Challenging Times Reveal the Best in Johnnies

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, St. John’s has moved our spring semester classes online and asked our students to study remotely from their homes.

This is an extraordinary challenge. St. John’s is founded upon the notion that face-to-face conversation is the best way to understand the world. In our 21-person-or-fewer classes, students engage in passionate, lively discussion about philosophy, physics, literature, politics, biology, and more.

I am so proud to see how Johnnies are rising to the challenge. Our students love learning and refuse to let anything impede their education. As a result, our online classes retain the essence of St. John’s: a community passionate about ideas.

But St. John’s is more than the classroom. We are a small, warm community that supports one another. During a normal semester, in our dorms and dining halls, all 900 students form a support network that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

How do we preserve that community in a moment of national crisis? I don’t have all the answers, but I want to share the words of a current freshman who emailed me earlier today:

Hello Johnnie Administrators, Educators, and Finance-Coordinators…

I’m a freshie, a newbie. 😊

My fellow ’23 Johnnies have a grade-wide chat we have conversed in, so I am emailing on behalf of all us:

This has been a really hard time for us students. However, that can’t be anything compared to what y’all are going through right now.

We really appreciate what y’all are doing. We know with money and financial organization, class organization, closing campus and finding ways to manage your students who can’t leave, and the ones who still got to go back and get their stuff, that y’all were thrown a lot of very sudden responsibilities no one could have really planned for. And that’s all on top of your own families and home life.

But y’all have worked with us, tried to help us all out with WiFi, time zones, finances…we couldn’t be more lucky to have administrators who care about us and want to help us. Its part of what makes St. John’s an awesome school.

We hope ya’ll are healthy and if you ever need any support we are mere students who don’t have degrees and experiences like y’all have, but no matter how much we may complain, groan, or fear the outcome of this situation, we stand behind y’all and love y’all like nothing else.

Thanks for everything you do, and good luck and best health!

-The Freshman Johnnies.

P.S. also, George [the axolotl, our unofficial mascot]  is grateful to:


In these challenging times, our students have preserved everything that makes St. John’s distinct: small classes, great books, rigorous conversations, and, perhaps most importantly, a genuine community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s