So This is College: First Impressions of Barnard

by Hannah Borghi

What were your first thoughts of Barnard?

When I moved into Reid Hall three weeks ago, I spent hours trying to make my space feel like home. I displayed pictures of friends on my desk, plopped my childhood stuffed animal on my bed, and strung lights across my bookshelf – all of the slightly clichéd dorm decorating rituals. Still, things didn’t feel quite right. That strange summer camp notion of being an alien in some temporary living situation persisted throughout NSOP, when I introduced myself to plenty of kind faces but still felt out of place. I worried that all of college would be like this, that I wasn’t cut out for a major life change beyond getting my driver’s license.

In the past two weeks, however, a sense of familiarity has set in. The campus is cozy enough to run into a friendly face almost anywhere you go, and while there isn’t a huge group of students heading to a football game each weekend, there are so many (better, in my opinion) places to hang out and create your own sense of community. Here are my top three moments at Barnard thus far:

Sitting on Low Steps. I have already spent quite a few evenings post-dinner with friends, talking about which fall TV shows we look forward to watching, our initial impressions of classes and professors, and the like. Low Steps provide a nice vantage point from which Columbia’s campus looks really picturesque as the sun goes down. Plus, strangely enough, the steps are quite comfortable to lie down on. So I’ve heard.

You have to admit, we have a crazy beautiful campus.

Taking Origins of Human Society with Professor Fowles.Everyone talks about the college class they took that “changed” them. For me, Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:10 to 2:25 are showing promise to be the time I, too, am changed as a student. I signed up for Origins on a whim and luckily my spontaneous decision was for the best –I find myself really enjoying both the lectures and the outside work that we are assigned. The idea of enjoying school again is totally refreshing.

Going to a concert during the week.My friend Sianie and I decided hours before the Haim concert at Webster Hall that, although we didn’t have tickets, we should go down to the venue and see if we could scalp any. Sorry, Mom. Anyway, it worked out and ended up being such an exciting way to begin the semester. Coming from a suburb of Philadelphia, concerts have always been a bit of an ordeal to attend, but having those same opportunities a mere subway ride away allows for plans to be much more impromptu.

It has been less than a month and I am already compiling plenty of fond memories. As Barnard students, we are fortunate enough to be afforded a really distinctive college experience. Of course, adjusting to a new place and a whole new group of peers is at first insanely daunting, but I am of the belief that there is a niche for everyone at Barnard – you just have to seek it out.

I am so glad I finally did.

Hannah Borghi is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia and Wikipedia.

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