Living and Lifestyle
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Congratulations on getting into Barnard! Now that you’re in, your natural inclination will be to learn as much as possible about your future school. Let Required Reading help you out from now until NSOP. Subscribe to get Required Reading delivered directly to your inbox.

As you look ahead to your first year of college, you may be wondering what your day-to-day life will actually look like. Although everyone has a different schedule, and there’s no such thing as an “average” day at Barnard, there are some things that every student deals with: classes, homework, extracurriculars, and trying to have a social life, all while having some downtime. When you’re deciding between schools, it’s cool to know what a typical day looks like for the students on any given day. Here’s what my typical Thursday looks like as a Barnard first-year.

9 a.m.: My alarm goes off, and I get ready for my first class. My roommate has already left for her 8:40 a.m. class (the earliest class time at CU—def avoid these if possible!). If I get ready fast enough, I can grab breakfast at Hewitt Dining Hall, Barnard’s main dining hall, which is located in the basement of the Hewitt residence hall. (Contrary to common sense, Hewitt Dining Hall is not accessible via Hewitt Hall—you have to go through Barnard Hall. On my first day of NSOP, only the first-years who had been to Days on Campus actually knew how to find it. The rest of us wandered around aimlessly until they helped us.)

10:10 a.m.: I go to my first class of the day, a first-year seminar called Things and Stuff. As part of the Foundations curriculum, each first-year will be expected to take a seminar either in their first or second semester. They’re not all called Things and Stuff—there are usually several options students get to pick from. You’ll get a course catalog over the summer and you’ll rank your seminar preferences, and then you’ll be placed in one. These seminars are heavily discussion-based and are quite small, usually no more than 15 students per class.

12 p.m.: In between my seminar and my next class, I practice the tap choreography that I’ve been working on for my dance class, Tap Ensemble. While this is a higher-level dance class that incorporates writing into the work, you can take other dance technique courses at Barnard that fulfill the one-semester PE requirement, which all Barnard students have to complete by the end of their first year. If you have previous dance experience, one of your dance classes (say, Ballet IV) will fulfill this requirement. Otherwise, you can register for one of Barnard’s other PE classes—there are several, such as yoga, tai chi, and self-defense (I took this and would recommend it).

1:10 p.m.: I have my Introduction to Psychology lecture in Milbank Hall. This is a large lecture class that’s filled with a lot of first-years, pre-meds, and psychology majors. Lectures are pretty chill, but there’s a bit of outside work for the class—for instance, part of our grade depends on participation in research studies.

2 p.m.: I meet up with some friends at Ferris Booth Commons, one of Columbia’s dining halls, for lunch. I usually head straight for the pasta station, where your pasta is cooked in front of you. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with this idea—the pasta line at Ferris is notoriously long.

5 p.m.: After working for a few hours in Butler, Columbia’s largest (and probably most Insta-worthy) library, I head over to my last class of the day, Elementary Italian, in Hamilton Hall, located on Columbia’s campus.

7 p.m.: Now that classes are over, I run down to the Columbia Daily Spectator office on 112th Street and Broadway. Spectator is the community’s largest independent daily publication and media organization covering the University. I’m an associate editor for Spectrum there, meaning that a couple days a week I edit a few articles and eat the pizza that they order for the office. Score.

9 p.m.: I stop by my sorority’s brownstone for a movie night, and since it’s Thursday (most CU students don’t have Friday classes, so the weekend starts Thursday night), I’ll either go out to a frat or dorm party, hang out with friends, or head back to Butler to finish work before the weekend.

Getting a glimpse at what your life could be like is super helpful when trying to decide on a college. As you can see from my day, Barnard and Columbia are very integrated when it comes to classes, dining, and extracurriculars. Overall, most students are kept pretty busy, but that’s just the fun of college.

Have any questions about what it’s like to be a Barnard student? Ask us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum. We’re also very technologically adept folk, so you can also email any questions you have to

Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and a Barnard first-year. The amount of time she’s spent in Ferris’ pasta line is ridiculous, but it’s so worth it. Reach her at

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