The ferris wheel at Wolfieland, the carnival hosted by USG in fall 2016. ARACELY JIMENEZ/STATESMAN FILE

Six semesters ago, I wrote an article for The Statesman titled “Students deserve a university they can actually enjoy.” Needless to say, at the time I was disenchanted with the university from a student-life standpoint. Many of my friends were unable to attend that year’s Brookfest featuring Childish Gambino and Diplo due to scheduling conflicts with midterms that affected a decent portion of the student body. I bashed Stony Brook for not placing a greater importance on an enjoyable college experience for students.

In this case, it seems ignorance was the opposite of bliss.

As I stand here six semesters later, having experienced so much at this university throughout my tenure here, I can’t help but laugh at how wrong I was. Since then, I have watched and become involved in so many amazing pieces of student life on campus. From writing articles for The Statesman, to joining Men’s Rugby, to becoming an elected member of the USG Senate – the very organization I had set out to criticize in that article – I have come to realize that student life is a priority nearly on par with academics here at Stony Brook.

Over the past year, I have seen many amazing events come to fruition, each of which has contributed to Stony Brook’s growth as a community. In terms of USG events, Wolfieland, the outdoor Brookfest and Last Day Out immediately stand out as prime examples of the university’s commitment to campus life. If you had told me six semesters ago that during my last year at Stony Brook we would have an outdoor carnival, an outdoor, festival-esque concert and that the last day of classes would become partially dedicated to enhancing the community at Stony Brook, I would’ve laughed.

Being a USG senator in this academic year has enabled me to become familiar with many of the clubs on campus, as well as the incredible events that happen almost daily. At times, it’s almost as if there are so many that we as students may take them for granted. Every single event, from Twenty Too Many, which helped raise awareness of the struggles veterans face and the resources available that can prevent veteran suicide, to the LASO Concert that brought HOT 97’s DJ Kass and DJ Kastone to campus, to the endless smorgasbord of bake sale goodies sold as fundraisers at the SAC and even my own personal favorite, rugby matches at the South P Fields, helps contribute to giving students a better college experience.

As someone who has commuted the entire time I’ve attended Stony Brook, I would like to give some advice to anyone who feels they aren’t having a proper college experience: Find a club. Get involved. Tie yourself to this university in any way and it will pay you back tenfold. The turning point of my Stony Brook career, and the moment I realized how small-minded my article in April 2014 was, happened when I joined Men’s Rugby. Through that club I made a network of friends that grew into connections within the other amazing organizations and people.

Take the initiative to get involved and so many amazing doors will open. The realization of the truth of student life at Stony Brook will make you proud to say “I’m a Seawolf.”