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

While applying to college, my classmates were throwing around a lot of big name schools, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t going to be happy going to Binghamton University. Luckily, when I arrived, I realized that there were many perks to being a student here.

The first perk, and really the best perk, is the state level tuition. Now while my old classmates might be shelling out at least fifty grand a year on tuition alone, Binghamton is really affordable in comparison. Had I gone to one of those big name schools, I would have been swamped in student loans and stressed about how to pay them off once I left college. Now I am going to be a junior and when I graduate I will join the work force debt-free, and nothing is better than that.

Another great perk about going to Binghamton is that it is not too far from New York City or Long Island. While we may not want to admit it, many students tend to come from Long Island, New York City or around those areas. Binghamton University is only three hours or so away from those locations! So if you’re homesick or just want to get away from the Sodexo food, it’s a really easy bus ride back home.

Being a freshman, a lot of you might want to get out there and join some clubs. Binghamton has a very large variety of clubs, and I must say that it has certainly helped me find friends, and get involved in the things that I love. Do you like acting? Well there are a lot of student run groups on campus, such as Hinman Production Company, and Dickinson Community Players, as well as opportunities within the theatre department. Did you ever think of being on the radio? You can join WHRW for that! Do you like pretending to be a pirate? There’s a club for that too! There’s is a club for almost anything you can think of, and they are all really great outlets to meet new people.

Binghamton also has a brand spanking new gym that you can join! While it might take some money out of your pocket, it’s really nice and has all the equipment you might need if you want to ward off the freshman fifteen. The final perk I will disclose is the bus system. OCCT is always available to take you to Walmart or Wegmans or Target or wherever you need to go. I thought that not having a car as a freshman would be a problem, but the buses were always there to help make the trip easier, and they are free!