Transition from the West Coast
Question: Barnard is one of my top choice colleges. However, I was born and raised in California, and it is a little daunting to think about leaving the laid back, year-round flip flop wearing, nothing-we-won't-protest culture of my home state for the unforgiving hustle and bustle of Manhattan. It's wonderful that Barnard's incoming classes are so diverse geographically and I'm sure I could find another California girl to bond with, but I still can't shake the inevitable homesickness I'll feel. How have Barnard women adjusted to a different lifestyle and what resources are available on campus to help out-of-state students gain New York residency and such? In addition, how many breaks do Barnard students have and does this differ from the amount Columbia College/Fu Engineering/School of general studies are provided?
Answer: As someone from California, coming to the east coast for college was daunting for me as well. But it turned out to be a pretty easy adjustment! Like you said, Barnard draws from many different states and countries, and it was easy to find other west coast students to bond with. I grew up in San Francisco so I felt immediately comfortable being in the city, but for some people there is a bit of a transition to the urban environment if you are not used to being in a big city. However, the fact that Barnard is in a quieter neighborhood (Morningside Heights is often referred to as a mini college town within Manhattan) and has its own campus along with Columbia makes it much less overwhelming.
However, we are right by the 1 subway line, so you can just hop on and go downtown at a moment's notice. But most of all the community of students at Barnard makes for a really supportive, welcoming environment that makes that homesickness a little easier. We are all on the same academic calendar, so both Barnard and Columbia have the same vacation schedule for Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break, and summer break. We also have a four-day weekend for election day in early November.
- Julia Kelly ‘20
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