I just want to start by saying: Buffalo gets a really bad rap. On average, Syracuse gets more snow than us! But either way, most people thought I was crazy. As a Vermonter, I’m used to the snow but I have mountains as a way to entertain the snow. So naturally, when I started telling my friends I was moving to Buffalo for grad school their initial reaction was something like this: “Buffalo? Are you okay?” or “But there are no mountains, how will you ski?” What they didn’t know was how fun this city really is, until of course they came to visit and now I can’t get them to leave me alone.
Before moving to Buffalo I had visited with my roommate, from undergrad, who’s from Buffalo. I’ll admit, when I first started visiting in 2011 it was a little boring, but each year as I kept coming to see her I noticed the growth within the city. There was always a new spot that had just been re-done and we had to go check it out. After living here for a year, I can say that this is still the theme.
I love Buffalo because it is a city but it’s not too big. I really think it’s the perfect size. There’s no traffic, tons of nightlife and the cost of living is insanely inexpensive. It’s the perfect mix! And if you did want a big city, no worries, Toronto is only an hour and a half away.
Overall my experience in Buffalo this past year has been so much fun! I’m so excited that I still have a year left to explore!
This week’s blog comes following a momentous event. This past weekend, I had the good fortune of spending my time shooting for Canisius in my last tournament as a member of the Canisius College Rifle Team. After a delightfully upbeat drive down after an evening departure from Buffalo we arrived in Waltham for the meet next morning at MIT. We spent the night at a hotel and drove down to the MIT campus the next morning and after taking second place, we returned next morning to the now warm and welcoming Buffalo weather in the early evening.
My two assigned rifles, Huey and Rosie
I spent the rest of the evening pondering the fact that shooting was a real source of relaxation for me and likely something that I wouldn’t be able to do for a while. It made sense to write down my thoughts about something that had given me the chance to travel and meet new people and form friendships that I hold dear. I do however feel that there are greater lessons to learn here.To be precise, there were 5 major ones:
Make the most of your time: If I were 4 years younger, I’d think of nothing further than my next assignment and my next break where I’d spend my time doing nothing. In the last few years, I’ve grown to realize that there are often opportunities that you might miss and College happens to be a big one. In many ways, I think Grad School gave me a chance to do a few things that I should have done in my Undergrad years (back in the day when I actually had time to do nothing and get 8 hours of sleep a night). While I’ve lost plenty of sleep and a few points on a few assignments, I think what I’ve gained from my time shooting was immeasurable. TL/DR
(Too Long/Didn’t read): Go the extra mile.
Meet new people: While I was reticent at first to sign up and shoot for the team, what really convinced me were the people I would be shooting with. I think my openness to new experiences was what really guided me to the club and, as a consequence, to the new friends I’ve now made. As a member of the team I’ve felt like I had support and encouragement to be the best marksman that I could and I can only hope I’ve been as supportive to my team.
It isn’t always about the score: I think that while having a spectacular score at the end of the day is a good reward for hard work, I also think that there’s more to it than the ends. The jibes on the long trips, the inside jokes, the nicknames, the impromptu singing and movie quotation, and above all the enduring eccentricities of the team really did make the whole journey worthwhile. Smell the roses and enjoy the journey.
Success is a fantastic rush: This weekend I made the single best shot I could hope to. I honestly believe that it would take an incredible feat of luck and hard training for me to be able to replicate this singular shot. Despite shooting the tournament with broken glasses and some degree of discomfort and mishaps, that single shot made the whole effort worthwhile. That feeling of accomplishment for my effort is a rush that I don’t know I’ve ever had. A moment where intentionality, skill and luck converged to make that single shot land at the exact right spot fifty feet away felt spectacular.
My Best Shot Yet: Taken with a .22 Rifle at 50 Feet
Shake it off: While we’ve all had bad practices, mishaps that affected our scores and scores that have shaken our confidence in our skill, we all learnt to shake it off and move on to the next goal. We’ve learnt to focus on our successes and our strengths and moved from one tourney to the next and kept moving. My hope is that the team stays strong and ever moving and focused on the next goal and that I continue to do so as well, learning from my failures and moving forward.
On a personal note to my dear friends on the team (some of whom may well part ways soon): It’s been a hell of a ride. Thanks for the good advice and the great times!
The proud members of the Canisius College Rifle Team at the MA meet!
P.s. The next big update will come from Florida where I intend to spend my time at the American Counseling Association’s Annual Convention. A time of learning and exciting opportunity awaits and I hope to capture some of it with my next blog post. Stay Tuned!