There’s a way of life here, a unique community ethos that stems from the shared pursuit of the program. The St. John’s approach to extracurricular life mirrors our approach to intellectual life: students are encouraged to throw themselves into completely new enterprises, experiences, and challenges. Confronting the unfamiliar and coming face to face with the unexpected is an everyday occurrence—and a vital aspect of the St. John’s experience. In fact, the very notion of “extracurricular” life is a bit of a misnomer here. Art, music, theater, sports, government, and impromptu debates are all a part of the ongoing investigation of the world that constitutes life at St. John’s.
St. John’s students—or Johnnies, as they call themselves—do the same kinds of things that students at other colleges do, but their approach takes its cue from the same spirit of curiosity and challenge that pervades the program.
Fun is organic here, self-designed and self-motivated. Johnnies make music, mount theatrical productions, create visual art, involve themselves in community work, run a newspaper and literary magazine, and play intramural sports—all with spirited engagement.
Johnnies also come together for impromptu study sessions, debates, and discussion groups—before class, after class, over meals, late at night, or any time. The program creates a common language, and students enjoy speaking it.
St. John’s does not field varsity intercollegiate teams, but athletic competition is a mainstay of life. Students on both campuses field intramural squads in soccer, flag football, basketball, and volleyball.
Students in Santa Fe participate in Search and Rescue, hiking, and skiing, while those in Annapolis enjoy boating, sailing, crew, and croquet.
As in the classroom, so on the playing field, participation and cooperation trump competition. Beginners and seasoned athletes alike join in the fun.
St. John’s is one college on two campuses, one in Annapolis, Maryland, and the other in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Both are beautiful, historic capital cities, but their physical environments—and related extracurricular offerings—couldn’t be more different. Santa Fe offers the beauty of the American southwest and superb hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. At the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis affords ample opportunities for sailing, crew, and boating.
Because the program and academic environment are the same on both campuses, students are able to transfer freely between the two at the end of any academic year, and they are encouraged to do so.
Hometown: Natick, Mass.
Extracurriculars: Student Committee on Instruction, sailing, intramural sports
Plans: Teaching, graduate school
What will my life be like on campus? At St John's, you know just about everyone, from your classmates to the older students. This makes it fairly easy to get involved with anything happening around campus; someone you know certainly knows someone who does that, whether "that" is sailing or martial arts or something else.
We have genuine conversations about important questions, and the exhilaration of that just has to be experienced. Visiting St. John’s also gives you a chance to take part in the out-of-classroom conversations with students and tutors. Life outside of class is full of opportunities to continue interests that aren't part of the program. The campus community also offers many ways of exploring new pursuits. I'd never played basketball before coming to St John's; now I'm one of the captains on an intramural team that plays six different sports throughout the year, basketball included.
Life on campus will be what you make of it: there are too many things to do for you to do everything, so you have to choose how to spend your out-of-class time. Dance parties on the weekends and athletics all year round are a couple of the ways I've found of clearing my head from everything that's going on academically. There are also ways of continuing to explore the academic side of things outside of the classroom: student-formed study groups on works or topics that aren't in the program are common, and formal organizations such as the Student Committee on Instruction allow for student participation in running extracurricular seminars and in representing the undergraduate perspective on academics to the faculty.