I never could have predicted how my college experience would turn out.

When I came to Binghamton University, I planned on majoring in political science with a vague idea of where that would take me. I’ve always been interested in politics, so it just sort of felt right to me. Not knowing what I would be or where I would end up terrified me, so I just continued down the path that felt like it made the most sense to me at the time.

But in my second semester at BU, I took “Rhetoric 240: Introduction to Journalism” on a whim, and can honestly say that it changed the trajectory of my entire life. I’ll never forget being so upset that I couldn’t sign up for the class, since it was restricted for English majors only. As an undeclared little freshman, I thought I was out of luck until the next year. It was my then-resident-assistant and friend who told me to “just show up and see what happens.” I did and got one of the last seats left in the class.

Now, I can safely say that “just showing up” to that class was one of the best decisions I’ve made since coming to BU. Through that class, I rediscovered my childhood love of writing — journalistic writing in particular — and gained the two most incredible mentors a girl could ask for.

That was the same semester that I joined the Pipe Dream News section — a decision purely motivated by my rekindled love of writing.

Ever since then, my college experience has been defined by unpredictability, which is a thought that would have terrified freshman me four years ago. From accidentally discovering a love of writing that would change any career ideas I had, to everything that came with Zoom University and the COVID-19 pandemic cutting my sophomore year short and making my junior year entirely online, it’s been a wild ride for me.

Throughout all of this uncertainty, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything at all without the incredible support system I have in my life. I will never be able to find enough words and time to thank all of you and express just how grateful I am, but here goes nothing.

Firstly, to my family — Thank you for everything. Literally everything. Mom and Dad, I love you so much. Thank you for being there for me not only these past four years, but for my whole life.

Catherine — Our long-distance friendship has been so important to me for the past few years! I literally don’t know what I would do without you in my life. I feel so lucky to know you at all, and there are no words to convey how special and proud I feel to call you my best friend. You’re going to do amazing things and I can’t wait to hear all about them, via five-minute audio messages, for years to come.

Ellie — Where would I be without you? I have no idea how I would have survived these past two years without you in my life. You and your sense of humor have brought so much light to my life in such dark and challenging times. I will always cherish our friendship and countless inside jokes, from Girlboss Eliot to red lines to Dame Judi Dench, and I can’t wait to make more with you. I literally can’t believe that I get to call someone as amazing as you my friend, and I absolutely cannot wait to see where life takes you.

To my Bing besties, Jackie, Salenna and Talia — Salenna, thank you for being there for me since day one. Well, actually, before day one. It feels like just yesterday we met at freshman orientation, and I was freaking out because someone I thought was so cool was going to be living in the same building as me. I feel so grateful that you’re still in my life after all of this time. Jackie, between late-night fast food runs and Taylor Swift listening parties, I couldn’t have asked for a better roomie in the Nut House and for someone to be codependent on for the past two years. Thank you so much for everything. Talia, where do I even start? Between our trauma-bonding during my freshman year and you literally convincing me to take the class that changed my life, I will never be able to thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me. You’re going to be the most amazing veterinarian ever, and I can’t wait to see you again!

Hamza, Mark and Melissa — my News team! Thank you all for making my time on staff not only bearable, but fun — because we’re fun! I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you all accomplish at BU next year, both on Pipe Dream and off.

Eric and Rachel — as mentioned earlier, you both literally changed the trajectory of my life, not exaggerating. Letting me into that class, believing in me — I can never thank you both enough for every single thing you’ve done for me these past four years. You’ve been the best mentors I could ever dream of asking for, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have you in my life.

There are so many more people I want to thank, but I only have so much space. To everyone who didn’t fit on this list, you’re no less important to me and thank you for supporting me during my time at BU and during my whole life.

I can’t quite believe yet that my four years here are over! Although I have no clue where life will take me, I can’t wait to enter the next era of my life, as unpredictable as it may be.

Kaitlyn Hart is a senior double–majoring in English and political science and is Assistant News Editor.