I was fortunate to become the Opinions Editor in my last year of college, but it was far from what I had in mind when I first applied to Binghamton University.

I came into BU — the only university I ended up applying to — with a conviction that I was starting my career as an astrophysicist. I joined BU’s Astronomy Club’s E-Board my freshman year and later became its president. I even got a tattoo of Saturn on my wrist to prove I was on the right path. Now, looking back as an English major and Pipe Dream’s Opinions Editor, it’s clear my convictions led me down an unexpected, winding road.

In the time between, so much happened. I did research for both the First-Year Research Immersion (FRI) program as well as Assistant Professor Manuel Smeu’s computational group. Both affirmed my belief that physics was in my future. But writing remained a hobby of mine, and I began spending more time writing poetry and stories than I did on my physics homework. And with some really poor performances in a number of math classes, it was inevitable that physics would be my hobby, and writing could become my career. I joined Pipe Dream as an Opinions columnist the following semester, and became Assistant Opinions Editor the one after that. Within months, I moved from a novice columnist to the esteemed editor of the section. This was a detour, surely, but I liked this trail a hell of a lot more.

Being an Opinions Editor, and even writer, means taking on a great deal of responsibility. That does not stop you from ripping into the things and people that need a good ripping. But there’s more to it than just tearing things down. It’s about creating discourse. It’s a space where people on campus can engage each other on equal terms and generate conversation around topics relevant to the student body. You, of course, have to stick to the facts, but that’s not enough. The content this section publishes has a real effect on what people talk about, and how they talk about it. For a newspaper, this is an essential part of a healthy relationship with its readers, and I was proud to be the conduit for it.

I have to add that role of an editor is like no other. It’s far from a typical boss-employee dynamic — an editor should not treat their work as a chore or opportunity to control others. Instead, to edit is to guide, especially in the realm of Opinion columns where an editor should elevate their writers’ arguments and clarify their voices. It’s a chance to learn as you teach, and teach as you learn. In other words, a good editor should leave their position knowing that their writers could take their job, and I don’t doubt that my veteran contributors could step in my shoes any given day.

But my time in college was more than just being an editor. In all my classes, groups, gatherings and parties, I learned so much about who I am and who I wanted to be. From professors to classmates to coworkers to locals, every person I met helped me discover something about myself in one way or another. From Maryam’s to Royal Fried Chicken, I developed a refined palate for Halal food. The area’s wild regions showed me my love for nature. Living on the West Side opened my eyes to the Binghamton charm. I even found that I have a love for baking! This is what made Binghamton my first real home, a place I felt a genuine connection with. And with all the people I’ve met here, I believe I’m leaving with a bigger heart.

At last, it’s only right I reveal who some of these influential souls are. I spent some time debating how I should go about shouting out those important to me, and I thought it best I keep them brief.

To Pipe Dream: I’ll never forget my first day as an Assistant Opinions Editor. I knew right away that I was in good company. It’s a feeling I’ve never really had before, knowing your next family before you even really know them. This year’s production staff really did end up becoming that family for me. And to Val and Liz, you were the best things to come out of the paper. Val, keep being the wild Texan of my life. Liz, Central Jersey is real, and I know you’ll do great for our section. And to all the contributors I oversaw, thank you for letting me bring your respective masterpieces to light. It was a privilege to be in service to such a wide array of thinkers, and I look forward to reading all your future work!

To Astronomy Club: You were my unfaltering passion throughout these last four years. It’s so nice to have a group to geek out with, and you were the best bunch for it. To e-boards new and old, I’ll miss you, but I trust that the future of our club is in good hands. Keep your eyes to the stars!

To my Chested Nuts: Michaela, Katie, Kayleigh, Nick and Ryan, you guys are the best friends I could have ever asked for. These have been the best years of my life and it’s without a doubt because of you guys. I hope we keep our bonds until the reunion at my diabetic funeral, or my over-the-top wedding. Whichever one comes first.

And sure, I’ll be that guy to shoutout my parents. Mom, Dad and Jack, you were supportive all the way, and I love you. Promise I was kidding about the diabetic funeral.

Let me, then, take this last chance to address all the people who defined my time at college. You are more talented and capable than you’ll ever realize. Keep your convictions, but don’t be afraid to follow your paths wherever they may lead you. And above all else, especially now, always remember to be kind.

Evan Moravansky is a senior majoring in English and opinions editor. He was assistant opinions editor in spring 2019.