Have you ever looked at your First Year Writing syllabus and thought, “I wonder which one of these girlbosses is most like me?” You finally have an answer! Below, you’ll (hopefully) find the vibe you emit via the course readings that have your favorite professors in a chokehold.

Disclaimer: You will not be seeing anything by Michel Foucault on this list. Much like the act of throwing a little fit when Bwog writes about Barnard, I think of him as more of a Columbia Man thing.

“Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott: Psychology

Like putting “Shitty First Drafts” on your syllabus, choosing to major in Psych just seems like it requires a minimal amount of creativity. Where’s the spice? Not in either of these things. Also like “Shitty First Drafts,” Psych majors show up in my classes way too often for my taste. On that note, if you’re a PoliSci major reading this, this one is also about you.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir: Economic and Social History

Any time someone tells me they’re an Econ & Social History major, I always have the same reaction: much like reading this book and speaking French in general, I may not understand why you chose this one specifically, but I’ll give you a pass for being very hot.

“Having a Bad Morning” by Alex Johnson: Economics (any other track) 

The rest of y’all are not getting off that easy. Much like the professors who put this essay on their syllabi, you literally could’ve chosen anything, but here you are, listening to some mediocre white man explain his little step-by-step guide to success like it’s Vogue Beauty Secrets. Alex Johnson is the only male author on this list, and you should take that personally. This essay is eagerly awaiting the Goldman Sachs Summer Internship Info Session it heard about on Handshake, and so are you.

“Can the Subaltern Speak?” by Gayatri Spivak: English 

Like English majors, I think of “Can the Subaltern Speak?” as being foundational to Barnard’s carefully-cultivated vibe. However, like Gayatri Spivak, you’re probably overusing the word “subaltern” in your seminar.

“Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” by Hortense Spillers: Double Major in Comp Lit and Theatre

Comp Lit because as a major, that department—like this essay—has immaculate vibes. Theatre because every time I hear someone reference this essay, the context is so overwhelmingly performative that I automatically think they’re doing a little play.

“Meet Justin Bieber!” by Zadie Smith: Sociology 

This was one of my favorite readings in First Year Writing, and who else deserves the honor of being Zadie Smith, the author so cool and hot that Kendall Roy was anxiously awaiting her RSVP to his Sweet 40th? Sociology majors emit that exact vibe. Much like a bad Zadie Smith piece, I’m not sure a Sociology major who isn’t the coolest person alive actually exists.

“Venus in Two Acts” by Saidiya Hartman: History

I was informed by a reliable source (Bwog’s multiple Barnard History majors) that History is in fact our best major, and I think as such, it deserves only the best course reading. “Venus in Two Acts” is for the hotties who critically question what constitutes an archive.

“Performative Acts in Gender and Constitution” by Judith Butler: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

You know why you got this one. Like Judith Butler, you have a penchant for speaking like a thesaurus with a septum piercing. It’s not your fault! Your reading load is so heavy that you barely have the time to hold intersectional space for consciously rejecting your current linear movement by manifesting a more epistemologically accessible lexicon in which to think critically about why it’s taking you a fucking paragraph of academic buzzwords to communicate one iota of content.

Disclaimer #2: I’m a WGSS minor.

Passing by Nella Larsen: Anthropology 

I usually don’t expect required course materials to be this good of a read, but roughly 20 pages in I was absolutely hooked, and I think that’s the quintessence of Barnard’s Anthropology department. Does anyone write their “Why Barnard?” essay picturing themselves as an Anthropology major? It doesn’t matter—once you’ve gotten far enough into your first class to start viewing everything with a linguistic and cultural lens, there’s no turning back.

“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldúa: American Studies

This choice was very simple: I’m an American Studies major, and this is my favorite course reading on this list. As someone who famously self-tokenized on their Barnard application by choosing Gloria Anzaldúa as their “one woman—historical figure, fictitious character, or modern individual—to converse with for an hour,” I don’t need more justification than that. 

Disclaimer #3: If you’re headed to the comments section to ask why there aren’t more STEM majors on this list, that’s simple! They can’t read.

Old Timey Library via Bwog Archives