Kenneth K. Lam / The Baltimore Sun
Best free wi-fi off-campus My favorite spot is the Barnes and Noble Cafe in the Inner Harbor. Only a quick (and free!) ride away on Hopkins' JHMI shuttle, it's in a prime location for studying. It's quiet enough for me to focus on my work, but the bookstore backdrop and the Inner Harbor location allows for great people-watching and good food -- two of my favorite study break activities.
Best hidden gem near school Even though it's just off campus on a quiet little side street, it baffles me how few students know about my favorite cafe, Chocolatea. As its name suggests, Chocolatea has an extensive list of coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. Also on their menu: gourmet chocolate truffles and a variety of breakfast and lunch food. My favorite drink? The Banana Split Hot Chocolate.
Favorite place to study off campus On a nice weekend, I love sitting on top Federal Hill on a blanket, facing downtown and doing my reading for the upcoming week. With its great background noise and scenic view, it's a relaxing place for me to study.
Favorite place for studying on-campus The Hutzler reading room (pictured), affectionately known as "the Hut," located in Gilman Hall. The sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows fills the room with natural lighting and the warm colors on the walls give it a comfortable ambiance conducive to studying.
What surprised me most about Baltimore Quickly after arriving, I realized how much of a "food culture" there is in Baltimore. I was pleasantly surprised as to how many fun restaurants there are here. For the best steak and seasoned fries, check out the Brewer's Art and for the best blueberry pancakes, head to Golden West.
Best non-school event Halloween in Fells Point is the one occasion every freshman (and sophomore, junior, and senior, for that matter) needs to experience. Thousands of people gather to show off some of the craziest, most creative costumes you've ever seen.
Best school event Spring Fair -- the largest student-run fair on a college campus in the country. During Spring Fair weekend, the entire Freshman quad is filled with fair-style food vendors. Students can enjoy a concert every night, and, for students who are over 21, there is a beer garden on the university president's lawn.
Best student transportation The Hopkins campus is pretty compact. It's never more than a 15-minute walk to get anywhere on campus. However, when you do need to travel off campus, using the various Hopkins and Baltimore shuttle systems is simple and stress-free. The most reliable system for us has to be the JHMI shuttle, which picks up students every 5 minutes and can take them all the way to the Hopkins Medical Campus. Students can get off along the route at various stops, including Penn Station -- where you can transfer to a bunch of other bus routes and train lines.
What I wish someone had told me when I was a freshman When it comes to forming friendships, quality over quantity is the best policy. It's absolutely fine to meet as many students as possible at the beginning of freshman year, it's important to remember to develop meaningful friendships, because those are the ones that will last beyond your four years of college.
Don't feel awkward about talking with your professors. Okay, maybe I was the only freshman who felt this way. But as I've gotten through more semesters of college, I've realized that professors, employers, and all of the other "old" people present on campus can be some of the funniest, wise, and friendliest people to talk with after class is over.
Must-take classes at Hopkins Introduction to Dramatic Writing: Film is taught by one of the most eclectic yet personable professors I've ever had: Marc Lapadula. When a course is equally divided between analyzing film clips and discussing how life is portrayed throughout the media, you know it's going to be entertaining.
Social Psychology, taught by Professor Drigotas, is a great class for freshmen and upperclassmen alike. It focuses on interesting concepts that are often applicable to your life. Professor Drigotas has a straightforward lecturing style that's easy to understand, and he enjoys interacting with students as much as he can.
--By Ashley Adams, junior, psychology major