I was on a trip recently to Northern California where I attended a series of college fairs for high school juniors. My travel took me to Sacramento, Marin County, South Bay, as well as a couple of places in the East Bay. One of my colleague’s out of office message says that she “is out of the office meeting future Johnnies” — I loved that message as soon as I read it. This trip was about meeting future Johnnies too. Current high school sophomores and juniors would come up to me and I could see a spark of excitement and look of amusement as they scanned the stack of books on our tablecloth. As an alum of the college, I started to think about what things spoke to me in the world. What things bring me joy? What things call out to me as a Johnnie?
First, giant scrabble tiles! Please note my toes at the bottom edge of the picture for some sense of scale. Come on! Who wouldn’t love to spell some words with these beautiful tiles? But, seriously, if these speak to you and you find yourself wanting to play with them, you should strongly consider applying to our college.
Secondly, honestly, I love seeing tributes to Ancient Greece, and ancient civilizations in general. We study two years of Ancient Greek at St. John’s. This surprises some people, but studying a complex and ancient language helps us all slow down a bit. It helps us read more slowly, carefully, and with greater circumspection. Plus, it is hard to ignore the fact that ancient civilizations continue to influence our way of life. Histories, politics, and Percy Jackson aside, I am amused when I pass by a town called Hercules, or I see a huge plaster rendition of a Greek god; I even find myself tickled to see a hotel bar named after Bacchus, the Roman God of Agriculture, Wine, and Fertility.
Third, I have never met a Johnnie that could pass up a book sale. I happened upon a whopper of a book sale and festival while I was visiting Berkeley High School to meet with high school students about applying to colleges. It was the 3rd Annual Bay Area Book Festival! Tables and tables of books, authors talking and signing books, kids eating treats, and just so many books. It was all so wonderful to see.
Lastly, as a Johnnie, I also have a deep love of the scientific and mathematical. Many prospective students and their parents may not realize at first that half of our liberal arts Program involves doing mathematical demonstrations, going through proofs step by step, honing scientific inquiry skills, and conducting experiments in biology, chemistry, and quantum physics. We are a place where it is just as likely that a math phobic can fall in love with math as it is that a math rockstar can happily delve into the complexities of derivation and theory.
And, we learn that music can be described mathematically, with ratios and equations. This in no way diminishes our appreciation of music. Rather, it gives us another vantage point from which to experience and appreciate it, a truly liberal arts approach!
Lastly, I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture of this woman’s awesome bumper stickers!!!! Book babes unite! I read dead people! I would love to find these on a t-shirt or tote bag. Let me know what things speak to you!