Popping the Bubble: Week One Bartending: My Favorite Class at Barnard, Bar None

By Sinead Hunt

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In the midst of the greatest existential crisis of my young life, I found a small sheet of paper slipped under my door. On it read, “The Barnard Bartending Agency.”The paper listed the time and location of a bartending class. I couldn’t tell you why, but I felt an extreme urge to take the class, even though I had never expressed any interest in bartending. The most I had even ever had to drink was half a glass of white wine.

Yet somehow I imagined I might have a innate talent for bartending, as it combined two of my most enviable qualities: 1) my knack for rote memorization and 2) my rockin’ bod. I looked up and defiantly declared, “I’m going to take a bartending class!” to my roommate, even if she was watching Gossip Girl, and therefore failing to acknowledge my existence.

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This was a huge moment for me.  I have never been the type to indulge any type of caprice, whatsoever. I make lengthy pros and cons lists for everything that I do, even something as mild as purchasing a Keurig. I’m a planner, not a doer. This was the first time in my life that I made the conscious decision to be impulsive and even perhaps a tad irresponsible.

The afternoon of my first bartending class, I called my mother to proudly inform her of this latest development in my otherwise boring life. After I shared with her the good news, there was a prolonged silence. She cleared her throat. She clearly never imagined that bartending would be among the many skills I would learn while attending an elite educational institution.

Upon entering the lecture hall, I had a few key realizations. I had failed to do any research before showing up to the class, and had not realized that class cost $120. Alas, this is the price I pay for trying to radically reimagine my life.

My second observation was that the class was huge. Upon witnessing the many students who had signed up for the class, I immediately began running calculations in my head. I feared that an oversaturated market and the limited availability of bartending jobs might hinder my ability to recoup my losses. This only further proves, however, that even in my greatest moments of recklessness, I never fail to remain true to myself, my hyper-rational, neurotic self.

I initially took the Barnard Bartending class because I was disenchanted with my life as a student. I wanted to trade in the drab world of lecture halls and endless memorization for the alluringly dangerous and sexy world of bartending. What I soon discovered, however, was even more memorization. To anyone considering taking the Barnard Bartending class, my advice to you is this: don’t underestimate the difficulty level of the class. There is a shitload of information to remember. You have to carve out the time to study, otherwise you’re bound to fail the exam.

Tune in next time to see if I become a full-fledged bartender, or just end up $120 poorer.

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Sinead Hunt is a first-year at Barnard and Liaison for Barnard Bite.

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