Shelter from the Storm

Allow me to ask you a question, quiet reader. Have you ever found yourself wondering what your college days would be like had you enrolled elsewhere?

I have. Over the past seven semesters I’ve thought about it a lot, actually. As an underclassman I thought about it every time I stepped foot in Montgoris and fell victim to the Monty effect. I thought about it as a freshman in pursuit of a more traditional college party scene, or as I sat in theology class wanting to break something.

The first time I attended a St. John’s men’s basketball game, it immediately crossed my mind. I thought about what it would be like to be a part of those student crowds on ESPN, you know, the ones that demonstrate intense passion for their school’s team with signs.

I think about it every time I have to spend hours in the Port Authority because my high school self thought it would be fun to go to school far from home in the most overwhelming city in the nation. Speaking of home, I think about it when I realize that the majority of my St. John’s classmates don’t live on or around campus, they live at home with their folks.

If you’re anything like I was as an underclassman, you’ve probably considered transferring. Maybe you’ve even started a few transfer applications (like I did) or maybe you’ve already been accepted into a new school for next semester. Congratulations to ya!

But before you so rashly bid good riddance to the Harvard of Queens, know that it gets better with time, and that no school in the country is going to make college awesome for you—it’s what you make of it.

I know, I know. You’ve heard this hackneyed cliché a million times before from your loving parents and grandparents. But believe me, they’re right about this one, and not just because they’re saving thousands from that St. John’s scholarship you’re on. I know this now because my experience at St. John’s drastically changed when I stopped wondering what I was missing somewhere else and got proactive. I became more engaged, made a group of lifelong friends, and moved off campus. My experience reflected this, and I began to enjoy the people I was meeting and the things I was doing.

To be clear, getting involved doesn’t mean you have to sell your soul to bake sales, Greek Life or Vincentian clubs. Just find something you enjoy and feel passionate about, and if it mixes well with what you want to do with your life, that’s a bonus. Study abroad, or get an internship in Manhattan. For me, getting involved meant writing opinion articles in the Torch and criticizing this institution’s administration for all the things I thought were corrupt and wrong with the school.

As a result of my efforts to embrace my time at St. John’s, some of the people I’ve met here and the experiences I’ve had have changed me for the better. Now, I can honestly say that St. John’s has been an invaluable part of my young life, and I wouldn’t trade the past few years for anything.

If you’re seriously thinking of transferring out of St. John’s, I’m not trying to convince you to stay. In fact, you could probably make a very convincing argument against mine. If your mind is made up, chances are I can’t change it. The last thing I want to be is a school ambassador.

But you should consider your own circumstances honestly before assuming that a transfer will transform your life and make you an infinitely happier student. From what I’ve experienced, and from what friends have told me who did make the leap out of St. John’s,

that isn’t always the case.


The choice is yours my friends. See you (or not) in 2011.