My oldest daughter is about to finish up her junior year at St. John’s. Although, at the beginning of her college search, I don’t even think St. John’s was on her mind. I work in the college’s Admissions Office, so I think she was looking for something, let’s just say, a little farther from home.
I still remember how shocked I was when she told me that she had scheduled a visit to St. John’s. She had already toured several other schools by this point, but she was feeling a bit discouraged about what she was finding at the other colleges. Her initial visit to St. John’s was a success; in fact, she followed it up with two more! I think she knew from the first visit that she had found something special at St. John’s, but I also know that she was under a bit of pressure from friends and well-meaning relatives to think carefully about this “strange” school. I mean we don’t even have majors!
As someone who knows the college well, I wanted to step in and provide my daughter with the weapons to fight these naysayers. I would photocopy papers about the value of the liberal arts and leave important books scattered haphazardly around the house that would provide her with ammunition for the good fight. I wanted to provide statistics and stories about how successful our students are after they graduate, whether it is in a particular career field or graduate study. I wanted to take her to our Career Services Office, and let her explore all of the amazing internship programs that students have participated in while attending St. John’s. I mean this was my job! I know first-hand how competitive our graduates are and what they are capable of in the “real” world.
To be frank, though, as her father, I didn’t really care about what all these people were saying. I knew she had found a place that would challenge her. I saw her eyes light up when she talked about the reading list. I knew that the education at St. John’s would provide her with more important things then a cookie cutter path to a prescribed career after graduation.
Three years later, I can happily say that she has not had a single regret about her decision to attend St. John’s. It hasn’t always been easy. The program can be challenging, but I’ve seen the transformative effect that this community has had in her life, and I know that her transformation is directly related to books she reads as well as the community of students and faculty that dedicate themselves to their study.
My recommendation to any parent with questions about St. John’s is to come visit. There is no better way of experiencing our unique brand of education than to come to one of our beautiful campuses and to see it for yourselves.