,
Lindsey

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2011, 02:47 PM »
Hey Lindsey!!  I'm so sorry for the late reply - I was supposed to get an email about new posts.  But anyway, thanks for posting!  That's fantastic that you're interested in Hopkins and I'm glad you're reading the blogs! :)

So you've probably heard a little bit about the sororities from the girl you stayed with on your overnight, but we have four sororities - Alpha Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, and Pi Beta Phi (which was just chartered this year).  It's TOTALLY not all consuming - a lot of my closest friends aren't Greek, and unaffiliated students still go to frat houses and even go to date parties with their Greek friends. The sororities don't have houses either, so practically everyone I live with isn't Greek.  However, a lot of the girls in sororities choose to live with one another, and I know a lot of Phi Mu girls living with girls from other sororities.  But trust me, if it were all consuming, I would not be in a sorority right now.

If you do want to be involved in Greek Life, you can be as involved as you want to be - like last semester I was a little overwhelmed by biochemistry and research, and I didn't go to many sorority events at all.  The girls don't hold that against you and totally understand - everyone here works hard, everyone is busy, and if you have a few really busy semesters where you don't have as much time to be involved, the girls will be more than understanding about it.  In the spring, you're obligated to go to recruitment events, more philanthropy events, and more events to welcome the new pledges, but still, if you're ever overwhelmed by school work, you shouldn't feel pressured at all.  

At the same time, if you don't decide to go Greek, it's not going to take away from your social life.  A lot of girls find that the biggest social benefit they get from joining a sorority isn't going to the sorority events themselves, but it's just meeting new people and making new friends that they wouldn't have connected with otherwise.  As long as you're involved in clubs and student groups at Hopkins, you're going to meet a lot of great people that you have a lot in common with.  In a sorority you're given a "Big" (and sometimes a twin), and I love having my Big and the rest of my family in Phi Mu to have dinners with and go to coffee with and to ask for help or advice  when I ever need it, but at the same time I have a lot of non-Greek friends that know me even better than my Phi Mu family and that I hang out with on a regular basis.  A lot of sorority girls I know are mostly involved in their sorority for the family aspect - they spend a lot of time with their Big, their Little, and their family, but they're not as diligent about going to events.  

Anyway, I can totally relate to how you're feeling - I didn't want to go to a school with consuming Greek Life either, but Greek Life at Hopkins is just like another social circle that you can become involved with.  You're not going to make fewer friends or be excluded if you're unaffiliated.  If you do decide to join a sorority, you can be as involved as you want.

I hope this helps a little - if you have any more questions, please ask and I'll try to get back sooner!  Also, Lauren B and Becca are in Phi Mu as well, and Lauren C is in Alpha Phi, so you can always ask them about their experiences if you want a different perspective (Lauren B and Becca are a lot more involved in Phi Mu than I am).  And good luck with your application to Hopkins!!
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

Pat M

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 10:23 PM »
Hi Sarah!

First off, I'm from Flourtown, so Philly ('burbs) shoutout! I'll be coming to Hopkins in the fall, and I was wondering if I could have some advice in selecting courses. I'm an engineering major (ChemBE) who wants to major in Spanish. I was planning on using my AP credits in a few areas, so I will have a pretty hard courseload coming in. I figured I could use covered grades to push myself and get ahead (and perhaps turn that minor into a major).

My question has to do with picking a fourth course for the fall. In addition to Physics, Calc, and Chem (both Calc and Chem are not introductory level because of my APs), I was planning on taking either IFP or Advanced Spanish II. In terms of workload and enjoyment, which class would you recommend I take? Thabnks for your help!

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2011, 01:37 PM »
Hi Pat!  Cool I live like 15 minutes from Flourtown!!  Glad you're coming to Hopkins and are considering the Spanish major!  

Sounds like you have a good plan to try to push yourself the first semester with covered grades.  You can't go wrong with taking either of those courses: they're both not too much work, but the big difference is that Spanish is a 300 level class so the grading is much harder.  

For IFP, you only have to write one poem or one short story (~3 pages double spaced) each week (in addition to some nightly readings and some peer editing).  If you participate in class and follow the rubrics when you write your stories/poems, it's very manageable to get an A.  In Spanish, we usually had like one big assignment per week like an essay or an online quiz and the rest of the assignments were just reading short stories or reviewing grammar concepts.  I probably spent a similar amount of time on homework for Spanish and IFP, but Spanish was graded more strictly.  (I went in to a little bit more depth about the Advanced Spanish II workload in one of the other questions on this thread if you're still curious about what it's like.)

If I were you, I would take Advanced Spanish II in the fall and take IFP in the spring when you don't have covered grades. Neither class is going to be nearly as much work as your other classes and both classes are great options to add to your current schedule.  If you decide to take Advanced Spanish II in the fall, I would definitely take IFP in the spring instead of registering for a Spanish lit course (a Spanish course higher than Advanced Spanish II) because a lit course with Physics, Calc, and Chem would be a LOT of work.  IFP is also a really fun class to take with friends, and if you wait until spring to take it, you can register for the same section as your friends and take it together.  Also, if you take Spanish in the fall you'll probably meet some of the other freshman Spanish majors - I actually met one of my closest friends, another Spanish major, in my freshman fall Advanced Spanish II class and now we're going on the same study abroad program together this fall!

