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How to Make the Best of SJU as a Commuter

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

As a commuter and someone who spent their entire first year of college online because of the pandemic, college was hard. However, I can confidently say that I have made the best of my college experience thus far. Here is how I made my one-hour-and-thirty-minute commute from home to St. John’s worth it.

Join clubs by following their Instagram accounts and GroupMe’s! Also, take on leadership roles by joining E-Boards!

My first month at St. John’s was spent following various organizations’ Instagram accounts. From there, I joined the GroupMe chats and direct messaged the accounts to be placed on the mailing list. This was how I stayed updated on when General Body Meetings/Interest Meetings were taking place. Joining mailing lists was also how I learned about Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity at St. John’s. Joining GroupMe and following the organization’s Instagram accounts allowed me to stay updated on events and announcements. So, when organizations were holding elections for E-board positions, I applied. I started taking on leadership roles and am now the President of Phi Alpha Delta and the Earth Club. I also hold several other positions in various clubs, such as the Criminal Justice Association, Spectrum, Catholic Relief Services, Unicef, and more.

Participate in a PLUNGE!

Through my involvement with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), I found out about PLUNGES that Campus Ministry offers. A PLUNGE is a week-long service trip that occurs nationally and internationally. I had the pleasure of joining six other SJU students to go to St. Louis, Missouri, in May 2022 to volunteer for DePaul USA and the St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. My duties included doing house checks for people in permanent housing, furnishing, and working at the food pantry and clothing drive. I also volunteered at the Griffin Center to work and tutor children. Within the week, I grew very close with my team and met one of my closest friends!

Reach out to someone within your major/class!

It was hard for me to make friends during my first year of college because everything was remote. However, I knew I wasn’t the only one having this problem. So, I started following my classmates on Instagram, and I’d reach out when I had questions about assignments. This was how I met one of my closest friends today. We were all in the same major, so we had many of the same classes together.

Participate in short-term OR long-term study abroad programs!

St. John’s University has amazing short-term and long-term study abroad programs you can participate in. Students who are legal studies majors can take LES 1004 Civil Litigation Trial Practice and spend spring break at the Paris Campus! There are many similar programs that students can take advantage of. If a program is not within a student’s major, there is also a core requirement class that can be taken abroad. 

When my legal studies professor told us about this class, I made eye contact with my friend, and we silently agreed that we were taking this class! Spring break in Paris? Count us in! This class gave me a wonderful break in Paris and a sense of community I’ve always wanted. With a class of 20 students, we all grew closer together. We still stay in contact on the group chats even a year after! #NeverForget

Lastly, step out of your comfort zone!

All the experiences I’ve mentioned so far are attributed to the fact that I stepped out of my comfort zone. If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on the unique experiences St. John’s offers. Take this as a sign to try and utilize the time you have at St. John’s because time always flies by.

Rosanna Jiang

St. John's '24

Hi everyone! My name is Rosanna, and I am a junior majoring in Legal Studies with minors in English and Forensic Psychology. I hope to attend law school after undergrad and practice estate, wills, and trust law. I love to travel, and one of my biggest goals is to visit Peru and the Galapagos Islands.