Follow in their footsteps

May 8th, 2014

h academic year instills a mix of nostalgia and introspection in students. With enough school days left to count on one hand, students usually turn their collective attention toward reminiscing – and rightfully so.

Each year affords so many things: successes, failures and the countless memories made in the process. Now, engaging in my own customary reflection, I can honestly say that coming to John Carroll has been formative on so many levels.

Classes, clubs, sports and extracurriculars in general all supplement student growth. However, it’s nearly impossible to overstate the impact that other students have in my personal development. Our University synthesizes some of the most gifted minds and most dynamic student leaders. What’s more amazing still, is the diverse ideologies and backgrounds from which these people come. And, as a freshman with uncompromisingly rigid views, I had no idea how these first three years of college would change my mind.

Each new encounter or friendship paints new hues over my black and white reasoning. After just two years of exposure to novel ideas, a new collage of influences had replaced my previously monochromatic views.

To be sure, I can thank many people for challenging my myopic views of the world. But, over the past two years, I had the distinct pleasure of interacting with a few of John Carroll’s most dynamic students. Through my interactions with Ken Clar, Ty McTigue and Dale Armbruster (the Millor Orator, Beaudry Award winner and Meet the Press Fellow, respectively), these men have proven themselves to be truly exemplary John Carroll students and reflective of the caliber of students that this university fosters.

When people ask me why I chose to come to John Carroll University, I usually struggle, grasping at straws to answer the question. It’s always been hard to identify what specifically drew me here. But now, with three years to prepare an answer, I think I’ve found my reason. No other university seems to offers the same care for its students that John Carroll provides. Truly, this has been a university where “cura personalis,” Latin for “care for the whole person,” finds its implementation.

But don’t take my word for it. The most convincing proof that John Carroll cares for its students on a personal level is the student body itself. Students like Ken, Ty and Dale aren’t exceptions to the rule. The Class of 2014 isn’t an anomaly of outstanding students that hasn’t existed in years past. Compassionate, intelligent and accomplished student leaders graduate from this institution each year. You would only find such growth at a university that has a vested interest in its students. People don’t enroll here and simply earn a degree – they find their passion and themselves.

So when I think about myself as a snot-nosed freshman with too many opinions and not enough exposure, I’m reminded just how this university has helped me to grow.

Each senior that I’ve met who will graduate this year has been a role model to me. My hope is that, when I graduate from John Carroll, I can hold my head high knowing that I adopted this University’s values as they clearly have.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be a role model for some freshman with too many opinions and not enough exposure just like myself three years ago.