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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

First impressions of Carleton and its students

<d a dollar for every time I’ve heard “it’s cold in Minnesota” after having mentioned Carleton, I could buy myself a nice parka. Yet somehow, despite having received such warnings, one of my first impressions of Carleton was that it was cold. Heavy rain, thunder, and cool temperatures battled against freshmen like myself during move-in last Tuesday. I spent the first day of New Student Week shivering in the Rec Center, fighting to keep my teeth from chattering during the Carl Talks, and counting down the minutes until I could throw on long pants and a hoodie.

Despite these cooler temperatures, I have already found that while the weather in Minnesota may lack the warmth I had naively expected, my fellow Carls certainly do not. It is heartening to observe that my classmates are open to interactions with Carls from all walks of life. On my floor (Go Third Muss!) athletes, mathletes, and artists all socialize easily with one another, something that I never experienced in high school. This inclusivity allows myself and others to be comfortable showing our true selves instead of projecting a superficial or “mainstream” image. I was also pleasantly surprised with the kindness of the upperclassmen, who are not as intimidating as I had expected. Whether I am struggling to understand how to print or learning how to write an op-ed, an experienced Carl has always been willing to help. It was such a promise of a caring, compassionate, and kind community that compelled me to apply Early Decision to Carleton, and so far I have not been disappointed.


I have also noticed that Carls not only possess kind warmth but also fiery passions to combat the frigid temperatures. When talking with friends, they will casually drop some incredible accomplishment such as “when I worked at the lab at Penn State…” or “that was when I was backpacking for three months” into the conversation. It is both slightly intimidating and extremely fascinating to learn the paths that got each of us here to Carleton. During this first week of classes I have seen these passions translate to the classroom where, to my delight, all students are engaged and prepared. Through class discussion and studying with friends, I have already learned that is easier to work hard when I am not working alone.

Finally, I have experienced how Carls wield a bubbly sense of humor that can fight the cold. In just the past week I have doubled over in laughter during conversations with friends countless times—increasingly so after midnight. We laugh at each other, we laugh at ourselves, we are silly and carefree and do not take anything too seriously (except maybe homework).

So far, my peers have left the biggest impression on me during my first two weeks at Carleton. This seems only fitting as alumni and upperclassman always cite the Carleton community as the reason why their college experience was so positive.

As I attempt to mentally prepare myself for winter, I am confident that the warmth, passions, and humor of Carls will more than make up for the cold weather yet to come.

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