Guest Writer Maren Frey’s moment of feeling oh so freshman fully hit when she accidentally used six meal swipes in one day—made worse by the fact that the President of Barnard ended up mentioning it in her convocation speech……

September 18, 2023: 

Of course I was tuned out of the Barnard 2023 Convocation. President Laura Rosenbury (affectionately known as Presbury) droned on and on about her freshman year roommate and belonging, and I wasn’t really listening until she confidently mentioned “the first year who accidentally swiped too many times a day at Barnard dining and didn’t have enough meals for the week.” Instantly my ears perked up because oh crap, that first year is me. How, you may ask, did I end up in this situation? Well, on the first day of class, I used six meal swipes in one day. How Presbury found out about this is one thing, but, I’d like to share this very freshman incident. Living off of 12 meal swipes for a week was not a fun experience, but ya live and learn.

Flashback to September 4, 2023: 

After a full week of swipes not counting during NSOP, to say that I was confused about how meal swipes work was an understatement. As I swiped in for brunch in Hewitt, I got my food and left to go eat in the Quad. But SHIT, I had forgotten to get iced coffee. So I took the trek back down the Barnard Hall stairs to get my bev and swiped in again. After brunch, I ran around the Barnumbia campus trying to locate all of my classrooms for the first day of class so I wouldn’t get lost. Since it was exactly 90,000 degrees outside, I ended up hungry again. By 1:30 pm, I was back in Hewitt for my third swipe of the day to get a banana and bagel. Then, being the social butterfly I am, I  made plans for dinner with two different groups of friends. So, I swiped in for my first dinner around 5:30 pm for a delicious meal of Hewitt pasta and returned at 7 pm for a bowl of Rice Krispies. 

Then, I got the BREAKING NEWS that Columbia’s dining halls were now open to Barnard students and after a week of Hewitt and Diana meals (no shade to Barnard dining), I was DYING to try JJ’s Place. So, by 9 pm, I had swiped in (for the sixth time that day) for the BEST strawberry banana smoothie I had ever had accompanied by crispy mozzarella sticks. It was at JJ’s that someone offhandedly mentioned, “Oh yeah, Maren, we don’t have unlimited meal swipes here, you get 19 a week as a freshman.” I was shocked. Flabbergasted. Was this definitely my fault because I had ditched the NSOP dining info session? Maybe. But I was screwed! I realized that for the next 6 days, I had 12 swipes to get me to the end of the week…

Flash Forward to September 8, 2023: 

Eating lunch in Hewitt (and savoring every damn bite of my swipe), I was approached by Kelli Murray, Barnard’s VP for Strategy and President Rosenbury’s right hand woman. She asked my friends and I if the President could join us for lunch. Was I going to say no to eating with the President of Barnard? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! So, as I ate my mac and cheese, PresBury asked us, “What has been the hardest adjustment to Barnard?” I launched into my meal swipe dilemma I explained that I had absolutely no idea that meal swipes were actually a thing. I may be the first student to actually run out of swipes. That must be a world record or something. Presbury, out of the kindness of her heart, laughed at my meal swipe conundrum, but of course I assumed she would immediately forget our interaction. 

September 18, 2023: 

Now, I’m going to talk about Presbury’s convocation speech forever, but lesson learned, I will definitely be more aware of my swipes. Everyone makes mistakes as a freshman, just most don’t have to end up rationing their meals as a result of it. For the rest of the week, I would get a cup of coffee to go and steal a banana or a piece of bread at dinner and put it in my fridge so I didn’t have to worry about a swipe for breakfast. 

As I relinquished my last swipe of the week on Saturday morning, I told the JJ’s meal swiper about my issue. This wise, wise woman simply said, “Hungry Girl has to eat!” You know what? this Hungry Girl will never forget her six meal swipe day.

My place of meal swipe humiliation via Bwog Archives