Let me know if you have any other questions about this!  Best of luck next year!!!!!
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

Gem

  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 04:02 PM »
Hi Sarah,
I've been in your blog once before asking about double-majoring and study abroad programs.
Now, I'm here to ask about financial advice. Although I would REEEEEAAAALLLLLYYYYYY like to go to Hopkins, my parents are a bit iffy about the fiscal matters. ): I understand that they don't want me to have a lot of debt getting out of college, but I would still very like to go to Hopkins -- if not for undergraduate, maybe for graduate or medical school. Would it be harder to get in graduate school at hopkins if I came from an in-state college?

Any advice?
/:

Thanks,
Gem

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2011, 04:27 PM »
Hey Gem!  Sorry for the late reply, I just moved into an apartment without internet so I've been a little out of touch with things.  Buy anyway, thanks for your question!

I really don't know much about how graduate school admissions work - honestly the only thing I know is what I've learned from talking with professors and academic advisors here.  The faculty here often says that Hopkins is a challenging school, and grad schools are aware that it's a tough school.  That bring said, getting a great gpa at Hopkins will look fantastic on a grad school application.  However, that doesn't mean that you can't still be a competitive applicant for Hopkins graduate programs coming from a state school.  I wish I could give you a more helpful answer but graduate admissions at Hopkins works individually by department and is completely separate from undergraduate admissions.
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

JHU_Admin

  • Administrator
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2011, 02:49 PM »
A series of questions and answers previously posted to JHU_Sarah's thread accidentally were removed. Here they are now:


Posted by elias_davis on July 30, 2011
Quote
Hey Sarah!

Ill start off by saying that currently i live in Lima, Peru and am very interested in Johns Hopkins (planning on applying ED for class of 2016.) I have a few questions about the work load at Hopkins in terms of any major having to do with the science department. I plan on going on the premed track, but i'm not too sure about which major is right for me. In terms of the biology major, because of my move from Miami, Florida, to Peru summer into my 10th grade year, I never got to take a biology or chemistry. But, once I got to Peru, the senior requirement, was to take organic chem, so i'm doing that now. Im worried that since i never got to take chem and bio, being a bio or chem major, i wont be able to sustain the workload. For example is bio I or chem I start from is to say "the first page of the chemistry/bio book"?. Another topic i was hoping you could help me out on was the "covered grades." Is it only the first semester? Or the first whole year?

Thank you! And if you ever need some help me spanish, since i'm fluent in spanish, ill be glad to help!

Hi Elias! These are great questions!
First of all, no worries about not knowing which major to choose yet, you'll have plenty of time to decide.

One of my good friends never took a biology class before coming to Hopkins and he took general biology I & II with the corresponding lab courses this year and said that they were his easiest classes. I've never taken the class, but I know the professor pretty well (she's my research sponsor) and she's fantastic! She's so patient and has a reputation for going above and beyond with giving extra help to anyone who needs it. Everyone loves her, she's like the nicest person ever!

I really think chem I and II would be totally manageable for you too: a lot of my friends who took it freshman year didn't remember a lot of the material from high school, so even though you've never taken chemistry before you're not necessarily going to be behind everyone else. Also, chem I and II seem like very collaborative classes: my friends who took it did problem sets together every night, studied for tests together, etc.

Chem I and II labs have a reputation for being pretty difficult, but not very many people got much chem lab experience in high school so everyone thinks this class is hard regardless of whether or not they've taken chem before. You'll have a lab partner to work with and I'm sure there be other people living on your floor in your dorm that are also taking this class, so you'll have plenty of help available to you. The teaching assistants for the lab courses are also great to use as resources - you can go to their office hours or email them anytime.

That's great that you're taking organic chem though - very few people have had that in high school so you'll have a head start for when you need to take it here!

To answer your question about covered grades, they're only for first semester. Basically you only get an "S" (satisfactory aka C- or better) or a "U" (unsatisfactory) on your transcript for every class. You'll be able to see your actual letter grades at the end of the semester but med schools/ grad schools won't because none of these classes are factored into your GPA. I really liked having covered grades - it was nice being able to adjust to college life without having to worry about grades.

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have & good luck with your application if you decide to apply ED! Oh and thanks so much for the Spanish help offer! I'm leaving for Spain in less than two weeks and I haven't spoken Spanish since like November... yikes. Hopefully it comes back quickly

***********************************************************************************

Posted by Stephanie on September 8, 2011
Quote
hi

i am looking for universities and i have decided on Hopkins. I was wondering if i could come into the school then chose what i want to study... you know just enter the university without a course in mind then just pick one after being accepted.

Hey Stephanie - don't worry at all about not knowing what to study: a ton of people enter undecided, and you don't have to declare a major until the end of sophomore year. Whether or not you know what you want to study, you'll get an academic advisor the summer before your freshman year who will help you choose courses that will interest you and will help fulfill your academic requirements.

