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02 The student newspaper of St. John’s College
60 College Avenue Annapolis, Maryland 21401 firstname.lastname@example.org Founded in 1980, the Gadfly is the student newsmagazine distributed to over 600 students, faculty, and staff of the Annapolis campus. Opinions expressed within are the sole responsibility of the author(s). The Gadfly reserves the right to accept, reject, and edit submissions in any way necessary to publish a professional, informative, and thought-provoking newsmagazine. The next Gadfly submissions will be due May 2, at 11:59 PM. Next meeting Sunday, April 27. Articles can continue to be sent to sjca. email@example.com. Outgoing Staff Nathan Goldman Ian Tuttle Hayden Pendergrass Incoming Staff Sebastian Barajas Noe Jimenez Allison Tretina Contributors Caleb Bernard Alex Kudrzycki Patricia Locke Abigail Petrich Louis Petrich Leila Saad Bonnie Scott Career Services
!"#$%&'(%)*+&#",ith croquet in the W rearview mirror, we can now accelerate into
the exciting future of noncroquet-related events. However, our speed is so prodigious, we hope we will have the chance to release another issue before we make the jump off the ramp of dead week and into the flaming pile of summer vacation. Please enjoy what we hope you will agree is an especially special issue... for all you special people! !
— The New & Improved Gadfly Team
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The Secret to Lifelong Employment Sebastian Barajas
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any of you may be wondering what exactly a scruffy lit- they are the difference between flourishing and decay. tle freshman means by offering advice to graduating se1) Set yourself goals that are unrelated to your career. niors. “Who is this pipsqueak?” you demand, “and what does Make a list of things you have always wanted to do or learn but he think he knows about The Real World?” I might reply with did not have the time while you were in school. For me, these a rather St. John’s-ish question of my own: what is this “The goals were to work on my writing and to learn the fiddle. Each Real World?” How can we really “know” it? But unfortunately, goal you make will solve two problems at once: fulfilling an a St. Johns-ish discussion of the matter would probably not be unfulfilled dream and preventing boredom. too reassuring to a senior who is about to walk the plank into 2) Keep a schedule. Scheduling is just as important, if not the churning, shark-infested depths of graduation. You want more so in the abyss of unemployment than it was in school, something more straightforward, more substantial (and pref- or even in a 9-5 job. Because you have more time to account erably tested against sharks). I don’t blame you. for, the potential for wasting it is much greater. Keep track of These, then, are my qualifications for everything you do throughout the day and You will find, as I did, that edit out wasteful activities. If you don’t do advising you: unlike most freshman, I am twenty-two. Before coming to St. John’s, I life beyond the lighted way this, then (if you’re like me) you will find spent three years living in that societally is not so terrible after all; it yourself playing Minecraft for eight hours abhorred abyss known as “my parents’ is simply a way of living we a day, wondering why there’s so little time house.” For most of that time, I was neito get things done. have not been accustomed 3) Find a group. Goals can seem phother earning money nor planning to ever to. return to school. The reasons for this are ny when you’re the only one who knows many and complex, and to detail them or measures them. Mine, for one, felt like would be far beyond the scope of this article. I’ll say only this something I was just throwing myself at in a sad attempt to of my experience: if you think the “what am I doing with my justify my life. But the first time you sit in a room with warm life?” question is a tough one now, try asking it once you’re an human beings who are passionately discussing the very thing unemployed legal adult with no lighted path to follow. you’re interested in, you will notice the difference. A great reTo this, some seniors are probably thinking, “Right, like that source for finding groups of all objects and interests is Meetup. will ever happen to me. I’m going straight into med school/ com; you wouldn’t believe how much I owe to this site. law school/bartending school/bouncer school/monster truck 4) Don’t give up. Even though so far I’ve only listed three driving school/etc. and after that I’m set for my career.” And fairly intuitive steps, all of them are hard. You will not sucmaybe that’s right, for now. Maybe some other path will light ceed the first, second, third, or even one-hundredth time you up immediately at the end of this glorious St. John’s Highway, try and employ your unemployed life. Without your accusand that path will lead straight into another, and so on. tomed external authority figures whipping you into shape, you But this string of paths we call a career is neither so long will probably find yourself logging three hours on Minecraft, nor so impregnable as to keep us employed forever. One day, knowing that your future self will hate you, but you won’t care something will force us from our lighted way, whether it’s because he can’t stop you from logging another four and a half trouble finding our next job, trouble keeping a job, a single hours