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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Good, bad and stupid: Reasons I chose Carleton

<und that people seldom tell the entire truth about their college decision. Oh sure, they give reasons, lots of them. And those reasons are often logical, practical, and measured. Exactly how someone should choose a college. I see a slight problem, though. I don’t think seventeen- to eighteen year-old kids are people who make
decisions based only upon logical, practical, and measured reasons. I mean, really? Have you met us? Instead,
I, and probably a lot of others, made the decision using both logical and stupid reasons. So, let’s go through a few of mine, both stupid and practical, to truthfully answer why I went to Carleton.

I’m going to start with what most people would consider a suitable reason for choosing a college: academics. Carleton’s a pretty good school. I know that because a few random websites, a book on colleges, and people who went to the school all told me so.Therefore, knowing that Carleton provides a good education, and because I wanted a good education, I decided to go here. Pretty complex reasoning there. I know. The intricacies of my decision making process might forever be a mystery. But do try to keep up.

Along with academics, teachers also played a role in my decision. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Still sounds like a solid reason for choosing a college. Good on you, Spencer.” First, thank you for holding me in such esteem. Second, don’t hold me in high esteem. I’ll only disappoint you. While I did choose Carleton largely because of the quality of the teachers and the relationships I hoped might form, I also really liked the idea of referring to them by their first names and having pointless conversations about stuff not at all related to class.

Far more foolishly than that, I let prestige influence my final decision. Prestige might be one of the stupidest reasons to choose a college, but stupidity seldom stops me. However, prestige goes both ways. On one hand, it provides no benefit to education or general enjoyment, but on the other hand, avoiding the awkward situation of explaining that you went to a good college makes interviews so much easier and grad school so much closer. I think an old friend of mine summed it up best: “I may not actually get a better education, but people will certainly think I did.” Then again, he was kind of a jerk, so take his sage wisdom with some doubt.

Speaking of advice, I’ve always paid too much attention to the advice of others, especially in matters they aren’t suited to give advice in. So, when multiple people older than me said that Carleton would be just the school for me, what choice did I have? A bunch of people, some of whom barely knew me and most of whom hadn’t the slightest clue about what I liked, recommended something to me. Mind you, I also used the advice of my college counselor and parents, and they wanted Carleton, too.

Most people at Carleton come from out of state, some from out of the country. For once, I am not most people. I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota, and I originally assumed I wouldn’t go to college anywhere close to home. However, the state grew on me, and eventually I wanted to stay. This sounds reasonable enough, and it is. The college’s location should contribute to the decision. It’s a big factor and I don’t think choosing based on location is stupid at all. No, the only thing foolish about this reason will occur approximately two months from now when I’m trudging through the snow and thinking idly about the sunny colleges of Southern California.

There are other reasons too. A whole lot of them. Everything from decent pizza in the cafeteria, to the promise of new pool tables, to a pretty good burger place I ate at downtown. I went to Carleton for a whole lot of reasons, many of which made perfect sense, but some of which didn’t. And, as I said, I doubt I’m the only one who included stupid reasons in their decision. In the end, though, I think I made a fine choice. I’m feeling happy with my decision both for all the good reasons and for some of the bad. But, as I said, that might all change when the first snowflake hits the ground. After all, winter is coming. 


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