Every morning at 7:40am, I crack my eyes open to the early darkness of my single room, plunge down from my lofted bed, and unsteadily march towards campus.
I don't have a class. I'm not really a morning person. But I arrive at school at 8am and make my way down to the Barnard athletics department, still somewhat groggy, to plunge myself into the water and swim laps for half an hour to start the day.
Your question is probably "why?" It doesn't seem very appealing - to dunk yourself in cold water and exercise straight away in the morning. But since I have started working to save the Barnard pool from being closed this year, I've gotten more and more attached to that space. Attached enough to beat back my morning sleepiness and start swimming there every day that the pool is open, at the only time that I'm available to before all the hustle and bustle of the day.
I made this pledge to myself (and several friends) last week, and so far it's actually gotten me moving. I've got the schedule written down, I'm starting to adjust my sleep cycle, and the exercise makes me both calm and ready for the day. It's like a little gift to myself that I get every morning - some swimming, then a few extra hours of time to wake up and do whatever I'd like before class (including writing this post). It's the unexpected thing that's making my year a little bit brighter, the thing that I didn't know I'd love.
They say not to get attached to things that you know will surely be lost. We may still lose the pool. But I would be happy in knowing that we fought a good fight and that I got the most out of my experience swimming there in my final year of college than ever before. I'll keep swimming and hope that others will join me in what is more than just a place for comfort and athletics, but a symbol of a little piece of home.
Are you a student or alumni of Barnard or Columbia? Like the Save the Pool Campaign on Facebook, join our Google group, check out our website, and get involved!