BlancheBunny103

  • Newbie
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2012, 01:18 AM »
I had a single room my freshman year.
I don't regret choosing to live in a single freshman year at all - I was extremely close with a lot of people on my hall, but it was nice having my own space. 

Hey Sarah
I would love to have a single on my freshmen year at JHU, just like you. It's so nice to have your own space.
How did you manage to get a single?
And is there a single available at each of the four buildings?

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2012, 08:39 AM »
Hey BlancheBunny
I'm pretty sure there are singles in all of the freshman dorms - there might not be singles in buildings A&B, but there are definitely singles in the AMRs, Wolman, and McCoy. 

After you send in your enrollment deposit to Hopkins, you fill out a housing questionnaire.  This includes questions to match you up with a roommate (questions like are you neat, do you wake up early, do you use your room primarily for socializing or studying) and there are also questions about your building preference and whether you prefer a single or a double.  If you know that you want a single, you can indicate that on the form.  The freshman are entered into a lottery system, so if you get a low lottery number then there's a good chance that you'll be put into a single. 

I had a single in the AMRs and it was great - I was (and still am) really good friends with my hall, so I never felt like not having a roommate took away from my freshman experience or anything. 

Hope this helps!
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

RJulez

  • Newbie
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2012, 01:00 AM »
Hi Sarah!


Can you tell me more about the study abroad program in JHU? Do most people study abroad?


Also, how is the social life in JHU? What do you do during the weekends? Are you active? Do you study?


Thanks!






JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2012, 07:33 PM »
Hey RJulez!

Studying abroad was the greatest thing ever.  Even if you have no idea where you want to go or what you want to do, I would 100% recommend it.  The study abroad office at Hopkins will help you find the perfect program, which is a big reason why a ton of Hopkins students go abroad every year - I think about half of Hopkins students study abroad at some point in their undergraduate career.

One of the great things about studying abroad at Hopkins in particular is that you can go abroad for just about any length of time.  Most students go abroad for the semester, some go abroad for a year, some chose a one or two month summer abroad program, and some go abroad for three weeks in January on one of the Intersession programs.  Hopkins also makes it very possible to go abroad more than once - lots of people chose to go abroad for a semester and also do an Intersession trip or a summer abroad.

Another great thing about programs at Hopkins is that you usually travel with a very small group of all Hopkins kids, so you get to know a lot of people in other majors that you would never have met otherwise.  I'm still very close with the group I went to Madrid with: we could not have been more different than one another but we clicked really well and had such a great time in Spain.  Also, Hopkins has programs that cater toward all majors, including science majors, pre-meds, and engineers.

I really have no complaints about social life at Hopkins - it seems like there's always something going on around campus, but when there's not, there are plenty of great places to go in Baltimore to hang out.  Freshman and sophomore year I only went off campus maybe once a month just because I was (and still am) perfectly happy just hanging out with friends on campus, going to frat parties, etc.  Junior year, once my friends started keeping their cars in Baltimore, we ended up going off campus a lot and hanging out at the Inner Harbor or Towson or going to restaurants in Hamden.  Towson is one of my favorite spots to go off campus - there's a mall, a movie theater, and a lot of cheap places to eat, and it's relatively easy to get there with the public buses and shuttle system.

Haha I do study a lot, but trust me, I don't live in the library and I've only pulled like two all-nighters in the past three years.  You really just have to learn to budget your time, but you do not need to give up your social life to do well here.  In a typical week I still have time to go to the rec center everyday, usually have dinner with friends, go to club meetings, etc, in addition to studying and doing homework.  My friends and I go out pretty much every weekend and we all still do well academically. If you have any other questions about social life, please ask :) but seriously if you want a social life at Hopkins, it's there and can definitely be balanced with academics as long as you budget your time.

Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!

RJulez

  • Newbie
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2012, 08:00 AM »
Thanks Sarah!


I also had another question.
How are the professors at JHU? Are they accessible?

JHU_Sarah

  • Hopkins Student
Re: Meet JHU_Sarah - Ambler, PA
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2012, 08:25 AM »
They're very accessible - they are all required to hold office hours every week, but if for some reason you have a conflict or a class that overlaps with a professor's office hours, you can always just email the professor to ask if you can set up an appointment to meet another time.  Even for some of the larger science classes I've taken like physics and organic chem, I've been really surprised at how helpful the professors are during their office hours: even if ten other kids show up, the professors are good about making sure that no one goes away confused about the material.  They really want you to do well and will be happy that you're taking the initiative to go and talk to them. 

For my smaller upper-level humanities classes, I've gotten to know my professors really well from going to office hours.  I still go to one of my freshman year Spanish professors every once in a while for advice on things totally unrelated to Spanish like what I should do with my life after college or whether I should take a senior year German class.  So to sum up, my advice would be to go to office hours as much as you can, no matter how big or small the class is.  For your smaller classes, absolutely go to office hours because chances are there won't be that many other students going to office hours, so you really have an opportunity to get to know the professor.  It's always good to make connections because you can always go to these professors for advice, even later on in your college years.

Let me know if you have any other questions :)
Sarah, '13
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Spanish
Check out my blog!
and ask me questions here!