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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Importance of Spending Time With Good People

<eetings Carleton! Let me begin by introducing myself: My name is Matthew Fitzgerald and I am a sophomore and tentative religion major. I hail from the great plains of Minnesota and ended up here by a twist of fate that has turned out to one of the sweetest surprises.  From time to time (biweekly in fact) I will be writing for the Carletonian. I am planning to make at attempt at insightful commentary, maybe a few observations on the state of the country and try to tie it all together with a dash of liberal arts bull-honkey. If nothing else, the Carletonian gets a bit more ink to cover some empty advertising space. If at anytime I say something that strikes you as out of line, wacky or God forbid, quirky, you can voice your (dis) pleasure with my editors or email me at: [email protected]

So, it’s the end of third week (but feels like second week?) and you have settled into your routine for Winter term.   On the spectrum of classes you have first years (students formerly known as freshmen) and then you have seniors, eyes glazed from comps (or was it dreams of spring term? ). Anyways, I have to confess, I’m failing at my new year’s resolution: spending time with good people and working to build relationships.  So I’m hoping in baby-ranting I can hold myself accountable and maybe offer a few thoughts that may resonate with you reader. 

For freshmen, you’ve returned to a campus of new faces (those are kids returning from abroad), and you’ve had six weeks to contemplate the fact that when you got back on campus the only thing you had for friends were people you had known for approximately two and a half months. This is crazy. That is nothing. Perhaps you had trouble leaving here this fall, but when it was time to come back to campus you had a nagging feeling about your supposed tribe you were returning to. Whether you now have a gang built around your dorm room floor, sports/club team or class schedule you have to admit that the whole ordeal is sort of a fragile beast.  That is okay.  First off, you aren’t alone on campus or in the broader collegiate world. Today, I received a letter from one of my best friends at Lewis and Clark in his first year too. He wrote: “how long did it take you to find the people you love?” Great question. Perhaps this is your questions too. Here is my advice, recycled from my good friend Charlie Cross ’14, “be patient”. As noted before, two months is nothing. One of the greatest and worst aspects about Carleton is that every term is different. So welcome to a new term. The point is to seek out and spend time with good people.  This declaration, of course, begs to be defined; what is a “good” person? I’ll dodge this philosophy paper response and instead offer just another pronouncement and hope you can extract something of merit.


As I see it, a large part of the college experience is about learning to live with yourself.   This means wrestling with yourself. A lot.  Turning outwards, the people you spend time with should sometimes support and sometimes challenge you. Those good people will make themselves apparent.  Carleton is not an easy place to be – for a litany of reasons, suffice to say you need those people to talk to and to process the experience.  So take heart if you feel lonely or are questioning your current tribe.  You are not alone, this is part of the college experience. Be patient, and take the time to invest in others.

As for you seniors, I salute you. I hope maybe my writing has jarred memoires of your own younger, smarter, faster self. Remember, this isn’t a Wu Tang song, comps doesn’t rule everything around you.  I won’t over extend my advice though; you guys are smart, wise, and bearded. Thank you for all your friendship and advice,  (you can probably notice I’m recycling some of your own thought too). So keep on keeping on and maybe make an underclassman friend so you can come back to Rotblatt a few years down the road.

Sophomores and Juniors, fear not, I haven’t forgotten you.  Your friends are filtering in and out of exciting places from far, far away. Be patient with them, they will be changing and shifting – doing some good ol’ fashioned personal wrestling. I know that I fell off the bus in terms of communication with some friends abroad this fall but I am resolved to try and kick out a few letter between now and 5th week.

I will sign off now, but I hope you have a really excellent weekend. This place can be the worst (I am sure I will write about that sometime) but is also can really be the best.  Hold onto that.

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