Welcome back, fellow Bearcats. Back to a quasi-sense of freedom, and back to the beautiful, luxurious and incredible resort that is Binghamton University. Hopefully finals week did not cause any sort of organic chemistry-related night terrors, and you were able to spend your break sleeping in for so long that your parents actually got the hint that you didn’t want to hang out with them.

We here at Release hope winter break was everything you could have hoped for and more. For upperclassmen, we’d like to congratulate you on surviving the hundredth awkward encounter with your friends from freshman orientation and, more impressively, the never ending parental reminders that “graduate school applications don’t fill themselves out, you know.”

But enough of the past. Vestalites, it’s time to set some goals for this semester. It’s a new year, a new semester and the possibilities are endless. Go find your friends from last semester and catch up, because one of them probably got a new nose piercing in an effort to reinvent himself and really wants you to notice it. This being said, it’s also a great opportunity to make some new friends. It’s time to be social! The goal is to be a spirited Binghamton Bearcat, not an actual bearcat (in the sense that sometimes people don’t know you actually exist). Make a new friend today. Make a new frenemy today. At the very least follow someone new on Twitter or something.

2014 is the perfect time to finally explore everything the Triple Cities area has to offer. Step out of your comfort zone! If you always go to JT’s, check out The Rat one night. Life really is all about variety. In addition, the beginning of spring semester is awesome for joining brand-new clubs. If you love to sing but can’t, there are nine different a cappella groups that can reject you. If that’s not your thing, keep looking! BU has enough clubs that you can fight a zombie and a Republican in the same day.

If all of this isn’t enough to get you pumped, then here are some things to think about:

1. By approximately February, every Chobani on campus will have already tried the new Red Mango, so you can actually go get some without having to lose your dignity in a 30-minute line. As you once again spend Valentine’s Day contemplating your life choices, you can treat yourself to a frozen yogurt without looking like you were that excited for frozen yogurt.

2. You still have a week to drop that horrible accounting/German history/ethics class you already hate. Even syllabus day threw you off, and you can already tell that you’ll be skipping lecture weekly. Why prolong the inevitable? Drop the class and save yourself a pass/fail.

3. Now that February is here, there are only two more months until you can wear shorts outside while being judged, and three more months until it’s actually appropriate. Since the holidays are officially over, we’ve reached that portion of winter that really serves no purpose but to freeze and depress. Regardless of this sad truth, Groundhog Day will soon be here to give us a warm blanket of false security.

As someone once famously described Binghamton, it is the “land of opportunity where the streets are paved with gold.” That someone may not exist, but you do. Go ahead and take advantage of every prospect. Start a club! Join a club! Begin at an entry-level member status and slowly take over in a coup d’etat fashion! Attend a sporting event! Join an intramural! The options are endless. Now go ahead and bring this semester in with a boom so loud it will finally destroy Old Dickinson.