As I write, I am feeling a culmination of sorts, as recent weeks have been filled with events for seniors graduating from St. John’s College
. We had an emotional dinner with students and the faculty, a picnic, a softball game, and a formal ball all lined up last week before Commencement itself, which was this past weekend.
“Commencement” is a funny word. I remember that when my brother was graduating from the American University of Armenia
, he commented on what that word might entail. The event itself seems to mark an end to things, But the word “commencement” actually means "beginning." The idea, I expect, is that one stage of one’s life and education has come to an end, but another – a greater one, perhaps – is only just about to get started.
I would love to look back and discuss my time at this wonderful institution in Santa Fe, New Mexico
, where I have spent eight semesters, at how unique an education it is in reading and discussing the great books. St. John’s really tries to provide a classical liberal, Renaissance education. I am all the more richer for it, and I am confident in saying that it could not have happened as it did in any other country.
I especially feel that I have grown and matured because a few days ago we were given back our admissions essays that we used to apply to St. John's. I can’t believe how pompous and naïve I sounded back then! I suppose it’s a good thing to have that reaction, rather than one quite the opposite.
I won’t dwell on all that, though. What I would like to share is my amusement and delight at the (temporary) parting shot that America provided me.The Rapture
! The same day that I graduated, a certain religious leader
in this country and his radio network and website
proclaimed the End of Days - the coming of Christ and the choosing of the worthy to ascend to Heaven. Those who were not deemed worthy – a vast majority of the world’s population, by the way – would suffer immensely until October, I believe, when the entire world was supposed come to an end.
Now, how does one react to such a pronouncement?
“Only in America.” That’s all I can say. Only in America can there be such a person who can claim calculations based on the Bible to draw such a conclusion. Only in America can he gain a following and spread such an idea. And only in America can there be a company
marketing to and presumably making a profit off such a crowd. Not to mention all the other events
- the skeptical, fun, and sarcastic activities organized to celebrate this phenomenon. Only in America can one come across all of the above. And I love it!
Though it seems the Rapture did not take place this weekend – although if it had, I have no doubt I would have quite remained on Earth – it was the End of my Undergraduate Days in the U.S. It isn’t all over yet, as I shall be back for graduate school, to glean more from this fascinating country and the wonderful education it provides. For all that, I guess it is safe to admit that I am already rather enraptured.