I never wanted to go to Binghamton University.

From the very first time I made the list of colleges I wanted to apply to for undergrad, I made sure to keep BU off of it. It’s not that I didn’t think it was a good university — even four years ago the reputation of the “public ivy” was pretty well-known — I just didn’t see myself going to a SUNY. NYU, University of Vermont, The New School —all of those sounded more my speed. Looking back, I can admit what 17-year-old Emily couldn’t: I thought I was too good to go to a state school. Thank God my parents forcibly put it on my list.

Though I got into all those other colleges, my parents were convinced BU was a better fit for me (and their wallets), so it was only begrudgingly that I agreed to push that accept button at 11:58 p.m. on May 1, 2015, securing my four years as a Bearcat. If only I had known what I was accepting when I pressed that button, it wouldn’t have been done it so begrudgingly.

I thought that BU was a school just for smart people. I thought the only people who went here were ones who insisted on getting straight A’s, putting extracurriculars on their résumés, pulling all-nighters in the library every night and showing up for class every single morning. If that sounds like a single one of you, we most certainly haven’t met.

Here’s what BU really was: It was Kiera convincing me to skip my 200-plus pages of reading in favor of getting kicked out of the Big Sean concert because Lauren couldn’t keep her hands to herself. It was being carried to a cab on State Street by Ashley after some boy snapped my ankle in JT’s. (Honestly, I deserved that just for ever agreeing to step foot in JT’s.) College was hosting a roast for Dan in our Marcy Hall suite in Mountainview College, squeezing 25 people’s beds into that common room for Parade Day, then being dared to kiss TJ as he slept on that couch after he’d momentarily collapsed on our bathroom floor.

BU was drinking in the College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall with Danielle the second she stepped out of her car to visit me at 2 p.m. It was Halloweekend 2016, the most absurd weekend of my life that involved a hospitalization, an (unrelated) arrest and a pair of lost glasses. (I don’t think I should name names on that one, but you know who you are.) It was Sophia and I stealing so many floor tiles from Tom’s to race our turtles on that they actually had to replace the entire floor. (Sorry, Larry.) It was smoking with Devin’s dad — not Devin — on Mario’s balcony and taking shots with Sophia and our landlord at the Rat.

In case my parents are reading this, please know that your tuition dollars did actually fund some learning. Between nights on State Street, there were in fact some all-nighters pulled in Glenn G. Bartle Library struggling to write the most complex, frustrating and rewarding political science papers I’ve ever constructed. Even if I was a little — let’s be real, very — hungover, I would still be sitting in my Shakespeare discussions every Friday morning debating just how much of a misogynist prick our most famous playwright is. And even though I might have put more hours in at the Theta Chi house than writing at my desk, I’ve still made it through four years as a Pipe Dream Opinions writer.

I could not be more proud to be graduating from BU — a public, SUNY university. I’m so grateful to live in a state with such an extensive public school system, and when I’m busy applying to law schools in the fall, public colleges are exactly where I’ll be turning to.

BU turned out to be the most perfect combination of days spent learning and nights of pure obscenity. I know I said I never wanted to go here, and I really meant it at the time.

Now I’d do anything to not have to leave.

Emily Houston is a senior double-majoring in political science and English.