Countless people have asked me over the past few months why I chose Carleton, and to be honest, it is one of my least favorite questions to answer. I feel like I’m supposed to have a neat, bullet-pointed list of the reasons that Carleton was the perfect fit for me, or come from a family of Carls, or have visited campus and had a gut feeling that it was meant to be. The truth is, while I am quite certain that I made the right decision and that I’ll be happy here, I don’t think that Carleton is a “perfect fit”; I don’t actually think there’s such a thing.
The reason I hate it when people ask why I chose Carleton is that when it came down to it, I spent the first half of April 30 agonizing over a ridiculously detailed, color-coded spreadsheet of pros and cons, and the second
half with my mom and a deck of tarot cards. And I don’t particularly believe in fortune telling. It was a sign of my desperation—to have an easy answer, to have a clear choice, to have faith that I was making the right decision (In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a pretty indecisive person, the type who has trouble choosing an item off
a menu, let alone unalterably deciding my future). I had the luxury of choosing between Carleton and another, incredibly similar college, and even though I knew full well that there was no wrong answer, I was paralyzed. I had been taught, through countless off-hand comments, emails from colleges, and messages in the media, that there was one college out there that was made for me—my dream school—and that it would be perfect in just about every way. But clearly, that’s just not realistic.
In the end, I didn’t make my decision based on the spreadsheet, the tarot cards, or the “gut feeling” that everyone advised me to follow but that I couldn’t find. The truth is, I’m still not one hundred percent sure what my reasoning ultimately was. But I do know that I was looking for a school where I could be academically challenged without stress or pressure sucking out all the enjoyment. I wanted a place where the students were happy to be there, happy to be in class, and happy to be in each other’s company. And I know that many Carls don’t associate “balance” or “ease of mind” with our school, but as a prospective student weighing an array of comparable colleges against one another, it seemed to me that this was the best place to attempt it. No college
is perfect, and I’m not entering with that expectation. I canonly hope, however naively, that I don’t look back on this article in a few years and laugh (or cry).