A Toast to Wise Fools: Sophomore Class Dinner

by Mariah Castillo

Movin’ on up.

Last Monday night, I went to the North Tower of Sulzberger Hall for the Sophomore Class Dinner. It was an intimate event, with only around twenty sophomores, two juniors on hand to give advice, Sophomore Class Dean Christine Kuan-Tsu, and the Furman Counseling Center’s Dr. Gillian Scott-Ward. We only filled three of the four tables provided. In spite of this, there was very little lull in our conversation.

As we ate our dinner of Chipotle burritos and burrito bowls, Dean Kuan-Tsu and Dr. Scott-Ward facilitated the conversation, asking us questions such as “What are some things you learned from your first-year?” and “What are some fears you have outside of sophomore year?”

It was really nice to reflect on my first year, and it was even nicer to hear others’ experiences that were similar to mine. It made me feel like I wasn’t the only one who had some insecurities and fears about becoming my own person.

Many of us commiserated about how familial expectations weighed down on us, from parents judging us for going to a women’s college (mine included) to worrying about how our majors might not be what our loved ones expected from us. The juniors were very helpful with this issue, urging us to choose whatever makes us happy and to be confident with our choice. As one junior pointed out, parents only want you to be happy, and the fact that you’re happy with your major is what matters. They’d be more worried if you had absolutely no idea what you wanted to major in.

Barnard knows the way to our hearts.

The discussion on majors eventually led to further conversation about our futures. Many of us were torn between finding a career that makes us happy and one that pays well (¿por qué no los dos?). Some of us shared our “dream jobs” that seemed amazing in the past, but due to changes of heart, had lost their luster. All of us were worried that we wouldn’t be able to get a job, but the juniors and Dean Kuan-Tsu assured us that through our liberal arts educations, we could get jobs practically anywhere, even if they didn’t relate to what we majored in. Dean Kuan-Tsu even shared the experience of a senior at the Majors Fair. The student was a Classics major but already had a job lined up in a marketing firm, because the skills she learned were versatile enough to be applied anywhere.

We also talked about learning to find a good balance between our academics and our social lives. We shared our ways of staying motivated to work (I personally liked the one where you write down your list of things to do and order them by importance), and all agreed that the balance between school and socializing is different for everyone.

Over our burritos, we shared the good, the bad, and the ugly from our first year, and even if some parts weren’t up to our expectations, we’re striving to make our sophomore year even better.

Mariah Castillo is a sophomore at Barnard and the Food and New York Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Barnard College Sophomore Year and Chipotle.

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