News & Publications
Letter Home, Spring 2009
Campus-hopping Johnnies discover the best of both worlds
St. John's describes itself as "one college, with two campuses." Each year, 20 to 40 Johnnies decide to get to know the other campus, leaving colonial Annapolis for sunny Santa Fe or swapping the mountains for the East Coast. For most students transferring is seamless, as the curriculum is the same at both places, aside from a few minor differences. Students meet new classmates and tutors, sample a new local culture, and engage in extracurricular activities tailored to the region, such as sailing in Annapolis and Search and Rescue in Santa Fe.
"The curiosity and excitement I have about the Program led me to the Santa Fe campus," says Alex Kriz, a senior from Annapolis, Md. "To be a student at St. John's is to have an interest in the unknown, new ideas, and experiences. I'm always open to the possibilities for something new."
Mr. Kriz spent his first two years at the Annapolis campus, then transferred as a junior to Santa Fe and decided to stay for his senior year. "The people really make this college what it is, so I wanted to meet as many of them as possible, especially all of my classmates, on both campuses. Each Johnnie is fascinating and different, so I have been able to meet twice as many of them than if I had stayed in Annapolis."
Maria Lunsford, a senior from Olney, Md., was initially uncomfortable with the prospect of transferring. "I loved my classes and tutors, I had a great job as a lab assistant," Miss Lunsford says. "I remember thinking 'Why leave?' But I realized I need to be uncomfortable to grow." Her junior year in Santa Fe "was an amazing experience," she says, but she wanted to graduate from Annapolis. "Annapolis is the place where St. John's was born in my heart," she says.
Mr. Kriz says his decision to transfer was not based on his studies. "The academics on both campuses are outstanding. I stayed in Santa Fe because I have a stronger connection to the student body in Santa Fe. My close friends from Annapolis all transferred here, and I've really gelled with new friends," he explains.
The setting is also spectacular. The fine weather and scenery inspire students and tutors to be "outside more, gathering and socializing instead of sitting in dorm rooms." Mr. Kriz, who is president of the St. John's Ultimate Frisbee team, also takes advantage of the extracurricular opportunities in Santa Fe and organizes funding for the group and tournament games with colleges in the region.
Whether East or West, the shared academic experience is the same, say Mr. Kriz and Miss Lunsford. "The shared willingness to learn transcends the geographic boundaries of Annapolis and Santa Fe," says Mr. Kriz. "The idea of the college we all believe in is the same on both campuses or else I wouldn't have had such great experiences in both places."