Is Barnard the Right Place for Me?
Finding the Beauty in the College Transition
At this point, you’ve probably questioned whether Barnard is the right place for you? Or maybe whether the big move or rather quite underwhelming move to New York City was the best choice? Struggled to find your ideal college friend group? These questions are all completely normal and in fact, necessary thoughts that may have come across your mind along your transitional experience.
College is the perfect time to find your niche, but a standard niche does not exist. How does one find their comfortable place at Barnard? It’s simple – don’t adhere to a certain standard or expectation of the ‘college experience.’ Reject the notion that your experience should resemble a falsified expectation. Challenge the idea of ‘fitting in’ at college and develop your own college niche, because at the end of the day these are YOUR four years to look back on.
When I was a first year student, I came in with this set time limit on how long I should take to adequately transition into college. Up until now, I can honestly say I’m still transitioning and actively creating an authentic community to ensure that it resembles my own interests, needs, and beliefs. Often times, students feel pressured to ‘transition’ within the fall semester but that is not the case for anyone (and that’s totally fine).
Take some necessary time to reflect on your experience as the year goes, but don’t place too much pressure on crafting “special moments.” Don’t get caught up on how your other friends are experiencing college through their avid social media posts because they too, at one point, have experienced doubt due to preconceived notions of what college should be like.
Some tips on how to transition more smoothly:
- Focus on meeting the right people individually instead of aiming to form your tight knit circle immediately because often times your group of friends develop from simply having individual, mutual friends. Also, not everyone has a core group of friends throughout their college experience but rather develop different friend groups (which is equally as great and ensures that you have different people to bond with since we all have various interests).
- Find peace in solitude and enjoyment in social spaces. This takes some time to develop but it’s great to find a balance because you will often find yourself in both situations at various points in your life.
- Join clubs and organizations that reflect your interests and/or intrigue you to learn more about. Do not feel inclined to only join clubs that reflect a previous experience and/or interest. It’s never too late to develop new hobbies (and new pals too!).
- Check yourself. You’ll find yourself questioning whether you’re living the “ultimate college experience” but there honestly is no such thing as that. Your experience should be unique and central to who you are and who you aim to be.
There are going to be moments where you find yourself doubting any and everything … understand that it’s completely normal and healthy to do so. It’s a part of the experience. Remind yourself that comfort and growth are mutually exclusive and aim to embrace the uneasy moments and unexpected changes that are bound to occur within your academic and social life