All my life I’ve sought closure, but it always seems to elude me.
I’ll admit I’m a sentimental person. I like when moments, big or small, come together tied with a bow. I’m a sucker for a rousing finale number and tear up when the music swells as the picture fades to black.
More often than not, however, I find the big goodbyes of my own life to be awkward, sometimes uncomfortably emotional and other times with no emotion at all. I tend to stumble my way through goodbyes in big groups and find the ones with close friends too hard to bear. As many times as I imagine the grand romantic final scenes of each chapter, in reality I find myself running away before I curl into a ball of mush.
I came back to Binghamton University from a semester abroad looking forward to making each moment count for my final hurrah, and to a large extent I did. But readjusting to a campus that now felt unfamiliar was harder than expected and much of my time was spent managing my rocky mental health. I felt withdrawn from my friends and didn’t know how to ask for help.
Few words can describe how grateful I am to have surrounded myself with the people I did this semester. They helped me find my footing without asking for anything in return. I was excited for the end of the semester when we would link arms during Bar Crawl and I’d confess my thanks at Tom & Marty’s. Maybe I’d make a speech around a bonfire, or perhaps we’d just traipse happily around Spring Fling, my gratitude obvious in my blissful silence.
Those moments are now out of reach. The ending I imagined escaped me again, this time out of circumstances much larger than myself.
I think I seek out sentimental endings because they come with a sense of certainty — no loose ends, all things out in the open. But the world I am graduating into is characterized by unprecedented uncertainty. I am left with no choice but to confront this uncertainty as we all must now.
While terrifying, staring into the vast unknown leaves rooms for endless opportunities, ones that span beyond the boundaries of what our minds can even fathom at this time. I write this not because it is anything that hasn’t been said before, but because it challenges the very thing that haunted me my entire college career. What is college if not to challenge yourself?
So now I arrive at my next open-ended beginning. Thank you to my friends and family for getting me there.
Mom, Dad, Jordy, Jake and Justin — thank you for the craziness, the silliness and the best support system I could ask for. I hope I made you proud.
Thank you to Pipe Dream for repeatedly inflating and deflating my ego — I think it evened out pretty nicely in the end. Thank you for giving me something to care fiercely about. For the many faces who made each time I came into production feel like coming home. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
Thank you to Rebecca for always sharing your bed, Brussels sprouts and corner of the office with me. You taught me how to be vulnerable and trust others. To the rest of 75 Chapin Street, thank you for always making your house a home, for me and everyone else who filled it.
Thank you to Hannah for making every day brighter. You are the life of the party and bring the party to my life. Once the chance arises, I will fly across the world to visit and celebrate you, too.
Thank you to the Mouse House and all of its regulars for welcoming me and accepting me. It was a short stint, but it was certainly a fun one. I love you guys so much.
Thank you to some of the best people I’ve met so far, the Co-op. I will treasure these memories and lessons forever. You are exactly what we need more of in this world.
To Lia, thanks for always making me laugh and being down for a stroll. You are kinder than you think.
To Jess, thank you for really listening to me. You are a wonderful friend and I am better for it.
And to everyone else, thank you for sharing this experience. May the best be yet to come.
Jillian Forstadt is a senior double-majoring in English and political science. She was digital editor in 2018-19 and assistant news editor in 2017-18.