You’re almost there! In terms of NSOP, Thursday is really the finishline. Now that you’re all moved in, have sat through your Public Safety speeches, done a head-swimming amount of ice breakers, and are officially inducted Barnard women, camp NSOP can really get moving. The next few days are more about giving you a head start on the things you’ll have to start thinking about this semester and (gently) forcing you to socialize with your classmates.
After Thursday things will start to slow down, and you’ll get more down time. This could mean time to spend with any new friends you’ve been making, but remember to take some time just for yourself. You’re still experiencing a huge transition, so you want to make sure you’re well-rested and comfortable in your room, with your roommate and with the idea of being away from home.
Adviser Group Meetings… and anything else involving your advisor
Wednesday, August 29th, 10am-11am
While signed into your gbear account, click here to find out where your adviser meeting will be. Advisers widely vary on how involved they will be in your life. Your individual meeting could end up being the longest conversation you ever end up having with your adviser, or you could end up playing Rock Band in his or her apartment by next month. Try to find out what you and your adviser have in common, beyond simply your adviser’s home department (this is usually an interest of yours). Like with roommate selection, Barnard’s behind-the-scenes processes sometimes works in mysterious ways, so you might end up having more in common than you think. Also, take note of the students that share your adviser with you—aside from language placement exams, this is the first time you’ve been divided (probably) by academic interests.
Perspectives on Diversity… and instances of the College addressing social issues
Wednesday, August 29th, between 3pm-6pm (depending on your OL Group)
This is a discussion-style program led by a trained upperclassman that the college uses to expose you to its definition of “diversity,” and to get you to start thinking about the diversity that you might encounter at Barnard. The effectiveness of the program is questionable because it just so happens that Barnard is fairly self-selective. Most girls here don’t hold very many racist or prejudiced opinions—at least, openly. Depending on your own past experiences, however, you might run into some mindsets or opinions that you’ve never encountered before, and this program is meant to prepare you for that. All in all, this discussion as the potential to be profound if there’s enough participation, but realistically, you can use this time to relax and gage the room to get a sense of how the people in your classmates react when faced with a sensitive social question.
Community Forum… and whenever they’re trying to get you to socialize with Columbia (again)
Wednesday, August 29th, 8pm-10pm
This is basically a reiteration of the same schpiel on community at Columbia University that you’ve heard non-stop so far, only more uncomfortable because you’re thrown in with students from all four colleges and you have to sit on Low Steps. Like I’ve mentioned before, unless you’ve already made some connections at the other colleges, be friendly to everyone around you, but there’s no reason to pay special attention students from Columbia just because they’re not from Barnard. The Barnard-Columbia community is fluid—introduce yourself and make friends, but there will be better grounds on which to meet and get to know people better after NSOP.
Mapping Your First Year with Health Services… a.k.a., “Keeping Sex Sexy!” workshop
Thursday, August 30th, 3:30pm-6pm
Definitely among the most memorable NSOP programs is the infamous “Keeping Sex Sexy!” workshop, although probably just because its (get ready for it…) awkward. I imagine Columbia kind of thinks of first-years as children and NSOP as that critical period of their lives where they are most impressionable. Basically, this event will resemble a college-version style of your high school’s Sex Ed class or peer-facilitated sexual education program. Prepare yourself for some awkward moments, but if it gets bad, think of the possible benefit raising a point like this early on during your college career. And of course, sexually speaking, take the point home with you that you should never do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
NYC Event: Destination Bronx Zoo
Thursday, August 30th, 7pm-11pm
A tradition during NSOP, the NYC event takes place in a different location in the city each year. Last year, the event was on Governor’s Island, the year before was on the Intrepid, and before that was the Central Park Zoo. These events would be really awesome, if they weren’t inevitably so awkward because Barnard and NYC probably still isn’t really your home or any place that you’re truly comfortable (definitely try to go if you’re ever involved with NSOP in the future). But don’t let this stop you from enjoying what could be a once-in-a-life-time experience and don’t stop yourself from getting pumped: choose your favorites of the animals and exhibits, look at a map of the zoo, follow the Bronx Zoo’s Cobra (@BronxZoosCobra) on Twitter. The DJ probably won’t be so bad, so try to find a group of people to go with you who want to have a good time. You’ll have the opportunity to branch out to meet some new people, but I would try to come and leave with the same people so as to not get lost in the shuffle.