Shelter from the Storm

Well, I did it. I’ve managed to make it through four years at St. John’s without losing my StormCard.

It hasn’t always been easy, and there have certainly been some close calls. But my original card is still intact, stored safely in the leather warmth of my wallet. Sure, it has started to chip slightly, but my incredibly horrific orientation photo from that hot, long August day in 2007 is still clearly visible, my eyes beat red and glazed over like a 3 a.m. mug shot. Truly, it is one of the worst photos that has ever been taken of me.

But for four years, that card has vouched for my being a real St. John’s student. It’s been that second voice to say, “Yes, this kid is a student here.” Coming back late at night when I lived on campus, that card always granted me access. It fed me three times a day and unlocked my dorm room. For countless campus events, it secured me discount tickets, and when I had to go to that ridiculous alcohol EDU session mandatory for my freshman class, it made sure I received due credit.

Yes, without that trusty piece of plastic (and its reliable teammate, my X-number) I wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything at this school.

And, yes, this is a relevant topic in my farewell column for the simple fact that it has allowed me to reflect on four full years of being a St. John’s student. These have been my college years.

When I think back about my time at St. John’s, I’m probably going to remember spending days and nights in the Torch office, wrapping up an issue at 4:05 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and heading home under the dawning sun. I’ll remember watching St. John’s basketball scrape the bottom of the Big East for three years and then victoriously climb to the top in my senior year.

As an alumnus, I’ll be able to say that I was a student when Steve Lavin first came to campus, and when the D’Angelo Center was first opened to students. I’ll remember that fall day during my freshman year when a student caused chaos by carrying a shot gun onto campus, and the unfortunate events of Fr. Plock.

I’ll remember watching my beloved Red Sox win the 2007 World Series in Donovan Hall, and instantly forging a friendship with a New England native across the hall. I’ll also (partially) remember watching the Patriots lose an impossible game to the Giants a few months later in the Super Bowl, although I’ve done my best to forget this night.

But more than anything else, I’m going to remember that I moved to New York not knowing a single person and graduated four years later feeling at home. The people involved in my experiences at St. John’s have been the most important part. It might be easier to thank everyone at once for making my time here special, but I’m too grateful for that.

To everyone at the Writing Center – especially Tom, Harry and Derek – thank you for making one place on campus a safe haven for writers and genuinely cool people. You’re part of the reason why I didn’t end up transferring.

To all the professors I’ve forged a relationship with outside of the confines of academia, thank you for accepting me and guiding me.

To everyone at the Torch who has guided me, worked alongside me and befriended me, thank you. I especially need to acknowledge Greg, Christina, Everton, Pasquale and Ellen for their hard work and for bringing me up in the ranks.

Bill, others know you as the “San Man” and a sports editor, but to me you’ve been the archetype for what a good student journalist and friend should be. I wish you luck with a career that we all know is going to do great things.

Nell, you’re the reason that so many people have repeatedly told me that the Torch has been better this year than it has in the past. Without you, my tenure as Editor-in-Chief would have been significantly tougher than it was. Your CPS Outstanding Journalist Graduate award is not at all surprising.

To next year’s editorial board of the Torch, I wish you the best of luck. Always remember that your work on this paper is vital to this community’s continued growth. Without your service, there would be no independent press at St. John’s.

Working for this paper has given me a unique perspective of the university we all walk around each day. Writing this weekly column has given me the opportunity to take a deeper look at St. John’s, and in many cases I’ve been highly critical. However, this University is without a doubt moving in a positive direction. I’ve witnessed a transformation of St. John’s in these four years that gives me hope for its future.

As I sign off, I want to encourage the students just starting out here at St. John’s. Know that you can continue to push this school in a positive direction if you get involved and work hard. Find something here to make your own and put everything you have into it.

And look after that StormCard. It’s going to help you do great things.