I did not, by ANY means, want to go to school in Buffalo. UB was, for all intensive purposes, my LAST choice. My safety school. I only applied because it was a sure thing, but now I’m really glad I did.
When my parents drove me the five hours across the New York State Thruway in August 2006 to drop me off at college…I was not a happy camper. I was angry that I wasn’t able to afford to go to Boston University (my first choice) and I felt like I was selling myself short. If I said “I did too much homework in high school to go to a SUNY” once, I said it a thousand times. I was cocky about my intellectual abilities. I wanted to go to a big name school and I thought going to a SUNY, merely because it was cheap, would ruin my life.
I was so completely wrong.
Now that I’m in my senior year, looking back I had one of the best educations and best college experiences I could have asked for. I met amazing people and I’ve had even more amazing opportunities. I got involved with student journalism which padded my resume and my portfolio helping me get an amazing internship. I’ve developed close relationships with my professors and have had some amazing networking opportunities.
In talking with friends who went to those big name schools I’ve realized that despite budget cuts and municipal hierarchy SUNY, for all its faults, is still an amazing school system. I have relationships with my professors, I am involved on campus. I had opportunities to grow that my friends at private schools have not. When it comes down to it I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a face in a crowd. I’m thankful for all the opportunities that UB has offered me.
What’s sparking this is that I just finished watching a two-hour special Extreme Makeover: Home Edition which was filmed in Buffalo. The Makeover team not only re-built one families house, but they were able to make improvements in the whole neighborhood with the large number of volunteers from the Buffalo area that showed up. Over a thousand Buffalonians came out to lend their support–and there lies yet another reason why I’m glad I came to UB.
Living in Buffalo is an experience. For a relatively large and dying city with lackluster sports teams, Buffalo still has the great sense of community. It never feels as large as it is. Buffalonians will go out of their way to help each other. Whether it’s moral support after you bomb at Karaoke at Tudor Lounge, a slap on the back on the subway returning home from a Sabres defeat, sharing a beer pong table at a Bills’ tailgate, coming out in droves to support People for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) or even just lending a hand to your neighbor when their roof is leaking or a snowstorm of doom leaves them without electricity or heat Buffalonians are always there for one another.
It’s been so nice to see that despite everything going on in this crazy world, there are still places where people care about their neighbors, their friends, or even perfect strangers. It’s comforting and it gives me faith.
All in all, while I’m still a little irked that I had to settle for my last choice college, now that I’m here, in my last semester, I’m grateful I came…and don’t tell anyone, but I might just miss it a little bit…(and I might miss Mighty Taco a little bit more.)