- Class: Senior
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School: Haverford High School
- Transfer Student: Y
The best thing about St. Joe's is how much of a community atmosphere has been built here. I transferred from George Washington University because I felt lost in the school, and coming to St. Joe's was the best decision I ever made. I think that the size of the school is just right. It's not large enough to get lost--people know your name and face and will smile and say hello-- but it's also not small enough that if you want to have a day where you don't see someone you know, you can't. St. Joe's is highly lauded in the Philadelphia area, and the network of alumni is extremely large. I always run into someone who has either graduated or knows someone that has graduated from St. Joe's and that bond is instantly made when they find out I also attend the school. Outside of the Philadelphia area, St. Joe's is only known for it's basketball program. On campus I spent most of my time in the Cafeteria (the "Caf") during free periods. Free period is something special to St. Joe's where on Tuesday's and Thursday's from 11-1 there are no classes scheduled and everyone gets a break to see their friends and spend some down time, or also catch up on work if procrastination has pushed it that close. I was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, and Greek life at St. Joe's heavily relies on free periods to see each other. In the Crimson Cafeteria there are tables that are unofficially dedicated to each fraternity and sorority. The time spent at those tables eating lunch, laughing, and generally just relaxing was the best time I had during the day on campus. Even if I only stopped by for a few minutes to see my friends it was great to have a place to go to where there was always someone I knew. St. Joe's students have an IMMENSE amount of pride in the school. It's very possible to get by without being involved in it, but it is an amazing feeling to be so connected to people through love of a place. The school motto, that "the hawk will never die," is true in the fact that going to St. Joe's gives people a special connection that they take with them out into their adult lives. Most recently I had the honor to see St. Joe's basketball team go to the NCAA tournament in Alabama. Two bus loads full of students went through the 18 hour bus ride down to see our team play. They lost, but even so, I can't even describe the pride we all had and the excitement we had in our team. Cheering that day, and the sounds of all of my friends, and the heartbreak that we all felt when they lost is something that I will never forget.
Professors are extremely accessible at St. Joe's. Every professor has known my name and been available even outside of their office hours for any issue I had. As an English major, my classes were very small. The maximum students I ever had in a class in my major was around 25, and that was in a Shakespeare class that was a requirement. St. Joe's students run the gamut of competive/non-competive, and intellectual/slacker. I was somewhat discouraged by what I see as a lack of preperation for college, and a lack of competent writing skills in many of my peers; however, my opinion may be skewed because I am an English major with a minor in Secondary Education. My favorite class was African American Literature, which had a service learning component. As a Jesuit school, St. Joe's prides itself in continuing the Jesuit tradition of service. Jesuits teach to the whole person in the hopes that their students becomes people who live for and with others. While I learned about African American Literature in the classroom, I also had the opportunity to spend time teaching in a 7th grade African American Literature classroom in a local, inner-city, school, Our Mother of Sorrows. It was an eye-opening experience for me, and one that I wouldn't give up for anything. It was extremely rewarding to see students (all African American) learning and growing in the classroom. I was sad to leave at the end of the semester, and some of my friends who could still volunteer there. Many students complain about the fact that St. Joe's has a set of GERs that includes 3 Philsophy classes and 3 Theology classes; however, this policy is something that comes from the Jesuit tradition that St. Joe's wants to hold on to. While I think, like many students, that 3 of each is overkill, I hope that St. Joe's does not lose this tradition all together, because it comes directly from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuit order. Also, I loved taking a class on Jesuit Theology and learning more about St. Ignatius in my junior year. I am not Catholic, but I found this course enlightening and extremely interesting. Much of St. Joe's teaching in very much geared toward getting a job. Even in the English department there is a strong push towards figuring out what you want to do beyond graduation. Most of my friends have had internships many times throughout our years at St. Joe's. In the business school, especially, the outlook is very much toward job placement.
My experience with St. Joe's in the sense of the student body has been eclectic, but that's only because I put myself in situations where I met more people who are not exactly like me. I think that at St. Joe's it is very easy to slip into the groups of friends that are exactly like you. There are many people who went to high school together, went to St. Joe's together, and never went outside their comfort zone. I think that it is, however, possible to step outside this world at St. Joe's if you want to. It just requires the extra step. There are smaller communities outside the "norm" at St. Joe's. These include a LGBT community, and various minority groups, but they do somewhat stick to their own at St. Joe's. This might be out of a fear of some students, because as sad as it is to say, there are students at St. Joe's who are not that open-minded. St. Joe's also has an art community, but in the same way, it is very small. Most students at St. Joe's are from the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, or New York. There are a handful from Virginia as well. Most of the students come from Catholic high schools where the recruiting for a Jesuit school is strong.
The Best Things
The sense of community and family atmosphere that has been built
The Worst Things
The stereotypical, Catholic, close-minded attitude