My time at Binghamton has been influenced by small interactions.
I came to Binghamton University as a transfer student from Stony Brook University. When I was transferring out, the academic advisers refused to help me leave the University, instead telling me to spend another semester there before making a concrete decision. But during my time there, I felt mutuality with so few people, and I felt I couldn’t achieve the things that I wanted to — only my writing professor was willing to help me transfer out.
“It’s not the right fit for you,” she said.
Coming to BU, I was filled with anxiety, thinking that things were going to be the same. I spent the first few days alone, but eventually decided to go to Transfer Student Services. I didn’t know what I wanted, but when I walked into the office I was met by a graduate assistant named Shiho. She could tell that I was shy and nervous, so she talked to me for an hour about all of her own hardships and anxieties to put me at ease. Her humanness meant everything to me.
“You’ll figure out what you want,” she said. “You have time.”
Shortly after, my roommate Anna moved in. She immediately invited chaos into my life — the type of chaos that I desperately needed in my timid lifestyle. She pushed me to move outside of my comfort zone. When we first met, she immediately got to know me, asking me about my interests. She saw my wall of books, and we spent the night talking about how literature influences me and film influences her.
“Tell me about what you’re reading,” she said.
I knew I wanted to write, so joining Pipe Dream was a given, but I was not expecting to join the Sports section. When I walked into the Pipe Dream office for the GIM, the only available seat was at the Sports desk. I had spent the last 14 years of my life as a competitive athlete, and I wanted nothing more to do with athletics. But the former Sports editor, Sam, persuaded me to apply.
“There’s no harm in applying,” he said. “You can always decide later not to do it.”
But I kept with the section and I quickly found out that I enjoyed going to games and interviewing players and coaches, even though one yelled at me. After I wrote two athlete features, I remember being contacted by Sports Information Director David O’Brian — a man I have spent the past three-and-a-half years working with and greatly respect.
“You’re doing a fantastic job on these features,” he said.
When I got the position of assistant Sports editor and had to start going to trainings, I was filled with anxiety again, worried about making mistakes and fitting in. At the end of one of our trainings, the soon-to-be editor-in-chief, Sasha, introduced herself to me. Over time, she became a close friend and someone that I have deep respect for. Of all the people I know, I am certain that she will accomplish amazing things.
“We’re really glad to have you on staff,” she said.
The next school year, I got to know my colleagues, Justin and Ed, much better, and we became friends instantly. When I met Justin for the first time, I immediately liked him. He is so kind and considerate of everyone around him, wanting others to feel welcome. When I met Ed, I was terrified by how scheduled out his life was. I know his five-year and 10-year plan, where he is going to live and when and how he’s going to design both his house and his outdoor living space. We are complete opposites, but through that opposition, we’ve created a lifelong friendship that I deeply appreciate.
The next semester, we hired Joe, who was incredibly easy to train and trust. When he takes over the section next year, I have the utmost confidence in him. Working with him for the past year and a half has been incredibly fun. He brings a youthful energy to the section, and I’m so glad that we became good friends.
In addition to all of the friends I’ve made, there have been two professors who have profoundly influenced me: John Kuhn and Joseph Church. Not only does Professor Kuhn know how to make 17th-century literature interesting, but he also has great enthusiasm for his students’ work. He was the first professor to help me solidify confidence in my writing, and he made me a much better student by forcing me to participate in class. Professor Church, my thesis adviser, has guided me through this semester. He has confidence in me when I don’t have it in myself, and I will be eternally grateful for both his class on existentialist literature and his help on my long-form project.
All of these people and more have made my time at BU what it is. Interactions with others shape us into the people we are, and I will leave Binghamton thankful for all the people it has led me to.
Samantha Marsh is a senior majoring in English and is an assistant Sports editor.