This is a joke, but I am judging you.

Let us begin with a scenario:

It’s your first day of class.

Professor: “Alright class, let’s go around the room and say our names, pronouns, and school.”

Professor: “Let’s start with over here.” Professor makes deliberate eye contact with you.

You: “Hi, I’m [your name]! I use [your pronouns] and I go to—”

Let’s stop here for a moment. What you say next may be completely innocuous or unleash a ghastly wave of cringe through the room. If you hadn’t noticed, this place is a pressure cooker of semantics-based tension. Let’s go over some options, ranked from best to worst.

Tier 1: The Uncomplicated (Yet Appropriately Specific) Classics

  1. “I go to Barnard”: Congrats, you communicated effectively. You get first place because you go to Barnard and deserve to be validated from time to time after bearing the weight of endless imposter syndrome and inexplicable bullying on anonymous message boards.
  2. “I go to GS”: Casual, effective, concise. I know acronyms are a little esoteric in the grand scheme, but as long as you’re introducing yourself to other CU students, you’re good. You get bonus points for probably having an interesting life and also constantly fielding unwarranted bullying.
  3. “I go to SEAS”: Cool! It must be nice to be respected by your parents. This gets the point across and also sounds fun and nautical for no reason. Third place because you might have a superiority complex and I’m not trying to make it worse.
  4. “I go to CC”: Thank you for sharing. I am not offended by this, and I respect the Lit Hum grind. With peace and love, you definitely have a superiority complex.

Tier 2: Unnecessarily Formal But Still Fine

  1. “I go to Columbia College”: This is slightly extra, but I do enjoy alliteration and prefer the sound of a hard “C.” Also, sometimes people spit when they say “CC.”
  2. “I go to Barnard College”: Okay, cool, don’t know why you had to use her government name though.
  3. “I go to the School of General Studies”: This is too many words. We’ve got 36 introductions to do, but thank you for your commitment to clarity. 
  4. “I go to the School of Engineering”: You are probably saying this because you’re a pragmatist’s wet dream and actually majoring in some form of engineering, and for that reason, I’m forced to resent you on a small, superficial level. Some of us will never be able to retire.

Tier 3: Slightly Weird But Probably Harmless

  1. “I go to Columbia”: This is a wild card. If you go to Barnard, it’s kinda weird not to claim her first, but also take your power back because, true. If you go to CC or SEAS, you might be waving your “I’m a dick” flag just a little bit, because it seems to imply other people in the room / don’t / go to Columbia, which isn’t the case. If you go to GS, maybe you’ve just had it with stigma and feel the need to be ambiguous today. Fair!
  2. “I go to Barnyard / the ‘nard”: Okay, I do think it’s cute for an Insta bio, however… the Quirk is palpable. Delivery is key!
  3. “I go to Columbia University in the City of New York”: This could be a vaguely funny bit except for the unfortunate fact that approximately 93% of Ivy League students suffer from a rare condition known as LameInHighSchool-itis which stunts the development of comedic timing. 

Tier 4: You Will Be Humbled, Mark My Words

  1. “I go to The College”: Holy shit, I had no idea I was in the presence of royalty! Before I kneel down to kiss your feet, I’d just like to note that if you say this in a Barnard College classroom, I envy your strength. How does it feel to carry around such enormous balls? Long story short, this university has more than one college, act accordingly.

Go forth, children! Take these lessons and become a better Barnumbian.

Havermeyer Classroom Via Bwog Archives