Aiden’s Senior Column. See ya in a bit, JCU. Onward On.

My Celebration in 2018 was the perfect opportunity for me to meet students, engage with professors and really fall in love with the University.

Aiden Keenan

My Celebration in 2018 was the perfect opportunity for me to meet students, engage with professors and really fall in love with the University.

Aiden Keenan, Photo Editor

Wow. This is it. This is the weirdest, most emotional, most painful and most vulnerable Carroll News article I’ve ever written. 

I remember reading the works of Sophia Maltese, Rachel Scully, Josie Schuman, Kyle Kelly and more last year and, while I realistically knew that mine would be next, it didn’t really hit me at the time. I didn’t really understand the bitter sweetness that came with the end of this year — I always feared moving on. I always loved JCU and couldn’t, at first, imagine my college career ending. Now, I sit looking at this article, ready for what comes next, empowered in recollection of the people and experiences that have shaped me into who I am today.

John Carroll University has been such a crucial part of my life since my decision to come here in early 2018. Four years later, I sit in my room in Sutowski Hall, reflecting on not only the past semester, but the last four years as a whole. There’s a lot that remains unsaid, unfelt and unexpressed. In my reflections, I of course remember the people and events that helped me grow and shaped my Carroll experiences. I also recognize that all of this growth occurred within the grounds of JCU. That’s not to say that I didn’t develop outside of the confines of campus, but JCU brought 3,000 students together with a shared identity, shared values and shared experiences as we progressed toward development, growth and fun. 

The places of JCU have brought me so much fun, development and personal growth. Though people may change and memories may falter, the places we grew in allow us a place to return and reflect, no matter where we are in life. Though this could be written about quite literally hundreds of things, a reflection on the places of JCU seems most fitting, especially considering my heavy involvement across the University over the last four years. 

My first Speech and Debate tournament didn’t go super well, competitively, for me, but it gave me the first taste of competition and really made me fall in love with the team. (Aiden Keenan)


Because this is The Carroll News (and, unfortunately, not The Carroll Blog nor The Carroll Diary), I’ll keep it relatively brief. Know, though, that there remain reflections not verbalized and thanks unsaid. 

Upon arriving at JCU, I vividly remember my time in Campion Hall. Living in a triple with my roommates-turned-best-friends Ray and Chris made me feel so welcomed onto campus. Coming from five hours away, I knew zero students when I started my Carroll tenure. Ray and Chris, and the rest of the guys of Campion Two, went through it all together. Because of this community, I was able to grow on my own. Campion taught me independence; it taught me how to live on my own and how to build relationships despite fear.

Moving onto the blur that is sophomore year, my nights were spent in Millor Hall, once again with Ray as my roommate and Chris living a few doors down. Millor most certainly wasn’t my first choice of dorm but I had to adapt to what I had. In doing so, I found a community. Despite being arguably the worst sophomore dorm on campus, Millor somehow manages to create the strongest communities. Even visiting RA friends as a senior, I am consistently impressed with how strong their bonds seem to be. Millor taught me to appreciate that community, especially after growing into myself during my freshman year. 

Fall 2019 brought my “timer pic era,” silly pictures with friends that I look back on and laugh at, even three years later. (Aiden Keenan)


Further building this community was my “timer pic era.” Not a day went by where I didn’t run around with pals as my phone timer counted down from three. These pictures, every once in a while, will come back up on my memories on my phone and I remember the times of laughs, jokes and sophomore year.

I received my bid to Delt in Millor, chatted or watched TikToks with friends for hours on end, played countless games of Mario Kart and even enjoyed some Oreos with my roommate. Though this seems like a cliché story of all roommates and college experiences, I know that I left a permanent mark on Millor Hall. Or, rather, as permanent as the building is. 

We went remote during my time in Millor and didn’t return until almost a year later when I moved into Sutowski in January 2021. It’s been a pretty interesting experience to live with friends and be on campus as a senior. Sutowski taught me how to fight. In the first semester in Sutowski, I successfully maneuvered arguments with an insurance company as I negotiated the value of my car and two fights with Residence Life. 

After getting trapped in the elevator three times in one semester, I finally got them to fix it for all residents in the building. On my floor, we didn’t have hot water in our showers for over a month. After consistent pestering, we finally got the issue resolved. Learning to have confidence in my battles, making legitimate references to evidence and maintaining a professional tone, helped me to win these three fights in Sutowski, reminding me to maintain and hone these skills later on. 

Surprisingly, the lion outside of Pacelli has also given me a space of reflection. Whether it’s the annual Delt campout the night before lip sync, painting it with a group of people for the first time or even painting it alone after writing a paper until 4 a.m., painting the lion has been one of my favorite activities at JCU. It’s become a bit of a living piece of my history; coating it in layers of paint dedicated to my Fraternity, the Speech and Debate team, favorite professors, my upcoming job and more. 

A few weeks later, I painted the lion for the first time after my Delt initiation. Little did I know that this would spark years of late-night fun. (Aiden Keenan)

There are, of course, some spaces that I won’t necessarily go into detail about, just so you aren’t reading this column for an hour. The Student Government office, Debate Room and Saint Francis Chapel have all allowed me to reflect deeply  on what I’m doing at JCU and what I’m doing beyond. These spaces have been conducive to my growth, and I am forever thankful for the times within them.

Though I have been involved with The Carroll News since my sophomore year or so, I never really invested myself in the people and the culture until this semester — and let me tell you, that was an incredibly good decision. I have looked forward to the weekly newsroom tradition of procrastinating by spouting conspiracy theories (claiming they were the next “Carroll News exclusive”), sharing stories and laughs as we did so. To those in the newsroom, thank you for welcoming me, even as a lame-duck second-semester senior, even if we never did quite figure out what was in the safe. Through this office, I saw firsthand the power of teamwork, relationships and, most importantly, passion.

I remember rolling my eyes when my mom encouraged me to take a picture in front of the Tim Russert ‘72 memorial in the O’Malley Center. Little did I know that I would apply for, interview for and eventually accept the JCU / NBC Meet The Press Fellowship this year. (Aiden Keenan)

I have, though, always been an explorer. Though, at the time of writing, I have not yet succeeded in making it to places such as the clocktower, the roof of the student center or the roof of my first home on Campus — Campion Hall — I look forward to braving my next adventure. This has been a four-year adventure of personal growth, interpersonal discoveries and some late-night explorations. 


There are too many people I would like to name in this article right now. I could try, but it’s already over 1,000 words and I’d need 1,000 more to even begin expressing my gratitude. If you have been part of my life in any capacity at JCU, thank you so much. You have helped me grow, develop and become a better human being.

Yes, I look back, reminisce and leave this campus. But I carry you all with me as I move forward; hence, the goodbye is for these places, not for you. Whether I see you daily, annually or just on social media, know that you are carried along with me in my heart. I would not be where I am today without the love, passion and tireless support of each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for being part of my life for so long. I look forward to remembering these moments, reflecting on my failures and carrying these past four years with me into the future. 

See ya in a bit, JCU. Thank you so much, for everything. Onward On.