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Nothing Bugs Me...

Alumna Perspective - Katie Martin-Browne

Welcome to the blog, and congratulations on your acceptance to Barnard! Barnard was my first choice college, and the last college I heard from, so I know the suspense can be frustrating, but now you know – and, more importantly, you’re in!

My junior year of high school, my family drove out to the east coast for a whirlwind of college tours during my spring break. Barnard was initially on my list of potential colleges for its dance program: I was an avid dancer during high school, and finding a college with both an excellent dance program and challenging academics proved to be no small feat (although quite handy in narrowing down my college choices). But my visit showed me that there was more to recommend Barnard than its dance program, and it quickly moved to the top of my list.

Barnard felt right. There’s no better way I can put it: it was just a feeling. I had visited several other schools, a few which I liked, but none that felt the way Barnard did. Barnard was a community. I loved that all the first-years lived together, right on campus. I loved the camaraderie I felt while walking through Mac (the old student center, newly replaced by the Diana building). I loved the small, enclosed campus, the lawn, and the buildings, especially Barnard Hall and Milbank, which managed to be both impressive and welcoming at once. I loved the energy, both intellectual and physical. I just knew: this was a place I wanted to be.

When I got my acceptance letter from Barnard, I had only one doubt that this was the school for me: cockroaches. My mother attended graduate school at Union Seminary (a few blocks north of Barnard) in the 1980s, and her stories of infested apartments were not encouraging. I am not a bug person. I am so much not a bug person that the prospect of seeing cockroaches – or having them crawling around in my cabinets, for that matter – gave me legitimate doubts about my college choice. I am from the Midwest, where I’m pretty sure there are cockroaches, but I had certainly never seen one (once I got to Barnard I learned my roommate, a native New Yorker, was scared of flies, which I found about as ridiculous as she found my fear of cockroaches), and I was not looking forward to battling insects that were not only gross but apparently indestructible.

Luckily for me, I overcame my fear and sent in my deposit (the fear, by the way, turned out to be unwarranted: I saw only three cockroaches while at Barnard, and all three were dead already, rendering them much less intimidating). And I’m glad I did, because my first instinct was right: Barnard was a place I wanted to be.

So, have no fear, cockroaches, and lots of other things that are scary about college, are really not so bad. Again, congratulations, and welcome to the Barnard family!