Hello, and for those of you who are new to Binghamton University, welcome. For the underclassmen still donning Cornell sweatshirts and clinging to the very slim possibility that you will transfer there next year, you should probably accept your fate and drown your sorrows at The Rat. I’ll pick you up around 8 p.m. For seniors embarking on your final year of undergrad, brace for a slew of sentimental comrades reminding you that each college event will be your last and to prepare for your impending doom as an entry-level punching bag.
This past week has enjoyed its fair share of welcome-back parties, and with it hosts a series of droll conversations in which strangers feign interest in each other’s “goals.” I stumbled upon one of these unfortunate interactions between two young men, who both vowed to have sex with a girl before the end of the semester, which hopefully won’t impede upon their other plans of going to the gym at least three times a week and getting a 4.0.
To these young men, I sympathize, but it would be impressive to accomplish even one of these objectives. I was under the same impression that I somehow had to do it all during my first semester and every semester after that. If you’re looking for a piece of unsolicited advice from a woman-child who still can’t drive on highways, here it is: Throw away all your goals. You will be far too busy to refer to that sticky note laden with promises that usually become compromised when life happens.
Somewhere along the way, college students lost their ability to create their own benchmarks and actually complete them. We can’t entirely blame movies like “Animal House” for compelling us to want to drink all, screw all and do all. The mantra of “doing college right” forces us to cram a lifetime of milestones into four short years. Finding yourself seems to be an idea we peddle to an insecure generation of freshmen as something that is supposed to happen in college in addition to finding best friends and a lucrative passion to study.
Let things come to you. This doesn’t mean slack off on your studies or wait to be invited to things. Rather, do not let these goals hinder you from truly enjoying your time and tailoring your college experience to your interests. Gain the freshman 15 — you’ll lose it when you forget to eat during finals week. Have as much sex as you want or no sex at all. The great thing is that nobody cares about you or your business because you are irrelevant — you’re not on television and you’re not curing cancer. You’re just some kid who’s doing their best. The only person who might view your personal life with some shred of significance is your roommate because, well, “your boyfriend always leaves the toilet seat up when he’s over.”
So no matter what stage you’re at in this academic game riddled with hypersensitive, politically correct classmates, jaded professors who find regurgitating their words to be the highest form of flattery and enough ketamine to quell the Kentucky Derby, enjoy it. Anyone who says they know the key to success is a liar. You’ll just have to find it out for yourself along the way.
Kristen DiPietra is a senior double-majoring in English and human development.