Why does every college sound the same?

Here at St. John’s, we pride ourselves on being a little different – a curriculum based on Great Books, not textbooks, and classrooms alive with conversations and possibilities.  At St. John’s, questions drive the conversation, not answers.  At St. John’s, the question – the questioning – is more important.

In support of this self-sustaining, curious community, we do a few other things a little differently, too.  You can read all about our uncommon approach education on the website, but what other pieces of the community are a bit outside of the norm?

  • The entire community at St. John’s functions within two major rules: civility in all things and all conversations, and what is affectionately referred to as the “sleep/study” rule. The sleep/study rule is essentially what it sounds like – that no student will every knowingly interfere with another student’s sleep or study.  Civility is reinforced with formal address in the classrooms, with all students and the tutor using formal (Mr./Ms.) address in conversation.
  • Can’t sleep and need a break from your studying? The Ceramics Studio is open 24 hours a day.  Plug in your music; get your hands dirty and your mind clear at 3:00am.
  • Over the course of the year, use the Ptolemy Stone to chart the movement of the sun, watching the measurable angle change. Feeling impatient?  See the same thing played out in a few minutes in the campus planetarium.  Then head to the Observatory, where we house two large telescopes, to get a closer look.
  • Enjoy the ability to gather friends and start a club based around any mutual interest that you have. If faculty want to join in, that’s great – but clubs are entirely dependent on students, and do not require faculty sponsorship.
  • Looking for a quiet spot for contemplation, with a great view of the campus and Santa Fe beyond? Hike up to the swing which hangs part way up Monte Sol, our friendly neighboring mountain.
  • Look forward to ringing the bell  after turning in your final annual essay Senior year. Seniors used to ring it once for every page they had written, but that kept the bells ringing for hours on end! Now each senior rings it once.
  • Warm up with winter Fireside Chats next to the ten-foot wide brick fireplace in the Coffee Shop. Enjoy cider, cocoa, and conversation at each themed evening.
  • Play sports you never expected with our intramural program – when students matriculate, they are each placed on one of five teams, who all play each other. Improve your skills, learn new ones, or cheer on your friends as the program rotates through sports from ultimate frisbee to reasonball throughout the year.  Alternatively, come out to cheer on the tutors as they engage in fierce games of badminton throughout the year!

St. John’s is built on the Great Books, but the community has so many other unique pieces of life to offer.  To get an even more vibrant, varied view of what our polity is like, reach out to hear it directly from our students, or come visit us the next time you’re nearby!

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