The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
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Cast the First Stone


College, whether you sleep through it, party through it, or work through it there are always certain moments when you find yourself asking why about a variety of things.

At the moment I am asking myself:

Why is this class so hard? Why am I so tired? Why do I work more hours on the paper than I do at my job?

Sitting in The Torch office, peering out the window with the Venetian blinds peeled all the way up, I can hear the drops of rain pound the C.A.U.S.E trailer.

And to make matters worse, St. Vincent DePaul is staring right at me.

[Editor’s Note: For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, walk behind the University Center and take a look at the trailer with the giant painting. The image of St. Vincent DePaul is situated right over the entrance to the trailer making the aluminum doorknob seem like an absurd silver mole right on his snowy white moustache.]

I sometimes wonder if he is calling me to a life of service?

Perhaps. But all I know right now is that an image of the man is literally staring at me as I sit in the University Center, nestled in my cubicle attempting to write this column.

It is 6:53 p.m. on Monday night and I am just now catching up with my responsibilities, though it is pretty difficult when someone, approximately 7-feet tall, is eerily gazing at you.

So far the month of September has repeatedly smashed me over the head. It is my senior year and I have not even had a chance to contract senioritis, the disease that has affected everyone at one point or another. It’s an easy way of saying that you no longer give a damn.

Throughout the day I have successfully finished a paper for my history class, about seven chapters of reading and one embarrassing, confusing Italian assignment which gave my classmates ample opportunity to remember me as the dork who can barely pronounce simple words.

Mi chi amo Al?

Mi amo Al?

Mi chiamo Al?

Hell, I only took Italian so I could talk to my grandmother and make jokes in Italian.

I am done with Italian for a moment and an editor asks me what my column is about this week. Another hands me a dozen pages of text to edit just as all hell breaks loose in the newsroom because Domino’s has just been delivered.

I proceed to eat a nauseating chunk of dough that is being passed off as pizza and washing it down with a tall cup of coffee. Not even a month into the semester and coffee has began to dominate my blood stream and fast food has settled into the bottom of my increasingly large stomach.

Column. I have to get back to the column. Maybe another cup of coffee would help.

What is the point of this poor attempt at stream of consciousness? It is only to remind everyone that they are not alone in their stress.

I have my column to think about, but you might have bills, a job or two, constant homework, nagging parents, a huge 20-page paper, or any other annoyance that acts as a detour from your daily routines and responsibilities.

Every person has something that they must deal with. It is one of those facts of life [please refrain from thinking about that horrible 80’s television show] with which we must all cope.

Armed with a limited amount of experience I offer the following advice.

Expect to have a class where you just sit and stare. You will not understand any of the concepts presented to you and the professor seems to be speaking some binary language complete with clicks, hums and pings. Depending on the room, building and time of year you will probably be sitting in this classroom sweating like former Knick Patrick Ewing in the fourth quarter.

If you plan it correctly you might be able to Pass/Fail this class but only if you are an upperclassman and your particular college offers the option. Of course you should try a little in this class because you owe it to yourself or whoever else is paying your tuition. Unfortunately sometimes the “give it the old college try” adage is nothing but trite, well-meaning garbage and you simply pray for a passing grade.

In addition to expecting this horrible class, while you are in a college atmosphere you should take advantage of the Great Lawn. Though broad, all-encompassing comments like that are usually either pompous or wrong, I am fairly sure that in this case I am right.

The picturesque, fun college environment should be attractive to you, especially when the majority of the time you are stuck in the asylum-like buildings of Marillac Hall and Sullivan Hall and the saunas known to us as St. John Hall and St. Augustine Hall.

The classic college image of relaxed students leisurely playing Frisbee on great green expanses surrounded by distinguished looking academic buildings is not an exact reality. We do have an almost Hollywood-like setting here so try and appreciate it as a type of self-imposed therapy.

Contrary to how it may seem, these tough semesters do not last forever and the stresses of September will fade into a restful winter break. In the meantime, coffee, Domino’s, complaining and a little relaxation might help you get through it all.

It’s worked for me these past three years.


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