Halfway through – what to do?

May 8th, 2014

Before I enrolled at John Carroll, every person I talked to about college told me how fast it would come and go.

I didn’t believe them then, but I do now.

As the school year comes to a close, I can’t fathom that my college career is already halfway complete.

I’m not complaining – I’m lucky. The past two years have been amazing. I’ve met so many world-class people and had incredible experiences at JCU.

Four years ago as I began to consider my college options, I never envisioned myself at John Carroll.

I recently found my first list of potential colleges. It was eight schools long, including names such as The Ohio State University, Kent State University and American University.

I delved into the complex and lengthy college search process, and crossed off schools as I found flaws with each. Somewhere along the way, JCU snuck onto the list. I couldn’t find any significant faults with John Carroll.

As I investigated further, I gradually realized where I belonged.

I was destined to be a Blue Streak.

Since the day I signed the paperwork, I’ve had an incredible time. As I mentioned before, the time has flown by.

But while almost all of my experiences have been positive, I’ve also noticed some areas in which we can improve this great institution.

It is my personal goal over my next two years at JCU to help enact change in these areas, but I can’t accomplish anything without your help. When we work together as a community, surprising things can happen.

1. Unity

Like it or not, John Carroll is separated into cliques.

The situation is the same at countless other colleges across the country. It’s human nature to hang out with people like ourselves. But at some point, it becomes excessive.

For example, why do we have an “A-side and a “B-side” to our cafeteria? I’ve hung out on both sides of the caf. Neither side is better. Not all the “cool” kids sit on the A-side, and not all the “nerdy” kids sit on the B-side.

To the same point, certain groups of students cluster together and rarely move outside of the group. It’s not limited to one group. Resident assistants, athletes, Greek Life members, business students, Steelers fans, etc. stick together. Heck, I’m even guilty of this myself sometimes.

We all need to remember this: our groups matter, but we’re students at JCU before anything else.

2. School spirit

I can’t count the number of times I’ve talked with JCU student-athletes about the recurring attendance problems at JCU sporting events.

We need to find a way to better support all of our teams and fellow Blue Streaks.

For example, when Missy Spahar broke the JCU all-time scoring record and the Blue Streaks clinched a share of their first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference title on Feb. 22, the turnout was pathetic. Few students bothered to show up for the critical Saturday afternoon game.

I’m not blaming any person or group for this problem. It’s been an issue for over 25 years; this topic was debated in a 1990 version of The Carroll News.

I give a huge amount of credit to Carroll Crazies President Courtney Fallon. She’s made it her personal goal to improve school spirit and done an excellent job.

But she can’t do it alone. We need to come together as a community and rally behind our teams. The student body as a whole has to stop focusing on the fact that it is Division III and instead realize that the players on the field or court are their classmates, roommates and friends.

3. The voice of John Carroll

In my time with The Carroll News, I’ve noticed how this newspaper, over time, has allegedly become biased against certain organizations.

This is simply not true.

The Carroll News is the voice of the student body, not just the voice of some communications students. We’re not here to settle scores or sling mud on organizations.

We’re here to report the news and keep the community informed. As students at this school, you are a crucial part of this community.

So make yourself heard! If you’re in the science club, and you’re traveling to Washington, D.C. for a convention, we want to hear about it. If you’re going to a national chess tournament, we want to write about it.

This is your newspaper. It’s just newsprint and paper without you.

Now, here is my challenge to you. Sit on the opposite side of the cafeteria. Attend a sporting event. Support a Greek life philanthropy initiative. Come back on campus in the fall with a refreshed attitude.

Let’s make the most out of our remaining time here, and leave JCU even better than we found it.