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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Where are they now? Alumni Update

    <ong>Name: Jake Titus ’06

    Major: PoliSci

    What are you doing: Working as a consultant to the government and private sector on residential energy efficiency programs.

    Activities you were involved in at Carleton: Experimental Theater Board; The Uninvited Company; Ebony II; Harriers; College Democrats; Schiller Society; IM Frisbee; Comedy Colloquium; Late Night Trivia; New Student Week Leader, Coordinator

    Surprising thing that current students do: More students seem to actively think about their post-college careers as bound up with their learning and discovery at Carleton, rather than either not thinking about jobs until spring term senior year or else just looking to mark time until grad school. It can be challenging to express your value as a Carleton graduate, and in fact challenging to adapt to a working world where some habits we acquire are just not helpful, but the world needs Carleton graduates badly and I’m glad to see this more thoughtful and willing engagement in it.

    What was the best part/worst part about the year after you left Carleton?  How have you and your friends kept in touch?  Did you move to places close to one another? How have you made new friends?
    The best part of my first year out from Carleton was realizing that life did not end when I left Northfield. The hardest part was realizing to what extent it would be a new beginning.

    The night before I left to drive back to Ohio after Carleton, the finality of graduation came crashing down on my head. It felt as if I was leaving home and the people who made me the person that I was becoming. It felt like, for the foreseeable future, that support, that kinship, that sense of place and welcomeness, all were gone.

    I had lonely days, but I found that Carleton was much larger that I’d thought it was. I found that same feeling of kinship and care when my former housemate Niko drove to Madison to visit for Labor Day. I found it when Carrie let me crash on her floor the first week I was in D.C. I found it when the first person I saw when I got off the subway on my way to my new office was Nitin. I found that even outside of Northfield, I could still count on my Carleton friends (including those I didn’t make until after graduation) for their trademark deep thinking, curiosity, and enthusiasm.

    While Carleton was still a source of great personal support, I found the working world to be much less of a continuation of what I achieved at Carleton that it was a blank slate. President Oden is fond of saying that we learn best when we learn from difference. At Carleton, the differences that mattered most were those of identity and history, and I learned the most from my classmates whose lives were differently colored by social markers like race, gender, and nationality and from the writings of thoughtful people from very different times and cultures. That learning led me to a fuller image of my best self and challenged me to live up to it.

    In the working world, I found that I needed to elaborate that image of my best self based on newly-important differences in temperament. I learned to be effective, bright people need to earn the trust and respect of their teammates – as teammates. I learned that there are many ways to be persuasive, and that academic debate is almost never one. I learned that not only can you be a leader at any level, but that all levels need them. In short, I learned that I still had a great deal of hard work to do if I wanted to contribute all that Carleton enabled me to. 

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