My entire time at Binghamton University has been spent writing, editing and buying food for Pipe Dream. The people in this organization are one of the main reasons I’ll be walking the stage at BU on May 11. During COVID-19, I think my ability to enjoy life and socialize was restricted tenfold. When thinking retrospectively, it’s quite hard to remember anything but taking hour-long mask breaks and walking through the cold and abandoned halls of my high school. I vaguely remember walking the stage at an extremely bizarre high school graduation, where the blistering heat and social distancing kept me far away from anything that resembled normalcy.

When I came to BU, I really wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I was one of those students who was planning on transferring to Cornell as soon as the clock struck midnight on my freshman year. Binghamton can be a cold and unforgiving place, especially at any time of the year except for the first week of the fall semester and the last week of the spring semester. But, there’s a reason I stayed here, and there’s a reason I love coming back every time I go home for a break. The people in this place are the most beautiful and intelligent people I’ve ever met, and I want to write them a letter expressing my gratitude for letting me into their lives.

Firstly, my experience here at BU began when I joined the political science learning community in Seneca Residence Hall. The people who lived on the fourth and fifth floors of that residence hall are some of the closest people to me. My current roommates, and many people in my BU family, are those whom I met the first few nervous weeks here at BU. I remember first walking my class schedule with Jack, my roommate freshman year, and not knowing anything about this University except for Baxter the Bearcat. Soon we’ll be walking across the stage together. I remember the snowball fights we had in College-in-the-Woods when the weather got cold, and I remember each ridiculous moment spent being crazy in the study lounge at three in the morning, doing anything but studying.

My BU family expanded when I transitioned from a columnist to an intern here at Pipe Dream. My former fellow intern Julie — who is going to be the best opinions editor Pipe Dream has ever had — has worked with me for nearly two years on editing crazy content and making the most of stressful times. To Julie, your caring and versatile nature will not only make you a strong opinions editor, but it will also help you make a much larger impact on the world than I, or anyone in the office, could ever make.

To the entire staff of Pipe Dream, know that the hard times we’ve experienced have made us all both stronger professionally and personally. Over the past year, Pipe Dream has been a lot like a ship out at sea, with a pretty shitty storm threatening to sink us at each moment. Each one of you has not only helped us stay afloat, but also helped us flourish. While the times are only going to get tougher after the warm months of summer, your bonds with each other will continue to make each former staff member immensely proud. I am proud of everyone that I have worked with, and I am equally proud of everyone I didn’t get a chance to work with. It takes all of us to make this giant machine run.

To Lia and Bella, the greatest captains that all of us can ask for, I know that both of you will enjoy a fulfilling life not in journalism, as will I. But I want you to know how immensely proud I am to have worked with you over the past semester. It is in times like these that you find out what people are really made of, and you both are two of the strongest people that I know. Chaotic and ridiculous memories are those that are emboldened in our brains for the longest time, and I know that we’ve made enough for more than just one year in only the past few months.

I want to start the end of my 36th, and last, column by saying that Pipe Dream has given me more gifts over the past years than any organization I’ve been a part of. It is not only just a prominent organization on campus, but is integral to the heart of the University that I have come to love. I will always look back on these times with a smile on my face, and admittedly some tears of joy as well. Pipe Dream has gifted me with so many people that have made my time at BU infinitely better than if I was just trudging from class to class. I am even grateful for the times where we have reached the bottom of the bottomless pit during the last semester, since that’s where I met someone I’m proud to love, who’s also much better at this whole newspaper thing than I am.

To those who have read all our opinions over the past years, keep reading — the opinions will continue to make a mark, and even a difference, in our beautiful community.

Sean Reichbach is a senior double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and economics and is Pipe Dream’s Opinions Editor.

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.