By Bilsana Bibic

After actively reading and engaging in conversation for three and a half months, all of us look forward to winter break. That is the time to relax, recharge our batteries and read for fun. This year, however, winter break was filled with worries as much as relaxation for most seniors, including myself. Even though I got to read for pleasure (I read the Little Prince in French amongst other things), my mind was on my graduate school applications and my senior essay.

The seniors at St. John’s start thinking about their final essay (senior thesis) towards the end of Junior year. That’s when most of us start approaching tutors we would like to work with and try to narrow down which author or books we would like to use in writing. And then, immediately after winter break, we get a 4-week long writing period. I used to think that it was more than enough time to relax, read, hang out with people and write. However, being a senior, I notice that time passes very quickly.

However, the experience itself is fantastic. You get to focus on your question of choice and address it in your own way. Plus, you have an opportunity to develop your ideas through conversations with your friends, your adviser and other tutors. While I was working in the library this morning and taking a break from writing by reading Brothers Karamazov, I got to hang out on the balcony overlooking Monte Sol and Monte Luna (the mountains of the Sun and the Moon); conversing about life, nature and suffering with other two seniors who happened to be there.

So far, the writing period has been one of the most rewarding parts of my St. John’s experience. It constantly reminds me what a privilege it is to be able to think about great books in a community of curious and engaging individuals.

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