By Cookie Chang
Mr. Romiti graduated from St. John’s College Annapolis in 2010. From there, he proceeded to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree in Classics at Georgetown University, because he wanted to pursue a career in the Classics department. He then went on to the Catholic University of America, where he pursued his PhD under the Philosophy department. He completed his PhD this year.
This is Mr. Romiti’s first full-time year at St. John’s. He taught two semesters at St. John’s before when he was finishing up his degree.
Even though Mr. Romiti is a first year tutor, he has already been exposed to St. John’s multiple times in his career, including going here for his undergraduate, and teaching twice before. Here are some of his thoughts on his “favorite” program book:
“I think I’m supposed to say: “’Whatever I’m reading at the moment.’ I really don’t have an answer to that question, but it’s probably an interesting question why I don’t have an answer. I mean, I can talk about the books that meant a lot to me, that have been informative to me, but I wouldn’t call those favorites. Those sort of change, the books that matter to me, matter for a different reason, it’s difficult to prioritize those.”
Mr. Romiti’s answer resemble some of us, the difficulty of choosing the program books that we truly enjoy reading, or the ones that truly matter to us. The constant question of exploration would be; does enjoyment precede significance? For Mr. Romiti, the reason why he had a hard time calling something a favorite book because books give him different emotions. For some that he finds that are “immensely beautiful and enjoyable,” they matter to him in different ways than say. Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. He hopes that all the books that he reads should matter to him in some ways, but “also understands the difficulty of enjoying too many books at the same time, because it is difficult to let them matter all at once.”
Not only does Mr. Romiti enjoy reading program books, reading non-program books are equally as important. The book Mr. Romiti enjoys reading is called The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. He has re-read the book several times throughout the course of his life. Here are some of his thoughts on re-reading:
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, even in that kind of taking up to look to that kind of thing, there’s something in there that will matter about what taking up a book is there, I guess something like, with any serious book, we should take it up with hopes of having it matter to us, right? That should also be the case even if it is the re-taking of these books. We want to take them up new, and fresh, at least try to.”
The interesting interaction between taking up an old book and re-reading it and reading a new book altogether is a constancy at St. John’s. Even though there are always going to be a new stream of books students would need to keep on reading to continue the program, many of them would re-read the ones that they have read before. In this case, re-reading is equally as important as reading afresh.
Interesting fact about Mr. Romiti:
His favorite spot on campus is the Mellon Courtyard by the fishbowl. This is where he finds himself sitting and reading the most often. Since it’s one of the few places that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, it is very peaceful and quiet. He would usually sit by the benches that are close to the magnolia tree, because if he sits close to the magnolia tree, he would be distracted by them and would be remembering freshman laboratory instead of doing the current reading.
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