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Mission 100 Days: A story of growth and a lot of thank yous

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

By: Steph Wetzel, Managing Editor

When we ask editors and Canisius students to write a Mission 100 days article, they all seem to start with why they chose this school, and they all seem to have these unique and intriguing reasons as to how they ended up here. I don’t think that my story is nearly as enticing as some of our other writers’ stories, but I can confidently say that who I am now as a senior is a different person than who I was when I was a freshman just starting at Canisius.

When I was in high school and just started looking into schools, I was set on going to Syracuse University (SU). For whatever reason, I felt that going to a school that’s basically the size of a small city would be a good fit for me. Good thing I realized it wasn’t. I knew SU had a great journalism program, I told myself I wanted to go away for school and overall, I was just fully convinced that that was the school for me. But then I visited Canisius.

I went from wanting to go to a school that has over 20,000 students to wanting to go to a school that has maybe 3,000. I realized that I liked the small, community feel that Canisius has, the one that everyone loves. Tour guides on campus brag about our small class sizes and how close some of the students are with their professors, but the fact of the matter is that they’re right. Why would I want to go to a school where my professors wouldn’t even know my name?

This leads me into the first person I would like to thank for making my experience at Canisius that much better, Dan Higgins. He is a journalism professor who was able to read my work weekly, give me the critiques that I needed and help me grow not only as a writer but also as a person throughout my four years here.

While I have numerous professors who I owe a thank you to, I also owe a huge thank you to Dr. Golebiewski. She encouraged me to change my minor in economics to my second major, helped me in classes that she wasn’t even teaching me and gave me the confidence that I needed, especially on the occasions I was the only girl in my class.

My endless list of people I need to thank goes on, as I owe another sincere thank you to all of the friends that I made at The Griffin. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to college with my childhood best friend, and she was one of the people who nudged me to join the paper and to go out and discover new things. By joining The Griffin, I was able to make lifelong friends who doubled as my role models, I was able to learn new skills to improve my writing and I was privileged enough to be able to tackle stories that truly pushed me out of my comfort zone. For the first time, I was interviewing people who weren’t my friends, classmates or teachers.

Through this club, I was able to be a leader while also continuing to learn from others myself. Some of these friends of mine watched me grow from the time I was a freshman as someone who was timid, kept to myself and was in many ways insecure, to today, as someone who considers herself to be an outgoing and lively person who is capable of starting a conversation with just about anyone. For lack of a better phrase, I grew up.

My advice to our current freshmen and to any students who are starting at Canisius is that even if you don’t feel like yourself, even if you feel like you’re in a funk and you can’t figure out who you are or what you want to do with your life… you’ll figure it out. You might not even figure that out by the time you graduate and that’s okay, I still haven’t fully figured that out yet. But if you surround yourself with people who lift you up and who bring out the best in you, you will be able to look back exactly how I am right now and realize how much you have grown and you have flourished. Even though I don’t have everything figured out and we graduate in approximately 30 days, I can confidently say that I look back at the person I used to be when I first started my college career and compare her to the person I am today, and I’m proud of the person that I’ve become.

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