Spring 2020 did indeed happen.
We opened this semester by addressing the inevitable: what boomers asked us during the winter break. Once we got over that, we put on a face mask, chilled with some John Jay spa water, and basked in the sauna that is Altschul 202. Just kidding! The beginning of the semester means BEGGING to get into that seminar but getting kicked out anyways.
Since we were now back in New York City for an entire semester two months, it was time to hit the town and go out in our badass cowboy boots! Don’t worry, we made sure to keep out for the Columbia version of Joe Goldberg. On our way back, we stocked up our fridges at the best MoHi grocery stores to make some kale, eggs, and potatoes in our forced triple.
Now that we’re all settled in, we realized how bad our class schedule locations and times are. Can you believe we have a class in the Schermerhorn extension?? At least it’s not on a frat house stoop. Nevertheless, we grabbed our oat milk lattes and breakfast tacos and headed to class. While we were there though, someone flipped their hair onto our laptop while we were trying to figure out the actual prices of things in the Buy/Sell Facebook groups. After class, we headed to the Diana 3 study room, the warmest study spot on campus (not Butler stacks) with our newest Bwog Staff members.
Bwog works hard but plays harder. We snuck into EC and subsequently had to walk back to our dorms at 3 am after hooking up with someone we matched with on Tinder. The next morning, we grabbed some Dos Toros and grabbed a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift for our Columbia crush. For your information, we recommend taking your Valentine to either the most romantic dining hall or the 115th street halal cart. To be honest, Valentine’s Day is a bore. We prefer Valentini’s Day.
In February, we were still able to go places, so our shoes had meaning. That meant we could still walk to Butler to meet the new Board, meet Robert Irvine in John Jay, watch Columbia basketball games in Dodge, and take a walk in Riverside Park. We could shuttle up the Milstein elevators only to get shushed on the second floor. It might’ve been because our pet tiktaalik was being too loud. Perhaps sneaking it into Lerner Hall in a tote bag wearing a jacket to feed it Magnolia’s banana pudding would be better. Hopefully, it wouldn’t escape though, because then we’d need to call CAVA.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the semester, some of our classmates were forced to quarantine in their rooms with unclear requirements and inconsistent food deliveries. Arts Editor Riva Weinstein provided a thorough account of students’ experiences in quarantine.
Ah, March, the month that came in like a lion and out with a global pandemic. The month kicked off with Bwog’s resident Writing Fellow taking a journey into time itself. (Do you think the time snake could come and fix this *gestures vaguely at 2020*?) We talked about what we missed from home, because irony is kind of an asshole sometimes. Our pipettes were haunted by the ghosts of scientists past, but we had some tips for how to deal with being haunted. We went to an ASAP meeting, and it went far better than expected! One staffer applied to be a hair model and it went quite a bit worse than expected.
Back when we could regularly hang out with people outside of our family members/roommates/cats/etc. the Athena Film Festival took Barnard by storm: we reviewed Carmen y Lola, Clemency, and Antigone. The Finnish Prime Minister talked about sustainability! Plays were still a thing too: Bwog went to Twelfth Night and an MFA directing thesis.
Alas, then COVID-19 attacked. It started with Columbia restricting international travel and repatriating students who were studying abroad. Then Days on Campus was cancelled (welcome Class of 2024!) Sports were cancelled, classes were cancelled before break, and then after break, moved online for several weeks, then moved online for the rest of the semester.
As we logged into our first Zoom classes, Bwog had a bone to pick with our professors for making us work as normal during a global crisis (maybe we’ll make a petition about it). In order to stay focused, we started a bullet journal. We found the bright sides of our new normal, helped you navigate supermarkets in MoHi and your hometown (while wearing your mask, of course!) Since we had a lot of spare time in quarantine, we decided to start a book club, realized the Core is Lord of the Rings and gave you suggestions for what to read (watch and listen to) when you start your own. Since we’re all missing campus, we recreated Columbia in our homes.
In April, we stayed home. We started getting used to continuing to stay off task on Zoom, lived for seeing pets on Zoom, and impressed our crushes on Zoom. If you hadn’t noticed, we spent a lot of time on Zoom. We made and ate a lot of food: from snacks in the kitchen to tacos, buffalo cauliflower, queso, avo toast, bread pudding, TikTok coffee, strawberry jam, the original pound cake, earl grey cake, triple chocolate chunk cookies, and of course, some quarantine cocktails. Then we got a little plump so we had to do some quarantine workouts.
We missed campus dearly. So dearly that we wrote pretty much everything under the sun related to missing campus: playlists, Columbia-themed smoothies, lemonades, quarantine activities as campus locations, Columbia smells, even random things, and we missed the dining halls so much that we recreated John Jay at home. And don’t forget, we missed Bacchanal, and tried to remake it at home.
Honestly, we got bored and unproductive. We watched movies and shows, did jigsaw puzzles, cut our hair, dreamed about what we would do after quarantine, spent extensive time in the living room AND in our bedroom, and thankfully, a lot of time with our pets. Oh, and we did no actual school work, and some of our professors were really nice about it.
On a more serious note, Barnard and Columbia saw losses to the community. The administration continued to give updates including summer classes being online, cancelled SRI and the Barnard work exemption grant, Barnard Admissions making standardized test scores optional for Fall 2021, and some unclear updates for the next academic year. Meanwhile, some Barnard and Columbia professors were named Guggenheim fellows.
Housing wrapped up and some of us didn’t have the best of luck. We encountered some true Zoom horror stories so we made a Do’s an Don’t’s guide on Zoom. To cope, we brainstormed 95 potential theses. We replaced all of Lit Hum with Bwog articles.We also tried to figure out what to do this summer, reflected on what we’ve learned, made Zines, made more playlists, and as always, procrastinated for our finals. Speaking of playlists, we highlighted some of our very own musicians, and continued our tradition of albums that defined this chaotic semester. Even better than albums, we found some TikToks that defined this semester.
Bwog partnered with the Food Pantry for some cooking videos. We also shared how to make every baking recipe better, set up high tea, and ranked Bubly flavors. If we got anything out of this quarantine, all of Bwog developed highly refined palates.
We tried to figure out if we were going back for the fall semester. Things didn’t look too good as Barnard and Columbia cancelled study abroad in the fall, and a potential summer semester amongst other updates.
Students who were still on campus coped with stress and uncertainty. Barnard also announced the Phi Beta Kappa Inductees, and that Dean Natalie Friedman was to leave Barnard. We finished up posting our Senior Wisdoms– congratulations to all seniors for finishing undergrad! Even Dean Valentini himself gave us a piece of his own wisdom.
Bwog would like to thank our readers (and our incredible staffers) for sticking with us during one of the most difficult semesters our community has experienced in recent memory. Isabel Sepúlveda will be staying on as Editor in Chief, Eva Sher continues as our fearless Managing Editor, and Vivian Zhou will remain our amazing Internal Editor for Fall 2020. Since our current lads are abandoning us for post-graduate life, we’re also welcoming (rewelcoming?) Zack Abrams and a yet-to-be-named second person as our new Publishers. We hope very much that we will see you all on campus next semester and wish the Columbia community a happy, healthy, and safe summer!
Header via Bwogger