Campus Life St. John's College Santa Fe The Program

The Coffee Shop Before Seminar, or, What I Like Most About St. John’s

By A.J. Peters

Working in admissions, I often am asked what I like about St. John’s. It’s an easy question. Every once in a while though, I’m asked what I like most. That’s a harder one.

I was flipping through my notes on the reading (Epictetus) Monday night in the coffee shop when my friend sat down across from me. He had just written a paper on Pascal’s Pensées – something about mankind being both infinite and singular – and could hardly contain himself. I would look at a couple of questions I had written out for seminar, hastily scrawl out something more, pause to listen to him for a bit, and repeat. Until I eventually realized I had stopped reviewing completely and was doing nothing other than listening to the impassioned and caffeinated words of my friend. There’s something about being distracted by someone so exuberant about a 15th century book – even if his ideas weren’t fascinating (which they were), it’s just so much fun to see someone so excited. So very interested.

There’s a lot I like about St. John’s. But that scene  Coffee Shop before seminar – words flailing and ideas flying – describes what I love most. At St. John’s, we get to surround ourselves with people that aren’t just interesting,  they are interested.  Not just smart, but curious. I can’t imagine another place where that statement is more true.

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