Getting closer to graduation has caused my feelings about my time at Binghamton University to become increasingly apparent. During my time here, I’ve always focused on what I could be doing for my future instead of maybe living in the moment like I should have. Now that I’m about to leave, I can’t help but have this impending feeling of, “Man, maybe I should have done more than I did,” or “How many things have I missed out on that I’ll never be able to do again?”

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed my time at BU — there are definitely things that could’ve been better, but I think I was able to appreciate the things that I did participate in. As someone who doesn’t particularly worry or stress about things, I’ve reflected on what I was able to learn from being a BU student and thought about how I can move forward as a better person from my experiences. I definitely think being here has shown me that I need to have more of an open mind and embrace any new opportunities or changes that may present themselves to me, since I can’t know what good they might hold once I decline them. I entered BU as a closed-minded freshman who felt I was too good to come here and that many of my peers just weren’t as intelligent as I am. Although most of my time here was affected by COVID-19, I observed people who genuinely loved and cared about being BU students, which softened my mindset and showed me that I should learn how to make the best of any situation I’m in.

I’ve come to understand part of the reason why many students decide to attend graduate school immediately after completing their undergraduate education — four years isn’t nearly enough time to make all the memories and gain all the experiences you want, even if you “optimized” your college experience. Part of the reason why I haven’t been able to make those “lifelong friends” or “make memories” is because I came into college afraid of failing my parents. As a first-generation student, attending college felt like an obligation, and I already felt like a failure for not attending the university I’d initially wanted to attend. Therefore, I came into BU feeling lost, miserable and disheartened because I didn’t know what to expect, what identity to assume or what to do.

As much as I complained and showed my dislike for my freshman year suitemates, I now thank them for showing me that “taking things seriously” is not exclusive to being cooped up inside focusing on work all the time — that they can have fun and still get their schoolwork done — they can go out and focus on the moment instead of worrying about grades or completing assignments (I’d personally rather not do this, but it’s inevitably true that C’s get degrees, so grades actually don’t really matter in the long run). My roommate freshman year is a kind, genuine soul, and I appreciate her for trying to get me to loosen up my shell and live life for what it is. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand that then, and with senior year being the only “normal” year I’ve had, those chances may have slipped by me.

Regardless, I’m glad that I’m about to finish schooling for good — or, at least, for now — and focus on learning to live for myself since we only have one life, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to let it pass me by. Thanks, Bing, for giving me the opportunity to learn more about myself, thank you to everyone at Pipe Dream who welcomed me in and made my senior year an enjoyable time, and thanks to everyone who attempted to drag me out of my shell to make me realize that the world is so much bigger than what I’ve been used to.

Brianna Crowther is a senior majoring in graphic design and is an assistant design manager.