Four years ago today, I was a massive bundle of nerves. I’m on the indecisive end of the decisiveness spectrum – choosing a place for lunch can be hard, let alone a place to spend the next four years – so it had taken me until after Thanksgiving to finalize my list of schools. My guidance counselor, as you can imagine, was less than pleased. Then suddenly, after a year and a half of stressing about college, touring schools, waking up early to take the SAT (on my sixteenth birthday, which I’m still bitter about), writing and rewriting my essays, and generally being tense and grouchy (sorry, Mom and Dad), it was time to hear back from schools.
Around April 1st (my birthday, again!), letters started arriving. Well, mostly, e-mails and electronic notifications started arriving, but there were a few letters. I got into Barnard, obviously, and a number of other schools, and the whole mess of indecision began again. I went on my second round of visits and had almost settled on a different school when I came to Barnard for Admitted Students’ Weekend.
My mother told me later that she watched my face change as I decided to come to Barnard. It was during a student panel, and as I watched five intelligent, confident, and mature seniors speak, I knew that I wanted to be one of those women by the time I graduated – and that Barnard was the place to make that happen. My decision was confirmed later that afternoon during a Victorian Poetry class. The students were involved, passionate, and articulate, and I had another flash of certainty that I had made the right choice.
It wasn’t an easy choice, though. I wanted to grow in college, to stretch and push myself, and I knew that Barnard was a good place to do that. But that meant going to an intimidating city with a bunch of intelligent women, who all seemed more intelligent, confident and mature than I was. Four years later, I know I made the right choice. But right now – if you weren’t Early Decision, if you haven’t had your heart set on Barnard, if you’re still feeling a little lost and confused – I don’t expect you to take my word that it will all work out. But do take courage from the fact that you have gotten into Barnard – and that means you’re a strong, intelligent, mature, beautiful Barnard woman. Whatever choice you make will be the right one. And if you haven’t figured it out before Admitted Students Weekend, I’ll be up there in one of those panels – I hope I can help you make up your mind!
But for now, congratulations on getting into Barnard. I look forward to writing more in the next few weeks and being a resource as you make your choice. Feel free to write to me with any questions!
By: Anna Ziering