- Class: Senior
- Major: Other
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
1) The best thing about Bard is the small class sizes. I have had classes with as few as three students in them. Professors are highly accessible. 2) The one thing I'd change would be the weather. The winters are dreadful. The administration cleverly arranges our semesters such that we are on break for the majority of January, but it still snows through March. 3) Academically speaking, Bard's size is ideal. By senior year, though, it can begin to feel a bit claustrophobic socially. There is no one to date because, inevitably, one of your closest friends has dated everyone else. I probably know the penis size of 40% of the males, just by word of mouth. 4) When I tell people I go to Bard, they usually think I mean Barnard and ask how I like going to a single-sex school. In the rare event that they have actually heard of Bard, they make some comment about our left-leaning reputation. Within my field of photography, though, Bard is highly respected. We arguably have the best undergraduate fine art photography program in the nation. 5) I am in my final semester, live off-campus, and am only attending Bard part-time. I therefore do not spend very much time on campus. 6) This is a little tricky to explain. The entirety of Annandale-on-Hudson IS Bard College. However, Annadale-on-Hudson is technically a village subsumed within Red Hook. Other "villages" of Red Hook, some of which function as separate towns, are Barrytown, Village of Red Hook, Village of Tivoli, Upper Red Hook, and Kerleys Corners. This is all explained clearly on Wikipedia. The two closest villages are Tivoli and Red Hook. Bard offers a free shuttle to and from these areas on the hour, and the distance is bike-able (perhaps even walkable; I've certainly done it once or twice). Tivoli is certainly a college town. Its residents are almost exclusively students and professors. There are a few bars and restaurants, a book store, a park, and a killer bakery. Red Hook caters to students, in that it has bookstores, coffee shops, etc, though it is mostly a rural/suburban town for farmers. Generally students party in Tivoli, but buy their groceries in Red Hook. 7) I generally feel supported by the school's administration. The big cheeses genuinely care about and stand by the students. The security, dining, and janitorial staffs are much loved. The offices that focus on paperwork, though, could be more student-friendly and organized (post office, student accounts, financial aid, etc). 8) Four years ago, the administration closed The Old Gym, our chief entertainment venue. They claimed that the building had been condemned, though its closure did too coincidentally fall after a scandalous, alcohol-fueled party held there. After much dialog, the administration has reopened the Old Gym as an alcohol-free performance space, and is currently in the process of opening up another facility (some random storage barn). 9) Of course there is a lot of school pride. At a school this small, there has to be. 10) Everything is unusual about Bard. 11) The photography department brought in Judith Joy Ross one year as a speaker. She was phenomenal. It was absolutely unforgettable. The one-hour lecture for which she was scheduled stretch through two and a half. 12) The most frequent student complaint is about the dining facilities. However, I would much rather be at a school with stellar professors and crappy food than one with crappy professors and stellar food.
1) The professors definitely know my name. They also invite me over for brunch and call my cellphone when I'm late to class. 2) My favorite class was an art history course with Laurie Dahlberg on 19th century photography. She's knowledgeable, accessible, and enthusiastic. My least favorite class was Accelerated Spanish, but only because I had to be there at 8:45 every morning. 3) It depends upon what you mean by "study." In the traditional sense of memorizing definitions, names and dates, that kind of thing only really takes place in introductory courses before an exam. In the broader sense, constantly. One of the things I love about Bard is that there is perpetual open dialog about class material. Bard values the Socratic method, which is carried out both inside and outside of the classroom. 4) Class participation is inevitable. You can't hide in the back of a 10-student class. 5) Have you ever been drunk at a party and discussed Foucault? Because I have, more times than I can count. 6) Students are competitive with themselves, not with each other. It's an atypically supportive environment. 7) The most unique class I've taken is the Photography Senior Seminar. Larry Fink, the famed photographer who runs the class, arrives two hours late, chirps scandalous anecdotes between harmonica solos, and offers some of the most brilliant and constructive critique imaginable. 8) I major in photography. The professors are lovably quirky, invaluably well-connected, wise, talented, and always willing to help. I had initially planned on majoring in human rights, but before I even had a chance to take a human rights course, I fell in love with the photo department. They bring in three lecturers per semester, and often the professors bring in their genius artist friends to class to speak and critique our work. All seniors are provided with their own darkrooms. The department just built a brand new, state of the art digital lab. We have a reputation for being competitive, because limited space in the program demands several portfolio reviews for readmission. My class, for example, had 50 photo majors in it my freshman year. Now, as a senior, we are down to 18. However, only two students were actually cut from the program. Most people just aren't hardcore enough to follow through. It's pretty demanding, not to mention expensive. 9) Yes, they do. My photography professors invite me to their studios and openings. My art history professors invite me to their homes for dinner. My advisor met with me over the summer just to indulge me in a pep talk about my senior project. All professors have office hours, too, and are always happy to meet with students. 10) I think the academic requirements are generally fair. Students who complain about distribution requirements clearly misunderstand the goal of a liberal arts education. Moreover, it's pretty easy to get around a requirement. Students who fear science can take Field Study in Natural History, aka the nature walk class. The foreign language requirement can be cir***vented with a Russian Literature course -- in English. The only complaint I had about requirements was within my own department. We're required to take The Physics of Light and Color. The class is designed for art students who can't add. As someone who was offered a full scholarship for physics, it was a bit tedious for me when we spent a full class period learning why 3/3 does not equal 3, as a significant portion of the class got that little calculation wrong on the homework. UGH. 11) Education at Bard is definitely geared toward learning for its own sake, though faculty is always willing to offer career guidance. The Career Development Office is kind of a joke.
1) I don't have much firsthand experience with these issue-focused clubs, though the International Student Organization and Queer-Straight Alliance do throw some great parties. 2) Republicans. But, of the two or three I knew, all felt comfortable but one. 3) Asking me to describe what a Bard student wears to class is like asking me to describe what a typical New Yorker looks like. 4) Yes, different types of students interact, generally. There is a large group of Chinese students who attend Bard for its conservatory program. Many speak little to no English, so they tend to stick together. Otherwise, yeah. 5) Table 1: LA hipsters talking about that band that like, you like, so wouldn't know about. Table 2: Vegans discussing the merits of biodiesel fuel. Table 3: Preppy freshmen discussing their upcoming organic chemistry exam. Table 4: The LARPers (live action role-playing clique) rambling about the dark knight's sword. 6) Most Bard students are from the Northeast (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts) or California. There is also a large population from Bulgaria. 7) Most students seem to be upper-middle-class, though there is some variety. 8) I don't think our generation is generally politically active or aware, but for those students who are interested in politics, there are a number of venues through which to explore it. 9) LEFT. 10) They only time students ever talk about how much they'll earn is when they're jovially complaining about their impending poverty as necessitated by their starving artist career paths.
The Best Things
Small classes taught by enthusiastic, accessible professors
The Worst Things