Flames of the Torch

Summer at St. John’s is a time of hot weather and unusual quiet. Summer brings about vacation time, summer session classes, and of course, freshmen orientation. Everyone who walks the paths of St. John’s University is a product of the orientation program, whether you’re a native New Yorker, from across the country, or an international student. Everyone has been through the two day long event that takes place the summer before freshmen year, and don’t worry Freshmen, you’re not alone in thinking it’s a bore.

At times during your orientation you may be compelled to ask yourself, “Am I really in college, or is this a summer camp?” With designated groups, orientation leaders, strict schedules, and required community service, it’s easy to see the comparison.

It can be a pain, and yes, it may annoy you for a few days of your summer vacation, but it is in no way indicative of what your college experience is going to be like.
When you arrive on campus in late August, there will be no scheduled lunch times or groups that you follow around campus for the day. No one is going to force you to do community service or attend a dance at Montgoris. The only obligatory and predetermined part of your daily schedule will be classes, everything else is up to you. So rest assured freshmen Johnnies, orientation is not college.

It’s exciting to realize this, and for many students it may even be a little overwhelming. When your first semester begins, there are endless ways to arrange your days, fill your time, and begin designing your college lifestyle. It is one of the most independent and freeing times of a person’s life, and it’s crucially important that you make the most of your time spent. If there’s one piece of advice that should be handed down to all incoming college freshmen it’s this: getting involved in groups and staying active on campus will increase your college experience by far.

At St. John’s, over 20,000 students roam the campus and funnel through buildings daily. Throughout the year, hundreds of clubs, activities, and events will take place designed for and by the students. Valuable advice and lessons will be taught and lifelong relationships, habits, and passions will be kindled. Unless you’re willing to invest your time and effort, all of these things will carry on without you and the real value of the college experience will be lost.

In reality, what is learned on campus is not always taught in a classroom. The most valuable lessons are learned outside of class through and alongside your classmates, so it’s imperative that you seek new experiences and people to share your college time with. If you don’t seek things out, it’s highly probable that you won’t enjoy your time at St. John’s, or any other University or college. Now that you’re in college, you’re old enough to know what you want from life and St. John’s is going to be where you start organizing these thoughts.

It’s daunting at first, but given time you will begin to feel comfortable and ready to find your niche. The best way to meet people with similar interests and start getting involved is to simply seek out activities. Clubs and activity fairs help introduce new students to the plethora of campus life that exist at St. John’s and people exist around the school that can help you find what you’re looking for.
You’ll soon begin to realize upon arriving on campus that nothing will be presented to you as it was in high school. Opportunities and activities are there for the taking, but it’s up to you to make it happen.

Enjoying the next four years will not be difficult if you utilize all that is at your disposal. Orientation is almost over; soon it will be time to make the next four years the best of your life.