later that evening. Each time, you will hate yourself nervous breakdown in which we call our superior a prepos- more, and it will seem that you are failing over and over and terous busybody, a sudden health calamity, or even the finality everything you do is pointless. of retirement. The Angel of Unemployment is our daemon for But if you keep at it–even if it takes years, as it did for me– life, patient as the Reaper, with Time as its ally. you will improve more than you ever thought possible. You But I would guess that for most of you, the day this daemon will find, as I did, that life beyond the lighted way is not so comes to claim you (at least for a time) is not now so far off. terrible after all; it is simply a way of living we have not been Therefore, as someone who survived three years in the abyss, accustomed to. I will teach you the ways of finding your own employment. In fact, you may find that you begin to value your own acI should warn you that these are not job-searching tips. complishments even more. Because many of us are used to While such things can be useful, their power is limited; for one being assigned tasks and then awarded artificial fulfillment thing, they are useless to someone who literally cannot work, for them by our teachers and superiors, we have become eswhether for physical, legal, or other reasons. Rather these are tranged from the true fulfillment that exists in the tasks themtips on surviving within the confines of the abyss. selves. But when we are forced to assign ourselves tasks and Further, the tips I’m about to give may seem hopelessly op- to find our own rewards–as will continue to happen as we get timistic, as though I were handing you strips of scrap metal older–we are required to come into closer contact with the and telling you that they would in due time add up to a durable kind of fulfillment that is for its own sake. This is why I have and highly-rated car. While it’s true that these tricks are not magical, do not underestimate their power. For me, at least, Pg. 5 Continued On
!"#$%&"''"()%*'(+,-.%/,,0%!"#$%1,(Allison Tretina A’16
photo by Henley Moore
Whether or not the word family evokes positive or negative memories, family is inescapable. Nature has sewn the intertwining web of humanity with family, and has deemed it the helm of all humanity. Keep it or leave it. From family come our notions of origin, dependence, power, duty, and so forth. When familial affairs become tangled, so do political and moral affairs. The result: a tragedy. The King William Players bring Shakespeare’s King Lear to the FSK stage on Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. Co-director Leila Saad has taken some time to discuss the production.
photo by Julia Kulon
Are there any particular themes or ideas in the play you chose to focus on? I think we were really interested in what it means for a society and a family to fall apart. Lear is the story of a family and a country’s destruction, and it was important to us that it felt both intimate and real. I also really wanted to ask the question: when and how is it ethical to take and use power? Edmund, Regan, and Goneril’s reasons for taking power are all perfectly reasonable, in one light, and completely destructive in another. Lear uses his power irresponsibly and loses it as a result, but we pity and sympathize with him nonetheless. How did you keep yourself from going mad during the production process? Have I not gone mad? Really though, we have the greatest friends. Did you have a preconceived vision for the production from the beginning? Or did your interpretation of the play evolve from one rehearsal to the next?
I don’t think Lear is capable of really understanding Cordelia’s death. There are some truths that are too impossible to confront, and I think that after seeing his world crumble around him, he goes mad. And after being reunited with his daughter– both a symbol of his affection and his failure–Lear can’t handle another upheaval. As we know, Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed by actors on a stage. What are some of the benefits someone will get from watching King Lear that they won’t get from only reading the play? Awesome fight scenes! Honestly, I don’t think you can really understand a play until you’ve seen it performed. You aren’t interpreting the characters through their written word, they are working on you, communicating with you. Will you be directing any more Shakespeare plays in the future? I don’t know. Depends on my level of self-loathing. !
We came on as directors midway through production, and so there was a lot of really great work already in place. Shannon McGovern had already designed the set, which was brought to beautiful life by Yosef Trachtenberg and his helpers. We tried not to copycat Slaya Nemoy’s vision, but of course a lot of it came through in the final product. I’m embarrassed to say that our vision changed a lot from scene to scene. We were really flying by the seat of our pants, and we relied really heavily on our actors’ thoughts and instincts. Luckily, we have a fantastic cast. Overall, we’re really happy with how our visions melded. While looking upon his dead daughter, Cordelia, Lear utters his last words: “Look on her: look, her lips, look there, look there.” For you, is Lear actually seeing her breath and expressing a trace of hope, optimism, or something of that sort? Or is this a moment Lear is coming to terms with reality and accepting his daughter’s death?
