Thoughts from Barnard College

Willa Smith, Co

Most of you may have probably never head of Barnard College. But for those of you who have, props to you! For those of you who haven’t, let me give you some brief background before I launch into my thoughts and experiences at Barnard.

A Bit of Background on Barnard

The Barnard Lawn

Barnard is a liberal arts college for all women, and is one of the best all women colleges (and general colleges) in the world.  It is located in New York City in the area called Morningside Heights (116th and Broadway to be exact) right across the street from Columbia. Why is it right across the street from Columbia you may ask? Well, curious soul, this is because Barnard College is a college under Columbia University. What does this mean, you are now asking yourself? This means that just as a school might have a College of Engineering, Columbia has a Barnard College for all women. As a student of Barnard, you can take classes at Columbia, eat at Columbia’s dining halls, use their extensive facilities, and benefit from their research oriented programs, and graduate with a degree from Columbia. But, you will live at Barnard, be accepted into Barnard College, and will belong to Barnard College in many senses. You will be a Barnard Woman!

Back to the Interesting Tid Bits

Last week (June 23rd through the 27th) I had the pleasure and honor of attending a one week Liberal Arts Intensive at Barnard. I lived in Sulzberger Hall (affectionately called “Sulz”), ate at Hewitt Dining Hall, and took my class – Modernist New York City – in Milbank Hall. This was my first sleep-away camp, my first college camp, and definitely my first time living on my own in New York City (although I had been to the city multiple times before this!)

I learned innumerable lessons while at Barnard for that week. These are outlined in the handy-dandy list I have put together for your reading pleasure:

  • Community bathrooms are really NOT THAT BAD. Trust me. You get your own fancy stall for your shower, and you have some nice conversations at midnight with your floor mates. The best time to shower is between 2 and 3 AM, fyi! (Everyone is asleep. Except you, of course.)
  • Dining hall food gets old pretty fast, and it is very easy to just eat and EAT AND EAT it. But you shouldn’t do this. I recommend filling your one plate, and that’s it. Don’t get that second plate. Unless, of course, you missed Hewitt’s weird hours because you slept in too late and missed breakfast. In which case, get that second plate.
  • Be friendly to your roommate! Don’t hold back. My roommate and I immediately clicked, and it proved to be one of the best things about the week. Our escapades include: milkshakes at 10:45 at Tom’s Restaurant (they filmed Seinfeld here!), eating cheesy fries and sharing a milkshake on the steps of Columbia, shopping in SoHo and spending far too much money in Sephora, staying up until four AM with some other friends, and learning to hail cabs.
  • Insomnia Cookies, although delicious, should not be order as often as your think. I didn’t actually learn this while at Barnard, but it is definitely a reflection I have now. (Insomnia Cookies is a company in NYC and some other states that deliver cookies until 4AM. We ordered cookies at 1:30AM two nights in a row for studying fuel.)
  • Libraries are your new best friend. Also – Reading rooms reading rooms READING ROOMS. They’re silent. There’s nice tables. There’s a plug for your computer. Take advantage of these rooms. Especially if they’re the Butler Library ones (at Columbia) which are gorgeous.
  • For future Barnard students: THE 1 TRAIN IS YOUR BFF. (The 1 train goes straight up to Barnard and will save you. Just make sure you go in the right direction!)

I learned more than that, but that definitely seemed like a good start. Barnard was one of the scariest and also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I recommend that everyone go to a college camp during their high school career. Find a college you’re interested in and go stay there for a week! Get to know the people, the school, and what it’s like to exist at a college. And, obviously, try out Barnard. It’s definitely my number one choice now.