More Than Just the Classroom

Yesterday, I attend a lecture at Barnard entitled “Created In God’s Image: Intersections of Judaism, Gender, and Human Rights.” This lecture, given by a Barnard alumna, looked at issues of torture and slavery and response to these issues. My first thought after she finished speaking was “why has it taken me almost three years to take advantage of these unbelievable opportunities. Investing in a Barnard education is more than just investing in a classroom; it more than homework and research papers; it is even more than grades or a GPA. What you get at Barnard is an investment in an intellectual curiosity.

Each week Barnard has countless lectures, symposiums, forums, and discussions about any and every subject from literature to business and the conflict in the Middle East to issues with water in New York. To illustrate my point look at the events coming up at Barnard. In the coming days alone there is a lecture about intertextuality, a salon on public feelings, and so much more. There is so much offered, and the reason why is because Barnard students want to go. It is a chicken and egg scenario. There are opportunities so we as Barnard students take advantage of them, and because we take advantage more programs are planned and implemented. It is a cycle of curiosity and a cycle of knowledge, which Barnard provides in order to fulfill a need in students to question and think outside of the classroom. Barnard has taught me that thinking does not end when your final class of the day concludes (and that is not only because we have homework). I truly believe that the Barnard liberal arts experience is about created a well-rounded, knowledgeable, and questioning citizen of the world, which extends beyond formal education.

Thinking and questioning also does not end at graduation, and I think the fact that the lecture I attended was given by a Barnard alumna, exemplifies this idea. My lecturer is not by far not the first nor the last nor the last alumna to return to campus in this sort of capacity. Many of the lecturers are alumnae proving  (in my opinion at least) that Barnard is doing something right. Past Barnard students are passing on the tradition of thinking, asking, questioning, and learning, to current Barnard students, and that is really powerful.

Attending this lecture not only opened my eyes to a major issue in our world affecting millions of people a year, but also made me realize  how I have been missing out on such an influential piece of the Barnard experience. My only regret is I only have a little over a year to take advantage of all the amazing speakers Barnard brings in. So, my advice to all you prospective students reading this: if (and hopefully when) you come to Barnard don’t be like me and ignore the flyers in your mailbox about these events. Go to them! Barnard has so much to offer us outside the classroom, but it is up to us to take advantage of it all.