Fresh off of Registration in Annapolis, I ventured to Santa Fe to do it all again! Being new to the Annapolis SJC admissions team, I could not have been more elated for my first trip to Santa Fe. My journey began Sunday at 8:30am from BWI (which is a convenient 30-minute drive from campus) nonstop to Albuquerque. I love a time zone change, so getting here at 10:00 a.m. left me almost the entire day to explore. Like a typical Santa Fe Johnnie, I took the Sandia shuttle from the airport straight to campus! I absolutely love the Southwest, so I took in all the amazing views along the way, at least partly to distract myself from the fact that the speed limit was 75 mph (not something us East Coasters are used to).
I spent most of the day exploring campus. Nestled in the mountains a little above the city, it immediately felt different from Annapolis. Everything was calmer, quieter, and more relaxed. I found being just outside of the city to be an ideal environment for focused reading and contemplation. Essentially, this is how I ended my day: curled up, breeze flowing, air crisp, reading a good book.
While ostensibly the process is the same, the feeling of it all is very different. Most of it takes place outside—thanks to the glorious Santa Fe weather—and the pace was a lot more relaxed, with a friendly sociality. As students filtered in, almost every one of them stopped to hug friends met at an Accepted Student Day or their admissions counselor (or both)! The atmosphere was incredibly jovial and felt exceptionally personal. Not to say that in Annapolis we aren’t social and personal, but the intensity of friendliness was definitely of note; conversations being dotted with multiple breaks to greet friends, both new and old, was a frequent occurrence. Once our 92 incoming students (minus a few stragglers) had arrived, the rest of the week was ready to start!
What happens after registration is another small difference between the two campuses. Unlike registration in Annapolis, convocation is not that same afternoon, but rather later in the week. Instead, a large welcome dinner is held for all of our incoming students, their families, staff, and tutors. In typical New Mexican flair, dinner was a taco bar complete with grilled meats, Chile sauce, and milky horchata. To say it was all delicious would be a massively negligent understatement. The dining services here in Santa Fe clearly know what they are doing. Sitting down with some of our students, I could immediately feel the excitement radiating from them. I think this enthusiasm comes from the fact that, whether or not they’ve realized it before, they’ve been searching for this particular academic community. They’ve wanted a place where being a nerd is cool and where you can feel just as comfortable discussing the regenerative properties of adolescent axolotls (which are adorable btw) as dissecting the language of Homer’s Iliad. Whether in a bolt of lightning or in a slow-moving wave, by the end of the day, our students had realized that they are home. I can’t help but feel the same.