In just two months time, I will no longer walk along the Quad, avoiding eye contact with the voracious squirrels that lurk the campus. I will no longer be able to drop into some of my greatest mentors’ offices and shoot the breeze whenever I please. I will no longer have the pleasure of camping out in the newsroom until some ungodly hour with red pen in hand. I will no longer be able to walk just seconds to visit some of my closest friends. I will no longer be able to feed my caffeine addiction at the Cubby. I will no longer be able to hop in a van to learn from some of the most inspiring people I’ve met through weekly service opportunities. I will no longer be a John Carroll student.
I’ll be gone. Poof. Adios.
As the “g” word rapidly approaches, I’ve spent many a night mulling over my past four years at John Carroll. (Brace yourself for some clichés.) There’s been a fair share of laughter, tears, happiness and heartbreak. But, loyal readers, let me tell you this – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Being a senior and all, I’ve seen my entire life flash before me. I’ve hit pause on life events, and overanalyzed them. I regret a lot of things to be honest. One moment I’ll never regret, however? Nearly prancing out of the Class of 2015 Celebration with a newly purchased John Carroll sweatshirt in hand, a smile on my face, gushing to my parents how much I felt at home.
For me, choosing John Carroll was a revelation, not so much a decision. It felt right. It felt, as I said, like home.
And trust me, I had options.
Back in high school, I was that overachieving senior who applied to over a dozen colleges. Not to toot my own horn, but scholarships ranging from music, to acting, to academic, to leadership, piled up. Case Western Reserve University, the College of Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University were all promising options, and offering me generous scholarships. Yes, I even turned down full tuition.
Why? For just another school in Ohio that would cost me a little more? No, I turned it down for a tight-knit community – one that I’ve never seen anything like before. The Center for Service and Social Action was unprecedented. In all my college visits (and trust me, there were quite a few), I never saw the compassion, the opportunities and the commitment to developing and nurturing men and women for others like I saw at John Carroll.
No other school (in my humble opinion) provided the holistic core JCU offered. No other school seemed to place emphasis an individualized attention of students’ success – both in and out of the classroom.
No other school exhibited cura personalis (care for the whole person).
And let me just say, the graduation success rate and alumni success in the community and beyond was pretty darn impressive. It seemed like JCU grads really did the whole “go forth and set the world on fire” gig. Many people I look up to and admire graduated from John Carroll. One, being one of my biggest role models, my brother, who chased his dream of becoming a college professor and achieved tenure at a university at the ripe old age of 31. (Bonus points: He met is wife while they were students here.)
Yes, home was calling.
Do I regret my decision? Not for a minute.
For being only 21 years old, I’d like to think I’ve achieved a great deal of success (thanks to JCU).
I’ve become a leader. I’ve become a critical thinker. As soon as I walk across that stage with diploma in hand, I’m going forth and setting the world on fire. Get ready.
To all of you who are disheartened by the inaccuracies you saw on the Cleveland.com comment section regarding the HLC notice, think about this: How have you changed since you first attended freshman orientation? If you’re a better person since you set foot on this campus. Don’t question John Carroll. Don’t question your decision. Wear your blue and gold with pride. Don’t pay attention to nasty, ignorant comments you may hear.
To all the youngsters, out there, listen up – relish your experience at John Carroll. Seize every service, learning, lecture and student organization opportunity you can. Take advantage of attending an institution with a rich history, a passion for serving others, classes taught by professors with hungry minds and humble hearts and being around people who just care.
Even though I have to face the “g” word soon, I’ll always come back home.
And, as they say, once a Blue Streak, always a Blue Streak, right? Okay, I’m just probably making that up. But still, I am forever grateful to you, John Carroll. Thank you.