A Day In the Life of a Binghamton University Student
Kristen Mulvena is a Queens native and first year graduate student at Stony Brook pursuing her Master of Social Work with a specialization in Higher Education. This past May, Kristen graduated from Binghamton University Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In August, she completed her second summer as an intern at Graduate NYC. Kristen is passionate about the role of mental health in college persistence and success and hopes to someday work in a university counseling center. When she’s not interning, Kristen enjoys singing, theater, reading, and trying new food.
I absolutely love Binghamton University. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else for college and I can’t believe I’m a senior already. One of the beautiful things about going to Binghamton is that our days change as rapidly as the weather, and everyone’s experience is unique. That said, I have tried my best to encompass as much of typical (wonderful) life at Binghamton as possible.
9 AM – Mornings for me are busy! First is breakfast. You have your choice of one of the four dining halls on campus – dorms are split into five unique communities each with its own dining hall (except for the largest DH which is shared between two communities). Since I live in the Hinman College community, I like to eat in the Hinman Dining Hall. Next, I’m off to Glenn G. Bartle Library and the library coffee stand Jazzman’s for enough caffeine to fuel the rest of my morning. Then I’m headed into the library’s computer center to wait on line to print out my homework or a paper. Finally, I’m going to my 9:40 class (I avoid 8:30 AM classes as much as possible!). Classes take place in a variety of spaces. I could be going to the Lecture Hall, a circular building full of large classrooms that seat anywhere from 30 to 450 students, one of the five science buildings full of laboratories, the engineering building with both labs and classrooms, or the fine arts building that has classrooms, performance spaces, and practice rooms.
9:40 AM – My first class of the day could be one of many kinds – I’m a psychology major with an education minor and there are general education requirements to fulfill. I’ve taken classes in evolution, nutrition, creative writing, sociology, Spanish, and fitness (Binghamton is known for cool classes, like tree climbing!) just to name a few.
10:40 AM – Done with my hour class. If it’s early fall or late spring chances are students are walking out of class and shedding layers! There’s a tendency those times of the year for the temperature to shoot up between the time you leave for an early class and the time you get out. So it’s back to my dorm in Hinman College for a clothing change.
12 – 1PM – Off to the marketplace with friends for lunch. It’s a hub of student activity at Bing. There are so many choices of food – if you decide to go to Mein Bowl for Chinese food you may encounter the wonderful service of “Mein Bowl Mary” whose sunny disposition has made her a campus celebrity. Or if you sit down for a salad at Garden Toss you might end up next to University President Harvey Stenger, a frequent patron who has no problem whipping out his iPhone and taking selfies with students.
2 – 4 PM: Depending on the day, I’m probably headed to my job as a psychology tutor. If I’m not tutoring and I’m lucky, then I’ve snagged a coveted jazzman’s booth in Bartle library with a spacious table to get a start on my homework…along with another cup of coffee.
4:25 PM – Class until 5:50, which I always leave very ready to eat. Sometimes walking around campus you’ll catch an impromptu performance from an acapella group promoting their next show or watch as students brandishing nerf guns dash across campus playing Humans versus Zombies.
6 PM – Dinner in Hinman dining hall with friends.
6:30 PM – onward: Things definitely don’t end when you’re done with class! Besides homework and studying, with over 250 student groups on campus, there’s a lot to do, see and go to every night of the week. For me, I’m either at a rehearsal for one of the student run theater groups, the Hinman Production Company or Dickinson Community Players, a Slam Poetry workshop, an Irish Student Union Meeting, or doing something related to my job as a Resident Assistant. Once a week I’m on RA Duty from 8 PM – Midnight and you’ll find me in the office of Smith Hall!
Anytime between 10 PM and 1 AM – In need of a study break? A place to meet up with friends outside your room? Craving fried food, baked treats, Ben & Jerry’s, or a combination of the three? Then the night owl or NOWL, is the place to be. Each dining hall has a late night convenience store/grill open late all week that specializes in some kind of wonderful (though usually unhealthy) food. My favorite the Hinman NOWL is known for its pizza logs and huge cookies. I’ve had the classic experience of crying into eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting. Worry not though; each one carries a selection of healthy options as well!
If it’s a Friday, there’s even more going on. Green Fridays are a newer tradition – get caught wearing anything green by our mascot Baxter and his team and he’ll take a photo with you and give you something!
On a nice day, hiking to the summit of the nature preserve is popular – I once did with my environmental science class, and the view was incredible. In the winter after a heavy snowfall, students are often seen going downhill on trays snuck out of the dining halls, also known as “traying” – an activity to do at least once during your time at Binghamton. When the brutal winter is over, the excitement of “Springhamton” rolls around – the beautiful weather that arrives in late April, just before finals, that makes you acutely aware of just how many students attend Binghamton! People are outside all over campus (usually dressed very nicely), in circles of people in the grass, on benches, in hammocks, playing guitars, and some even dare to tan if the temperature cracks above 65. One of the most beautiful Springhamton days is our annual Spring Fling festival.
Nights in downtown Binghamton go well beyond frat parties and bars. Binghamton is known for its celebration of local art, it’s incredible locally owned restaurants (a student favorite is Lost Dog Café), and much more. Local sports games are a cheap form of entertainment – the Binghamton Mets (unlike the ones from my hometown of Queens) are recent champions, and there’s nothing like a good hockey brawl at a Binghamton Senators game, but more on these in my next post!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a taste of a day in my life as a Binghamton Bearcat. Many thanks to my fellow students, many of whom flooded my Facebook with suggestions on what to include in this post; my experience wouldn’t be complete without you all.