Mission: Hundred Days

As he begins his last 100 days, Multimedia Director Nolan Hopkins remembers his journey through “the House that Petey built.”

Check out Nolan’s podcast “Advice you didn't ask for” formerly “Two Blondes and a Brunette” (Nolan Hopkins)

I’ve been studying journalism for four years, and I’ve been writing for publications for six, dating back to my time as the Sports Editor for my high school’s paper. I’ve worked for the Buffalo Bills, almost the Buffalo Bisons (thanks, COVID), I’ve been the sports editor and multimedia director for The Griffin,  I’ve written articles for start-up sports blogs, and even had a byline in the Albany Times Union. Yet, this writing assignment has proven to be the toughest I’ve ever had. How can I possibly quantify the thoughts, feelings and emotions that this school and this city have given to me the last four years? I suppose I’ll just start from the beginning. 

I arrived on campus in August of 2017 as every other incoming freshman does: excited, wide-eyed and absolutely terrified. I remember hugging my parents goodbye in the parking lot and crying. I spent my elementary years at my local suburban public school with all my friends, before making the switch to a private all-boys Catholic high school, where my mom worked as a counselor. This was the first time in my life I was alone. 

I wish I had a cool reason for choosing to attend Canisius. I wish I could tell you that I came here because of my major, or because a professor changed my life at an Open House or any other legitimate reason high school seniors choose schools. But in actuality, I subconsciously sold myself on this school when my tour guide took me up to the fifth floor of Dugan Hall and we saw the view of campus and the city. 

That is it. That was the deciding factor. I thought the big glass windows were cool. 

But in all seriousness, it just felt right for me. I felt comfortable here. I visited only two other schools, with Canisius being the third. I didn’t even consider anywhere else, and put my deposit in for the House that Petey built. 

I was always a very shy kid and I wasn’t naturally good at making friends. But the beautiful thing about Canisius is that it basically forces you to break down your own personal barriers and put yourself out there. Whether you are just walking to class, going to the library or getting a coffee at Tim’s, you are almost guaranteed to run into people you know. This natural interaction on a daily basis helped me push my social anxiety to the side in a way that I didn’t think was possible. 

My parents would always tell me that college is a special little bubble where you start to learn how to be an adult while simultaneously remaining a kid. They were absolutely right. 

Living on your own forces you to grow up. It forces you to leave your comfort zone, and that was a tough pill for me to swallow at first. But then I met The Griffin.

I became involved immediately as a sports reporter and assistant multimedia director and never looked back. That experience in the fall of my freshman year helped me in every other facet of my life. I was more talkative, I participated in class and other out of school events more, I met some lifelong friends and for the first time in my life I allowed myself to just have fun. 

One of my favorite quotes in TV history comes from “The Office,” when Phylis Vance said, “I worked for a paper company for all these years, and never wrote anything down.”

I equate this to my college experience because I blinked and went from being the freshman who dressed up on the first day of classes to the broke senior who wears sweatpants everyday while scouring the internet looking for a post-graduation job. It’s easy to forget to stop every so often and just look around and appreciate where you are, but it’s something that is vital, especially in college.

Now, I’m going to take a page out of former Editor-In-Chief Adam Duke’s book, and shout out some of the people and things on campus that made the last four years memorable. 

To Dr. Wanzer, Dr. Irwin, Dan Higgins, Jamie O’Neil, Garrett Layton, Matt Kochan, and the countless others on the faculty and staff, I have appreciated everything you all have done for me, whether it be advice, help with school or just being a friendly face to see during the week. 

Shout out to C-Block for being a constant source of fun and happiness my first two years. The things you don’t learn in the classroom, I mostly definitely learned from the amazing people that I met through that club. 

Shout out to the ESPN3 program for giving me the opportunity to be behind the camera and run the replay monitor for live Canisius games. 

Shout out to The Griffin for being my rock during my time here. I am so proud to have been a part of such an amazing team, and even though my role has diminished on staff, my love for the friends I’ve made and the product we sign off on each week has not. Also never forget our nationally ranked Dodgeball team that took Canisius by storm each semester.

And lastly, shout out to Subway and 2Mato. You are dearly missed on campus.

I remember before I moved from Cleveland to Buffalo four years ago people would ask me, “Why did you choose Canisius?” And each time I would laugh to myself. Because truthfully, I don’t know how I ended up here. I’ve spent time trying to dissect and analyze some deeper meaning to all of this but I could never find an answer. It seems very random. 

But coming to Canisius College has been the most beautifully random thing in my life. 

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