This Is Our Home

September 25th, 2014



Life isn’t fair. Or so we think.


Each of us is incredibly blessed. We’ve hit the jackpot. We’re part of a lucky few.


How so, you ask?


Each of us has a golden opportunity to join an elite group – college graduates. Just 6.7 percent of the world’s population has a college degree.


As a result, John Carroll holds a special place in many of our hearts.


Some have different nicknames for this quaint campus tucked into a small Cleveland suburb. Some just call this place “college,” others refer to it as “JCU,” while some say “Carroll.”


I call it “home.”


Few places on this Earth can elicit that special feeling you get in your heart when you belong somewhere. I’m lucky enough to have three such places – West Park, Saint Ignatius High School and JCU.


Many others on this campus hold this school in the same regard. Yet, a surprising amount of students don’t have the same view.


Their complaints are old and recycled. The cafe sucks. Greek Life is annoying. The professors don’t teach well. The social scene is boring.


I’m no saint: I’ve complained about JCU before. This school isn’t perfect. No school is. That’s why I’m surprised at much of the negativity I’ve been noticing lately.


Much of this pessimism comes out through Yik Yak, the new mobile app that works like an anonymous Twitter. It allows students to be a lot more open with their thoughts. Half of the time, I can’t believe how crazy some of the comments are.


Even when I’m not scrolling through yaks, I still pick up on a lot of negativity as I walk around campus. “There’s nothing to do on this campus.” “This school is way too small.” “The classes are awful.”


I understand why people complain. Sleep often comes at a premium in college, so grumpiness is prevalent. Complaining can alleviate some of the stress we feel every day.


That doesn’t excuse us from walking around in a bad mood and taking out our anger on the school that granted us the opportunity of a lifetime.


All in all, John Carroll is an incredible school. Sure, it has its flaws, but we have plenty to brag about. We have world-class academics, a top-ranked service program, a gorgeous campus and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. There is a special sense of community here. Try walking across campus without having someone hold the door open for you or say hello.


This weekend, we celebrate our school with all the Homecoming festivities. There are numerous events on campus that will be celebrating the special occasion. Comedian Dave Coulier is coming to campus on Thursday, the Homecoming Dance is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday and there are a slew of sporting events on Saturday.


Lots of attention will be on the school this weekend. Alumni, parents and potential students will be here to see what JCU is all about.


Here’s what I’m suggesting – smile during this Homecoming Weekend. Ditch the frowns and bad attitudes and cheer up a bit.


I can’t force you to have a good attitude: no one can. Only you control your attitude. But as Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Or, as Albert Einstein said, “Weakness of attitude becomes a weakness of character.”


Show some love for your school this weekend or at the very least, have an open mind.


Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself falling in love again with John Carroll.