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What I Did Last Friday: A Day in the Life of a Barnard Woman

Student Perspective - Anna Ehrlich

There are so many topics I can write about to help you get to know Barnard, but I thought, it may be helpful for you to get a sense of what a typical day in the life a Barnard student is, so I’m going to walk you through what I did last Friday.

I woke up at 7:30, nervous.  My biochemistry midterm was in just an hour and a half.  I reviewed some last minute notes, ate breakfast and drank coffee and walked to class.  The exam was challenging, but fair.  By ten o’clock it was over.  After class, I caught up with one of my friends who was also in the class (we became friends through taking the same pre-med classes together), and we compared impressions about the test.  We had spent hours that week studying together, so we were both curious to hear how effectively we each felt our joint studying had been. 

Next, I met a classmate I co-teach with on campus and we walked to a nearby public high school.  I volunteer for the Barnard/Columbia chapter of an organization called Peer Health Exchange that trains college students to teach workshops on health to high school students whose schools do not offer comprehensive health curricula. From 11-12 I worked with a class of 9th graders to teach them how to protect themselves from giving or acquiring sexually transmitted infections and HIV.  The students were engaged and asked smart, relevant questions.  Volunteering with Peer Health Exchange has been one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences I’ve had in college, and is something I look forward to every Friday.  Next I walked back to campus and worked out at the Columbia gym-- Barnard students have access to all of the Columbia facilities.  After my workout I grabbed a quick bite at the Barnard cafeteria. 

I’ll stop here to give a brief explanation.  When I used to give tours, 98% of the time prospective students would ask me how the food is.  It’s an important question, especially because Barnard requires first-year students to have an meal plan.  Honestly, the food is quite good.  There are vegetarian, vegan, and kosher options.  There is always a salad bar with a variety of options.  Also, the deserts are awesome.

After lunch I headed uptown to the Columbia University Medical Center where I conduct research in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.  Specifically, I am working with my mentor, Alex, who is a fellow in the NICU on a study of the effectiveness of hyperoxia as a predictive measure for various outcomes related to strokes.  Right now I am doing a literature review on hyperoxia and I am helping organize the data so that we can run statistical analysis on it.  To give just a little bit more background, particularly for prospective pre-med students, there are many opportunities at Barnard to get involved in research.  I started working in the NICU during my sophomore year.  I chose this particular unit because I was interested in working directly with patients, which I had been doing up until this past year when I got absorbed with a new research project.  For those of you who are interested in bench work, there are many opportunities both with Barnard and Columbia faculty as well as at various hospitals around the city.

Around five I left the hospital and went home.  I live with my three closest friends, two of whom happened to be home.  We ate dinner and hung out for a while, enjoying the weekend and having some downtime together.

I bit later that night I left for a date. It was one of the first warm nights so we decided to walk down to Lincoln Center (on 66th street) to the movie theater to see Source Code on opening night.  Jake Gyllenhaal actually made an appearance at the theater before the movie!  We also ran into several of our classmates—something you’ll find is that it is amazing how quickly you start running into people you know, even in such a big city.

I hope that gives you a better sense of what a typical day is like.  It’s worth mentioning that Fridays tend to be a bit different than other week days because most people don’t have class on Fridays, and instead us this day for internships—normally I spend more time in class during the week.