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Kids These Days
That's me having a little fun on the photo shoot set, Homewood campus. Every few years, the magazine staff decides to size up the latest group of incoming students. That's when you start hearing funny, self-deprecating comments around the office about feelings of inadequacy — I mean, we were all on the yearbook or school newspaper staff, and we did a volunteer project or two, but not one of us even considered establishing our own foundation.

So this year, as I started casting about for students to include in our story "One Thing in Common" [p. 36], I expected to be impressed with their accomplishments. I asked colleagues at Johns Hopkins' various academic divisions to recommend students who were either quintessential examples of the kinds of students they were admitting, or students who were total surprises. I got pages of candidates to choose from. A Baltimore Scholar studying electrical engineering in the Whiting School. An environmental lawyer from California who is now a Krieger School grad student studying the social and cultural history of the lower and middle classes. A Minnesotan who studied in South Africa and Argentina before a stint in the Peace Corps and is fluent in Malagasy — he started this semester at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies' Bologna Center.

So yes, I was impressed with all they had achieved. But as I interviewed them — I asked each the same 15 questions, then chose a handful of the most interesting answers to print — and talked to some of them more casually at the photo shoots, I was more impressed by how nice they all were. And not just nice — patient, good-humored, thoughtful, dedicated. (Two of them had, in fact, already established their own foundations.) Instead of feeling inadequate, I just had fun. If Hopkins is educating the next generation of teachers, activists, doctors, scientists, and, well, editors, then maybe I won't mind being replaced.

Return to November 2007 Table of Contents

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