Hey there, Bearcats past, present and future. My name is Darian and like many of you, Binghamton University was not my first choice.

High school me was set on a much more expensive name-brand university, where 20 other seniors from my class were going. But when the Binghamton acceptance letter came and dad started crying on the spot, it became clear that I was Vestal-bound.

At first, Binghamton didn’t make sense to me. I spent a good amount of freshman year on the fence about transferring. I felt like I was missing out on the traditional college experience: the sprawling campus, the idyllic college town (I obviously hadn’t been to Boscov’s yet) and the foreign concept of “optimism.”

But I stayed, and began to realize that what this place lacks is what makes it so very special. Binghamton may not be a traditional college, but because of that, your college experience can be much more than traditional — a school that leaves gaps that you get to fill yourself.

I came an innocent, sheltered Westchester nomad; I leave a proud child of SUNY. In between, I got to engage in activities more bizarre and fun I could have never imagined. I judged the Miss Asia beauty pageant. I joined an a cappella group. One week later, I quit an a cappella group. I was president of my CIW dorm sophomore year, running on a platform that involved attaching condoms to flyers and slipping them under every room. I also didn’t realize that you’re not supposed to staple the condoms to the flyers. But I really hope the people I gave them to did!

I also probably wouldn’t have spent a whole semester without Internet, but I did, with my roommate Kris at 139 Washington St. Well, almost a whole semester. We were actually evicted during the last week of classes when, after our bathroom overflowed at my birthday party, the roof caved four stories below at Portfolios Cafe. No legal charges were filed, but we lost our deposit.

If the music department faculty hadn’t told me time and time again that there wasn’t room in the budget for piano composition, I may have never started doing musical comedy or joined Bing Stand Up. Love you guys, no joke (!!!).

If Binghamton had a communications program, I probably would have never even walked into the Pipe Dream office freshman year. I attended the fall GIM to apply to Fun Page, but when I asked the editor at the time about joining, he said no one had ever come up to him at a GIM before, so I decided to apply for Release instead. I’m proud to have served as the fearless editor of that very section.

I started small, my first article being an investigative feature about why college males don’t wear rain boots. Today, I write my last, almost a parody of the column I expected myself to write. I’ve been coming to Pipe Dream productions for 2.5 years, and in that time, I never sat on the long green couch (it’s coated in dust guys, just pat it. It’s disgusting), I’ve never used my own computer log-in (sorry everyone, I’ve just been on the designer accounts) and I’ve also had some of my best college experiences. I’m truly going to miss you all; every Monday and Thursday night will feel empty for years to come.

I’d like to offer this emotionally resonant quote from country rock band Wilco: “Remember to remember me, standing still in your past, floating fast like a hummingbird.”

To the next-gen Pipe Dreamers and for those to come, here are my humble requests: Please keep doing Pipe Scream and please keep relationships with other campus media outlets strong, namely WHRW 90.5 FM and BTV. We’re all in this together. Also if I randomly walk into the office in a few years, please pretend to know me.

Mom, thank you for visiting me every semester of college. Sorry I sometimes didn’t want to stay at the Hampton Inn with you even if the bed was king-sized. Dad, thanks for emailing all of our family friends with each of my major college accomplishments. Not sure if I would classify fall Dean’s List as major, but it’s cool.

Also, a shout out to the BU faculty members whom I couldn’t have done it without. Jill Seymour, I wouldn’t be graduating without you. I’m barely graduating with you. Vaughan, I always hoped I’d have a college professor to look up to but sometimes reality exceeds expectations. And Maria, the Sodexo employee whom I befriended sophomore year and have visited regularly since, thank you for the TLC and for the free Jazzman’s coffee.

Seniors, the time has come to go forth, graduate and unfriend every frat and viral Binghamton page on Facebook. It’s been real guys. Let’s never look back and say THOSE were the days. Our best is yet to come.