When I first arrived in Binghamton in 2009, I was a Brooklyn girl who simply was not prepared to spend the next four years in upstate New York. I knew what a city was, and, compared to where I had come from, Binghamton didn’t appear like much of a contender.

I couldn’t fathom what I would gain, besides an education, that would mark the upcoming four years as the best of my life. I could access the world with the swipe of a metro card at home, but what the hell was there to do along Vestal Parkway? In retrospect, I was scared to embrace Binghamton and call it home, and I shouldn’t have been.

One of the greatest life lessons I’ve learned from being here is that the concept of home is not premised on locality, but rather the comforts that locality provides. And surely Binghamton, in its own way, indulged me in experiences that made these years some of the best I’ve ever had during my academic career.

I’m going to miss the late-night runs to Walmart with my suitemates, eating at Lost Dog, getting a steamer or coffee from Sip of Seattle, limping down State Street in shoes too cute to be bearable to walk in and watching other girls do the same. I’ll miss the service I received at Lourdes when I got bronchitis during the winter months. Surely, a month after graduation I’ll yearn for a large honey milk green tea from The Old Teahouse and a chicken ranch slice from Nirchi’s.

They may not be much, especially coming from a city that has a mall twice the size of the Oakdale Mall in every borough and a coffee shop on every corner, but these were the places and the moments that made Binghamton the place that I thrived in. I didn’t enjoy most of those comforts, however, until my final two years.

If I have any regrets about my time spent here, it would be that I let the grandeur of New York City prevent me from appreciating the jewels that make Binghamton what it is. I wish I would have had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and step off campus. I wish I hadn’t stuck to the notion that there was nothing to do off campus, or that life here could never measure up to home sweet Brooklyn.

Whether you are a freshman or upperclassman, I implore you to spend the remainder of your time getting to know this area. Know the people and the places that shape it, and which consequently have an effect on your undergraduate experience. College is about extending yourself to ideas and possibilities, so take a chance on Binghamton. Perhaps it’s a diamond in the rough, but it’s a diamond nonetheless.

So, to Binghamton, my sincerest apologies and my humble farewell. I will miss you, and remember you as the place I once called home.