The best four years of your life… and then some

By Amanda Weber

Features Contributor

As the entire Buffalo  community has already heard by now, Iia.pngmmaculata Academy in Hamburg, NY will be closing its doors this June after educating women for eighty-eight years. I happen to be one of the 4,000 women lucky enough to have graduated from Immaculata Academy in 2014. As a graduate of the Class of 2014, it was devastating to hear that women across the Southtowns would no longer be able to have the amazing high school experience that I did. I realize, at first glance, that this may not seem relevant to the lives of Canisius College students. However, the purpose of this article is to enlighten you on the numerous similarities between Immaculata Academy and Canisius College. Obviously, there are a couple major differences, such as Canisius is co-ed and is a college rather than a high school. However, Canisius and Immaculata actually have some very important and integral aspects in common. These similarities include a family atmosphere, amcanisius-college-seal.pngazing professors, small class sizes, and strong, moral values.

Although I am at Canisius now, I spent my freshman year of college at SUNY Geneseo. While I made great friends there, I did not experience what I had in high school. At Immaculata, I had graduated with a class of fifty-two girls who had become my sisters over four years there. Although I knew college was going to be different, I still wanted to feel like school was my “home away from home.” As soon as I made the decision to attend Canisius last fall, I knew that I had found the right fit because of how much it resembled Immaculata. Even though I may not know every single student here, I feel like a community of people who support me and want to see me succeed surrounds me. It is difficult to find two schools that accomplish the task of providing students with a second family. I am so lucky to have found these two schools. While Canisius College’s undergraduate student number of 2,868 is slightly more than Immaculata’s two-hundred, there is a still a feeling of a strong, family atmosphere.

I also have to give a tremendous amount of credit to my professors at Immaculata and Canisius College. It is hard to be able to attend college and not feel like you are “just a number.” At Immaculata, every teacher I had encouraged me to be my very best and shaped me into the strong, confident woman I am today. My Immaculata professors were able to help me make the transition from being shy to independent. Now, my Canisius professors have been able to witness this and be thoroughly impressed by my abilities and my confidence. Also, they have helped me maintain this attitude and continued to encourage me in both my studies and in my development as an individual. The statistic of Canisius having a 12:1 student-faculty ratio represents this dedication and emphasis on individuality. In addition to professors, small class sizes in all levels of education can make a huge difference. While many other public colleges have classes of over one-hundred students in huge lecture halls, 45.6% of classes at Canisius have less than twenty students per class. This translates to better grades, better concentration, and a more enjoyable experience at school. Although small class sizes may not seem like a big deal to some, they truly encourage students to form relationships with their professors and to excel as a person.

Finally, both Immaculata and Canisius share similar values and emphasize the importance of service. An obviously similarity between these two institutions is that they are both Roman Catholic. Although the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph established Immaculata, and the Jesuit priests established and continue to run Canisius College,  their shared values run very deep. When graduating from Immaculata Academy, you were told to go out and be “an instrument of positive change.” The teachers, faculty, and staff watched you grow and become a more confident woman. After we graduated, it was our time and our responsibility to be those instruments and change the world in a positive way. Attending Canisius College has allowed me to continue this mission and to be motivated even further.

One of the great Jesuit values that is emphasized at Canisius is “women and men with and for others.” On the Canisius website, this Jesuit value is described by saying “It is not enough to be living in the world.  We have to participate in transforming the world… This is why graduates of Jesuit schools are not focused only on their own success, but consider success as impacting and uplifting the common good of the world.” This value really explains the mission of Canisius College. Although Canisius must educate and students have to take classes, the real goal for attending Canisius is to grow as an individual and to gain perspective on what is out in the real world. Instead of staying in our personal bubbles, Canisius encourages students to break out of their comfort zones and provide service to those in need. Although Canisius College and Immaculata Academy seem extremely different on the outside, there are more similarities and shared values than what meets the eye.


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