This is a joint post by Todd Cooley, Assistant Director of Admissions (Annapolis, MD) and Natalie Blais, Associate Director of Admissions (Santa Fe, NM).
This Saturday, I got to fly out to see our Santa Fe campus for the first time. I came to help out for the first of three Admitted Student Events held between our two campuses. But I ended up leaving with a whole new appreciation for the landscape of New Mexico and the incredibly vibrant community that Santa Fe offers.
For this trip, I brought my girlfriend Katherine with me as well – she is an avid hiker and general outdoors-woman, but we have not been to many places off of the East Coast for hiking – never to New Mexico. Everything about it blew our expectations out of the water (which, admittedly, there isn’t very much of up here!).
We arrived in Albuquerque on Saturday, and took some time at first just to drive around and see downtown Santa Fe. We drove up through what I guess the locals call “The Turquoise Trail”, and already, we felt like we were out of our element. Tons of mountains, and not very much green – totally different from Annapolis. But the colors of the earth and rocks were awe-inspiring, and of course, that doesn’t go away once you arrive in Santa Fe. In fact, I think the beauty only goes up from there.
Downtown Santa Fe is very different from any other city I’ve been to, just in terms of the general layout. Similar to the east coast, though, was this extensive sense of history and culture. Many of the buildings here are in the Adobe style (even many residential houses!). There is so much good food (they take chile peppers very seriously),
and art is everywhere. Of course, there is the Georgia O’Keefe museum, but there are a great number of galleries and museums with tons of incredible artwork to peruse, along with many vendors in the Plaza selling authentic handmade jewelry. There is no shortness of beauty here, from the people to the art to the landscape. It makes for a pretty sweet place to go to school.
I got to campus on Sunday, and immediately was greeted by my Admissions colleagues over here, who I had only really talked to through email throughout this year. That was really exciting, and they were all such wonderful people. It really hammered away the point of how lucky we are to have these two campuses, each filled with really smart and passionate people who want to tell the St. John’s story. Students began arriving with their parents, and that is where a lot of the fun began.
What proceeded was a blur of tours and greetings and excitement about the program, and I got to learn so much just from listening to the various students, staff, and faculty members that I got to meet. There is so much love for this school and this place out here, and I felt really lucky to be a part of it for a few days. Plus, I don’t think you’ll find a better sunset anywhere.
We worked super hard on campus, but I also got the chance to explore a little bit of town as well, and got to talk to some other students about their favorite things to do in the area. One of the things I kept hearing about was this thing called “Meow Wolf”, which from what I understand is this completely immersive art experience that is sort of difficult to describe in just a few words (we have some Johnnies working there – check out their website!). I had a matcha latte at a local student haunt called The Tea House, overheard some really fun trivia happening at this place called The Draft Station, and got to watch the sunset over Museum Hill.
Katherine did tons of hikes as well, and I would be remiss in not including some of the pictures she took while out exploring the trails around Santa Fe. If you are into hiking, or the outdoors in general, you have to come and visit this place.
Santa Fe has so much to offer, and I’m so thankful that I was able to fly out, hang out with my Santa Fe colleagues, and return to Annapolis with this new understanding of how things work 2,000 miles away. While there were some differences, I still found the same passion for the program and the books that I get to see every day in Annapolis. No matter which campus you choose, you still may find yourself walking in on students having a deep but casual conversation about Hegel, or Machiavelli, or Euclid, at any given moment, which I think is one of my favorite things about St. John’s.
I’ll be back soon for sure, and if you are considering St. John’s, I’d highly recommend going and visiting the Santa Fe campus. Everything about it blew me away, and I think the location would be an amazing place to study the books for four years. If you have any questions about the Santa Fe campus, don’t hesitate to be in contact with me! I’d be ecstatic to be able to talk about it with you.