Say goodbye to structure and organization this coming year

Checklists, bullet points and post-its cover my notes. Maps and brochures are spread out on the table. Sitting in Barnes and Noble with a yellow notepad in front of me and a stack of travel books to my left, I quickly jot down ideas for my next trip.

All my life I’ve loved making travel itineraries. Whether it was a weekend getaway or a long trip, I would sit for hours reading, taking notes, and organizing details. Even if I wasn’t doing the trip myself, I would love to plan outings for others, as it would give me the opportunity to learn more about a place and imagine what the trip would be like.

I have always found comfort in organization and structure. When I was in kindergarten, my parents sent me to school every day with an analog watch to learn how to tell the time. Unfortunately for my kindergarten teacher, this meant that I, who was five years old, read the time every five minutes to remind the class that we had to stick to our schedule properly.

That same year, my parents encouraged me to go to an art museum by handing me a Canon digital camera. With camera in hand, I photographed every piece of art in the museum that I saw. Although this process was slow, it helped me learn to really love and appreciate museums.

As I finish my second year of college here at Hopkins, I’m starting to feel like there’s a looming schedule with things I need to get done before the semester ends. Given that I won’t be here this summer and plan to study abroad in Spain in the fall, it’s surreal to think that when I leave campus in mid-May I probably won’t be back. until January.

I have to accept the fact that the Hopkins I leave may not be the same Hopkins I return to. Time doesn’t stop, things can change and I have to accept that life goes on without me.

Nevertheless, I have to contain “my fear of missing something” and realize that my life can continue outside the limits of Charles Village. Although I will be far from the comfort and structure here on campus, I will have the opportunity to gain a new and distinct perspective that is both frightening and exciting.

I must say goodbye to the structure and organization of my life and make more room for spontaneity and adventure. I’ve spent way too much time planning and anticipating every detail of every day when I need to live in the moment instead.

The future is unpredictable; even last month, when I started counting the days of the semester and worrying about how much time I had left, I tested positive for COVID-19 and remained isolated for nine days. It’s been a sad and lonely nine days, and I’ve really missed being outside and seeing my friends. Yet it has also made me appreciate more the people in my life and the friends who make my time at Hopkins so special.

I like to believe that I am becoming more flexible and spontaneous than my childhood self. Yes, it’s good to be organised, and I will definitely continue to make itineraries for my stay in Spain, but I’m also happy to keep some things unknown and explore the world around me with a set of clear expectations. And for now, I’m thrilled with what the gift has in store for us.

Gabriel Lesser is a sophomore from Westchester, NY, studying Neuroscience and Romance Languages. His column explores his memories as well as his current thoughts and the lessons he has learned.

Ida M. Morgan