saint joseph’s university
– The Beatles, ‘The Inner Light’
Well, not exactly… rather than travel over 12,000 miles round-trip in an afternoon, I journeyed to the North Lounge of Campion to attend a lecture called “The Land of Genghis Khan: Then and Now.” The lecture was sponsored by the Asian Studies program, the History Department, and the International Relations program.
I initially decided to go because it was an opportunity to receive extra credit for my history class, Forging the Modern World. This event in particular appealed to me because I might have some familial roots in Mongolia;
– The Who, ‘Relax’
Completing group projects. Writing papers upon papers. Following through on social commitments. Working. Studying for quizzes and exams. Participating in extracurricular activities. Filling out the FAFSA, applying for loans. Registering for classes, being wait-listed, cramming GEP classes into your schedule. Figuring out housing, finding a roommate, putting a downpayment on a house.
The middle of the semester can make you feel as though you’re in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
It seems to me that the beginnings and the ends of semesters are typically smooth sailing; it’s the middle periods where the figurative waters become choppy and I begin drowning in work.
Growing up as an identical twin, I always had somebody to interact with. My twin and I had similar friends, jobs, and hobbies. While we had our own separate interests, we both played soccer, refereed, and hung out in the same friend group. Wherever we went in public, we would receive the “deer caught in the headlights” look.
After people realized that we are actually twins and they were not literally seeing double or hallucinating, they begin to start asking us questions: Are you the evil twin? Which one is older? If I pinch you, does the other feel it?
It has been two weeks since I got back from my journey to the Appalachia Region, specifically Neon, Kentucky. Neon is about an 9 hour drive from Saint Joe’s campus (12 hours counting all of the pit stops).
As a freshman, I was very reluctant to sign up for the Appalachian Experience (APEX), because I did not know what to expect, I had never done a service retreat to that high of an extent, and I was not sure if I could handle more time away from my family and friends back at home.
There’s art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy…what about community service therapy?
One of the biggest characteristics about Saint Joe’s that set it apart from my previous university are all of its amazing community service opportunities. At my old school, any sort of service program was done primarily through Greek life, and if you were very non-Greeky like myself, then you would not be able to participate.
Being Jesuit, SJU promotes the help of others. This is done through multiple programs such as APEX, Collegiate Challenge, Weekly Service, and a variety of service learning courses.
– The Beatles, ‘Two of Us’
APEX has just recently come to an end. After spending my spring break doing service work in Hazard, Kentucky, I set foot once again on St. Joe’s campus this past Saturday evening. I was exhausted (I still am) after getting around a collective 20 hours of sleep during the weeklong trip. My muscles were sore from tearing up boards, hammering nails, swinging a sledgehammer, and crawling under a house to fix leaky pipes. I spent my break physically drained, hyped up on coffee and sugary cereal.
And it was one of the best weeks,
– Paul McCartney, ‘Heart of the Country’
Spring break is only five days away. Last year at this time, I was thrilled over the idea of heading home, hanging out with my family, indulging in home-cooked meals, sleeping for outrageous spans of time, and watching every movie I could think of starring Jeff Goldblum.
This time last year, I was also envious of my freshman classmates who were zealously planning and packing to go on APEX. For those who don’t know, APEX is a common abbreviation for the Appalachian Experience, a program that allows St. Joe’s students to volunteer in the Appalachian region during spring break.
– The Beatles, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’
Friday night, 9:04 PM:
It is then that the cognitive dissonance sets in, filling my mind with conflicting thoughts and potential FOMO. My heart knows that I’m thoroughly craving curling up in my bed, smearing on an indulgent face mask, and reading a book or working on my writing. I want to listen to Bruce Springsteen and drink oolong tea.
I want to be alone.
But my head is screaming, “That’s not the college experience! You need to go out whenever you can and do everything!
Let me make one thing clear:
There is NEVER a convenient time to say goodbye to your friends, pack up your belongings, and start all over at a new school. No matter what time of the year you decide to transfer, you are going to feel like an outsider when you arrive at your new destination. Having recently gone through the transfer process, I can personally attest to feeling lonely, scared, nervous, and mad at myself for leaving my comfortable life at my previous university to begin again at a new school where everything seemed so foreign.
Recognizing that the college I envisioned myself graduating from is not actually the best fit for me was a hard realization to come to.