Best of #HumansOfBinghamton

Posted by Melissa Wickes on November 3, 2016

We love highlighting the things that make Binghamton students and faculty who they are. From exciting stories to inspirational advice, check out what makes these humans the best of #humansofbinghamton.

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"What do you like most about her?"
"She has this personality, I can’t necessarily put it in words. She has this happy innocence that always makes me smile." 

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"Every superhero has an origin story, and so does every social worker. Batman had trauma as a child, and that motivated him to make sure no child had to feel that pain. Superman plummeted to Earth with these extraordinary powers, and he had to figure out how to use them for good. People who find social work usually had something happen to them in their life that caused them to try to make other people's lives better, or they have this extraordinary gift of being able to listen or help people."

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"I worked in a hospital and I really enjoyed it. Sometimes, I would go down to maternity and help them. It's such an indescribable feeling, seeing new life like that. Those babies are going to grow up and become the new generation, and I got to see that."

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"What are some words that you live by?"

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

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"Talk about an event that changed your life for the better."

“I spent three months in a tent, basically borderline homeless, in Colorado. I learned that I can be extremely poor and extremely happy at the same time. Thankfully, nature is free, so I was able to enjoy that."

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"I think it’s really, really ordinary and really, really fantastic that my life revolves around kids’ activities. Fishing with the kids, fossil hunting with the kids, walking in the woods with the kids. I learn more from having three kids than I did from six years of graduate school. This morning we made two different breakfasts one and a half times to feed all three of them, and we had to do braiding hair, brushing teeth, change of outfits, change of hair. One of them wanted a braid on the side. I didn’t do it well enough, so she took her hair down. So that changes everything. Everything revolves around them. I think it’s totally ordinary. And because it’s totally ordinary, it’s totally fantastic."

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"I had this benign growing tumor once when I was fifteen, and it really sucked. It took a long time to diagnose, and after surgery I had orthopedic surgeons who worked on me. That experience motivates me to become an orthopedic surgeon."

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"This is my 28th year in Binghamton. It has had its own challenges, but I love the challenge. Every single place is different. You learn the nuances of the new place, and as long as you’re open, you adapt and learn new things and become more flexible. It was a big shock coming here because I have never lived in a place that cold, but it was also beautiful. I loved the four seasons. I love the fall. I look out of my window and I see the beautiful colors out there, and I have never seen anything like that anywhere in the world." 

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“Here’s an unforgettable story: a teaching experience. I was teaching a graduate course -- a very small class, about nine people. One of the students was a former nun, and they are feisty. She asked me a question, and I couldn’t at that moment think of a fitting answer, so I played a standard pedagogical trick and I said, 'What do you think about that?' Because that sort of ploy usually gets me a little extra time, even if it’s only seconds. She got angry. She jumped up. She pointed her finger at me and she shouted, 'You tell us! You get paid for it!' And believe it or not, as shocking as it was, after that we became really good friends.”

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“My father is very into his Viking-Scottish ancestry. My mother, she’s Jewish. I try to synthesize the two identities. I wear the kilt as a way of reminding me of home. This particular hat I got because of my red beard. People often called me a leprechaun. Well, I’d rather embrace my peculiarities than shun them.”

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"I dropped out of school and drove across the country following Phish when I was a junior in college. I just up and walked away from college to take my ‘87 Capri station wagon, and drove to Sacramento and worked my way back going show to show by myself, before cell phones. I had to use an atlas. I was literally doing 80 down a highway going, “Where do I go next?” Turn the page. I was out there for four months. This was 1995. It was a different time to be traveling. I would stay at rest stops, just in my car. That’s where I lived. To think of doing that now, people would be like 'You’re on a death wish' or 'You’re insane.' No one would go with me. That’s why I went by myself. At the time, school had burned me out. I was just like 'I need a break.' And it just sort of coincided with my interest in Phish. I met a lot of people and I still keep in touch with them. I met a kid; he’s a lawyer now, in Seattle. He was doing it, too, and there were probably a thousand people doing the same thing. So, there were these two guys from Seattle I met the first night and I saw again the next night. Phish did two nights in Seattle and the guy’s like, 'Why don’t you stay at my house?' So there was a week where we stayed at his house. And now he’s a really good friend of mine. The trip changed the whole course of my life."

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“What is your major?”

“I’m loving neuroscience. I feel lucky that when I came in as a freshman I took a really cool class on bilingualism. I learned about how it works in the brain and I knew this was it.”

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“I’m starting school and my 8-year-old is starting school. He said to me, ‘Can we eat lunch together? Can we do stuff together?’ I said, ‘No, buddy. I’m not at your school. I’m at a different school.'"

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"Never underestimate, through small or big deeds, how you can affect someone's life. There were people whose day was not looking good, and after stopping at our store, Red Mango, walked away with a smile and had a better start -- or a better ending -- to their day."

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"Make informed decisions, because the decisions you make or the decisions that people two or three echelons above you are making are influencing everybody in the world -- and quite often negatively."

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"I am interested in chronic disease, especially type 2 diabetes. It's a disease where you have to build a relationship with a patient, and it's a long-term relationship. It's a lifelong disease, and I have to sort of teach and coach the patient about how to manage it." 

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"Having my service dog, Zola, is really wonderful because, no matter what, I have a friend and companion with me providing help and support. Especially at college, it's really nice to be able to have a dog who loves you unconditionally. I'm also always happy to see other people smile and cheer up when they get to see or pet Zola. She definitely helps spread happiness through the the Binghamton campus!"

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There are plenty of remarkable humans at our school; these are just some of our favorites. Check out the rest of the #HumansOfBinghamton posts on our Facebook and Instagram pages by searching the hashtag!

Melissa Wickes is a senior from East Williston, N.Y., majoring in English--creative writing. She is a member of the a cappella group The Vibes, Alpha Epsilon Phi and she enjoys exploring new cheeses in her spare time.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? E-mail us at social@binghamton.edu.