Like anything, I entered college with a fresh mindset, believing I’d have a similar experience to what my mother and father had when they went to Binghamton University. I was awaiting that wholesome dorm life where people left their doors open and drifted from room to room, conversing with each other. That didn’t happen, but I was fortunate enough that one door did end up open after a day of barely being able to eat from the anxiety of having to be alone for the first time in my life.

My friends Tom and Jake opened that door, and I was thankful that I entered, because it began my whirlwind of a college experience. While I am not as close with those friends as I once was, their hospitality opened many doors for me in the future, and it took me until my junior year to see how my true value could lead to me opening those doors myself.

I have had lots of ups and downs in college — especially in my junior year, where changes in friendship dynamics left me inconsolable some days. In what was my emotional rock bottom, a time when getting out of my room was extremely hard, I saw the people that were true to me and kept me going.

I realized through those dark times that discovering what was best for me and sticking with it gave me the college experience I wanted. My senior year has been my favorite because I finally realized I could choose what was best for me and put in the effort to keep that in my life. Below are people that I found to have made my college experience better than I could have ever imagined. They helped me feel more confident in myself than I ever felt at the beginning of college,

Liv: I could never have found my confidence and my smile without you. You are always a bright ray of sunshine in my life that I never want to rid myself of. I am so honored to have spent more than half of my college life by your side. You were and are always my support and my confidant. I love you so much and can’t wait for what the future has for us.

Justin and Mark: You guys are the most fun, awesome friends I could ask for. We have been through a lot since our freshman year but our friendship has never wavered. You guys are my day-one college friends, always.

Goldie, Colin, Josh, Brian and Ian: Goldie, I’m glad I have always been able to get lunch and hang with you throughout our four years here, and thank you for introducing me to a new crop of people my junior year. Colin, I am grateful that I met you, a fellow Deadhead who understands my music taste, and found an ideal living situation for my senior year with the most chill and funny people as roommates (Ian, Brian and Josh). You guys have made the apartment such a fun place to come back to every day to de-stress.

Lakshmi, Krishna and Makoto: In my worst and best moments, coming into production as an intern was the highlight of my week. Lakhsmi, you still feel like my editor, and you have the best music taste. Krishna, you were always so welcoming and fun to chat with. Makoto, you are so down to earth, and you always motivated me to dance, which made me thrilled. I never knew if I was the type of person to be in a club long-term, but you guys made me feel so comfortable to be my goofy self and push myself to take on a leadership position, which I had never done before in my life.

Jamie and Eli: I thank you, guys, for dealing with my craziness and awkward writing interactions. I’m going to miss reading rough articles together, Jamie and I yelling at each other and Eli offering his elite movie opinions. You two have been my anchor during the most stressful times at Arts & Culture, so thank you so much for that. I think we have left our mark as the best Arts & Culture team of all time (maybe not actually).

Samra, Molly, Revati, Hudson and Alexis: You all have been the best contributors and interns I could ask for and have made the Arts Table such a fun place to come to. For Hudson, Revati and Alexis, I know you guys are going to be an amazing arts staff next year. I will be checking the website regularly to see the awesome content Arts will pump out. I have the utmost faith in you all.

Hamza, Harry, Jack, Doris, Jake, Michael and Bella: It feels so weird how much dynamics have changed since the beginning of the year, but seeing all of us develop rapport and feel like a true unit has been a blessing. I love coming into the office, talking to all of you, and visiting all of the desks. Thanks to you guys, it never felt like a chore or a job to come to the office twice a week. Instead, it’s something I’ll cherish. I am going to miss all of you, especially Harry’s baby Yoda t-shirt.

Finding the right thing takes time, and it took me until my junior year to realize certain friends and people at Pipe Dream were the right things. Everyone works at a different pace, but if you find something that speaks to you, stick with what your heart tells you and you won’t regret a thing.

Samuel Lillianthal is a senior majoring in psychology and is Arts & Culture Editor.