By Bilsana Bibic
Just a few days ago, we got 24 new undergrads. They are known as the JFs because they start their Freshman year at St. John’s in January, rather than September. After staying here over the summer and finishing Freshman year, they’ll be joining their SO class (current Freshmen). Even though I was not a JF, having some of my best friends go through the experience, I know a bit about it.
JFs study the same books and take the same classes as the students starting in September. (You can take a look at the reading list here). However, since there is less time in which to do the same amount of work, it is usually more difficult than the normal curriculum. Plus, you have to stay in school during the summer and continue to SO year after only a 2-week break. Needless to say, being a JF is challenging.
However, most of my friends have had a very positive experience of their JF year. Owing to the fact that the class is very small, your classmates become not only friends, but family. The JF experience bonds people together and provides a wonderful support system for life at St. John’s. Plus, considering that JFs do Greek during the summer, they can plunge into the SO Language assignments with ease and comfort, without worrying about declinations and conjugations that they might have forgotten.
But there are other benefits to being a JF. The summers in Santa Fe are amazing! Having stayed here as a student worker after my Freshman year, I was spoiled daily by double rainbows, warm showers and unreal sunsets. Plus, the college administration makes sure there is amusement for JFs. The summer I was here, there were organized trips to Carlbad’s Caverns National Park, where JFs had a chance to see hundreds of bats fly into the warm summer night. On the same camping trip, they also got to visit White Sands.
But that is just the beginning of summer adventures in Santa Fe. The International Folk Market, featuring artists from all over the world, and the open-air Opera House, both left me absolutely breathless!
Signing up to be a JF comes with the benefits of not only joining the academic community of St. John’s, but also with a privilege to enjoy all that the beautiful town of Santa Fe has to offer!