What To Do the Summer Before Arriving at Barnard
First and foremost, congratulations on your acceptance to Barnard! You are a group of bold, passionate, independent, amazing women and the Barnard community is happy to welcome you to campus this fall! While you’re probably really excited to be coming to Barnard, it’s also normal to feel a bit nervous. Making the transition from high school to college can be overwhelming -- so overwhelming that you may forget to take full advantage of the summer, which is why I have compiled a list of things to do before your first semester at Barnard.
Spend time with your family. You might feel desperate to get out of the house and explore your newfound independence, but once you get to college, you’re probably going to miss your family a lot. During my first semester, I went home almost every weekend and I still missed my parents. If you have siblings, spend time with them, too. As an only child, I opted to spend some quality time with my dog, which is just as important!
Spend time with your hometown friends. The summer before your first semester could be the last time you’re all together before Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Set aside a day with your friends to explore your hometown, catch a movie at the local theater, or even just relax with a fun night in. And of course, make sure you take lots of pictures - they make great dorm decorations!
Read for pleasure. This could be the last summer you’re truly free of obligations: no college applications, no internships, just two months of freedom. Now is the perfect time to read a book or two for fun. A few of my favorites: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (Barnard '89!), Drown by Junot Díaz, and The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Of course, if binge-watching is more your style, finishing a series (or two) on Netflix over the summer is another great option.
Learn how to cook. And by cook, I mean, master the art of the microwave mug meal. You’ll thank me when you’re craving food at 10pm on a Friday night and don’t feel like making the trek to JJs! Some of my favorites include mac and cheese and a single serving chocolate chip cookie. If you’re a little more ambitious, you can learn how to cook beyond the microwave and maybe even host a dinner for your friends before you all leave for college.
Make a New York bucket list! Living in a city presents endless opportunities. Think about all the things you want to do in the next four years. A couple suggestions: spend a day perusing art at the Met (and if you’re a Gossip Girl fan, take some pictures on the steps à la Blair Waldorf), have a picnic in Central Park, window shop along Fifth Avenue, and maybe even visit the lesser-known gems New York City has to offer.
Hit up your favorite local restaurants. New York City essentially has every cuisine you could ever imagine - plus a bunch of interesting fusion cuisines you probably never even considered - but that doesn’t mean you won’t miss some hometown favorites when you move in August. For me, that meant eating at a great diner two blocks from my house as often as I could. For you, it might be indulging in some Texas barbecue or San Francisco sourdough.
Update your closet. Going to college is the perfect excuse for getting some new clothes, especially if you’re coming from a place with different weather, or if like me, you’ve been wearing a school uniform for years. The essentials for your first semester: good walking shoes, rain boots, a raincoat, and (of course) your Barnard sweatshirt.
Peruse the Facebook group. You certainly don’t need to like/comment/post in the Class of 2022 Facebook group every day, but don’t be afraid to engage with your future classmates! And if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask! BSARs and current students are all members of the Facebook group and are happy to help you out. Additionally, Barnard sends a bunch of really informative booklets over the summer to get you prepared for your first semester. Be sure to glance at them so you’re not overwhelmed with information when you step on campus.
Adult-ing. This list is mostly fun stuff, but I feel like I should tell you about the things I wish I knew before my first year: learn how to properly do laundry, go to the doctor and to the dentist, set up a bank account, and memorize your social security number.
Congratulations once again! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cassandra Clifford '21