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Skipping Senior Year of High School: A Personal Account

By Nina Wernick

It’s the end of January and 10 months ago I had no clue that I’d be here this year. St. John’s has been on my radar forever. As an overeager 8th-grader, I checked out 20 books on colleges, all while applying to boarding school. I happened upon a small white book called, Colleges That Change Lives. Like any true-Johnnie-at-heart, I had questions about how the modern college experience could change my life. A lifelong book nerd, the prospect of reading some of the greatest books of all time instantly drew me in. So there SJC went, to the top of my college list, where I promptly forgot about it until my Junior year of high-school.

Any person who has survived Junior year will know, it is a very chaotic time what with the SAT, ACT, Advanced Classes, Leadership Roles, and College Visits. During spring break, my family and I hopped in the car and hit up multiple campuses on the way down and back from Florida. In all honesty, I was disappointed. One of the schools at the top of my list was located in an incredibly important historical site, but all my tour guide could talk about were the chicken nuggets. At another, it was impossible to get a joint degree in two areas I’m passionate about. As a self-proclaimed renaissance girl, studying one topic just wasn’t going to work.

Could there really be a place where this many people love learning? During my overnight visit at SJC, we toured around  Downtown Annapolis. I spoke with a junior who eagerly answered my sprinting stream of questions. When we came to the topic of application processes, she told me that she had completed just one application because she applied a year early – skipping her senior year.

I sent my mom a text that night begging her to let me apply a year early. She and my college counselor were all for the idea, and the Admissions staff at St. John’s were incredibly supportive. I’m not going to admit that I cried when I got my acceptance, but I was elated. This past summer I obtained my GED and on August 27th I arrived on campus with a smile and way too many things for my dorm room.

A mistake that some people make is thinking that St. John’s is only for people who like Philosophy and Literature. It’s true that there are quite a few of us book nerds on campus, but there are so many others who find their true love while doing Euclid’s geometry or by watching sea urchin cells divide in Lab class.

My experience here so far has been just as incredible and I could have wished. This is truly a place where you can delve deeply into books and make connections across subjects that you might not have originally perceived. Then there are those times when I need a break, and that’s why I’m learning to swing dance on Tuesday nights.

If you’re interested in signing up for an overnight visit like me, just click here!



The student writing staff of the johnnie chair blog

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