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Follow your heart but mind your body

With competing interests and aspirations, balance is the key to happiness and success

For the past year and a half or so now, I’ve designed this opinion section. I’ve put in almost every opinion column, guest column and letter to the editor since I started working on it in October 2012, complete with headshot and columnist information, and now it’s time to put mine in.

Rebecca Forney is a senior majoring in comparative literature. It’s kind of surreal, seeing my information written out that way. Newspaper design has little to do with comparative literature, and I don’t intend on pursuing it after graduation. Instead, I’m pursuing my passion, and I have every intention of doing what I love: analyzing literature through critical texts. Sure, sure, it sounds dry and boring, and I know you’re asking what I plan to do with a degree in comparative literature — wait tables? But I’m going to grad school for coli, and I have every intention of getting my Ph.D. in this field. I am happiest when I’m wading in library books, researching for a paper on one text or another, and I can’t wait to share my joy of learning — as well as my research! — with students of my own.

Sure, I have my reservations: What if I want a family one day? Women in academia face a tough decision about whether to have children and when. And it’s difficult not to view your life in terms of black and white: Do I flirt with the Scylla that is a family replete with screaming babies and potentially sacrifice my career, or the Charybdis of a dystopic life as a lonely, crazy cat lady?

The secret, I’m sure, is balance: a concept I have struggled with my whole life (eight years of ballet, and you’d think I’d be able to balance on even two feet, but no). I’m still trying to find a balance between school, friends, love and myself. I should certainly be higher on the priority list than I am right now, but I’m working on that. I haven’t sacrificed my health this semester nearly as much as I have in the past, and I consider that an improvement.

Overall, I’m proud. I’m proud of myself, for working hard and graduating in three years, for getting into graduate school, for doing something I love. I’m proud to be a Binghamton University alumna. I’m proud of my friends and my Pipe Dream family, upon whom I wish peace, happiness and good fortune. Though I’m graduating, I’ll be here for the next few years, and I’m glad.

And now, a few notes:

To my parents, Mia, Jake, April and the rest: Thank you all for your support. Without your love, unwavering scrutiny of my romantic interests and encouragement, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. See you all soon.

To Natalie, Berg and Eddie: I could not ask for a better or more loving support system. You guys keep me grounded. When I’m not looking after my health, you are. I love you all dearly.

To Zack, my better half: Thank you for putting up with me for our entire Pipe Dream tenure. Call me whenever you need me; I’ll be there!

To Paige: I never thought I’d find close relationships in this office like the kind I’ve formed with you, Zack and Cari. You’re going to do great things, and I know I couldn’t have done it without you. Come stay with me anytime!

To Cari: You are a ray of sunshine, darling. I wish you happiness and success in your endeavors. Thank you for everything. I can’t wait to see where you go in your life!

To Kendall: Thank you, so much. If I didn’t call you that night, I wouldn’t have made it home. You’re a great listener and a good friend. Don’t be a stranger!

To Mikey: I’m glad I worked with you this year. I know you’re going to do great, profound things — next year is just a stepping stone for that. Thank you for your quietude and support!

To Christina, Ari, Geoff, Victoria, Janine and the rest of the crew: You guys are great. This year was awesome, mostly because it was with all of you. Thank you for a wonderful year, and good luck!

To Rachel, Nick, Emma, John, Corey, Ben and everyone else on staff next year: Don’t sweat it; you guys are going to do great. I’ll be popping into the office now and again. And be sure to say hi when I see you on the Spine!

To Chelsea, Catherine, Adriana, Anushka, Melissa and Michelle: I cannot thank you enough for putting up with living with me, and for being such kind, fun people. I’ll see you around campus next year (Chelsea: You can stay with me whenever you like).

— Rebecca Forney is a senior majoring in comparative literature.

Views expressed in the opinion pages represent the opinions of the columnists.