Sofia Djerassi '21 after a race at Princeton.

Even with significant restrictions during the past year to the Barnard athletics program — a unique partnership with Columbia University that allows rowers like Sofia Djerassi ’21 to compete in NCAA Division I athletics through the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, making Barnard the only women’s college whose students compete in D-I tournaments, via the Ivy League Athletic Conference — student athletes will still be graduating with a wealth of memories from their years competing. As part of the “Barnard’s Got Game” series, Djerassi, a member of Columbia’s women’s rowing team, reflects on her journey as an athlete and what that experience will mean to her moving forward.

Djerassi (center back) with fellow Barnard rowers in 2019.

Why did you join Columbia's rowing team, and how did it impact you?

I rowed in high school and knew I wanted to walk on to Columbia’s teams when I was first accepted to Barnard! The Columbia Women’s Rowing team has provided me with my best memories at college and the best friends. It’s a community where we spent most hours of the day with each other, especially early mornings, but it was definitely worth it for the friendships I’ve made.  

How has being an athlete complemented your classroom experience? 

Rowing has helped me become very disciplined and organized in all aspects of my life. Time management is a super important part of my student athlete experience, and the sport has provided me with a community where I felt constantly supported and heard. 

Djerassi and fellow graduating teammate Ruba Nadar '21 at boathouse.

What is your favorite memory of participating in athletics at Barnard? 

My favorite memories are of the early mornings, when all of our Barnard teammates would meet at the bottom of the Quad and head towards the morning bus around 6 a.m. I know it doesn’t seem like an extraordinary memory, but it would happen every morning, and it always reminded me of our small Barnard community, even within our larger Columbia team. 

There is one [memory] that stands out to me, and it’s because we got to row on the Hudson River. Rowing on the Hudson was really a privilege at Columbia, because it could only happen on perfect weather days, which means I’ve only rowed on the Hudson twice. So, those two times were a special treat. 

What led you to your chosen major? 

I am an economic and social history major and thought the major combined two great courses of study. 

What are your plans post-graduation? 

Still figuring it out. Probably grad school.