The Annotated NSOP Schedule Book: Days 1-3

Welcome to Barnard, first-years!! By now, you’ve probably gotten a copy of your NSOP schedule book (or you can look at an online copy here). At least for the first couple of days, this schedule book is going to be a life raft for you to get where you need to go, as well as finding out where you’d like be. Orientation is about taking in as much as you need to get adjusted to your life in Morningside Heights before classes start. Try to take advantage of all the events that are planned for you this week, but only do as much as will help you to be comfortable in your new environment.

Given that we’ve had our own NSOP experiences, here are some notes for your first three days at NSOP. Keep checking back or like us on Facebook to hear about what the following days of orientation will look like.

*If you have a smartphone, consider downloading the NSOP schedule book app–it’ll be worth it, so you won’t have to keep carrying around your hard copy. Search for an app called “Guidebook,” and then within the app search for “Columbia University,” which should give you the option to download the NSOP schedule book.


Sunday, August 26th, 7pm-8:30pm
NSOP is about getting used to life at Barnard, but it’s by no means an indication of what normal life will be like for you here–convocation is probably the best example of these unusual circumstances. You and several hundred other girls will enter the gymnasium (which is rarely ever used as anything but a gym), where you’ll all pick up candles, and take oaths. Listening to mantra on what it means to be a Barnard woman, while surrounded by girls, you probably will feel like you’re being inducted into a cult.

To tell you the truth, I think this might’ve been the moment that it really hit me that Barnard is an all girl’s school. If this is new to you like it was for me, don’t be intimidated by the huge gathering of girls or the heavily-laden woman-power rhetoric. There is a certain pride that you’ll learn to cultivate at Barnard, but everyone develops their own idea of what it means to be a Barnard woman. All in all, convocation is weird and there’s a chance you might never think about it again during your time at Barnard, but it is doubtlessly a memorable experience.

The Columbia University gates
at 116th and Broadway
Ice Cream Social and Meet and Greet… and any other social event with the four colleges

Sunday, August 26th, until 9:15pm
This is the first of multiple “social events” that NSOP has planned for you to get to know your Columbia University peers (Columbia College, Engineering/SEAS, and General Studies). Know in advance, each one of these will probably be awkward and uncomfortable, and many Barnard girls will probably end up huddled together with those of their classmates that they are closest to (since it’s the first day, read: barely know).

On the otherhand, for many Barnard girls it’s important to have friends outside of Barnard–don’t be worried in the slightest if these events aren’t how you end up getting to know students from the other colleges (Even at this point, it’s OK if you’re already getting tired of being constantly surrounded by girls). Orientation can feel a little contrived, and there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to make friends with other students naturally.

Community Nights… a.k.a., floor meetings
Sunday, August 26th, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Two words: ice breakers. Bear with the ice breakers (and try to get good at them, because this isn’t nearly your last time doing them), and keep an open mind when meeting your RA and your floormates. While some RAs might seem intrusive or overly-perky, the Barnard RAs are truly a great resource for you, and can really look out for your best interests if you ever choose to reach out to them. Also, keep track of your floormates, because they can save you on multiple occassions from eating in the dining hall alone, if you just knock on their doors. In fact, if you like to try to be out-going, knock on doors whenever you can. Reaching out goes a long way.

You’ll also be spending tomorrow night with your floor as well, so try getting friendly and watching a movie or something with your floormates. You might feel like you should already be going out and partying in the city, but really you just moved in, so if you need to, don’t be afraid to take your time.

Barnard College gates at 117th and Broadway

Yoga and any other activity before 10am
Monday, August 27th, 9am
To be quite honest, I never did any of these once, and I never had any regrets (sleep is something I value pretty highly). But if these are things that are often part of your routine, you should definitely go for it. They are a great chance to meet people with similar schedules or hobbies as you–who knows, you might find a great gym partner.

Barnard Loves New York!… and anything that has to do with Constellations
Monday, August 27th, 10am-3pm

“They” may not want you to know this, but Constellations are still very new to Barnard. They consist of your entire floor (all the first-years living in Sulz, Reid and Brooks), and as you’ll soon learn, all the upperclassmen that have lived on your floor their during their first years (whether they knew it at the time, or not). So far at Barnard, while Constellations have yet to acheive their potential of creating familial bonds between the one-seventh of Barnard’s matriculating students and alumni, they’ve been a great source of free stuff, which is never bad. In this case, meetings with your Constellation could be a good opportunity to find new people on your extended floor, if you haven’t bonded with anyone in your building yet.


Being a Student at Barnard/Charting the Course… and academic orientation programs
Tuesday, August 28th, 10am-12pm

These academic programs are mandatory… but then again, no one’s keeping attendance. Nevertheless, they’re good for introducing you to all the ins and outs of academic administration and organization. You’ll learn everything in time anyway, so don’t worry if it feels a little overwhelming. But getting exposed to all this now could save you a lot of time later, even if you only take in a fraction of what Dean Hollibaugh (one of the nicest administrators on campus) tells you.

Dinner with Your OL… and anything involving your OL

Tuesday, August 28th, 5pm-7pm

Here’s the thing about OLs: they’re all nice and friendly, and it’s great having a student with more experience at Barnard to show you the ropes and answer your questions. But for OLs and any other current student on campus, NSOP is a great time; they can hang out with the friends they’ve already made without the responsibilities of class. OLs will vary widely in terms of how involved they are with your orientation experience, but don’t take it personally if they don’t take to you right away. If anything, especially if your orientation group is getting along, try to suggest that your OL take your group on trips around Morningside Heights. Pinkberry (nearest fro-yo place… and delicious) is an easy one, but feel free to get more creative.

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