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“Welcome Back” I laughed to myself and thought “Welcome Home”

Student Perspective - Ludovica Pagni

I am really happy to be able to write something that hopefully will be useful to you all, because I remember how I felt at the time of choosing my school and I really wish I had known of the existence of this blog! Since this is our first post I would love to tell you a little of how I got here and what happened, because I find it a really funny story.  I sometimes need to remind it to myself too because it makes still very little sense even to me!

At the moment of applying to colleges I didn’t even know that Barnard existed, and when I discovered it was a girls’ college I wasn’t interested of knowing of its existence. In fact my counselor basically had to MAKE me apply, and even when I applied  I still did not think of it as one of my options. Let’s make it clear, I knew about its great reputation and all the rest but, let’s face it, who would want to come to the US for college and go to a girls’ school? Well, certainly not me.  I am not a feminist or  a womanist, I love men. I love hanging out with men and spending time with guys, in high school most of my friends were guys and I know how sneaky girls can get (in high school, I mean).  I’m not saying it’s not ok to believe in women’s rights etc. etc., I just never thought about it before. And certainly at Barnard I am not the only one, I keep hearing so many stories similar to mine. So, if you feel the same don’t worry about it. But let’s go on. How did I get here in the end, you may ask? I was admitted and my counselor still insisted that I should visit. I also got a good scholarship from another school, which I also visited once admitted. Many people will tell you of how they felt that “spark”, how they visited Barnard and instantly fell in love. I was hoping for something like that, but nothing really happened. The campus was not that great and the girl who hosted me was too busy and stressed out.

A month later I was enrolled in the class of 2014. How did I decide? I talked to a girl, who I will never be able to thank enough.  At the time she was studying abroad in Italy and when I talked to her I realized she was incredibly available and fun and cool and enthusiastic and all over the place and…Barnard. I decided that if she was like most of the people, that’s where I wanted to be. Ironically I then met this same girl on my first day on campus and soon after I discovered that not only she is all these things but she’s probably also THE coolest person on campus. However, by talking to her I clarified so many of my doubts.

First of all I wanted to be in NYC and at Columbia, and yes, she told me that Barnard was both. I find it funny that I mention Columbia only at this point, because that’s why I chose Barnard at the time, but it is not what I give most relevance to now, after having spent almost 2 semesters here. However this girl, as I kept asking her about Columbia and the whole “girls’ college issue” I had, also told me, in a very proud and strong way, that Barnard does have its own identity. I remember her saying this almost offended by my lack of awareness.

So what happened was that as I was deciding to accept the other scholarship, a different thought struck me and I decided that Barnard College sounded a lot like a place for me. I wasn’t sure at all, I gave it a chance and, I don’t know how, but it worked out perfectly. As I look back now, and as people ask me if I’m happy here I always answer that I was a fool, because had I sent in an ED application only at Barnard my life would have been so much easier.

Once you get here everyone says that the more you go on, the more you love it. I initially had no clue how this could happen but I gradually understood it as I started flying in and out and going home over breaks. As I came back from Thanksgiving I realized how happy I was to be back, as I returned after Christmas I called my friends from the airport screaming at them how excited I was to see them all again. By the time I landed after Spring break and a custom agent greeted me “Welcome back” I laughed to myself and thought “welcome home”.

I know that this might sound a little excessively happy but it is my experience. I don’t want to convince you that everyone feels this same way, but certainly I know a lot of people that are happy here at Barnard. Also, keep in mind that Barnard is the only girls’ school where you can actually live with a guy, you take classes with them and go to their same school. Only a little better because on your hallway there will always be some random girl ready to give you advice on what shoes to wear, to lend you some make up, to have a chat with when walking around in your towel to go shower.