After seven semesters of regretting my admission to Binghamton University, it’s hard to glorify any part of this city. Very rarely does the average student see a day without either a thunderstorm warning or a stampede of white privilege. Throughout my years here, I’ve grown to learn that the majority of white adolescents have not, and will never, grow out of their innate entitlement — and University life has brought out the worst in their attitudes. A typical student description of underprivileged Binghamton locals retains subjective judgment using terms like “townies” or assuming certain residents are addicts merely based on their appearance. All characterizations are derogatory and often pointed toward people of color. I assumed that as we reached the end of senior year, the white superiority complexes of Binghamton pupils would slowly subside — but, I was drastically humbled and, in fact, the general mindsets got worse.

It felt as if people made an effort to educate themselves and recognize their own privilege following the political roars of 2020. However, after about two years, many of my peers that I initially deemed considerate dropped their morals as if they got tired of putting on an act. This is not only applicable to those with white privilege but rather all who praise a bulk of mainly Westernized standards — for example, the resurface of fatphobic language, the chronic branding of the underprivileged as drug addicts between social media posts of cocaine-filled weekends, slander toward Asians and stereotypical jokes, the broadening honor toward crowds of rape apologists, the disappearance of sensitivity toward mental illness and blatant homophobia. These are all notions I have witnessed or personally experienced, gaining a gross amount of popularity as graduation inches closer.

The Eurocentric lack of consideration in many of my peers forced me to value the truly educated crowd more greatly. University was a toxic environment, but those who remained aware of social hierarchy and fought against it gained my respect immediately. I realized toward the end of my time in Binghamton that incoming students are still kids — kids getting cheated on, kids getting drugged, kids getting abused. But, as we have grown into adults, I had hoped there would be a shift in the student mindset to recognize that we should learn from such incidents and acknowledge that some of these seemingly inevitable instances shouldn’t be normalized — and make an effort to protect those more prone to them or other forms of hatred. I called myself eternally lucky to share the same values as many of my friends, but I still lacked a figure in the academic world.

Someone I found myself able to converse with, on topics ranging from my failed relationships to my friends who are homeless to my thoughts on global division and back to my failed bonds, was my professor and writing mentor Joe Weil. Not only did Professor Weil fuel my fortunate discovery of poetics, but he is a sort of father figure to me in the midst of an irksome college scene. After writing a chapbook under his guidance as an independent project, I got to know my past professor more sincerely — I was honored to pick the brain of an American poet and individual with countless life stories to tell. I felt as if Professor Weil was the only member of BU’s staff that had awareness. He is someone I trust to share my hardships with, read my personal writing samples to and talk to about the blinding privilege that this college bears without fear that I would be judged or shut down. I was so lucky to work with someone that wasn’t going to tell me I couldn’t have an opinion even if it differed from his, and someone whose achievements are so honorable to me. Additionally, Professor Weil had helped me through a troubling gap semester with the occasional reminder that his class would be there waiting for me when I returned, proving that he cares for his students both in and out of the classroom. For that, I was even more fond of his respect toward others, especially those in less authoritative positions.

I think that everyone should have a Joe Weil in their life. I always felt like BU owed me my life back, but I owe Professor Weil a thousand of mine. For this reason, I changed the way I view my college experience and our lives overlapping has diminished my regret in attending BU.

Alexis Fischer is a senior double-majoring in English and environmental studies.

Views expressed in the opinions pages represent the opinions of the columnists. The only piece that represents the views of the Pipe Dream Editorial Board is the Staff Editorial.