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Megan Charles / Her Campus Media
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Welcome to Barnumbia!

To the newest Barnard and Columbia babies,

Welcome and congratulations! Getting into either Barnard or Columbia is a huge accomplishment under normal circumstances, but YOU did it during a pandemic. That’s so amazing. I wish I could tell you that we’d welcome you to campus in April for an admitted students day or even next August for orientation. Nevertheless, welcome, Barnumbia Class of 2025. 

It’s so crazy to me that it’s now been two years since I was in your position — a stressed out high school senior having just received news that made my senior year so much less stressful. “In” at my dream school, early decision. When I received my acceptance, all the late nights, early mornings, caffeinated days, tears, and stress were worth it. At that moment, I felt empowered and ready to do anything, because even though I still had 4.5 months left of high school, the hard part was over. I knew what the next step of my adventure would be.

Of course, getting into Barnard was amazing, but once the reality had sunk in, it let my already curious mind wander, scouring internet forums for more information about the place that would become my new home. But there’s some information you can’t just easily read on the Columbia or Barnard websites, some things you just have to discover for yourself, as you form your own opinions. The following are some tips I discovered early freshman year, and I look forward to returning to, but I also hope you can enjoy them too.

There are free games and air hockey in Lerner

One of my favorite pastimes was forcing my friends to play air hockey with me. Spice it up by using two pucks at once.

John Jay Dining Hall has a bagel bar for breakfast and lunch

Are they as good as Absolute? No, but for just a meal swipe you can get a bagel with cream cheese, capers, onions, tomato, and lox. I got this so often during my first semester that I actually grew sick of it and had to take a break.

If you need a space to study as a group, go to the Lehman Social Science Library in the International Affairs Building

After striking out at getting a group study space in Milstein time after time, my friends and I discovered the empty group study spaces at Lehman. From then on we never had an issue with finding a spot to do work together while simultaneously goofing off.

 The best time to avoid crowds at Ferris or Hewitt for lunch is after 2 p.m.

If you go right at 1, everyone is there for lunch after their 12:55 class, but if your next class isn’t until 2:40, just wait a little bit and head to the dining hall an hour later for a relatively empty scene.

Barnard FITbear classes are awesome and free to all Barnard students

Definitely take advantage of FITbear! My first semester, my friend and I regularly went to Sculpt classes and always had a blast. FITbear provided us with an opportunity to work out while also socializing with other people. The teachers are also mostly fellow students and are super down to earth, jamming to great playlists while offering a supportive and safe environment to work out in. Your first class may seem intimidating, but keep going and you too will discover the joys of FITbear.

Rejection is OK, and asking for help is encouraged

While somewhat obvious, it’s important to reiterate that rejection is OK. As someone who was rejected by my dream club at the beginning of freshman year, I’m not going to lie, it hurts. But at the same time, it was good that I was rejected, as I discovered other interests and communities. Don’t stay focused on the bad. Instead, look ahead to the future and make the most of every moment. And of course, if you’re struggling with a class or otherwise, ask for help. There are so many adults on campus who are there for you and want to see you succeed. YOU got into Barnard or Columbia for a reason, and campus resources are there for you.

Looking ahead, we obviously don’t know what the future entails, but there’s so much waiting for us to be excited about when we do return to campus. The time away from campus has made me appreciate everything so much more. These little tips might not be that significant, but they definitely made a difference my first year, and weren’t something I read about online. You’ll find when you arrive that there’s so much to explore and discover. With time, you’ll have your own list of insider secrets that you didn’t read about prior to coming to campus, either.

Carina Layfield

Columbia Barnard '23

Carina is a sophomore at Barnard majoring in Urban Studies with a Political Science specialization; she is also minoring in Italian. In her free time she enjoys discovering new recipes and spending time outside. She also recently started learning how to play the bass. She can be reached at crl2149@barnard.edu or @carina.layfield on Instagram.
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