Dear Barnard Class of 2022

Dear Barnard Class of 2022,

Congratulations on your acceptance to the most amazing college! You have all worked so hard for this achievement, and you should all be very proud of yourselves. For years, you've worked hard academically and dreamed of the college experience. Although there might be so much excitement surrounding college, there are understandably aspects of college life to be nervous about. I wanted to give you advice for the parts of college I was nervous about last year and possibly some reassurance going into your freshman year.

Initially, I was intimidated to be in a community with such smart, powerful women. I felt mediocre compared to my peers as I read through all of their introductions in the Facebook group during the summer. I want to reassure you that you are not alone in feeling as if you are an imposter on this campus. I promise you, though, these people who intimidated you in the beginning will become your support network. My self-confidence has grown tremendously since coming to Barnard. I may not have come into this school feeling like a Barnard woman, but after my first year here, I have definitely grown into my Barnard woman identity.

You may be enjoying the second semester of senior year right now, but be prepared to work hard once your first semester at Barnard begins. I definitely had a bit of my senioritis carry on over to my first semester here. I cared about my grades, but I did not have the work ethic to achieve the grades I truly wanted. I was used to slacking off, so reestablishing that powerful work ethic took time. Grades first semester should not be your primary focus since you are adjusting to a whole new world, but make sure to not let them slip too far down. Recovering messy grades is never fun.

Making new friends again can seem daunting. Going into college, I was scared that I would feel unfulfilled by college friendships since I was pretty content with my high school ones. Disclaimer: your NSOP friends rarely turn out to be your actual friends here in college. You may see cliques form during the first week and see them going to parties, but take my word for it, these groups will not last long. I urge you to not go crazy and party hard during NSOP, but to take the time to develop real friendships with people. I met my best friend here while brushing our teeth in the bathroom. We developed a friendship first before ever attending a party together, and that is why our friendship remains intact. We are not friends who party together, but rather we are friends who push each other to academically succeed, laugh endlessly together, and have the deepest conversations. I know some of you may think that you have to party to fit in, but you will form close bonds with people. Try to talk to people in your classes, in the bathroom while brushing your teeth, or in your dorm lounge. Join clubs and organizations that align with your interests. I am an introvert, so I know how hard this can be. Just know that everyone is lost and looking for companionship, so don't be afraid to start up a conversation. I promise, your people are out there if you put yourself out there.

I urge you all to not get stuck in the college bubble. You have the privilege to attend an amazing college in the heart of a truly incredible city. Yes, taking the subway in the beginning can be scary; I was definitely afraid of getting lost in the city at first. Push yourself, though, to explore the city, especially in the early months before the good weather disappears. I promise you will master the subway system fairly quickly. During these next four years, take advantage of the city and go on as many weekend excursions as you can.

College truly gets better every single day. You all will find your academic interests, your friends, and your routine here. I urge you all to be patient and always be open-minded whether that is to a major you had never considered before or to a friendship you never expected to come into your life. Coming to Barnard will truly change your lives, and I am so excited for all of you to arrive on campus in the fall.

Love,

Rachel