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Moving on not easy for Noam Pechter

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Close friends and American Studies teammates surround Noam Pechter. Leaving them, he says, will be the hardest part about moving on to college.
Close friends and American Studies teammates surround Noam Pechter. Leaving them, he says, will be the hardest part about moving on to college.
JULIUS CONSTANTINE MOTAL / File

Like a lot of recent graduates, Noam Pechter will miss his school, his routine, his classmates, and his days on the basketball court and baseball diamond.

But unlike many other seniors who couldn’t wait to finish their high school experience and begin the next chapter of their lives, Pechter is having a harder time moving on. He is at once tied to his past and tethered to an unknown future.

“Honestly, it seems like I was just in high school yesterday,” said Pechter who played both basketball and baseball at American Studies. “College, to me, still seems very far away. I still don’t feel like I’m going to be going away soon.”

But he is, as Pechter will call Binghamton University home for the next four years. And ready or not, here it comes.

“Why did I chose Binghamton? First of all it’s cheap,” Pechter said, with a laugh. “Honestly, it was a whole lot less expensive than some of the other schools I was thinking about. Plus it’s also close to the city, they have great facilities, and I had heard a lot of good things about the school. I’ve also known some people who have gone there and they loved it.”

Pechter will leave Riverdale for upstate Aug. 16, and while he plans to major in economics, varsity basketball and baseball will not be variables in his collegiate equation.

“They’re Division I and they’re pretty good,” Pechter said. “So I don’t think I’d make the team. But I’ll probably play club sports.”

But before the big move to Binghamton, Pechter has been spending as much time as he can with his former classmates and teammates from American Studies. There is never too much of a good thing, at least according to Pechter, especially while hanging around with former teammates Ari Wigder and Casey Press.

“We’re still in touch a lot,” he said. “But I’m definitely going to miss them and miss that sense of community we had at American Studies. I just feel like everyone knew everyone pretty closely. We really felt like we were a family, and when we were on the sports teams, we just got closer. We all looked out for each other, and we had such great team chemistry. And that was because we were so close.”

While he’ll miss his close friends, there are certainly things Pechter is anxious for once Binghamton beckons.

“I think I’m really looking forward to stepping into adulthood,” Pechter said. “I feel like leaving high school is like the end of my childhood, and now I’m beginning a whole new chapter in my life. I have to step up, be more mature, and make decisions on my own without relying on my parents too much.

“I think the added responsibility and going out into the real world is what I’m looking forward to the most.”

And if he happens to change things up a little from his routine of the past several years, that’s not such a bad thing, either.

“College is going to be an entirely new experience, and I’m stepping out of my comfort zone into a very foreign environment,” Pechter said. “But I’m excited for the challenge and to try new things, meet new people.”

Although he won’t play basketball for the Bearcats this fall, Pechter does credit his hoops career at American Studies with helping him build some lasting friendships.

“I wasn’t on the team in my freshman or sophomore years, unfortunately, and I regret that,” Pechter said. “I was just focused on studying, and I just felt it was too much of a commitment to balance” sports and school work.

“But that team was definitely a huge part of my high school experience. I feel like most of those guys are my family. Coming into school after a big game was one of the best feelings. Seeing the kids in the hall and giving them smiles because of what happened on the court the day before, those are very fond memories.

“It was one of the best things in the world to me,” Pechter added. “I’m really going to miss that place.”

That’s where school breaks might come in handy, when Pechter and his friends once again return to New York to hold their first reunion of sorts.

“We’re all very close so I’m not worried about losing the relationships, but it’s going to (stink) being away from each other,” Pechter said. “But it will be even better when we all get back to the city and we can catch up. That will be fun.”

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