| A few weeks ago I had an experience I had never had before as a student at St. Johnís College. I visited our sister campus, in Annapolis, Maryland. When I arrived I found myself wondering why I had never been there before. The campus was beautiful, the people were friendly, and both seemed so simultaneously alien and familiar that the double-sense of disorientation and deja vu was overwhelming. I had heard about Annapolis my whole time at St. Johnís. The students there were very serious, very pretentious, not that friendly, and existed in a world devoid of light, where the oceanís spray blew hard upon them and they never ventured outdoors but to pull their jacket collars tight and run from one building to another, reading Aristotle and disdaining anything ďmodern.Ē What I found was that the students were a lot like myself and my friends. They were eager to know us, and were accommodating, gracious hosts during our short visit.
The occasion for this illusion-shattering experience was the annual croquet match held between the Annapolis Johnnies and the students of the Naval Academy. Unfortunately, the match was cancelled due to rain. But this did not preclude us from familiarizing ourselves with our unknown peers, and with the city in which they had been reading the same books as myself for four years. I found Annapolis a surprising analogue to Santa Fe; it is a quaint town, enjoyed by tourists during certain seasons; it is emblematic of its area; and, though small, it is the capital of the rather demure state in which it exists. The brownstone buildings and cobbled streets, the pervasive smell of the ocean, and the flowers that were just beginning to bloom everywhere we went, all made me wish I had been there before. Why was this my first visit to my sister campus, to the one other haven for us eccentric readers of Great Books? I supposed the only answer was prejudice.
We, St. Johnís College in Santa Fe and in Annapolis, need to begin behaving as the sister campuses we proclaim ourselves to be. Our admissions brochure touts the situation as ďone school, two campuses,Ē but not until my visit croquet weekend did I understand the extent to which this statement was not true, yet was also ripe with the possibility of fulfillment. Our visit not only shattered my illusions, but worked to shatter those of a good number of students at St. Johnís in Annapolis. This trip should occur annually, as a tradition, so that we may open and maintain a rapport with our fellow students in Annapolis. Students in Santa Fe could in turn invite Annapolis students to come for a weekend of rafting, an experience open to all students here that most Annapoloids may otherwise not have. I know that the administration subsidized the trip and that the Alumni offices both in Santa Fe and in Annapolis worked hard to make sure our experience would be a successful one. I hope that our experience this year will not be an isolated event, but will inaugurate a new relationship between our two educations, so that we may have a dialogue in place of a misunderstanding. I thank all who worked hard to make this trip possible.