Three more traditions, including the Columbia-Barnard relationship
Hello and a very warm welcome to the third installment of Senior in the Springtime. This week I continued the journey of completing the traditions that remained on my list. I was able to complete three more, as best as I could, and I’m confident that the other 42 will be conquered in due time.
Again, the numbers alongside the tradition reflect their placement in the original list. My three for the week:
75. Realize Williamsburg isn’t the only place in Brooklyn worth visiting.
Just like many Columbians who love Manhattan, I rarely find myself in Brooklyn. However, this past weekend was different. I’ve been to Williamsburg before—a warehouse party once upon a time—but I’ve found a new favourite spot in New York’s most populous borough.
Thanks to a Georgian friend of mine—from the country Georgia, not the state—we went to this lovely restaurant called Pirosmani in Sheepshead Bay. The restaurant, contrary to what Yelp says about its cuisine being Turkish, Russian, or Ukrainian, is apparently NYC’s best Georgian spot. The neighborhood had its own charm too. It’s definitely worth the trip, which took about an hour total; go to Times Square, and then take the Q to Avenue U.
It was clearly a region with a high immigrant population: We saw several stores with bilingual signs, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the multicultural nature of the area. People from Eastern Europe made up the bulk of the immigrant population, but I also saw Italian, Chinese, Turkish, and Jewish stores on the walk from the subway to the restaurant.
104. Fall over after Dance Marathon.
I had unavoidable prior commitments for Saturday, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to partake in the Dance Marathon. However, I did make it a point to drop by to spend some time on the floor and show my support. I also managed to get hit on the head with a beach ball.
(No idea why they had them.)
Since I knew I had to complete this illustrious tradition, I stayed up late into the night watching the epic Australian Open men’s tennis final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. I collapsed onto my bed at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, when both marathons—the tennis and the dance—were over. That counts as falling over after Dance Marathon, right?
(I know it’s a tad cheeky but please let’s just go with it.)
4. Try to figure out the Barnard-Columbia relationship. Give up.
Where do I begin to tell the story of how great foolishness can be? It’s a challenge, but here goes. Allow me to start by listing some things I’ve heard in my time here.
“Why would I take the Barnard Shakespeare class when I could take Columbia’s?”
“My mom went to Barnard—but that was before CC admitted girls so it’s okay.”
“Did you register through Barnard? Last time, they took two months to get the girl onto the Columbia registration system.”
None of this should be news to you; these are all things I’m sure you’ve heard in one form of another. There’s no easily explained relationship. The only obvious thing is that there are so many contradictions. You’ve got all of the above happening on a daily basis, but Barnard students can take most Columbia classes and Columbia students can take most Barnard classes. Barnard students can use Columbia libraries and Columbia students can use Barnard libraries. Barnard students can dine at Columbia and Columbia students can dine at Barnard. Barnard students get Columbia degrees.
Even though there’s so much cooperation, there’s the whole ordeal of signing people into dorms. That’s not it—the Varsity Show and Orgo Night performances are full to the brim with jokes about Barnard students. The jokes really never stop.
Oh, then there are the stereotypes about Barnard women being easier, stupider, meaner, and less intellectually gifted than their counterparts east of Broadway. Is it really fair to burn the forest because of a few trees?
It’s pretty obvious that people at Columbia have a bit of a superiority complex, and while I don’t want to change people’s minds about which school has the edge in whatever category, I do want to urge people to have at least a little bit of respect.
I’ve met plenty of Barnard women who are fantastic individuals, and I’m extremely proud to say I know them. I’ve taken classes at Barnard and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences, and I’ve eaten at Hewitt many a time and left far happier than when I dine at John Jay.
Even when I emailed administrators on both sides of the street for a community service event, only one got me back to me within two days. Any guesses? President Debora Spar of Barnard College. No PrezBo. No DeanTini. No anybody, except DSpar.
The Columbia-Barnard relationship is pretty messed up, no doubt. I could go on forever about how it makes no sense. But I’ll stop now. (Mainly because part of this tradition is giving up.)
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!
Senior in the Springtime is a weekly series that runs every Tuesday.
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