Swimming to the end: My last 100 days at Canisius

Features editor Alexis Agee describes her time at Canisius as both a swimmer and active member of the campus community and the impact that the connections she’s made has had on her life.

Three generations of features editors: from left to right Steph Wetzel, Alexis Agee and Abigail Wojcik

In high school, I never quite knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I did know that I wanted to go to a school where I felt appreciated and seen. As a swimmer, I had been looking for a program that could give me everything I wanted in a team, along with everything I wanted in an education. I remember seeing the email Scott Vanderzell, the head coach of swimming and diving, sent me in November of 2016 and was instantly intrigued. I soon came here for a visit and knew this was where I wanted to be for the next four years. 

I counted down the days I would get to move from Ohio to Buffalo and experience “the greatest four years of my life.” Little did I know how fast those four years would go. As a senior now, finishing my last couple of months in my undergraduate degree, I feel nothing but grateful. In my first year, I had decided to go the science route and become a biology major, but that ended quickly. About two months into my second semester, I got off my high horse and switched my major to journalism and creative writing. Chemistry and biology were not cutting it; once I started my sophomore year, I realized that you’re supposed to like going to class. I wouldn’t have made this change without Professor Mick Cochrane. I had taken an intro English class freshman year and loved every minute of it.

After being in my new major for a year, I started finding clubs I wanted to be a part of. One of the greatest being The Griffin, the atmosphere and people involved have shaped my writing career into something I never thought it would be. Abby Wojcik, the features editor at the time, took me in with open arms and since then, I have made my way up the totem pole as the current features editor. I have also been involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Quadrangle and Leadership Academy. Seems like quite a lot, and yes, at the time it was, but I wouldn’t change any of it. 

After finding where I was supposed to be academically, I was able to focus on swimming. Swimming had been my life throughout all of my teenage years and I had now taken it to another level. Thankfully, my coaches were able to teach me that life after swimming is important, and to embrace moving forward in life. So many athletes talk about disliking their coaches, but I was fortunate enough to be placed on a team with mentors who have goals and priorities similar to mine. My swimming career comes to an end in less than a month, and I am leaving feeling proud of myself for finishing through the tough times and being able to accomplish the things I did. 

With being on a team, and participating in multiple clubs, I have learned dedication, leadership and best of all, friendship. Every person I have met has made an impact on my time here at Canisius, some may be better than others, but I think without these hard relationships, I would still be stuck finding where I want to go with my life next. I am especially thankful for the professors who have pushed me to exceed what I’m capable of, a few of those being Dr. McNally, Mr. Higgins and Dr. Cochrane. There were times I needed a kick to keep moving and stop producing mediocre work, and they were the people to do it. 

After graduation I plan to take the summer to read, write and cherish the ability to accomplish everything I did in my undergraduate degree. In August, I will be starting the MBA program at Canisius. In the four years I have been here, I’ve fallen in love with the college as well as Buffalo. The art, culture and amazing people are keeping me grounded, and moving away now would leave me feeling unsatisfied. Hopefully, once I’m done with my graduate program, I can find a job here and enjoy Buffalo forever.

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