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The Carroll News

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Alissa at the apex: the desired virtues we forget about

Awe, courage, humility and generosity are the cornerstones of a better life.
Alissa Van Dress
Campus Editor Alissa Van Dress resets her priorities as she looks forward to a relaxing spring break.

Too often I forget to count my blessings in life, especially now that it’s the midpoint of the semester when everything becomes dizzying. I feel as though I pass through the motions mindlessly to save myself from becoming overwhelmed. But, by bypassing the bad, I bypass the good in tandem.

Virtues are a safety net that keeps me on track—a constant that never lets me go amid the chaos. To spread a little light in this wearying time, I will mention a few virtues that have reminded me of the true goodness in life.


A respect and admiration toward life is the catalyst for a better one. A mindset that awes at the world can find the good in everything while still acknowledging the darkest times.

This past week, the sky has exhibited breathtaking sunsets with a vivid blend of tangerine, ruby and purple streaks. The warm temperature makes it feel like spring is an early bloomer this year. While it’s unusual weather for February, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t marveling at the raw beauty of nature. I’m in awe.


Let’s face it—we encounter opposition and conflict every day. Maybe a challenge materializes through a bad grade on an exam or during an uncomfortable disagreement between friends. Although it feels impossible, standing firm is sometimes all we can do to overcome the obstacles.

Personally, I struggle with courage. My instinct is to flee from the fringes of any conflict. I like to hide within my comfort zone. Avoiding the conflict is not the solution. Rather, it exacerbates the problem.

A musical held close to my heart, “Newsies,” has a line in one of the songs that sticks with me: “Courage does not erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear.”

Believe it or not, writing for The Carroll News requires a lot of courage from me. I never thought I’d find myself being so open and personal on the Internet. Nonetheless, I continue “facing my fears” to inspire my audience and follow my calling.


As American novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Humility allows us to reflect and grow. It goes hand-in-hand with courage; it takes bravery to admit when we are wrong. Instead of closing ourselves off and living in denial, we embrace the truth. This feeling evokes a total peace that motivates us to be the best-version-of-ourselves.


Generosity is one of the most powerful and loving virtues. To give without expecting anything in return seems wrong. However, it is the best gift anyone could ever offer because it creates chains of goodness. To keep it short, when you give freely, you have already gained something invaluable and whole.

This is a reminder to take care of yourself and remember your blessings during this trying time. Good luck on those midterms my fellow students and get ready for spring break!

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About the Contributor
Alissa Van Dress
Alissa Van Dress, Campus Editor
Alissa Van Dress is a junior English major from Amherst, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing with minors in business, creative writing and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Previously, Alissa served as the copy editor at The Carroll News. In addition to her current role as campus editor, Alissa is a JCU football and basketball cheerleader, a writing consultant at the JCU Writing Center, works as a digital engagement ambassador for the JCU Carroll Fund, and serves on the visual arts committee for The Carroll Review. Also, she is honored to have co-founded the Theatre Club at John Carroll University. Other than writing, some of Alissa's favorite hobbies include musical theater, vocal performance, fashion, dance and cheerleading/acrobatics. After graduation, Alissa plans to write for children's entertainment.

To contact Alissa, email her at [email protected].

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