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Letters from Leah: embracing the next chapter

Sports+Editor+Leah+Harrigan+reflects+on+her+time+at+John+Carroll+before+graduation+
Sports Editor Leah Harrigan reflects on her time at John Carroll before graduation

There are certainly a lot of goodbyes on the horizon. But, what’s important is understanding that the pain of a farewell is only a testament to how beautiful the moment must have been. As for my time at John Carroll, the four years have officially come to an end. But, without a doubt, the last few years have been filled with an abundance of love

As I write this, I’m snuggled up on the couch in the Sports Information office. It’s quiet, my boss, Joe Ginley, must be on some adventure. It might be the press box, or somewhere in the hallways of the athletic department. But, I chose this spot for inspiration. My time working for John Carroll Sports Information has transformed my confidence and made me realize that I’m destined for a career in sports. While my time here winds down, the experience, knowledge and relationships from JCU Sports Information are deeply engraved in my mind, but also my heart.

And as I navigate the hallways of the DJ Lombardo Student Center, I pass the intramural gym. Here, I’ve spent lots of time coaching, playing, managing, and planning logistics for Women’s Club Basketball. But, in the same spot, I’ve created timeless memories, built rich relationships and became the strongest version of myself. I’ve made difficult decisions and conducted intense conversations, but I’m a better person for it. I’ve made lifelong friends and created an environment for students to thrive beyond the classroom. I can leave this space knowing that we have grown, developed and created a brighter future for the women that will carry on the legacy after I’m gone.

Now, I travel down the staircase within the student center and land at the newsroom. The door is locked, so I type in the secret code and take one last glance at the space. Here, we shared laughs, told stories, pitched new ideas and fostered new friendships. Each section of the paper saw growth, new writers, and novel coverage. What an honor it has been to contribute to a successful, informative and cohesive student-run newspaper.

I make my way toward the rest of campus after this, forging a path toward Warrensville. But, I make a brief stop at the Wellness Center in the basement of the Dolan Residence Hall. I smile with a sense of gratitude, knowing the importance of all the lessons I’ve learned and the awareness I’ve created. 

As I exit campus for the last time, I cut through the Gesu parking lot and quickly find myself on Warrensville Center Road. I soak in the randomness of living in a college house. Impromptu late nights, campfires, parties on the front lawn, endless laughs, some tears and genuine growth. After we all leave the comfort of 2411, another group will create memories and share unforgettable moments. How blessed I am to be able to occupy a space that has seen so much love. 

But, the beauty of all of this is the simple fact that time will go on. As I say to my friends and family, the world continues to turn each day. The sun will always rise and set. I find a sense of peace knowing that I’ve embraced this chapter of my life, but that my personal journey is far from over. Closing a chapter comes with emotion, but not all of those feelings have to be based on sadness. I feel gratitude. I feel I understand peace. I feel lucky to know change. I will carry all of the lessons I learned to continue a path of endless development. 

But, nonetheless, I will miss my time at John Carroll. I say goodbye with a heavy heart. I know how much this place has shaped me and created the woman I am today, so it’s natural to feel the sadness of my departure. But, I look forward to the next chapter. It will be different, but change can always be positive as long as the mindset is there to foster it. Thank you John Carroll, thank you for teaching me how to be a woman for and with others.

And in the words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am, to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

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About the Contributor
Leah Harrigan
Leah Harrigan, Sports Editor
Leah Harrigan is a senior Communications major with a concentration in Integrated Marketing. She’s also pursuing minors in Psychology and Leadership Development. Leah is from Buffalo, NY which helps explain her unending love for the Buffalo Bills and a piping hot order of chicken wings. At John Carroll, Leah serves as a Peer Health Advocate for the Wellness Center and the Vice President of Women’s Club Basketball. She also enjoys working with the John Carroll Sports Information Department as a color analyst on live broadcasts. Additionally, Leah is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society along with the Leadership Scholars Program. In her free time, Leah can be spotted at the gym, Chipotle, or somewhere outside appreciating some fresh air. Essentially, as long as Leah is eating, laughing, exercising, or chatting, she’s fairly content.  FYI: If you can’t find her on a Sunday, chances are the Bills are playing and she’s in front of the TV! After school, Leah dreams of working in the NFL as a sideline reporter and analyst to bring an additional female voice to the game!

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