We can take classes at either school. We can socialize on either campus. But the details of how students from each school interact are skimmed over in campus tours and official documents, instead rearing their heads during awkward social interactions—when a CC student has to come down from their room to sign in a friend from Barnard, or when people discuss the dating scene, or through anonymous comments on websites like Bwog and CollegeACB.
So we decided to see what people from both schools would say if we got them in a room together and asked them, up front, questions about the day-to-day realities of the Barnard-Columbia relationship. And it turned out to be pretty fun.
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Does the Barnard-Columbia ambiguity come into play in clubs or social life? Just speaking socially, from my experience, college in general is about getting out, going out, in general. I've always been interested in what school someone goes to in the same way I'm interested in their major. It's an interesting tidbit about you, but it doesn't necessarily define you as a human being. Maybe it's because I transferred here and I don't have the Montague—Capulets view of the whole thing.
I feel like, I don't know if this is from students who say this, or hearing it from some of my Barnard friends, but there are people who feel that when someone says, "I go to Barnard," they feel that if a person's in CC—especially females—will look down on them. And I don't know who these people are but they definitely say this. All the stereotypes—that's what they are: But there are still definitely people that think, "If you go to Barnard, you are less than me because of that.
I've heard a bunch of people make Barnard jokes, or think all the Barnard girls are less smart than us.
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In terms of stereotypes and Barnard women, people saying they're not up to the standards of Columbia students, I think you can counter that by looking at specific examples. Personally, I was struck when I entered Columbia last year as a freshman, I did some writing for Spectator, and the previous managing board of Spec was largely Barnard students. That struck me off the bat, that even though these stereotypes might exist, any student from any of the schools as part of the Columbia community has the opportunity and capacity to lead, and that definitely changed any preconceived stereotypes I had going in.
But obviously in some ways Barnard and Columbia students are different because Barnard girls chose to go to a liberal arts school and Columbia students chose to go to a big university. We can sit here and say "Oh, they're all the same," but do you think there are substantive differences in the student body? There are pros and cons to every school that you go to. One con that I've heard Barnard girls talk about is this sort of—I think prejudice might be too strong of a word—but some sort of hesitation for that reason, because they are Barnard girls.
When you lump someone into a category it's easy to attach names, but when you attach names you're just being a dick. At the same time, for many of the Barnard girls I know, there's a sense of community felt at Barnard that I don't really find at Columbia. Columbia is much more segmented. At Barnard there's much more of a collective identity of "We are Barnard girls," which might have its pitfalls, but I think that a bond, a unity, a sorority, whatever you want to call it, is a valuable thing.
I've heard Barnard girls say the opposite: Just the language they use, they say "we," they would use female pronouns, the way they talk to the people in the room, it's different from Columbia, where I don't think the administration reaches out to us in an effective, community-building way. As much as people pretend like it's always Columbia hating on Barnard, I've heard Barnard students talk about "We have an advising system, our advisors actually care about us. So it's a kind of a two-way street. Do you interact differently with CU and Barnard girls?
I think because stereotypes are prominent at this school and you hear them in a casual conversation very often, I think it's kind of a personal challenge to not feed into those stereotypes and let them inform how you view people.
Sometimes a person—I—might have one of the stereotypes in mind, and you have to watch yourself, making sure that you don't judge anyone, and you try to treat everyone the same in terms of meeting people and getting to know them. I don't personally feel that, maybe because I'm an offensive person that speaks my mind. But I definitely have realized that you lose talking points if you say "Oh, you haven't taken the Core, you must not know Herodotus.
So you jerk off a lot, is what you're saying. You definitely lose that connection, like we've all taken the Core, we've all had bad advisors, we've all eaten at John Jay for an entire year and thought it was awful.
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But we can still find connections like, we're college students, we're in New York City, we're in Morningside Heights. I don't know, I find that Barnard girls are awesome. I don't know why, but a lot of the Barnard girls I've met have been really cool. More awesome than CC girls? I mean, you're not quoting me on anything. I've consistently found really awesome Barnard girls. I'm an outgoing asshole, and I've met a lot of girls from Barnard being on the same wavelength, like, very quick, witty, sharp, very comfortable being themselves.
Do you think you're meeting all those outgoing Barnard girls because the non-outgoing ones aren't really leaving their campus, or aren't going to the same social circles? Because you'll see CC girls that are not outgoing or are introverted, because they live in your dorm or they are in your classes, and you have to see them.
But you might not see Barnard girls like this because they're across the street taking classes over there. To answer your question, I could probably drink you under the table. I spend a lot of nights going out. I've been to a lot of the Columbia University establishments, and I've socialized with outspoken Columbia girls, but I've also spoken with outgoing Barnard girls, I've spoken with quiet Columbia girls, quiet Barnard girls. And for some reason there seems to be a good sense of connection with me and Barnard girls, because I think there's something to be said about choosing to go to an all-girls school that says something about their character.
With that, I think that a girl who chooses to go to a school that is in line with her identity, just simplifying that … The people who I interact with best are people who are very comfortable with themselves. There are girls at Columbia who are completely happy and comfortable with themselves and whatever else. But I really feel there are a good number of Barnard girls who know who they are and what they want, XYZ, and I have a good time. On that note, how has Barnard affected your dating life? I've been dating the same girl for the past 10 months and she's a Barnard student.
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We met at a Columbia class and it worked out. Gender ratio doesn't help or hurt your odds? That's the conventional wisdom around this campus, that guys have the advantage. I've never felt that. I mean some guys around here are just not smooth. This man is smooth, so he's gonna get game anywhere. If you're going to praise me, I'm not going to deny it.
I mean if you go to on any given night, do you really see that many more girls? It's hard because a lot of the guys at Columbia are gay anyway. This is not NYU. A student hall at Barnard.
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Post was not sent - check your email addresses! My living situation as a transfer is far from ideal, but my social life is centered around ADP, a literary, co-ed fraternity that I'm pledging, so I spend a lot of time there and will be living there this summer and next year. Because we don't have class Fridays, Thursdays are usually a big night for going out. I've found that most people take off either Friday night or Saturday night to stay in or watch a movie.
There isn't much of an on campus social life. The occasional frat party, maybe some parties in lerner, but nothing all too exciting. But what is more exciting than New York city? That's why Columbia doesn't have raging parties every weekend, because there are so many more interesting things to do than drink beer out of a keg in a sweaty basement and most students realize that.
If you are looking for the beer keg thing you can find it. Don't expect social life to be delivered on a silver platter to you. You have to look for things, but you will find them. Orchesis is a Barnard-Columbia dance group that's a lot of fun. The dating scene is about hooking up. I met my closest friends through classes and through my sorority.
People party at least once a week in their first years, but as they get to be upper classmen it's less important. The sororities are fantastic because they aren't filled with stereotypical "sorority girls" -- the girls in sororities are smart, involved, passionate, compassionate, intelligent, politically and socially aware students working to improve the campus and the world around them.
The three bars around campus are always packed on the weekends, but so is the library. A lot of kids go downtown for clubs, restaurants, other bars, concerts, theatre, movies, shows. A lot of kids stay in their rooms and rarely leave.