Alumni offer their advice for new Blue Jays

We asked JHU alumni: What advice do you have for the newest Blue Jays to help them make the most of their time at Johns Hopkins?

Learn how to pick a crab.
—Michael Dellarco, SPH '99 (DrPH)

A pile of blue crabs

Image credit: Getty

You will never be as energetic, determined, or receptive to new ideas or experiences. Take advantage of your Homewood campus, an oasis in the middle of a major East Coast city. Don't hibernate in your dorm room! Play Division III sports, be a leader in the school or an organization, date, and learn from your professors, classmates, and teammates. I remember stepping onto the Homewood campus, a naive 17-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, without a clue, having never before been to the East Coast. As a now 80-year-old, I look back and realize that college was the best time in my life and also the hardest. You will never get that part of your life back. Enjoy it.
—Felix A. Hughes, A&S '63

My advice is to take one course every semester outside of your intended major, and ideally outside of your comfort zone. As a psychology major, I also took courses in accounting, economics, history, and, most memorably, a writing seminar with Richard Macksey.
—Peter Lifton, A&S '77, '77 (MA)

Treat everyone you meet as if they'll accomplish amazing things. Chances are, they will. All my peers have. —Robert Choi, A&S '07 Stay calm, study hard, and be careful not to get involved in too many extracurricular activities your first semester. One significant extracurricular activity in your first semester is enough and all you should attempt. You can always increase your involvement in campus life once you get used to college demands.
—Leslie S. Leighton, Med '78 (MD)

Build your network early and often. Find mentors who will guide you; advisers who will provide honest, unfiltered advice and feedback; and sponsors who will be in the room when you are not there, advocating for you.
—Adwoa Frimpong, Bus '10 (MS)

Remember that "a lot" is two words.
—Douglas Call, SAIS '00 (MA)

If there's a project you want to pursue, there's probably a grant somewhere just waiting to fund it. Always ask; you never know what's available to help you, and a passion project could become a career.
—Mrinalini Kamath, A&S '96

Seek opportunities in jobs and life where you have freedom to fail. No matter your JHU major, be a scientist and artist. Know the Johns Hopkins brand is strong. Use it.
—Paula Boggs, A&S '81

Explore and enjoy Baltimore. There's a lot to see, do, and learn beyond Homewood. Volunteer in the community if you can.
—Michael Hill, A&S '98

Be your weird, wonderful, passionate self. Don't dim your light to fit in; we need it to shine in this world.
—Eve Wachhaus, A&S, '92

Spend time getting to know the people at Johns Hopkins besides the faculty and other students. There are some extraordinary people in buildings and grounds, maintenance, food service, environmental services, and security. Developing relationships with them will enrich your life beyond measure.
—Richard Embrey, A&S '80, '83 (MD)