Part 1: Why Barnard?
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy good symbolism and reflection. I mean, how else can we make sense of the things that happen, how they happen, and why they happen to us? Socrates made no mistake when he said that the unexamined life is not worth living. In fact, that quote has been on my Facebook page since I first joined the social network in 2006, 11 years ago. Over a decade ago. That seems like a meaningful time to reflect. And boy if you would’ve told me then, in my bright-eyed, optimistic, ready-to-take-on-the-world glory, all that would unfold throughout the subsequent 10+ years, I’d say something to the effect of “see, that’s why I don’t believe in fortune tellers.” But here I am, 11 years later, writing to you not only as part of the Admissions Staff, but also as someone who was in your very seat. 10 years ago, I received news that would shape so much of my future. 11 years ago, I was accepted to Barnard College.
Getting into Barnard had been a seemingly unattainable dream for me since I stumbled upon it after a visit to Columbia during my Sophomore year. Our tour guide casually mentioned the all-women’s college right across the street that was affiliated with Columbia University. After we were dismissed from this trip, I made my way across the street on my own. From that moment on, I was smitten with Barnard. Being a first-generation college student, I approached everything about the college search process with wonder—everything was so new and the possibilities seemed endless. On the not-so-picturesque flip side, I also had some adults instill this sense of doubt within me—I even had a counselor once tell me that I was setting my sights too high with Barnard. When I was accepted, I was terrified because suddenly, I was on the verge of what I thought was an impossible opportunity. The utter shock, excitement, and satisfaction was overwhelmingly paralyzing. So for a long time, I didn’t think Barnard was a possibility for me. But it was. And for you—no matter where you come from, what your parents do or do not know, or how many odds are stacked up against you, it is.
Here are some anecdotes from my trajectory that I will hope will shed some light on yours.