First Year, First Impressions

By Emma Yee Yick

I have officially been living in this place for a month. One whole month and I can hardly believe how fast time has gone. By now, the “summer camp” feel of NSOP has worn off and I have mastered the basics of being a Barnard student: learning my way around campus and actually making it to my classes (tunnels included), remembering to always hold up my ID when I enter residence halls, finalizing my first schedule, maneuvering the various dining halls, honing the art of stocking up on fruit from said dining halls, and acclimating to the whole communal bathroom situation. I have yet to become a professional subway rider, however (I still have to use an app on my phone to figure out where I am and I still get freaked out about getting left behind at a station on a particularly busy train), but I’m working on it.

So in proper, first-year fashion, I am here to provide my initial thoughts and impressions on all this newness that has become my life.

  1. It’s been so long since I have had to introduce myself. I have met more people in the span of these four weeks than number of students in my high school. Granted, I did come from a rather small high school with around 110 people, but still with this, I conclude that introducing yourself to a few hundred people in such a short span of time is tolling. Every time I would eat with a new group of people, or participate in an activity, I knew what I was in for. A series of larger than life smiles and name exchanges that I knew for certain I wouldn’t remember the next day.

This brings me to my next thought on college so far.

  1. For a while, back in August when I was still gung-ho with the introductions thing, I was eager to latch on to people quickly in hopes of making friends. Because after all, how was I going to survive these next four years without an amazing group of friends? But just as quickly as that fad came, it went, and I realized that in time I would meet “my people.” Now as October rolls around, I can safely say that the kickass friends I hang out with now were made naturally, through mutual interests, interesting conversations, lots and lots of laughs, and most importantly: forced-introductions-free—it just took some time.
  1. The only part of my college experience so far that I extremely detest is something that I have come to know as the “three in the morning call of nature.” I’m not sure if this is an “only Emma” thing, but it basically involves me, being forced to wake up at ungodly hours of the night/morning to pee, and then proceeding to walk down an entire hallway to take care of this issue. It happens on a regular basis, despite my feverish efforts to drink less liquids before bedtime and my making sure to use the bathroom right before I sleep. But almost every night of the week, without fail, I am woken up by an uncontrollable urge to pee. I try to just sleep it off, but that never works. So I manage to pull myself out of bed, making sure to keep my sleep mask covering about ¾ of my eye vision, and I zombie-walk my way down the hall and onto a toilet seat. I apologize for anyone who has seen me/has tried to talk to me in this state.
  1. Lastly I want to talk about Barnard. Unlike many of my peers, I never got to visit Barnard before I arrived on campus this August. I remember my first few days here, everyone was already talking about how much they loved Barnard—and don’t get me wrong I was excited too, but I didn’t love it yet.

I definitely “loved” Barnard (or thought I “loved” Barnard) when I applied and chose to go here, but as goes with any virtual or cyber relationship, it wasn’t an immediate overwhelming feeling of adoration when I finally came face to face with it. After all, it’s common knowledge that love at first sight is a farce. So, for awhile I felt unsure of my choice. Almost everyone I met gushed about how much they loved everything about Barnard so far, leading me to wonder if I would ever love it as much as they did. One month in, I can say that while I am not in love with Barnard yet, I sure am falling in love with it. Barnard is my safe haven, from the craziness that is NYC and from the huge community that is Columbia. Barnard is home to a comradery of incredible, intelligent, and empowered women. Women who I am lucky to call my friends, mentors, and role models. And finally, if I am sure of one thing, it is that Barnard is the place for me. Here’s to the next four years!

Photo by Sharon Wu