photo by Julia Kulon
!"#$%&'()*#$+)&,-./(&.,)$,0$122(3$4'.5#2 Bonnie Scott
I was surprised when, a few months into my freshman year, grades for this very reason; St. John’s doesn’t participate in naI learned that there were prizes allotted for annual essays. It tional ranking of any kind; students are admitted to St. Johns wasn’t that it upset me, it was just a shock to hear any sort of because of their academic curiosity and strength of character mention of a rewards system at St. Johns. There was some part rather than for their performance in high school. The prize of me that was disheartened by it. This was mainly because I system itself is riddled with flaws, as most are. Though it was beginning to settle comfortably into the academic envi- seems perfectly logical that there is a “top rung” of essays that ronment here, which I’ve found to be a safe place in which the are clearly above the rest in terms of maturity or creativity, I intrinsic value of each academic purstill find it difficult to believe that there’s any way I’m afraid that there’s a to compare an essay about the wonder of Platonic suit wins over the external value every dark component that myths and math in the Iliad. Each essay has its time. There’s a strange intoxication that comes with being admired and upheld almost always accom- own strengths and weaknesses and possesses a through titles, positions, and awards panies these sorts of different geist, or inner spirit. To act as if one is that I finally felt detoxed from in com“the best” seems strange to me, especially given prizes. ing here. Though I recognize that there the amount of faith that is put in such a decision are uplifting factors that come with after the prize is awarded. It is as if it becomes a recognizing talent and awarding excellaw of nature that so and so had “the best essay lence, I’m afraid that there’s a dark component that almost of the freshman class.” In addition, it is common practice that always accompanies these sorts of prizes. It’s human nature not all essays have been read by the tutors before the applicato desire to be intelligent, kind, hard-working, generous, and tion date for prize essays is due, eliminating an entire pool of outstanding. However, there’s a fine line between desiring to potential essays. Perhaps there are underlying reasons for the possess these traits and desiring to be perceived as possess- prize system that I’m unaware of, but I think it’s important ing them. Distinguishing the difference between these things to recognize that it is out of line with our school’s principles is a problem that I believe we all face, and perhaps more often and beliefs. If it’s not possible for the system on the whole to than we realize. I truly believe that it is only through letting go be done away with, I would like to advocate for a healthier atof the desire for others to see us a certain way that we can be titude towards such a system. It’s through the environment at free to pursue the good. I’m afraid that having a prize system St. Johns that I’ve been able to open up the most genuine part of any kind pushes us towards seeking out the image and the of myself, intellectually and personally. I want to preserve the title, with creativity and excellence being but necessary tools principles that have allowed me to shed myself of the pressure in our pursuit for positive attention. to achieve some sort of image outside of myself, and instead After all, our college already functions on these principles look inward, inciting true growth. ! and this understanding. We are encouraged not to check our
Continued From Pg. 3 the fiddle: not because I hope to one day tour with Flogging Molly, or even bust out Sailor’s Hornpipe for bonus points at my job interview, but because playing is an inherently enjoyable activity. But if you’re a senior with a cutlass at your back, a mass of dorsal fins churning the waters below, it might be that even this hopeful prospect doesn’t reassure you. It might be that this boogeyman known as “The Real World” still seems too big and chaotic to be reasoned with. In that case, perhaps a more St. John’s-ish sentiment might prove comforting after all: The world that waits on the other side of College Ave is no more “real” than the world you’ve lived in all your life. Graduation will mean change, to be sure, but life is full of change. You have already seen this: schools come and go, responsibilities come and go, and so does everything else. This is “The Real World.” There is nothing unfamiliar about it. Live life then as you do now: pursuing things that give you joy, and refusing to give up. As long as you do this, you will never truly be unemployed. !
