Campus Life

A Day in the Life of a Johnnie

By Emma Stewart and Dorothy Bowerfind

Or actually, two days in the lives of two Johnnies! The first is written by me, the second by Dorothy Bowerfind, whom I work with in the admissions office.


schedule-2Monday is a busy day. I first go to Freshman Greek, likely pretty tired after working on the homework late into the night. If I have the willpower to wake up before 8 am, I’ll go to breakfast. If not, I’ll prepare a hearty, balanced meal of peanut butter and crackers. Right before I leave for class, I pour a scalding mug of black tea, which I proceed to spill all over myself during the 5-minute walk from Gilliam Hall, an upperclassman dorm I have the pleasure of living in as a Freshman.
After Greek, I carefully go over the reading for Lab in preparation for the class at 1:00. We recently finished our first manual and are returning to Aristotle, whom we studied at the beginning of the school year. I gather my friends at 11:30 and go to lunch, resuming my reading and preparing yet another mug of hot tea to spill on myself.
After Lab often begins the rush to either finish or review the Seminar reading before 8:00 pm. A couple of friends usually come over after dinner at 5:15 to drink tea and read in my room before we get dressed up and head to Seminar (which we’re in together). Little reading gets done, however, since beginning to discuss the book is just too tempting.

Just last month, before it got colder, students of all classes would gather on the quad to mingle and discuss how their seminars went and passionately make the points they hadn’t had time to say. Two hours is hardly ever enough at St. John’s. After Seminar, my friends and I order pizza (Monday night is two large pizzas for the price of one) and continue to talk about the reading into the early hours of the morning.

Dorothy- Wednesday:


When I was asked to write this blog post, I was sure that Admissions would live to regret it. How could I convey the crazy that are my days at St. John’s? I was sure it would be an annual essay’s worth of pages. Imagine my surprise when I drafted my schedule in its entirety by the end of the eighth line. This seems to be a common experience here at SJC. The things we do, we do with fervor.

When I was a kid, my mother used to recite Mother Goose: “Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” etc. I was born on a Wednesday.
Despite the old adage, I am not woeful, nor do I think my Wednesdays are, but I’ll let another be the judge of that.

I start most days a little more removed from the College than most. I live in a two-bedroom flat on Maryland Avenue, a block from school. My roommate and I tend to miss each other in the mornings, so I do breakfast (read: coffee) alone. On Wednesdays this is usually all I give myself time for before I’m out the door and heading towards McDowell. The walk isn’t as bad as the three flights of stairs—even in the nipping cold—but I inevitably make it to Math tutorial before the 9 o’clock bell. Right now we are studying Apollonius, so I either watch some cones get cut on the board, or I go up and cut them myself.

After Math, there is some loitering with friends outside of McDowell before zooming to Admissions. On Wednesdays I generally work a 1.5 to 2 hour shift, starting at 10:30. Mornings in the Admissions office are always fun. If there are visitors, I’ll give a tour, and if not there’s always something to do that isn’t stressful and isn’t busywork (like writing this blog post!).
Usually there is another cup of coffee, this time with a peanut butter sandwich, before I head to Music. Sometimes, if I have some extra time, I’ll watch an Extra Credits History on Youtube, a show produced by a Santa Fe alum game design wiz, James Portnow. The Music Tutorial is the treasure of Sophomore year. Every other year this slot is taken by a more traditional Lab science, but I get to spend the next 70 minutes studying counterpoint and singing parts of Scarborough Fair.
I think Wednesdays are wonderful at St. John’s for a number of reasons, but even if the rest of the day is terrible, I always look forward to the Sicut Sing after Music. Around 2:15, after all classes are over for the day, students flock to the Pendulum Pit to sing Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus, our un-official anthem. The polyphonic piece is usually angelic, but the acoustics near the pendulum elevate it further, and it becomes the equivalent of putting your feet up and taking a deep breath. I try not to miss it, even when I don’t feel like singing and just need to listen.
The rest of the afternoon is generally spent on homework or editing work for 2 of our 4 student publications. I’m an editor both for Energeia, our literary magazine, and Historia, our academic journal. For the former, I’m either reviewing submissions, designing announcements and posters, or toggling a piece. The latter is more of a final review before publication. The work is incredibly rewarding. It is also incredibly time consuming, but when the issues come out and the look beautiful, I get to celebrate the unique thinghood of St. John’s through the works of our hearts and minds.
Dinner is a chore sometimes, not being on the meal plan does have its disadvantages. I’m known for my bowls of instant mashed potatoes and quick tuna salads. Every once in awhile I get fancy with some eggs or soup. At this point I’m pretty tired, and the only thing that keeps me from falling asleep, face in potatoes, is the Energeia meeting I might have at 8. I make the trek down East Street and sit in a cozy living room while we defend our choices for submission and catch up on the week. When it’s over, usually around 9:30, I walk home, jump in pajamas and pull the covers up to my nose. My roommate and I don’t have wifi, so I might watch an episode of something I have downloaded on my computer before bed.

1 comment on “A Day in the Life of a Johnnie

  1. Nathalie Jones

    Hi Emma!! Lovely piece. Maybe I’ll be joining you in all this craziness next year 🙂


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