Building a relationship with our campus

Michael GentileIn this crazy world we call Hopkins, much can be said about a breath: perhaps the one before a long lecture or a test, or during a test, or even after a test.

In this world, one day out of any week has the potential to make your breath fall heavy, tired or short and your confidence shake up and down. And this is why, as a University and as a family, we need to take that breath back. We need to let some good back into our vibes.

To recapture control of that breath we must first immerse ourselves in the sublime beauty of our campus. Yes, that orgo class may temporarily rob you of every beautiful thing you have ever known, but that class will inevitably spill out into a planet of vibrant green grass and dozens of trees that corral that grass into design, of mellow red brick and the virgin white clock towers that perch upon the brick’s base, of the elegant snaking of stone pathways throughout every section of campus. Whether you consider Hopkins a home or a school, its beauty is a treasure in itself.

Nevertheless, heads remain down at phones and eyes in gazes of indifference. That indifference is the difference between awkwardly avoiding eye contact with that person you sort of know and relishing the 10-minute walk to and fro as an escape into paradise. Once that indifference fades at the hands of deserving awe, the craziness of Hopkins reveals itself as peace and a privilege.

To begin is quite simple. Let go. Look. Love. Allow yourself to fall into what you see, to feel its delicate pulse, to hear the birds and crickets, to smile. Dance among the leaves waving overhead. Flatten yourself upon the gradual pitch of the Beach and look up and wonder where the sky ends. Play along the divide of shade and sunlight and feel your own energy swell and sump, grow and wither like the very plants around you. Entertainment is not restricted to Netflix and frat parties. Our lovely campus has already laid the foundation for us to create our own joy and, more importantly, awe.

However, attention is the key. To access this bliss of awareness, make an active attempt to notice everything around you and analyze whatever catches your fancy. Before long you’ll move past simple spectating and unlock stories that only grace a child’s imagination and thoughts that evade the preoccupied mind.

Refuse to be too cool, to not care. There is so much out there to care about besides yourself that to withhold from the worthy is waste. You can care about anything, from one another to nature, from conversation to silence, from reality to imagination. Please people, just care.

As corny and elementary school as it may sound, caring is contagious. When we see a visibly happy person, we wonder why and focus on happiness too. We next trace its source to what has that person’s attention, his or her care at the moment.

Once we finally realize that source and recognize that person’s happiness in it, happiness reveals itself to us. From then on we search for that feeling again, pay attention to its source, care about whether it exists or not. In the end we are habitually

IVANA SU/PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR All it takes to build a relationship with our campus is a well-timed, deep breath in front of Gilman.

All it takes to build a relationship with our campus is a well-timed, deep breath in front of Gilman.

searching for happiness everywhere we go, enough so that we always find it. If that search spreads to each and every one of us, we can make Hopkins the place it is destined to be.

One quad at a time, we can build a relationship with our campus. All it takes is one person and one well-timed deep breath in front of Gilman. That breath is truly ours, courtesy of Johnny Hop.

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