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The Hodson Internship award is given to enale St. John’s students to acquire professional experience, expand the range of their skills, explore their talents, and learn about the realities of fields in which they think they might like to work. For 2014 we made 36 awards. Please join the St. John’s College community in congratulating the following awardees”
Marybeth Beydler ’16 Xiaoquin Hu ’16 Rohini Pandit ’15 Anne Arundel County State’s At- Bard College at Simon’s Rock, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washtorney’s Office, Annapolis, MD Great Barrington, MA ington, DC Andy Blanco ’15 Christopher Hutter ’16 ACLU National Prison Project, Baltimore Theatre Project, Balti- Linnea Payne ’15 Washington, DC more, MD Museum/Archival, TBD, Columbia, SC Yitian Cai ’14 Jake Israel ’17 Law related, TBD The Arch Academy, San Diego, Nicole Pease ’15 CA David R. Godine, Inc., Boston, Katelyn Caldwell ’16 MA Pear Press, Seattle, WA Julia Kulon ’16 Bamboo, Chicago, IL Michelle Porcelli ’14 Laura Cleveland ’14 University of Maryland, DepartForest Woods Media, Annapolis, Qiu Lin ’15 ment of Physics, Physics EduMD Hainan Provincial Cultural cation Research Group, College Heritage Research Association, Park, MD Amy Cowling ’16 Haikou, China Education related, TBD Chengyaqing Shi ’16 Sihui Ma ’17 Beijing Wangliang Law Firm, Kerrigan Dougherty ’16 Central South University, Xiang- Beijing, China Girl Rising, New York, NY ya School of Medicine, Cancer Research Institute, Changsha, Amritpal Singh ’15 Mary Kate Eckles ’16 China Georgetown University, DepartMuseum/Archival related, TBD ment of Psychology, Culture & Lyra Meurer ’16 Emotions Lab, Washington, DC Stella Fillmore-Patrick ’15 Historic Annapolis Foundation, Law/Politics related, TBD William Paca House & Gardens, Miles Steinert ’14 Annapolis, MD Georgetown University, DepartEmily Grazier ’16 ment of Psychology, Culture & Franklin Park Conservatory & Clifton Mobbs ’16 Emotions Lab, Washington, DC Botanical Gardens, Columbus, Motor City Blight Busters, DeOH troit, MI Allison Tretina ’16 New York University Press, New Gurer Gundondu ’15 Erik Neave ’16 York, NY University of Pennsylvania, Cen- Sheboygan County Office of the ter for Cognitive Neuroscience, District Attorney, Victim-Wit- Ojiugo Uche ’14 Philadelphia, PA University of Pittsburgh, Neuness Office, Sheboygan, WI rological Surgery Department, Joseph Hamd ’15 Pittsburgh, PA The Public Defender Service for Evgenia Olimpieva ’14 the District of Columbia, Wash- Resource Security Institute/In- Marina Weber ’16 ington, DC stitute for European, Russian & Music related, TBD Eurasian Studies, Washington, Andrea Hill ’16 Catherine White ’16 Dutton Road Veterinary Clinic, DC Education related, TBD Philadelphia, PA Ronald Pagano ’15 Henry Hirsch ’15 Erik Block Design Build, LLC, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC Hadlyme, CT
!"#$%&'()*+,$-./0 From College Avenue to Broadway, a St. John’s education will follow you anywhere. Bob Tzudiker, A’75, shares his experience in the field of writing and entertainment. What is your current job? I am a writer, working right now on a feature film (for hire) and also on several other potential projects in film, TV and publishing. We (my wife and I) have a hit show on Broadway based on our first film and several other movies to our name that are meaningful to a lot of people. On occasion I feel pleased about this, but one problem with being a writer is there’s always something more to be written. Did you attend other schools after St. John’s? I had no further education and no particular training for anything I have attempted since leaving St. John’s in 1975. Did you know what you wanted to do while attending St. John’s? I don’t recall giving it much thought. I enjoyed theater, especially acting, in high school, and this continued at St. John’s. In my sophomore year a fellow student encouraged me to audition for a summer stock theater he knew, which led to my first professional acting work and started me barefoot on a path paved with, at various times, sharp pebbles or gold. Did St. John’s help prepare you for work in the field? I can imagine no better preparation for the ill-prepared than St. John’s. I have valued this education more with every passing year. St. John’s encourages the assumption that there is a deeper layer to everything, so I start off ready to learn no matter how “expertise” I may feel, or how utterly lost. What didn’t St. John’s prepare you for? When I was a student, ambition was not publicly prized in the school culture. I wasn’t exposed to the beauty of action. I didn’t understand how far one could reach, and how quickly. Any specific disadvantages to a St. John’s background? I was, and remain, somewhat stunned when I encounter people who use speech as a means to victory at any cost. I feel naïve even as I say it, but why would we waste time merely winning an argument when we could be helping each other see something new? While I really can’t blame St. John’s for that character trait (flaw, when it comes to some situations), the school certainly reinforced it. How did you feel you compared, in graduate school or early jobs, to people from different educational backgrounds, particularly those with field-related degrees? Because I lacked training in my chosen fields, I sometimes
