I have always loved taking personality tests and have devoted a lot of time to taking them in attempts to further my understanding of myself. Once after taking one, I read that the test thought my own personal hell would be if my journal was published or otherwise publicly shared. The goosebumps that showed up on my arms after reading that sentence proves the test was right. While I think I’m an approachable and open person, I’m not super bubbly and think really deeply before I say anything. I’m conscious of the fact that anything you say or write can’t be taken back, and want to make sure what I am putting out in the world is something I can stand behind.

I started writing for the Opinions section the second semester of my sophomore year. I’ve always loved writing, but never felt like I had a form of writing I loved and was good at outside of academic papers. For what seems like the longest time, I was told to keep my opinions and biases out of my written work and that remaining neutral was a sign of a diligent writer. Reading and writing opinions columns on a semi-regular basis for two years has taught me that having personal feelings related to what you are writing about strengthens your arguments. Nothing in life is neutral and we cannot pretend otherwise. Being an Opinions columnist has given me the opportunity to write about issues I am passionate about (more often than not, angry about) and thus share aspects of myself with the public.

Writing columns has also helped me to work on my issues related to perfectionism. Having deadlines and editors to report to gave me the push I needed to put out my work for other people to consume. In my experience, working collaboratively with editors always felt like a two-way street. I stopped feeling like I was being personally criticized when I received edits or suggestions and always felt supported and encouraged to write about what spoke to me. I confidently look back at my time at Pipe Dream and see that my writing has improved thanks to the guidance of the numerous editors I have written under.

Whenever anyone asks me how I feel about graduating, I say it feels like I’ve only been in college for what seems like 20 minutes. Wrapping up roughly 20 percent of my life in a single article feels impossible. There have been highs, lows and a lot of time spent not knowing what I was doing. Despite all of that, I have been able to grow and advance in many ways and hope I will continue to learn and develop after I leave.

I want to thank my family for all of the support they have given me, even when I wasn’t ready to take it. Thank you for picking up every phone call and for loving me unconditionally.

To my friends: To be honest, I wouldn’t have made it here without you. Thank you for picking me up when I couldn’t do it myself. My life is so much richer with you in it.

To my acquaintances: You made campus and all of Binghamton University feel smaller in a good way. Whether it was a quick “hey” in the Marketplace or a wave at a house party, our interactions were an integral part of my college experience.

To some of my professors: You have taught me so much about literature and about life, and how those two are so often intertwined. My mind has been opened and enhanced under your guidance and I am immensely grateful for the time and effort you put into helping me develop.

Annick Tabb is a senior double-majoring in German and English.