Bwogger Miyoki Walker often wishes for obvious reasons that she went to Barnard instead of Columbia. This past week, she took matters into her own hands and tried to make those dreams a reality by pretending to be a Barnard student.
For the first day of the week, I decided I’d get the most daunting task out of the way: finding Hewitt alone. I’d tried a few days earlier but, after wandering aimlessly around 116th and Claremont (because that’s what the map shows), deciding Hewitt didn’t exist, and then eyeing people eating there through the window proving that it did, I gave up. After finding it with a Barnard friend afterward, I felt ready to try it again on my own.
With my Barnard tote in hand —yes I was committed enough to scam my way into one—I walked through Barnard Hall’s tunnels at 8 am for breakfast. Sleep-deprived and in need of caffeine, I managed to convince myself again that it was not a real place. I mean, Hewitt is literally called “Food Hall.” That sounds made up. Nevertheless, I found my way back. Thankfully very few people were there at 8 am, so I had my choice of seating.
Some key features of Hewitt breakfast: a lot of eggs, a lot of fruit, and a lot of pastries. They even have real mugs to drink coffee out of which is sometimes all you need. There’s also a neat sugar dispenser machine that is definitely unnecessary, but also very fun. The only thing is…Hewitt doesn’t have avocado for toast or name brand hot sauce to use in the morning. It’s not a huge deal, except it is.
After breakfast, I went to my next class which just so happens to be at Barnard. After getting a bad essay grade, I retreated back to my safe Columbia dorm where no more professors or scary underground tunnels could hurt me. Yes, I was only on Barnard’s campus for a few hours but I promised myself I would do better the next day.
Ah, Tuesday. If you saw me at Ferris instead of Hewitt in the morning with a custom omelet and avocado toast in hand, thank you for minding your business.
After failing to live out my #BarnardDreams in the morning, I grabbed food from Liz’s Place in the afternoon (an underwhelming and plain turkey sandwich, but I won’t complain), snagged a desk seat on Milstein 2, and went to work.
Milstein does what the other girls (Butler) could never do. There are silly chairs, windows with sunlight, and colors everywhere. I felt my serotonin rising just sitting there. The only problem I could really find with Milstein was the temperature. Maybe it’s the anemia talking, but the second I wash my hands in the bathroom’s below-freezing faucet water, I’m shivering for the rest of my stay. This really isn’t valid criticism, but I do need to complain about something being the person I am.
Later that night, I had a wonderful time with the black cherry and tarragon soda in Hewitt. It was also easy to find a seat, unlike most nights I’ve gone to Ferris. Barnard was getting better every day.
Wednesday was pretty uneventful. Again, there was no avocado at Hewitt for breakfast and I was starting to believe there never would be. I did finally spot some Sriracha behind the closed deli window but I wasn’t allowed to use it. In a daze from the hot-sauce-and-avocado-withdrawal, I emailed Barnard Dining like an actual crazy person asking for these things. Listen, if I was going to be a Barnard student for any longer, I needed Sriracha to get me through.
Although it was a disappointing day, I still held on hope that dinner at Diana the next night would bring everything home.
Early Thursday morning, I found an exciting email in my inbox. Barnard’s Marketing Director responded to my email saying he would mention the avocado suggestion to the culinary team and I was welcome to ask for the hot sauce behind the deli counter for breakfast. Although I was (and still am) embarrassed that I even emailed in the first place, I considered this a win.
Later that day, I ventured to dinner at the final frontier: Diana. I don’t have much to say about it because I’m pretty sure I blacked out the entire time. One minute I was staring at the diagram showing what counts as a meal swipe, the next I was walking out with another large cup of tarragon soda. I lost all sense of time and space in there and still haven’t ruled out the possibility that it was a stroke. I’m also not sure if my dinner counted as a swipe or dining dollars. The experience was incredibly disorienting, but the food was good and I’m sure the experience would’ve been too if I knew my way around.
Still bewildered from dinner the night before, I did not step foot on Barnard’s campus the entire day. It was finally time to take a real hard look at myself and realize I was in over my head. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a Barnard girl, or maybe it just isn’t my time yet. Regardless, I’ll spend the next two years trying to earn it.
Photo via Bwog archives