Between the glossy admissions fliers and the rowdy Facebook posts from your friends who went to state schools, you might be feeling a little confused about what NSOP is truly supposed to be. Well, here’s what we thought about our own NSOPs…
Maud, BC’15: I thought NSOP was incredibly disappointing. By the end of the mandatory presentation about how to not set your room on fire, I felt pretty over the whole thing. My expectations were probably too high. I was expecting to be welcomed into the secret Barnard sisterhood with fireworks and free alcohol and lots of swag that said BARNARD on it. And I never got over the initial shock of how ugly the entrance to Hewitt is. It cast a pallor over my whole first year, to be honest.
Claire, CC’16: The best friend I made during NSOP was the fan I purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond. If that sounds depressing, you’ve obviously never lived in a John Jay single during the summertime. Think of the inside of an oven, then multiply that by the surface of the sun and you’ll have roughly the correct temperature. While I cannot blame the heat entirely for my shitty NSOP, I will say that making new friends is a pretty low priority when you feel like an inhuman sweat-monster. Especially when it seems like everyone already has a whole posse of new BFFs. After three days of self-explanatory safety presentations and awkward dinner conversations, I sat down in front of my fan and thought, “Well, looks like I’m going to be a friendless hermit for the rest of my life.” Two years later,
I am a friendless hermit I am beyond excited to get back to the city. Why? Because IT GETS BETTER.
Eric, CC ’16: My NSOP experience was neither good nor bad. It had its share of cringeworthy moments: for one, being the only person in my orientation group to show up to an event at Pinkberry on the second day, when desperate utterances of “I wonder where everyone is” were all that punctuated the awkward silence between my OL and me (we left after 5 minutes). But, I met one of my best friends during NSOP drunkenly bonding over Law and Order: SVU in our floor lounge. The days were somewhat dull (a week can be a really long time), and I survived largely by commiserating with my friends from high school about how bored we all were. In comparison to all I’ve experienced at Columbia in the years since—because NSOP, or even freshman year for that matter, is not the be-all end-all—NSOP was a dud.
Courtney, BC’17: NSOP was just hot mess. I don’t think a moment passed when I wasn’t drenched in sweat and awkwardly swiping my sweaty forehead amidst awkward interactions and introductions. My roommate even said in a fit of rage that it must be illegal to to not have air conditioning in New York (looking at you, DG.) Looking past the perspiration, NSOP was a terribly long yet a much needed time to adjust to the city and Barnard before classes started. I felt prepared with phone numbers in my contact list of people I would never text and an obsession with DSpar. However, one problem with NSOP that we all battle is not letting the FOMO get you down. Maybe five people are actually having that drunk-every-night experience you prepare to have throughout NSOP. Many memories and mistakes will be made during NSOP regardless if you’re out partying or staying in every night. Embrace it and archive the memories to boost your depressed state the night before your first term paper is due.
Britt, CC’16: I spent the first few nights with my parents before they flew back home. I’d already had too much socialization during COÖP and realized that I wouldn’t be seeing my parents until Thanksgiving, so skipped out on several NSOP events to get dinner with them and go on walks in the park. I’d also had a pretty rough time emotionally the summer before college and had been dealing with a lot of anxiety about my future, so I was more in the mood for introspection and parental advice than partying. Once they left I spent a surprising amount of time in Butler reading books, because I’d decided that in college I was going to be an Intellectual Person. I did eventually make friends and leave the library, but I’m glad I waited until after the embarrassing shitshow that is NSOP.
Max, GS/JTS ’17: Since my program, like everything else about GS, is nontraditional, my NSOP was nontraditional as well. Joint Program students like myself, for the most part, come right out of some high school/yeshiva/Ramaz and are placed into GS’ orientation programming, which is completely separate from anything CC or SEAS does. One cool thing that I enjoyed was a sort of “blind” meet-and-greet with all of GS, allowing me to hear from some really interesting people, including business owners and military veterans who had great stories to share for three minutes at a time. Advice: Go out of your way to meet GS students and listen to them. However, I wish there had been a component of my NSOP experience that involved CC/SEAS. At the end of the week, and I don’t know how it came about exactly, I stumbled upon Bwog’s first open meeting.
He doesn’t even look wet via Shutterstock