James Mayzik, S.J., is a passionate, approachable and loved teacher in the Fairfield community. Mayzik is very involved with Fairfield’s Ignatian Residential College, in addition to being the director of the Media Center in Xavier Hall and the New Media academic program.
The Mirror: Where did you grow up?
James Mayzik S.J.: I grew up in New York City, the greatest city in the world, the capital of the world. C-a-p-i-t-a-l.
TM: Why did you choose to go to Georgetown, all the way in D.C.?
JM: I was looking for schools that had a good political science program … because I wanted to be a huge political figure. I was into music … so I wanted to be in a place where I could do that. I did not want to be in a small school. I never looked at a single one. I got into Princeton but never looked. I think if I had gone there to live closer, I would have went.
TM: What kind of student were you?
JM: I was pretty involved. I was in some musical groups. I started working in Capital Hill. I used to work a couple days a week. My sister said you’re going to have to taste beer when you get there or else people are going to think you’re weird. I was pretty wild freshmen year.
I was involved with the newspaper there. A lot of road trips. The Hoya & The Voice (the hip newspaper).
TM: What was the best concert that you attended?
JM: I went to Bruce Springsteen, he came to G-town actually. A huge favorite of mine was Cat Stevens.
TM: What was your typical weekend sophomore year of college? Don’t leave anything out!
JM: We would go to other schools, an all-girls school in Washington called Trinity. We used to go over there and meet the girls. There was another place in Virginia called Marymount, it was an all-girls school.
TM: What was your best memory from your sophomore year at Georgetown?
JM: One night I went to this party and there was this girl that I really wanted to get to know. I went to the party and she completely blew me off. Clearly she was interested in some other guy and I felt totally rejected so I took a walk to the football field …
It was a place that I would go some times. I went up to the bleachers and it was a pity party. Suddenly I heard a voice, a professor there.
He said, “It’s really something, isn’t it?”
Then I looked back at him, and he wasn’t looking at the city, he was looking at the sky. It was a pretty defining moment for me. Here I am sitting on the bleachers alone, feeling sorry for myself.
It made me realize my perspective … It began a whole other perspective on what I’m doing with my life … because I was part of something bigger.
It didn’t make it any easier — I’m still looking for what my meaning is — but it did help. It gave me a different perspective on life.
TM: Did you know you wanted to become a priest?
JM: I never wanted to be a priest. Even when I went to be a priest, I didn’t want to be a priest. I looked into many things. I didn’t really know much about priests. They did something I never thought a religious person could do: they believed and they thought at the same time.
I realized this as I was going through the rest of my college years … Jesuits are not priests in a parish …they can from anything to a lawyer to … a Jesuit clown.
TM: You help many students find out who they want to be. What’s the most important thing in this process?
JM: I think there are two things human beings need to fulfill. I think people need to have passion, I think you need to be passionate, and I think ultimately you need to be looking for the truth. The ideal person walking out of Fairfield should be trying to get their hands on the truth.
Anyone who comes in your view is kind of your teacher. It is important to walk humbly through your life and to recognize that everyone has a piece of the truth to give you. It doesn’t really matter if you have a career path.