Kaitlin’s (final) Column: Thank you and goodnight.


Kaitlin Ryan

In her last column, Kaitlin reflects on the last three and a half years at The Carroll News, the people she has met and the power of a clap.

Kaitlin Ryan, Arts & Life Editor

Ron Swanson of “Parks and Recreation” once said, “Well, I’m not usually one for speeches, so goodbye.” Well, I am most definitely one for speeches and far too sentimental to “Irish goodbye” one of the most formative experiences of my college career. So here it goes!

I witnessed a spectacular phenomenon this past weekend when watching the Cleveland Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker. 

Once someone in the crowd claps loudly enough, the rest of the room erupts into a storm of hand-smacking. If mine itches from the rapid applause, I can only imagine how the guy whistling in the front row feels. 

But everyone carries on, clapping away, sharing a collective experience, all because one person withstood the silence for long enough for a trend to occur.

Now you may be thinking, “Kaitlin, why are you using your last column to talk about something you’ve already written an article about?” It’s about taking a risk to be the first person to clap, the first person to create a storm, something you can’t help but notice. 

I can only hope that I created my fair share of storms over the past three and a half years. I like to imagine there has been some figurative applause, too.

My journey at The Carroll News started before I even unpacked my bags and started my life in the 15×13’ wonder that was Campion 022. 

Blue Streak Preview Day 2018. Kaitlin poses in front of the clock tower, excited to join the class of 2022. (Kaitlin Ryan)

I nervously walked into the newsroom during Blue Streak Preview Day in March 2018 knowing that I wanted to join The Carroll News. It felt like a tryout, but that was only because, at that time, I had no idea how wonderful everyone would be and how quickly I would start writing stories.

I came to the first meeting before the Involvement Fair even happened. Something about marrying my love of writing with the art of storytelling and working with people who had the same passion made me embarrassingly eager.  

My first ever article was titled “Practicing Self Care This Semester.” I gave advice for college students dealing with stress, giving amateur tips, having never experienced any sort of stress at that point in time yet. 

Nevertheless, on Thursday the first issue came out — back in the day, the newspaper was printed — I excitedly grabbed a stack of copies, took a picture of my article and sent it to everyone. I think I actually squealed. 

Kaitlin’s first article for The Carroll News hung up on her dorm room wall. (Kaitlin Ryan)

My dorm room wall would quickly be covered in cutouts of my articles. 

The girl I was then, the girl who nervously jotted down notes during her first interview with a John Carroll alum turned Disney animator, the girl who bought command strips so her articles would stay put on the white brick walls, the girl who wanted nothing more than to write write write, that is who I kept up with The Carroll News these past three and a half years for. 

I did it for the girl who sat cross-legged in the newsroom every Thursday, never feeling ashamed to say my favorite hobby was writing when most people hated it. 

Surely, I ran into some discouragement along the way. My drafts were torn apart; people hung up on me during interviews; my passion sometimes dwindled. But I kept doing it for the girl who started the clap: a bright-eyed 19-year-old who walked to class every day genuinely happy to be there.

Which reminds me, with my college experience ending — gasp — there is even more to grieve than The Carroll News.

I’ll miss said walks to class, Einstein’s coffee in hand (sorry, nothing will ever top their hazelnut medium roast) and I’ll miss living with people who were once randomly assigned to live in the same dorm as me. 

I am so lucky these once-randoms turned into lifelong friends that made my college experience something like “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” You know, the ending scene where they go through the tunnel and listen to David Bowie’s “Heroes”? Yeah, that level of coming-of-age euphoria truly sums up some of my college memories. 

Some of those lovely memories happened at The Carroll News, of course. Deadline night slap-happiness, meeting people in the community with amazing stories to tell, just to name a few. 

With that, there are some people I have to thank as I stand here accepting my award for having completed nearly four years at The Carroll News. Someone give me a trophy!

I want to thank fashion icon and former Arts & Life Editor Ella Schuellerman ‘21 for trusting in me and encouraging me when I didn’t believe I could take on this role. Ella, you inspired me as a writer and pushed me in ways you’ll never know. Thank you for that.

TJ and Nick, thank you for always making me laugh on deadline night. You two need your own show in Vegas or something. I would pay premium rates for such a comedy special.

Bob, thank you for helping me grow as a writer and always believing in me. It’s been a pleasure to be your advisee. 

Dr. B, thank you for teaching me the wonders of AP style and consistently making me beam after reading your comments. I appreciate all the times you pushed me to be better, even if you didn’t know. Receiving praise from someone with such talent is an honor.

Top row from the left: Dr. Buchanan, Ella Schuellerman, TJ Lindstrom, Kyle Kelly and Rachel Scully. Bottom row from left: Sophia Maltese, Josie Schuman, Nick Sack and Kaitlin Ryan. The 2020-2021 staff of The Carroll News.

I can’t name everyone, but you know who you are. Let’s just say, if you have any hand in The Carroll News, I think you are spectacular. It’s just kind of how it works. 

I don’t want to end this, because when I do, that means it’s really over. But the orchestral music is starting to play and the curtains are closing. 

My advice? Never be scared to be the first one to clap. It’s really beautiful to see what comes from a little risk. You will look around you and hear the roar of the applause and know that you did something special. 

Ahh, yes. Here it comes, my applause. I appreciate you all for listening. Thank you and goodnight.