Editor’s Note: The following column is from Pipe Dream’s Summer 2013 Orientation Issue.

Alright kiddies, welcome to Binghamton.

We’re thrilled to have you. Please, by all means, get comfortable. You’ll be here a while.

We’ve heard good things. You’re the product of a record-breaking pool of applicants, so our expectations are high. We’re looking forward to seeing what you bring to the table. Because we’re on a mission. We’re on our way to becoming the premier public university of the 21st century, in case you haven’t heard, and you’re our new opening act.

It’s exciting and nerve-wracking, all at the same time.

But don’t worry, you’ll find your groove. And if you don’t know what that means yet, that’s more than ok. Because the thing about college is, you can be whoever you want to be.

So take a look around.

A good portion of the students you see will join Greek life. I don’t particularly get it, but they’ll be charmed by the allure of rushing, pledging and hazing. And if you don’t know what those mean yet, don’t you worry your little pants off. Some kind upperclassman will illuminate the fraternity and sorority “initiation” and “orientation” process for you soon enough.

Others may take to campus media. While nothing quite holds up to the esteem of joining a reputable publication like Pipe Dream, there are plenty of ways to get your voice heard.

If you’d literally like to get your voice heard, consider auditioning for one of the dozen a cappella groups on campus. They’re the hottest thing since the World Wide Web. If you prefer to play music music, start or join a band. And if you’re musical in the sense that you’ve got taste but no talent, I’d recommend poking your head into WHRW, the school radio station, just down the hall.

Others, still, will find their niche in campus politics or communal leadership. And some of the faces you see now will drop off the earth never to be seen again, until graduation, maybe.

The important thing is to get out there and embrace your passion. That may mean pursuing something you’ve dreamt about for years, whether it’s art, anthropology or accounting. More often than not, though, you’ll find the greatest fulfillment from the things you couldn’t have anticipated. In the last few semesters, I have friends who have switched from pre-med to creative writing, while others have come out to their friends, and then families.

Take a look around. This is it. This is what college looks like.

So get out there and conquer, before it gets cold. Winter’s coming hard and fast. And the thing about the Binghamton winter is it comes and stays, like your clueless drunk friend, unaware he’s exhausted his welcome. Capitalize on any enthusiasm you’ve got now, because the Binghamton winter will knock that right out of your bones until you’ve forgotten what sunshine feels like. Which reminds me, I hope you packed plenty of socks. Really, a few dozen pairs of Eskimo-quality ought to get you through Thanksgiving.

Yet I digress.

Get involved. Raise your hand in class. Try out for a team on a whim. Audition for a play. Sign up for a cause you never heard of. Find a major. Drop a major. Fall in love with a class. Fall in love with a classmate.

Basically, get out there and make the most of it. Once you do, you’ll see how wonderful it is here.