New York, NY: I knew I wanted to attend an institution where I could learn and grow not only as a student, but also as a person. I wanted a school where I could be independent, yet receive guidance when needed. I chose St. John’s University. With an 18:1 student-to-teacher ratio, I knew I would receive personal attention, but I never imagined professors would offer their home phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
When I arrived as a freshman I realized that I would have to adapt to many things. From the obvious to the surprising, SJU made the transition to college as smooth as possible. To stay in touch with my friends back home I was given my own phone line and a brand-new laptop with wireless internet. I also have access to counselors and the new fitness center to keep my mind and body in shape.
St. John’s has a great office exclusively for freshmen where they can get advice on anything from what classes to choose to dealing with personal problems. The professors are generally understanding, and all the staff is very pleasant. I guess you can attribute that to the school’s caring Catholic tradition.
The campus is extremely beautiful, and living in the residence halls is definitely an experience. The Great Lawn has to be one of the city’s biggest patches of green outside of Central Park; looking out the window of my class, I often see students playing frisbee during breaks.
When I first arrived, I thought there didn’t seem to be much of a social scene, but then I remembered that Manhattan was only a short subway ride away. Rockefeller Center, Def-poetry Jam, the Apollo and the Metropolitan Museum are all close. That’s not to say St. John’s doesn’t have things to do on campus. The University Commons boast almost every Greek organization and social club you can think of. You can always find students cheering for our great soccer and basketball teams. Catching a game at Yankee Stadium is one thing, but being in the middle of a rowdy crowd supporting your classmates is another.
One thing that I was skeptical about when I moved into the residence halls were the endless rules about visitors and overnight guests. I have to say, though, I have never felt unsafe. Public Safety is constantly patrolling and the community really supports the school.
Overall, my experience as a freshman at St. John’s University has been fulfilling, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. I am beginning to live and understand St. John’s motto: A Christian Education Perfects the Soul. You can find their website at stjohns.edu.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.