When friends suggest going out for dinner, I’m the one who does research on restaurants days in advance, looking up every item the menus offers and figuring out the exact time I would have to leave my house to get on the R train and make it there in time. I plan what scary movie I’ll watch on the weekend and when I’m going to work on my political science paper.
Planning has always made me feel secure, like I had control.

I continued planning when I got to college. I planned out my classes for the upcoming semesters, and I planned for fulfilling the goals I wanted to accomplish in college that I so anxiously had been looking forward to after high school.

Throughout college, when people asked me of my intentions to attend graduate school sometime after graduation, I responded, “Well, you know, it’s all part of the plan.”

Joining Pipe Dream was also part of the plan. Like most Pipe Dreamers, I worked for my high school newspaper, and knew that writing was a fun hobby I wanted to get more serious about. I was hired my third week at Binghamton University, and Pipe Dream completely absorbed me.

Working on the News section, we continued planning. We planned the articles we would assign for each issue a week in advance and planned what photos would accompany them.

As editor-in-chief, I helped to plan editorials, the design of issues and how we could continue improving.

I acknowledge that expecting to stick to a rigid plan in every aspect of my life is naive and impossible. While I held onto the security of planning, Pipe Dream also forced to me to learn that sometimes, despite planning, things go wrong.

News breaks at the wrong time, forcing you to write stories at 11 p.m. on a Saturday. Sources don’t always get back to you before publication, so you have to go walking around the Marketplace asking freshmen what their plans for winter break are. When it’s 12:59 a.m. and we realize that we left out a photo caption or miss a typo in a headline, things have to adjust. (It’s still stressful each time it happens, but now that it won’t be happening anymore, I can’t put into words how much I’ll miss it.)

Besides forcing me to lighten up sometimes and get used to change, Pipe Dream played a massive role in my development at BU, and it’s really one of the main reasons I stayed here after my freshman year. Outside of the writing and editing I learned better in that basement office than in any classroom on campus, I learned the impact of our voices and the collaboration necessary to produce a great piece of work. We say this all the time, but being a part of a totally student-run newspaper is rare; and it was an extreme privilege. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve totally accepted the inevitable fact that life remains unpredictable, but the unpredictability of Pipe Dream helped prepare me to live with less of a direct plan.

Sticking to my grand plan proved further unattainable as I entered this final semester of college. I didn’t plan for the changes to my social and personal life that would affect me this year. And, it turns out, I didn’t plan too well, and unexpectedly had enough credits to finish my time at BU by the end of this semester.

It may seem cliché, but hey, this is my senior column, and I’m allowed to come of age in whatever way I want. I’m learning to adjust to the idea that I’m growing and changing constantly, and life will always find its way to creep up on me; there’s just no possible way the plan can remain the same.

Now I’m saying goodbye to BU, and to Pipe Dream, and I don’t know where I’m going to be in one month, let alone in one year from now. But I’m choosing to be open-minded for a change, and bringing with me the skills and the memories I gained from every West Side party, CIW dining hall breakfast and Pipe Dream production.

Although I’m not adhering to the college plan I made for myself in 2014, I didn’t plan for the person I’d become by 2017; this person, empowered by the last three and a half years, is confident and passionate. Despite fear of the unknown, and the blurriness of what the future holds, I’m ready, and I’m thankful and I’m excited.

Thanks to my mom, dad and sister for picking up the minimum five phone calls a day where I’m complaining about something, and for always being my No. 1 fans. I don’t say it enough, but I love you guys the most.

Thanks to Alex, Carla, Pelle and Brendan for being the silliest and best news section. I’ve missed the news cruise, the news booze, Bernie on ice and the firing tally all semester, and I’m excited to join you guys in the great big world beyond college.

Thank you to the friends I met at Binghamton, who have made me laugh and helped me figure out what kind of person I am and want to be. Thanks to my friends from home, for the FaceTime calls and the memes.

Finally, thank you to all the people I’ve had the honor of working with on Pipe Dream both this year and in the past. Thank you for teaching me everything I know, and thank you for being my friends. You’re all some of the smartest, most fun people I’ve met at college, and the work you all have done truly amazes me every time I hold the product we all somehow pull together. It’s really hard to say goodbye, but I’m positive that the future of Pipe Dream is a bright one.

Gabriella Weick is a senior double-majoring in political science and philosophy, politics and law.