By Nina Medvinskaya
Those who know me would not be surprised that I physically stumbled upon St. John’s, (although I was a professional dancer, somehow in ordinary life my clumsiness could not get much worse). I had never heard about St. John’s College up until two years ago. My mind, my body, and my soul were dedicated to the art of dance, and with that I moved away from NYC to join a ballet company in Annapolis, Maryland. I had no idea that what would be awaiting me there would not be the beginning of my professional career as a dancer, but the beginning of my career as a Johnnie.
On a Wednesday night, in September of 2011, I tagged along with a friend from the dance company to go to a college event in downtown Annapolis. Annapolis is a picturesque old town, bubbling over with uniformed navy men (the Naval Academy is a quick spree away from the campus), old-fashioned ice-cream shops filled with caramelized apples and chocolatey-chocolate-chip ice- cream cones, overwhelming amounts of sailboats, and basically the least expected place one would find a group of Great Books fanatics. As I stepped onto the grassy campus, I saw a group of people sitting on the steps of several quaint buildings, playing guitar while humming songs in the moonlight and bopping their heads in a sort of unanimously cheerful manner. I was quickly introduced to the Annapolis campus’s tradition of celebrating New Year’s every Wednesday night (maybe you should ask Johnnie Talk about it), and was whisked away into their celebratory arrangements on that chilly September evening.
The people there were a beautiful blend of welcoming, excited, and eccentric beings. Yet the biggest kicker came to me when I eavesdropped on their conversations. At first glance (or rather at first listen), I heard small talk shifting from what concert they were attending that weekend to what happened on the latest episode of Breaking Bad to several congratulatory “Happy New Years”; but thrown into these casual discussions were comments such as, “Ptolemy sure does make one miss Euclid!”, “WWAS?! – What would Aristotle say?!”, and a lot of “Nietzsche…Nietzsche.. Nietzsche!”. To say the least, I was intrigued. To say more, I was inspired.
I was ready for a change in my life, and St. John’s came so elegantly and beautifully that I knew the next time my fingertips touched a computer keyboard, it would be to start writing my admissions essays for the College. So there I was: a ballerina turned Johnnie, a New Yorker turned Santa Fean.
And that is how St. John’s came into my life: abruptly and unexpectedly. And this is how I came into its life: courageously and eagerly. ∗
Nina is a sophomore at the Santa Fe Campus. She came to St. John’s as a JF, and is now excited to be integrated into the sophomore class. She enjoys a solid dance-off at any time of day or night.