Have you been hiding away in your bed for the past five weeks, dreading the day you have to trek back to the dreary skies and frigid mornings? Have you finally drowned out the sounds of construction and become used to having a reliable parking spot for your car? Well, Debbie Downers, there are plenty of things to sigh about, but try turning that frown upside down because there is plenty to look forward to this upcoming semester. Here are a few reasons why spring semester at Binghamton University is something to be excited about:

1. The Marketplace

The wait is finally over! Taking the long way around the mesh green fence stops now. We now have Red Mango — Wheatley Plaza ain’t got nothin’ on us! Students will be able to enjoy an international station, 24-hour Starbucks (from 10 a.m. Sunday through 11 p.m. Friday), two lounges, a fireplace and much more. Einstein’s is going to face some serious competition, but maybe they could use this as an opportunity to practice putting the damn avocado I asked for on my bagel thin.

2. Parade Day

Parade Day is Binghamton’s version of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, even though it’s a little ahead of schedule. On the first of March, Binghamton goes green. The Downtown area is flooded with both students and locals celebrating the Irish holiday by watching an exciting parade pass through town. Bars have all kinds of different deals, and almost any student-inhabited house will be celebrating with a big party. It’s an event that makes you really feel like you’re at college — it’s fun and unifying to celebrate a holiday (even though you probably know nothing about it) with the inhabitants of Binghamton. It’s something unique to BU that alumni return to year after year.

3. Spring Fling

Toward the end of the semester, right before finals, the Student Association throws a festival with carnival rides, food stands, activities like face-painting and games and a huge, free concert. All this hullabaloo takes place throughout the middle of campus, and now that the New University Union construction site is wrapped up, it might even be on the Peace Quad again. In the past few years, the SA has booked some pretty exciting concerts, including Yellowcard, Passion Pit and Far East Movement. The weather is beautiful, and you can eat cotton candy and ride a Ferris wheel, not to mention several other activities that will return you to the blissful pleasures of bein’ a kid! Plus, the name rhymes.

4. Formal season

At the end of the semester, several Greek organizations have an event called formal. Not the formal. Just formal. Like prom. Anyway, it generally consists of riding out to a hotel in a semi-close, semi-far location like Syracuse or the Poconos, spending the night there after a huge party with a DJ and an open bar, and then getting some delicious brunch and heading home the next day. And, even better, this brother or sister gets to bring a date to his or her formal. So that means, and this is the best part, you don’t have to pledge to get there! Frat stars, sorostitutes and independents alike all have the opportunity to partake in this overnight party. So, get excited and get invited!

5. Bar Crawl

Bar Crawl is kind of like a combination of Parade Day and Spring Fling. It is a made-up event placed in the middle of finals week (yes, in the middle; there is many a tragic story of having to miss it because of a pesky test) that sends the semester off with a bang. Since it takes place in mid-May, the weather is beautiful, like at Spring Fling. And like Parade Day, there are several deals at bars and bumping parties throughout Downtown Binghamton. This event, however, is more celebrated solely by BU’s student body as opposed to Parade Day, which pumps up the party with colorful locals. The point of it is self-explanatory in its title; it’s meant for people to literally crawl (well, not literally — babies don’t go to college) from bar to bar, utilizing the specials and picking up souvenirs to remind you of this day that you probably won’t remember.

6. Nice weather

It seems obvious, but this is truly one of the best things to look forward to for spring semester at BU. Instead of facing a depressing decline from warm weather to cold weather, the spring semester gets better and better as it goes along. The main campus is littered with students catching frisbees and sun. Boys will bring their cute dogs to campus so that girls talk to them, and you begin to actually appreciate the Peace Quad. You start to realize where the BU faculty gets all the footage they feature in promotional videos. Even Downtown Binghamton begins to become more attractive and enjoyable. From the right angle, in the right weather, you may even start to agree with the naming of Gorgeous Washington Street.

7. Freshmen actually feel like students

Finally, for all the freshmen out there, this semester marks us officially feeling like a part of the Binghamton community. Last semester, freshmen learned the ropes of creating a schedule, navigating their ways around campus and adapting themselves to the social scene. This semester, it’s time to hone all that you learned and become a functioning Binghamton University student!

Use this list to bring back a feeling of purpose into your life whenever the Binghamton weather seems too much to tolerate. There is so much to experience and look forward to this semester — things that would have never occurred to you during the fall. With all of this in mind, go forth, baby Bearcats, and make this semester your best one yet!