By Isabel McDonald
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” -Goethe
In a time of such uncertainty and fear, how can we ground ourselves and have some sense of normalcy? We stay connected. Thankfully we live in a time where staying connected with people far away is easier than ever. As I sit in my home back home, thinking of the dry air and adobe walls of my beloved St. John’s College in Santa Fe, I am filled with such longing to be back in a seminar room and to sit in a “johnnie chair”. But, just because I can’t physically be on campus doesn’t mean I can’t bring the spirit of St. John’s to me. While my seminar has moved from Winiarski 201 to a Zoom meeting, we still attack the hard questions that Plato and Aristotle present, we still debate, we still get stuff wrong, and most importantly we still learn more about ourselves and each other. The soul of St. John’s is still there.
We not only still connect in the classroom, but the community of St. John’s is still alive and well. The Student Activities Center still offers free classes and the Outdoor Program gives tips and tricks to help students still connect to the world around them. Johnnies are still staying healthy, even when they are stuck at home. The Student Life team is still hard at work to keep the traditions of St. John’s going with things like Collegium by making them virtual, and keeping things fresh with johnnie games nights and open mics. On the personal side, students are staying connected to their friends. We are still sharing our struggles and fears with each other. We are still picking each other up. We are still sharing our triumphs.
For me, I still spend hours talking to my friend Cecil about just about everything. We send each other our essays, just as we would back at school. We both call each other every time Ptolemy confuses us. My little sister vehemently stated last night to me last night “No more Ptolemy! No more Plato! I want something funny!” I tried to explain to her that Plato could be quite funny, but to no avail. So you might say that johnnies need each other to survive when we are back home. Our families can only handle so much “johnnie-babble”. In all seriousness, St. John’s has made it a priority to keep us all connected, and I will be forever grateful for that. We are such a tight knit community that I don’t think we could get rid of each other, even if we wanted to, because a johnnie is a johnnie no matter where they are.