Everyone always told me “college is the best time of your life.” It’s been three years now since a kid from Los Angeles packed up his closet, rolled up his Ice Cube and Tupac posters and moved to a city where he knew absolutely nobody. He had no idea of the wild ride this new home called St. John’s would give him.
In these last 36 months, I went from an 18 year-old trying find his passions in life and hiding pieces of himself to an honors student graduating a semester early, feeling open enough to broadcast his life to the rest of the University.
The biggest thing that spurned this personal growth over the years had nothing to do with the academics of the school or even the events that the school organized. Instead, it was a direct result of the people the school hosted.
People of all backgrounds, faiths and walks of life have influenced me in my time at St. John’s whether it be sitting with a stranger at Montgoris Dining Hall late at night, or a teacher giving me a life lesson about hard work and putting my best foot forward at all times.
The people are the chains that open and close the campus gates. I’ve always been a little bit shy when it comes to meeting and interacting with new people. As a freshman, I quickly got homesick to the point of thinking about transfer options. Little did I know the experiences around the corner.
I have always gravitated toward adventure. As a sophomore, I decided to study abroad. This study abroad experience was one that I never imagined could happen. I went from sipping tea with Bedouins in Morocco to reading slam poetry in Notre Dame and even making friends with locals in both Seville and Rome.
While my character was a factor, the real driving force to make these experiences happen was my classmates. I knew very few people when going abroad, but within a single week I had met my best friends. Friends I would live with, make life decisions with and create memorable experiences with. These friends gave me the motivation to create my own media brand while I was abroad.
Fast forward to junior year where I was consistently stressing myself out. I was working to enhance the brand, drawing plans to launch a second one, taking 18 credits a semester and completing three internships throughout the academic year. My saving grace? You guessed it: the people of St. John’s.
Currently, I’m only three months away from my last day of college. I’ve been able to accumulate enough momentum to put myself in a great position moving forward with my journalism career. I have gotten the opportunity to network with some of the largest hip-hop and sports stars because of the confidence of talking with the outgoing, caring and giving students and teachers of this university.
While my time as a student may be wrapping up, my relationships with those classmates and professors are blossoming to new levels. I was always told that college would be the best time of my life; I know that the people who helped me get to this point will only continue to make each day better than the last.
No matter how far away you are from graduating college, this is a reminder to make sure that you do the crazy, adventurous things that you never saw yourself doing.
Nothing risked means nothing gained. Good luck this year Johnnies.
Thanks for the memories, St. John’s.