Sitting down to write this, I was a little overwhelmed. How do I condense the last four years — in all its blissful fun and true absurdity — into 600 words?

I can’t count the innumerable experiences had, tears shed, laughs shared and trips to State Street made that have forged my path to this point.

But that’s the reality of college isn’t it?

While these four years are about the big things that help you to get your degree and a job after graduation, they’re also about all the little things too.

My college career is just as defined by what I’ve learned in my major classes and the leadership positions I’ve held in my sorority, as it is by all those times procrastinating in CIW with Hannah and Zach, impromptu Moe’s trips with Elyse, nights dancing on the JT’s windowsill with Mallory, (almost) all-nighters in Bartle with Maddy, shooting the shit with Hallie, Friday afternoons gossiping while raiding Saad’s closet, heart-to-hearts with Michelle in Pasquale’s, and so much more.

College is meant to prepare you for the real world through things learned within a classroom and living on your own, but your time here is also an isolated four years that stands on its own.

The experiences you have at Binghamton, both good and bad, are meant to shape you and help you grow.

You’re going to make mistakes and take scary risks. Your preconceived notions about how the world works and what you think your college career will be like are going to be challenged and ultimately change — mine certainly were.

I didn’t think I would get accepted as a writer for Pipe Dream, but took a risk, applied, and found an outlet that’s helped me to find my voice, as well as strengthen my beliefs and writing.

I was adamantly against Greek Life, but rushed on a whim, and not only found my niche with Sigma, but a family away from my real family.

I’ve screwed up more times than I’d like to admit, under countless circumstances, but it’s always turned out alright because I’ve had friends and family to see me through.

The important thing to remember is that growing in college is about learning from those misconceptions had and mistakes made in order to become a better version of yourself.

With each and every one of the experiences I’ve undergone here — good, bad and ugly — I’m well on my way to becoming the person I want to be.

Thank you to all those who have gotten me here, with their unconditional love, support and encouragement.

I can already hear the wrap-up music, so here’s a list of those I owe a lot to: the Fab 5, Twin 241, Broome 503, the #awkwardlin, Sigma, Pipe Dream, those professors who’ve taught me how to think (not what to think), and anyone else I’ve forgotten or couldn’t include because of the word limit: I love you with my whole heart. Thank you.

And to those I owe even more:

To Elisa and Carolyn (and by default Berto): you’ve been my role models for as long as I can remember. Thank you for helping me to be the person I know I’m capable of being through your advice and (tough) love.

And lastly, to my parents: you’ve supported me in every way imaginable since the moment I was born. You’ve shown me exactly the type of people I want to be. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate, but thank you infinitely for everything nonetheless. I quite literally wouldn’t be here without you.

Giovanna Bernardo is a senior double-majoring in English and political science.