Ah, so we’ve finally arrived at the senior column — the cherished, glowing finish line that marks four years of a wild journey of ups, downs, whiplash-inducing turns and of course, opinions. To me, the senior column is the emblem of our final “thank you’s,” a communication channel through which we can reach every corner of the campus that has supported us, that hid us while we cried and that rained on us when we carried very important research posters — one that we’ve called home for this incredibly significant portion of our lives. And now that I’ve spent years building up this column and trying to figure out just how I was going to express my immense gratitude to every single aspect of this school that helped shape me, I find myself (for once) at a loss for words.

How does one begin a thank you letter to the campus, to the professors and to the people who have been so instrumental in shaping a person beginning her future in such a wildly bewildering time? How does one reach out to every single teaching assistant that held office hours and helped me scrape my way to senior year, to the friends who have given me a purpose for being on this campus, to the clubs that have defined my passions in life and given me the opportunity to lead them in such positive directions? Can I say thank you to that one desk on the fourth floor of Glenn G. Bartle Library right by the corner window that sheltered everyone else in the library from my 3 a.m. organic chemistry-induced mental breakdowns?

Binghamton University, and every single person who makes it to the “public Ivy” of the Northeast, has helped me learn that you get what you work for, not what you wish for. My teachers — and their physical inability to curve grades — have shown me what real strength means: through repeated effort, finding within you the willpower to change not just the way you study, but the way you approach learning and the way you let it define your success. My professors showed me that dedication can be harnessed into hard work to produce magnificent results. To the professors who take the time to help their students not just pass, but truly learn — I could never thank you enough for how you’ve changed me, and how grateful I will forever be to you.

BU has also shown me how much learning there is to do outside of the classroom. To the Food Co-Op, to my research lab, to Relay for Life, to my Colleges Against Cancer family and to the Boys and Girls Club Mentors of Binghamton, thank you for helping me find my people. They say a person is determined by their friendships, and I truly think the people that I have met through these organizations have defined me, and have helped me learn more about myself than any lecture could. I found myself part of a rich, beautiful community surrounded by blooming ideas, by lively and vivacious people, by the rich colors of our campus and by the wisdom that we were privileged to be privy to.

Thank you to the Pre-Veterinary Society for adopting me as a pseudo-member so I could say that I’ve helped deliver a baby alpaca in my life, thank you to Kaskeset for giving me a uniquely harmonic beginning to my college career, thank you to BU Science for letting me teach kindergartners the water cycle and hear them trying to pronounce “precipitation.” Thank you to Chabad, to the Nature Preserve and to Pipe Dream. All of these people, places and influences have given me a home and a family here on campus.

And with that, I’ve finally reached the finish line.

Thank you, BU, for everything you’ve helped me learn.

Hannah Gulko is a senior double-majoring in biology and human development.