I am my worst critic. Growing up, one of my worst habits was comparing my work to others’. This is problematic for someone who finds it very difficult to work in the first place. As I’ve learned throughout the years, lacking the motivation to produce work and then comparing your small amount of work to others’ work, work which took them years of practice, is a cycle that creates bad work. It is a stupid cycle. Because of this, I am someone who needs harsh critique, deadlines and a consistent workflow to find motivation, find focus and grow as an artist.

I have always dreamt of people noticing my art. Moreover, I have always wanted to draw comics. The opportunities I’ve had at Binghamton University are like no other. By the fall semester of my sophomore year, I acquired the opportunity to grow as the Assistant Editor of the Fun Page at Pipe Dream and eventually take on the role of Fun Editor. Looking back now, Pipe Dream has shaped me into the person I never thought I would be. I’ve produced a number of comic strips, my style has become unique to myself and is now something I love, and my illustrations for Fun Page and Editorial have been viewed by the thousands of students who pick up our paper every Monday and Thursday. I have become more confident in my work than I was years ago when I entered college.

Pipe Dream gave me a running start. It has opened a door to 1,000 more. I was able to grow as an artist and as a person. I am still my own worst critic, but now I know how to critique myself properly. I’ve met many fantastic creatives, experienced many different styles, proudly grew the Fun section, learned to work with others, acquired enough content to make the Fun Page two pages and learned how to be a leader. Thanks to Pipe Dream, like everyone else, I hope to go on in life doing great things.

Before I thank everyone who encouraged me along my journey, I’d like to say something: Learn to properly critique yourself. Always get a second and third opinion. Set a deadline.

Firstly, I’d like to thank my art professors for pushing me to work hard and think harder. Thank you to Niles and Andrea for being amazing support, teaching me great techniques that I will carry with me outside of college and for laying down a creative space to work (and thanks for letting me drink coffee in class even though we shouldn’t).

Secondly, to Nate Walker, Without you, I would not be where I am right now. Thank you for being a fantastic mentor and friend in both my design courses and Pipe Dream. You are someone I greatly look up to. You’ve provided me with fantastic opportunities throughout college and given me great feedback. Thanks for all the laughs and fun times.

To Cherie and Ashley, I will sincerely miss being two steps away from the both of you. Thank you, Cherie, for encouraging me to move forward and Ashley for my chaotic distractions. You’ve both become people I cannot be seen a day without and the first people I think of when embarking on an adventure, whether in Israel on Birthright or to Sonic right before closing time.

To Laura, Justin and Allison, you have made my best and most unforgettable memories throughout college. Thank you for making me feel at home wherever we might be (Chicago, Binghamton or New Jersey) and for supporting my work. You may have been my first friends in different stages of life, but you’ve always made me feel welcome.

Thank you, Kevin, for giving me a space to be uber-creative. Designing the posters for Bing Stand-Up is something I love and will miss. Your critiques have helped me grow immensely as a designer.

To Lia and your beautiful alter ego, Jia: I am glad we grew so close so quickly. Where would I be without you reminding me all four names of the Penguins of Madagascar?

To the Fun Page and Tech: You guys rock. When I was a freshman, the Fun section consisted of three people. Now, we have at least seven consistent contributors. I’ve never been more proud. Thank you, Fun Page and Tech, for giving me a space where I can laugh while I work. I will truly miss you. And to Sarah Teper, good luck, soldier. You’ve grown significantly this past year and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you in graphic design. Be persistent.

Lastly, to my family, I cannot thank you enough for encouraging me to go to BU and supporting me the entire way. I had fantastic opportunities that I don’t think I would have had anywhere else. All of the long drives were worth it. Zach, I hope you enjoy your next three years as a Bearcat.

Annabeth Sloan is a senior majoring in graphic design, Pipe Dream’s fun editor and an editorial artist. She was assistant fun editor from fall 2017 to spring 2019.