Why I Chose to Intern at Barnard
Currently, I’m a doctoral student in sociology at Columbia University. I’m also a newcomer to the Barnard community as a graduate intern and a New York City transplant, originally from the sunny, magical land of Southern California. All these things combined suggest that I have a more “objective” take on Barnard and I’m here to say that the reports are true: Barnard is indeed bold, beautiful, and the most popular major is unafraid.
You see, when I was in your shoes as a prospective student not that long ago*, I remember being fixated on the prospect of these next four years on a college campus. What kind of weather am I willing to endure for a few years? What major will I ultimately pick? (I was deciding between mathematics and sociology, my current life’s passion.) What I didn’t realize at the time was that the true beauty of selecting a school is you are not only deciding on your next four years as a college student, but you also have the potential to find a community that may last you much longer than a simple four years.
The people you surround yourself with during this pivotal point of your life will shape your values, inform your perspectives, and challenge your assumptions. When you go into the workforce in any sector of our society, you will reflect on your classroom experiences and those late-night conversations over pizza. You will remember all the times you were encouraged and challenged to rearticulate your vision for a fairer and more just world. You will remember the reading assignment in “Economics of Inequality” that completely altered the ways you understood the relationship between the health care and the pharmaceutical industry. Most importantly, those experiences will form the foundation for how you will face challenges in the future.
I arrived at Barnard at a different point in my own academic journey, but with similar experiences that many of you readers might have. I navigate the oftentimes male-dominated spheres of academia and occasionally experience microagressions—small, yes, but they have an impact nonetheless. At the end of those tired days, Barnard keeps me grounded. This community reminds me that I have every right to exist and thrive in those spaces. There is a heart and campus-wide ethos that makes me feel like a valuable community member with a distinctive and important perspective to offer. I come from a working-class background and I identify as queer, Chicana, and a first-generation college student. These are not deficiencies but instead, valuable assets. It took me many, many years to come to this realization and now I have my adopted Barnard family to remind me of this for the rest of my lifetime.
At Barnard, you will find an incredibly dynamic and vibrant community that will last you far longer than a simple four years. Barnard women are in every corner of the globe, occupying leadership positions in all kinds of organizations. Being a new member of the Barnard community means that I relish in the success of my peers. I’ve learned that majoring in unafraid doesn’t mean you’ve mastered the topic but it does mean that you could face fear with comfort, ease, and a voracious curiosity.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!
*After all, sociologists and our peers in fellow disciplines argue that time is nothing but a social construct.