lacked access to tools and disciplines that can actually be learned. I was forced to invent my own methods, and while this may sometimes lead to a fresh perspective, it can also waste time. I‘ve seen well-trained people who were better able to handle bumps in the road, because they had technique to fall back on. They’d had teachers who helped them frame their experience, and encouraged them to develop themselves. I’ve also seen people limited by the language of their training, or worse, thinking the world falls short when it does not subscribe to their methods. On balance, I think training, wisely pursued, is usually the better course. Can you describe a general track someone from St. John’s might take to get into a career in this field? Be born into it. Any general advice, especially for an upperclassman who is interested in this field but is not quite sure what to do? This upperclassman obviously ignored the previous advice. If you think you know what you want to be doing, go straight for it. This is not an industry with defined paths of advancement, nor any particular respect for age and experience. If you want to act, find places to do it, or create them. Writing requires nothing but time and a willingness to feel like a fool much of that time. If filmmaking is the goal, the means of production are available to anyone these days. Just start, and find a community of people who resonate together. They are your substitute for appropriate parentage. Be ready with the necessary talents, as opportunities may surprise you and may not recur. How did you market yourself with a St. John’s degree? Hmm. Was I supposed to market myself? That explains so much. I find people rarely inquire into my educational background. When they do, I’m often surprised they know anything about St. John’s. If they do I feel instantly warmer to them. How would you characterize your field as a whole? Is it accessible to newcomers or difficult to enter? Stable or fluid? Etc. Neither age nor experience has ever been prized in entertainment. This malady is now extending to almost all fields. The insecurity of show biz has now been visited even on the Post Office.
Continued On Pg. 8
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Dear Gadfly: My eight-year old daughter, Abigail Petrich, wrote the following piece for the Gadfly when she saw that I was reading Dedekind and studying numbers with my junior math students. She is also studying numbers at school. One of the satisfactions of teaching elementary things at St. John’s is that a parent finds much in common to discuss with his children. --Louis Petrich, Tutor
Numbers? Abigail Petrich
In the first place, what are numbers? Some people might be able to go on and on, but I can use nine words. Numbers are things you say when you count things. Since now we know what numbers are, what do we know about negative numbers? Some people cannot even answer this--come on people! Negative numbers are numbers below zero. And what is zero? Imagine four fingers, then you take away one, and then another one, and then another, and then another, and now what do you have left? That’s zero. What about fractions? Fractions are just something that a generous person would use to share a pie. What are irrational numbers? Sorry, we don’t talk about them in my school. Now that we know all that, what are imaginary numbers? That one is easy. Imaginary numbers are numbers that don’t exist! Trust me. I am a third-grader at Jones Elementary School, and we have to know numbers to get to fourth grade. !
Continued From Pg. 7 What was your senior essay topic? I wrote about Sophocles’ “Philoctetes,” which was not on the Program at that time. What is your favorite book on the Program? “Philoctetes.” But I recently revisited Lucretius, to great effect. Right now I find myself imagining a wrestling match between Sophocles and Lucretius: the most wondrous sculptor of events versus one who denies their very existence. I don’t know who’d win but I’d pay to see that match. Montaigne would referee. Do you find that you lead a philosophical life? I’d pay a lot for the aforementioned wrestling match. Does that mean I lead a philosophical life? I’d say I have philosophical tendencies that are the center of my interior life but not always manifest in public. engaging with countries to help better their lot is very important to our own security. This was an important realization to buttress the moral and economic argument for foreign assistance. I think this field is penetrable, but having interlocutors to help illuminate the way in and open a few doors is important. There are many different paths to take within the field of international development—many different subject areas, different platforms (donor, business, non-profit, etc.), the possibility of working overseas or in a headquarters, policy versus practitioner, and so on. Each person has to sort that out for themselves and identify which strand fits them best. What is your favorite book on the Program? Oh dear, so many books that I have loved in different ways. Just thinking of an answer takes me down many wonderful pathways, thinking of the many books and how they present differently over one’s life. But I don’t land on just one favorite! Do you find that you lead a philosophical life? Of course. I can’t imagine a Johnnie that doesn’t continue to question, inquire, examine, and try to discern meaning in life. !