I want to introduce myself as the new Blogmaster of Colloquy! My name is Elena Maria Liberatore, and I’m going to share my journey to St. John’s with you.
I began my career as a classical musician, playing the clarinet for sixteen years. After high school, I continued my studies at the esteemed Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Unfortunately, due to a series of injuries, I had to give up my dream of being a professional musician. This left me floundering at the daunting prospect of what to do next, as I never thought I would not spend my life as a musician. Neuroscience? The brain is a fascinating and mysterious organ, so I gave it a shot, but it wasn’t for me. Biology with a Pre-Med track? I tried this as well and liked it more than neuroscience. During this time, I also became a medic for the city of Cincinnati. While this was interesting and rewarding, something was missing. A couple of years later, I stumbled upon an art history course as a general elective and thought I found my passion. Still, it wasn’t until we started reading Michel Foucault’s analysis of architecture as an instrument of power and control that I finally felt the same passion I had felt for music in another discipline: philosophy.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in psychology (because, again, brains are neat) through the honors college at a small liberal arts college. The honors college utilized seminar-style classroom instruction instead of the more popular lecture -style. I enjoyed my seminar classes exponentially more than any lecture I’d experienced. The instructors and the input from the other students provided a richer and more complete understanding of the material than a professor presenting the information on a PowerPoint presentation. You get to see that it’s okay to have what is viewed as an “incorrect” interpretation–by scholars standards–of the material and that you’re not the only one. This creates a dialogue between these different views and provides a more vibrant tapestry of understanding of everything we read. It also facilitated a community of learning with passionate individuals with whom you share your intellectual journey.
This is precisely why I applied to the Graduate Institute here at St. John’s College. I knew I wanted a master’s degree before applying to Ph.D. programs in philosophy, and St. John’s was the only suitable candidate to continue conversation-based learning. However, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the image I created in my mind, but I have to say that St. John’s has far surpassed what I imagined.
You could say that I’ve finally found my home. From day one, I was warmly welcomed into this community of learners. Since then, I’ve made life-long friends, mentors, and have gained a deeper understanding of some of the greatest works of Western civilization. Now that’s out of the way, all that’s left to say is I’m excited to continue my journey here and share writings on this blog about life here at the Graduate Institute!
–See you around the table