By Anton Kalmysh
Except for when we are out on tours or welcoming visitors at the desk, students workers are the unseen force of Admissions. We are usually the first line of attack when it comes to consulting worried parents, answering multifarious questions of prospective and recently-accepted students, assembling various mailings for schools and families all across America. Since student workers are involved in nearly every aspect of the admissions process, from early recruitment of prospective students and tours to wrapping of the Iliads for incoming freshmen, no day is exactly like the other. Despite that, most things in my day-to-day Annapolis summer livin’ remain unchanged.
6:00am Snooze the alarm.
6:30am After about 30 minutes of rolling around and stretching I am ready to abandon my dream world. By this time my room is fully lit by the sun, making it much easier to navigate with half-glued eyelids. Usually before 7am I would already have showered, tidied up my room, put on some clothes, packed my bag and set the kettle on the stove.
7:00am After my “morning routine” I make a quick breakfast and some tea. On weekdays I keep it simple and either have three fried eggs and toast, or oatmeal with whatever dried fruits, nuts and/or seeds I happen to have in my pantry. In the next 15 minutes I eat my breakfast, grab my bag and hop on my bike. If stumbling out of bed was more painful than usual and I run out of time to make breakfast, I grab a bacon, egg and cheese from a local Dunkin’ Donuts. They are right off of State Circle on West St.
7:20am I live relatively close to campus and it does not take more that 5-10 minutes to bike. I usually get to St. John’s about an hour before work and, if the Great Hall is unoccupied, I spend the next hour practicing on our beautiful Steinway. If the Great Hall is unavailable, there are plenty of pianos scattered all around campus: three more grands in the music classrooms, 5 uprights in the Mellon basement, one in the Dining Hall, and a few more all around. I initially thought that living further from campus would make it more difficult for me to pursue my interests on campus. As it turned out, living off campus encouraged me to better regiment my time and modify my practice to be much shorter (no more than 1 hour behind the piano) but also more focused and more effective in the long run.
Last year I almost exclusively dedicated myself to the study of Bach’s Inventions. It was quite fitting to discover that we we learn about diatonic functions in sophomore music by analyzing the 14th Invention in B-flat major! Since the end of May I’ve been working on Prelude no.22 in G minor from Chopin’s prelude cycle and Bach’s Invention in E-flat major. Recently I started working on another Chopin prelude, and my first prelude/fugue from WTC Book 2.
8:30am At 8:30am I would usually unlock the front door of the office and start the day. First, I check the phone for any missed calls and phone messages and redirect them to their respective counselors. Once the mailbox is empty, I log onto the computer and open Slate (the database we use to manage prospective student profiles, tours, student interactions, etc.) and St. John’s homepage. I also check my Outlook for new mail, and the Task Log where student assistants receive their assignments. Once I have everything set up, I send the visits email to all the counselors to notify them about any upcoming tour that day.
9:00am If there are no scheduled tours for that day, then I would usually either work on long-term projects (recently I have been working on a new tour guide handbook), sign birthday cards or organize my work space.
10:45am Morning Tour! If there is a scheduled mourning visit, prospective students would usually come a little before the info session which starts at 10:15am. After about 30-45 minutes, when the students a better acquainted with intricacies of our college and the Program, it’s time for me to take students and parents on a tour. We always start and finish at the Carroll Barrister House, but what happens during the tour varies from group to group. Visits in the summer not as numerous as at the other times of the year, but we still get a few every week. Giving tours is one of the primary tasks of student assistants. They are extremely important since prospective students get to interact with current Johnnies face-to-face during the tour. Student-led tours also gives prospective students an opportunity to get better acquainted with the intricacies of the Program and the campus culture. Scheduled tours happen at most twice a day, once in the morning from 10:15am to 11:30am and once in the afternoon from 2:15pm to 3:30pm; however, walk-ins are always welcome!
12:00 pm Everyday student assistants get about an hour for lunch. For lunch I sometimes like to bring leftovers from last night’s dinner, or, if I feel adventurous, I would go out to eat somewhere in town (usually either Chipotle or TenTen, a great Ramen place within walking distance to campus). if I have time left over before I have to be back at the desk, I like to pay a quick visit to the music library and do a little bit of sight reading on the harpsichord. Some other great lunch options within walking distance are Annebeth’s, a little food/gift shop, and Old Fox Books, a quirky bookstore/coffee shop, both within walking distance from campus, right on Maryland Avenue.
1:30pm When I get back from lunch I go to the mail room to pick up Admissions mail (there’s always mail for admissions), check the task log for updates, and if I do not have any pressing tasks, I will often pick up a book and read for a bit while I’m covering the reception desk.
4:30pm Depending on the day of week, after work I would either go to Iglehart (the gym on campus), go to my piano class if it’s Tuesday, or just hang out with friends. I rarely get back home before 6:00pm.
6:00pm Most days when I get home I immediately start cooking dinner. I try to cook in bulk as much as I can to spend less time and money on meals. One of my favorite things to cook is whole oven-roasted chicken with a side of either rice or beans and a simple green salad. Once you set the chicken in the oven for an hour the meal practically cooks itself!
7:30pm I started learning a little bit of French this summer in preparation for Junior year, so after dinner I like to spend a few minutes on Duolingo.
8:00pm In the evening I like to listen to some music (this past month I dove really deep into early Grateful Dead and Bach’s WTC Book II), spend some time with my planner and answer some of the email and messages that have accumulated on my phone that day.
8:45pm Bed-time is early for me and by 9:00pm I would already be washing my face, brushing my teeth and preparing for bed.
9:00pm Everyday before bed I do some reading for about an hour. For the past few months I’ve been reading primarily junior year summer reading: Don Quixote. Although it a very captivating plot, when my eyelids begin to droop, I immediately close the book, turn off the lights and try to calm my wandering mind and focus on sleep.