“So, why did you pick St. Joe’s”

One of my favorite questions to answer. I could talk about the professors, all of whom have something to teach, all of whom are knowledgeable about their field, all of whom want you to succeed. I could speak about our experiential learning, about how this style of learning prepares you for the real world and allows you to feel ready for whatever job you choose. There is the 96% of our graduated students who are either employed, pursuing higher education, or doing a year of service six months post-graduation, or the alumni who are always willing to help out a fellow Hawk.

Although all of these are valid reasons to pick a college, none of them were my defining factor. I was looking for a college that felt like home. As I went on college visits I began to wonder what this factor would look like for me. Would it be the dorms? The dining hall? Would it be the campus itself? I searched through all these things and I saw beautiful dorms, delicious cafeterias, stunning campuses; but none of this seemed to be enough. I felt something was missing.

When I came to St. Joe’s I found all of these things. I saw dorms I liked, tasted a Hawk Wrap and fell in love, watched students sit under the blooming Cherry Blossom trees on Villiger Lawn. It seemed to check all the boxes that I had created for my college search, but so had other schools. When I got back to the admissions office, though, something felt very different. I found myself feeling comfortable. I wanted to talk to my tour guide more, I wanted to hang out in the dining hall, I wanted to get to know my admission counselor. The people who surrounded me were the kind of people I wanted to be surrounded with, they emulated the kind of person I wanted to be.

I thought back to my tour, as a student held a door for my whole group, and how I watched another student pick up a professor’s papers after they had dropped. I watched a group of students give directions to someone who looked lost, and then escort them to the location they were looking for. All around me I realized that this mentality reached further than simply the people who were sitting in the admissions office, it spanned to all those who were on campus. The students cared about one another, because they were part of the same family.

Because of this experience, and the experiences that I have had these past two years, my answer to the question, “Why did you pick Saint Joe’s?” is immediate. “The people,” I answer, every time, without hesitation. I chose SJU because of the people who hold the door, or the people who ask how your day is going and actually want an answer, the people who will help you study when you’re struggling and ask for nothing in return.

I realized that Saint Joe’s is the kind of place that prepares you for the world. Yes, they will educate you and prepare you for your job one day. But they also make you a better son or daughter, a better parent, a better neighbor, a better future spouse or future parent, a better citizen. This school has made me a better person, pushed me outside my own abilities and comfort levels and helped me strive for greatness. SJU wants me to succeed in every way, and I am surrounded by people who will support me on my road to this success.

When I was handed my key on move-in day, the RA smiled and said, “welcome home.” I thought they had just meant Villiger Hall. I now realize I was being welcomed into a community. I am a part of a family that will support me for the rest of my life in pursuit of success.

College is only 4 years. So far, I have lived 2 of them, and I have grown more than I could’ve ever imagined. But I now realize that Saint Joe’s goes beyond that. It has created a home that I will have for the rest of my life. The people are my support system, my family, my community.

The people are what makes Saint Joe’s home.


— Maggie McGill, ’20