Thank you, NU!

Thank you, NU!

by Selena Cerra on April 25, 2017
Thank you, NU!

This blog post has been four years in the making. I realized today, at various points (picking up my cap/gown, setting a date to get into my new apartment in Buffalo, writing a packing list for my final college golf tournament), that my college career is coming to an end. I have been putting off a final blog for a few weeks, but I feel like I have to finally face it. I will be leaving the place I now call home in a few short weeks. With all the commotion that the end of any semester brings, I recognized that this short period is going to fly by even faster than the last four years have. With that said, I wanted to use my blog as a way to highlight and thank the best and brightest of NU.

Thank you: Professors

Dear NU Professors:

We may be a small university, but you are one of the driving forces behind my success as a student. I have learned from each of your priceless skills and experiences. I think about all that I have learned in the last four years, and cannot even come close to summarizing it all. So with that, I would like to thank a few specific individuals for their impact on me:

Dr. Bertland (Philosophy): As my interviewer during Scholarship Day, I appreciated your welcoming humor and persona. I felt comfortable opening up in the interview, which led to an increase in my annual scholarship. During ethics class, I felt like you cared so much about your students, not only about how we understood the material, but how we could use it. You made philosophy feel accessible and comprehensible. I loved your class so much that I intentionally took a MWF class during my senior spring semester because I love your teaching style so much, even though I could have avoided having classes on Fridays. Your Modern Philosophy class has taught me so much about life and learning and has really tied into my study of education. Even though the material can be quite difficult, I learn something new and intellectual every single class. Moreover, I feel like I gain insights into how modern philosophy still affects the world around me. Thank you for making my general education at NU so applicable and easy to learn.

Professor Harmon (ASL/Deaf Studies): ASL is something I have always had an interest in and I feel like I really grew to learn more about Deaf culture and ASL because of you. You sparked my interest in your 300-level class to research interactions with Deaf people outside of my major and investigate a totally foreign discipline (travel) because I felt like it mattered. I find so much value in the way you compassionately love all of your students. Giving us candy in your office after a difficult day, offering a lending ear, or providing mom-like advice to your students, including some of my close friends, has changed our campus. You have changed NU and made it a better place one student at a time.

Dr. Vermette (Education): Thank you for being so much fun! Class with you every day was not just fun, but informative. I learned how to make my students engaged and love learning because you engaged me and taught me how to love learning. You gave me so much support while I was student teaching and always made me feel like I am – and will continue to develop as – a strong teacher. You are so passionate about creating good teachers, it rubs off on everything you do. You made me feel important in every class and interaction I have had with you and I can only hope to do the same to my future students.

Drs. McCutcheon & Mayorga (Spanish): This will be my most difficult one to write because there are so many things I want to thank you both for. First, I would like to say thank you for helping me love Spanish and Hispanic culture, maybe even as much as you both do. Your classes taught me so much more than grammar and writing. They taught me how to think about other cultures and people from so many different perspectives, as well as to evaluate my own. I am so grateful to understand how interconnected our world is and how valuable it is to communicate in more than one language. Dr. McCutcheon you spend so much time with students to improve our campus and are so passionate about making NU a better, stronger place. Thank you for going above and beyond your role as a teacher and guide and being a change agent at Niagara. I know las cuatro (myself, Rachel, Bri, and Kelly) will forever remember how much we learned over our four years, both academically and in life. 

If I left anyone out, I apologize. There are so many wonderful faculty members here at NU who are dedicated to students and this university who could never receive enough praise and admiration. 

Thank you: Staff

To Mati Ortiz & Bill Newton in Campus Activities: Your work is the best kind of work there is, yet it is also some of the most challenging. You give up time with your families and friends to meet with students at 9 p.m. on a Monday evening because it is more convenient for us. You come to events that we plan on weekends, even though you technically shouldn't be in the office, and hardly ever take a real holiday from answering emails and making phone calls so that the students who you serve are taken care of. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for both of you. Your offices are like second homes to me and I have treated any advice you have given me like the wise words from a mom or dad. We students recognize how much you love us and NU. Thanks for believing in and listening to our voices when we felt like no one was listening and being our makeshift family while we were away from home. 

Thank you: Athletics

I have mentioned my team in so many of my previous blog posts and, while I am sure they know how much I love them, I want to make sure that they hear it one more time. You have been the best team I could have ever asked for and I can't believe I had the opportunity to be your captain this past year. I am so happy I was able to witness our first-ever win in program history and that we have built such a wonderful, strong team of girls. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of my golf coaches, present and past, who have helped me get to where I am right now as a student-athlete. I hope I made you all proud with my 50-footer for birdie as the last shot of my college golf career. 

I also want to explicitly thank Jess Wheeler and Simon Gray for being so helpful and advocating while finding a new coach this year. I appreciated your efforts so much. You made a great choice with Coach Polka!

Thank you: Friends

NU is a magical place where you have friends abound. Not one day has gone by in my four years where I didn't see at least 15 people I was friends with walking around campus, or where I didn't make at least one new acquaintance. There are too many to name here, but I want to make sure I call out a few for sure. 

Caroline Hampton, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Kayla Murphy...the three best roommates that anyone could have! We have spent so many evening together in 6G that I will never forget. Our little apartment in Eagle Circle is perfect and I will miss it so much next year when I will definitely need the love and support you have given me. I especially want to send extra love to Caroline, who has been my roommate now for three years. I always tease you and say that I have no idea why I keep choosing to live with you, but I also don't know why you keep choosing to live with me! Thank you for being there for me during all the ups and downs of college life and becoming the best friend that my future children will be sure to know from the crazy stories I can't wait to tell them. 

Las Cuatro (Rachel Bailey, Briana Neale, Kelly Fitzpatrick) is the G.O.A.T (greatest of all-time). Our little group has been there for each other for our respective study abroad experiences, career plans and academic choices (aka Rachel's career plans and academic choices), and just life in general. I am so grateful that I met three other people that love Spanish and Hispanic culture as much as I do, and that we can share in that passion together. We have had the opportunity to travel, learn and experience our passions firsthand as a close little group, which are experiences I will never forget. 

My NUSGA family (Jon Borek, Nichole Essig, Sofia Castro, to name a few out of many) …is a large one, with many already graduated and in the workforce. Regardless, I want to thank each and every NUSGA member I have had the privilege to work with over the last four years. We have accomplished so much, overcome so many challenges, and really made an impact at NU. From dorm storming almost every other week to finally seeing freshman year sidewalk plans get put into action, my NUSGA experience could not be so successful without each NUSGA member. 

Thank you: Mom & Dad

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for helping me find Niagara and making sure I had the best experience possible. I am who I am because of you and I will always be grateful for that. 

Thank you, Class of 2017, and good luck! 

Post Grad Plans

To finish up my last-ever blog post, I figured I would update you on my future plans. I have a job lined up through Teach for America at Buffalo Public Schools starting in September. I will simultaneously be studying for a master's degree in bilingual childhood education at Canisius College. I recently signed a lease in North Buffalo, and am excited to be near the city and also have access to Delaware Park, which will be just a short walk from my new apartment.