Mission 100 Days: A Formal Apology to Petey

Simone Riter, coeditor-in-chief of Quadrangle 69 and longtime Griffin contributor, reflects on her experience as a transfer student coming into Canisius. Touching on the homely feeling of campus and the welcoming nature of students and faculty, this piece is a promo writer’s dream.

Riter and her dog would like it if you checked out Quadrangle 69 later this semester. (Simone Riter)

By Simone Riter

Deciding to transfer to Canisius was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made — it also, undoubtedly, turned out to be one of the best. 

Let me preface by totally exposing myself in saying that Canisius wasn’t my first choice. In fact, it wasn’t a choice at all. As a high school senior, overwhelmed with options and with no clue what I wanted to do in life, I completely overlooked applying to our little campus only thirty minutes away from home — sorry, Petey. 

After spending my freshman year at a college that wasn’t the right fit, I knew something had to change. In the spring break of my freshman year, I remember frantically emailing Jennifer Herrmann from the Griff Center about transfer credits, sitting in Dr. Wanzer’s office in the communication studies department asking a million questions about the program and taking tours around campus, led by one of my best friends from high school. Even before I was officially a Griff, Griffs took care of me. 

Regardless, as it came time to start my sophomore year, I felt those familiar icky and cringey freshman nerves swirling around again. I had lost a full year of opportunities: to make friends, join clubs and get involved. Expectations were low — real low. I hunkered down and braced myself for the unceremonious fall that typically is the “transfer student experience.” 

What was I expecting? I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with everything about this place. To be excited to go to class every day. To add journalism as a second major at the end of my first semester. To add creative writing as a minor not long after. To grow close with the communication and journalism departments during my time as a work-study. To do super cool internships. To get involved in clubs. To write for The Griffin. To go on field trips with AWMC. To eventually become coeditor-in-chief of Quadrangle 69. To even feel nostalgic about the gross, yet kind of “homey” way Old Main sometimes smells like bacon or how the elevator in Lyons always smells like god-knows-what. 

I know, I know. I’m probably hitting all the stops on the marketing team’s “Transfer to Canisius!’” campaign — minus the weird smells part — but hear me out.

During my time at Canisius, I’ve come to realize that its greatest strength lies in its people. I owe everything — my sanity, my drive, my confidence — to the people and professors who have taken me under their wing. The ones who encouraged me to take up another major/minor, to speak up in their class or to pursue a new opportunity, even when I doubted myself. All the same, I owe so much to the enthusiastic club leaders who created such a welcoming space for me to become involved. Speaking from experience, it’s NOT like this everywhere. Canisius is special. The people here are special. 

Part of me will always feel like I’ve been cheated out of my time at Canisius. First, I miss out on my freshman year, then a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic takes half of my junior and senior year? Not cool, universe. Not cool. But despite all that, I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had. Roundabout journey and all, I’m glad the universe brought me here — that’s all you’re getting, universe. 

So, please consider this my formal apology: Canisius, I was wrong about you. So wrong. Petey, can you ever forgive me?

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