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Keeping up with Kincaid: what are the columns that will never be written?

Laken Kincaid
Editor-in-Chief, Laken Kincaid, reflects on their thoughts from the past week.

For over two years, I have kept a note on my phone with a list of column ideas just in case I ever ran dry with inspiration. This collection of rampant thoughts only seemed to grow, never dwindle, as my writings instead mirrored my biweekly reflections and in-the-moment wonderings rather than a potential set prompt in front of me. Opinion Editor Brian Keim ’26 has probably seen the title of Google Docs change at least two dozen times before they hit his desk as I try to write, hit a wall, then subsequently accept to document wherever my mind is taking me with my pen in tow.

However, I think columns are best when they are spontaneous. So many areas of my life are built on solid routines and regiments that implementing guard rails in the one place where I can be free would come across disingenuous. When your entire livelihood is planned from an alarm sounding Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” to the second your head hits the pillow, any kind of outlet with no speed bumps is refreshing and probably necessary for my sanity. I have mentioned multiple times how I want to write for writing’s sake and not for anything else, something I still struggle with. Yet, this growth is visible in how I structure my approach to these columns.

If I have one final “Keeping up with Kincaid” left after this entry, what are the ideas that I never quite picked up off of the bookshelf of potential? What were the once-revolutionary ideas that remained stagnant by the force of passing minutes? In layman’s terms, what are the columns that will never be written? I suppose since they will never have screen time on their own, it is only right to uncover them in a conglomerate of some fashion to air them out properly.

Keeping up with Kincaid: will I ever grow up?

This piece was one I pondered for a decent amount of time as campus editor. To be honest, I have no clue what spawned this anxiety because it has since diminished substantially. It was probably some errant comment from a friend that burned my ego too much at the time. Candidly, I am asking myself quite the opposite nowadays; am I too mature for my age? Recently, especially with graduation breathing down my neck, it feels like I forced myself to view the world through a calloused lens for self-protection. I have been open about my perfectionism through these ramblings and think that worry was touched upon, so much so that it demerits this fear of internal immaturity I appeared to have when first spitballing potential topics.

Keeping up with Kincaid: why is “Moon Knight” my favorite Marvel show?

I am not an avid TV watcher by any means, particularly falling off when I got to college. Nevertheless, Marvel’s “Moon Knight” stuck out to me the first time I streamed it and I still think about it consistently. The root of this column was going to be an investigation into the series’ representation of mental health and how the plot created a paradigm for many to look to even if they have disorders and disabilities. Representation in media is crucial and as a person who is openly neurodivergent, so I admired “Moon Knight” for its portrayal of a character with an ailment like dissociative identity disorder and how they did not make it the source of his powers or his greatest strength. Instead our protagonist is a hero in his own right who just so happens to have a mental illness. This column mostly got swept under the rug, but I think this would have been a very interesting article to write if I tackled the subject in a felicitous manner.

Keeping up with Kincaid: am I an introvert at heart?

A solid bet any casual TCN reader could make is that there would be a column idea about personality tests in this catalog. The Myers-Briggs is my go-to relationship diagnostic and I need to know a person’s enneagram before we make any headway in conversations. Naturally, my probing into the history of these examinations and my own self-doubt made me question if I was lying to myself and consequently on every MBTI test I took. After learning that the extrovert-introvert scale is measured not based on if you “like people” but instead where you receive your energy, I felt conflicted. Frankly, sometimes, I just want to be alone. However, that may be the reason this column never came to fruition: everyone, sometimes, just wants to be alone. It was unfair of myself to try and categorize and demonize myself for not fitting cleanly into a box and I am glad I realized that before inking it down.

Keeping up with Kincaid: why am I still a vegetarian?

This was my fail-safe idea at all times. If I had another year at the paper, you could have expected to see this headline before I graduated. Be that as it may, I ran out of time to conquer this mountain of a discussion. I still think this question deserves ample time to be pondered as the foundation for this decision may not be entirely ethics-based but rather stemming from my outright stubbornness. There are some underlying meditations on my desire to consistently prove not just to others but especially to myself that I am capable of difficult things. Yes, this is a query that would have made for a fiery debate inside my skull. Alas, the main enemy here was not my ego or the whimsy of my appellations, but instead time itself.

Keeping up with Kincaid: what beauty is there in the mundane?

Golly neds, this was going to be my magnum opus of columns. Please ask Grace Sherban ’25 but my heart was set on creating an article dissecting and interpreting what I classify as “the beautifully mundane.” I know that makes me sound like a try-hard, but I thoroughly enjoy the idea of what a TikTok trend may call “this little life.” Watching cable TV and finding “Guy’s Grocery Games,” driving around and pointing out expensive houses with friends or baking cookies from scratch after impulsively buying a mix from Target. It is the little things that seem inconsequential but feel like they may be on a highlight reel of your life that bolstered this proposition. I do think I tackled this dogma in a way in my work on “humans being humans,” but this tornado of thought is still too large to pin down. It is impossible to look back at my paragraphs that I typed two minutes ago and hear “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2” in my brain like true memories. Instead, if I am ever allotted an outlet like this again, I will revisit this notion again so that I may have a true litmus test regarding my affinity for common normalities.

I know these bullet points can in no way encapsulate how I would have polished these articles if they had the limelight I once convinced myself that they needed. Instead, I think this itemization is a good reminder to those putting off things because “that’s a project for later.” Bluntly, later is now and the present is already gone. Don’t waste your seconds imagining that you will have more or else you will be stuck bemoaning your own naivety.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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