The Program

Choosing a Senior Essay Topic

Senior paper writing is finally here! This paper, our version of a senior thesis, is the final “big” paper of our St. John’s career. Through the writing process we are asked to submit a few proposals to the dean’s office. The first one is a proposal the book and author we would like to study and a beginning question. As the process unfolds, we are asked to submit a proposal that is more focus on the overall question we hope to explore.

As I talk with my fellow johnnie friends, I realize how much the meaning of this project varies from person to person. One of the biggest difficulties for me was first choosing what to write on. When I first thought about the senior essay, I felt like this project needed to be an overall reflection of  who I was as a student, which made the project feel heavier than it needed to be. As I began meeting with my advisor, Mr. Bleichmar (who has been so patient), he advised me that I didn’t have to think about my senior paper as overall reflection of my self. Rather, he suggested that it should one more curiosity I wanted to show myself and share with others. I realize now that the reflection of who I am and my way of thinking is an ever evolving process, and that St. John’s has only shown me how vast that process is.

I chose Borges, Ficciones, he is an Argentinian author whose short stories deal with alternate realities. The first reason why I chose Borges is that he pushes me to think outside of that back and white/ right and wrong kind of thinking. Instead, he encourages me to just think and be led by curiosity.

Throughout my life, I was given the opportunity to be part of very different worlds and through that I was able to learn through very different people. Many times it was hard to know where I stood, and I wanted to know what was right or wrong. I realize now, through reading some stories by Borges, that being able to be in the middle of two different worlds, is what gives fruit to my individual curiosities outside of the realities I experience.

While reading Borges, it reminded me of when I first applied to St. John’s, and the strong desire to find balance and the curiosity that has carried me through this education. I am excited to further develop my questions that I have about what connects us or disconnects us to our reality. Borges continues to encourage me to explore my creativity as a thinker, writer, and observer by thinking back to my inner child’s thoughts and connecting them to my present self. This project signifies a glimpse of separate reflections that have helped me understand the power of my curiosity as an individual. 

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