The Program

Ringing the Bell

By Bilsana Bibic

My paper is done!!!

That is mostly the reason I have not been blogging this past week. I have been completely immersed in my books and my writing. It felt so good to have four weeks (excluding winter break) to write on something I chose and love. I have been thinking about the US founding and the way it relates to Rousseau since Junior year. I had no idea at the time I started where my paper was going to take me but now that it’s done, I am really happy with the direction it took and everything I learned while I was writing it.

I ended up writing on private property—its definition in Rousseau’s Origins of Inequality and Locke’s 2nd Treatise on Government and its application to the American Founding Documents. I had been reading and preparing for it over the whole summer and had been actively writing the whole break. And I feel really good about it. I can hardly wait for my oral, my Committee has some of my favorite tutors on it and I am sure it is going to be a good conversation.

As for the traditions surrounding the big event of handing in our senior papers:

Everyone goes to the President’s house and celebrates together. The best part of it—each senior and his/her paper are announced with a ring of a gong! Afterwards we sip champagne and get to hang out with each other and our tutors.

After turning in papers, seniors come back and get to ring the bell in the bell tower! This is one of my favorite traditions at St. John’s and doing it felt as good as I thought I would. It is a proclamation of your success to the world and the sign that one more senior class is celebrating their St. John’s experience to the rest of the community. (And the surrounding neighborhoods. 🙂 )

And then the Junior Class puts on Junior Skit, mocking and celebrating the senior class. While they were announcing our names one by one to enter the Great Hall before skit and everyone was there to greet us, I realized how much I am going to miss my class and the support and love I feel from everyone here.

Writing is done—classes begin again. I have learned so much and have already felt so rewarded. Our first seminar reading was Marx’s Philosophical and Economic Manuscripts where he speaks about private property in capitalistic societies and proposed its abolition based on the idea of human emancipation.

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