As the weather gets cooler, the red Starbucks cups more ubiquitous, and the college application deadlines nearer, I hope you’re all enjoying your Senior year of high school! (I know how bizarre that sounds—people have been saying it to me, too, lately, about college. Ahhh!) In the name of not getting sucked in the pre-holiday, pre-finals, looming-deadline blues, I offer the top five way to be active at Barnard.
It’s all too easy to give in to being tired and overwhelmed, to refuse to leave your spot in Butler even when you’re being not at all productive. But as the constant emails from Student Life and every one of my mother’s texts remind me, this is good for us. It releases stress; it helps us focus. And as I’m repeatedly delighted to discover, it can be SO MUCH FUN.
Dance! (I’m a dancer so clearly this is going to go first.) Barnard’s dance department is truly amazing. To start, everyone can take as many dance classes as they want—no formal dance major or minor or concentration required—and in whatever level they feel most at home. I’ve taken all sorts of things, and the teachers (who are epic) have always been helpful and supportive, even when I’m in over my head. Furthermore, Barnard offers no end of opportunities to get onstage, from department performances of new works by professional choreographers, to student groups for classical ballet, belly-dancing, Indian dance, contemporary, tap, and more. It’s always a party and such a supportive community.
Fit Bear! Though it sounds like a teddy bear in spandex, actually Fit Bear is Barnard’s group fitness program, which offers classes, like yoga, cardio, weightlifting, etc. at a very reasonable rate. Basically, you sign up at the beginning of the semester for a pass, and then you meet in the basement of Barnard Hall (where our gym is) for 1-hour classes. Nobody knows or cares whether you come to every class or only a few, so it’s a great way to commit to exercise without adding pressure or judgment (the very things you’re trying to escape by exercising!). Also, the music is poppin’.
Dodge, Columbia’s gym. No, that’s not a command to avoid Columbia’s gym; I know how to use commas! Dodge is completely accessible to Barnard students and it’s positively enormous, full of every sort of torture workout equipment you could want, from ellipticals and stationary bikes to weight machines, dumbbells, and stretching mats. It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s weirdly underground—but it gets the job done!
Columbia Athletics. Even though I don’t know much about Columbia Athletics, I did some research (history major!), and here’s what I’ve learned: Barnard students can be involved in all aspects of Athletics at Columbia! We don’t have our own teams, but Barnard students can and do play on Columbia’s Varsity and JV teams. They can also go to games as fans (there are free buses to home games!), report for the newspaper, and take photos. Such potential! More info here: https://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/learn/studentlife/athletics
This is a tie for off-campus shenanigans: Running in Riverside Park and Yoga. The first is obviously free and easy (not cardiovascular-ly, but convenience-wise), and Riverside is just a block from campus, and always so beautiful. Yoga to the People is a studio at 104th and Broadway that has donation-based classes, so you can pay whatever you can afford that day. It’s a gorgeous studio, and a great way to de-stress!
Ok, friends, that’s it! But, I’ll be around, from now until forever, studying Latin and reading, so shoot me an email or leave a comment if you have any questions!