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A Day in the Life of a Carleton Student

Andriana details what a typical day looks like in the life of a Carl (well, at least THIS Carl)!

Andriana details what a typical day looks like in the life of a Carl (well, at least THIS Carl)!

Hi everyone!

Have you seen those YouTube videos, the ones where people show you what a typical day looks like at [enter name of fancy school, cool internship, uncommon job here]? I haven’t. But I’ve heard of them! So this week I decided to do the *even better* blog version of that!

I’ll do a rough outline of my typical Monday this term (and try to acknowledge any on-campus/off-campus differences). Please keep in mind that this is just my experience, and that each Carl has her own schedule that works best for her.

So let’s get started!

9:45 AM (Wake-Up)

The time I get up completely varies depending on the term. I get to sleep late this term, as I have afternoon classes. My first term at Carleton, however, I had an 8:30 AM course, so I would get up around 7:30 to be ready in time. Other terms, it’s somewhere in-between. This is proof of how flexible your college schedule is–you can pretty much decide how late you want to sleep, which is amazing!

I am not a morning person at all, so I would much rather get up late and work late. For three years of high school, my classes started at 7:20 AM, so I would have to get up around 6:00 to be ready. It was AWFUL. When I took that early morning class at Carleton, I realized that I was done with getting up at the literal crack of dawn (okay, not literally, but it felt like it). Since then, I have chosen later courses!

: )

10:00 AM-10:30 AM (Work)

Usually, I have my weekly meeting with the other remote Language Center workers on Monday mornings. This is a short check-in to make sure that we’re all on the same page for the week. Besides the weekly meetings, my work is essentially self-scheduled because I’m remote.

For work study, you might have a rigid work schedule where you have to be at a certain place at a certain time. Alternatively, you might have a pretty flexible schedule. It totally depends on the job and, currently, whether or not you’re on-campus.

10:30 AM-12:30 PM (Homework)

After my work meeting, I use the time before my first class to do some homework. This might be finishing a reading that I haven’t completed, drafting a post for an online forum, or taking notes. Really, any leftover work that needs to get done so that I can be fully prepared for my class. I don’t like waiting until the last minute for deadlines, so this time is usually dedicated to any minor/low-stress assignments that I didn’t have the chance to finish the day before.

12:30 PM-1:40 PM (Class 1)

This term, my first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (M/W/F) is Modern American Literature. Most M/W/F classes are 70 minutes long, unlike Tuesday/Thursday (T/Th) classes, which are closer to two hours. I’ve always built my course schedule so that I have two M/W/F classes and one T/Th class, so that my time spent in class each day is roughly equal (about two hours).

You can choose the distribution that works best for you. For example, some students prefer to have all M/W/F classes, so that their Tuesdays and Thursdays are completely free. Most Carleton students take three classes per term; taking more than three is called overloading, and is probably not advisable unless there are extenuating circumstances.

2:00 PM-3:10 PM (Class 2)

On Mondays, my second class is my Cross-Cultural Studies course. I typically use the time between classes to prepare–have the readings accessible, get my books and supplies together, etc. If I were on campus, I would need this time to actually get from Point A to Point B. Usually, there is plenty of time to get from one class to another, if the two are back-to-back. The only challenge might be if the buildings are far apart.

I once had back-to-back classes, with the first in the Weitz and the second in the LDC (these buildings are not very close together). I ran. And I am not a runner. So by the time I’d get to the LDC, I would be struggling to catch my breath, still panting from running up three flights of stairs.* (This was probably my body telling me I need to exercise more, but whatever.) Luckily, my professor was very understanding, and it was never an issue if I was a few minutes late.

*In my defense, before COVID, our classes were only ten minutes apart instead of twenty, so there was a little less travel time.

3:30 PM-5:00 PM (Walk)

In an earlier post, I promoted the GOGO lifestyle. (If you don’t remember, GOGO stands for “Go Offline and Get Outside.”) This term, I’ve made an effort to go for a walk every day, just so I can take a break and spend some time outdoors. I really love it! It’s a highlight of my day, and a nice opportunity to listen to music and unwind.

5:00 PM-11:00 PM (Homework)

Most of the evening is usually devoted to homework (there’s dinner in there somewhere). My homework is primarily reading, although there might also be short writing assignments depending on the class. (Not to mention any papers or projects that might be due throughout the term.) I don’t like working too late, so I try to stop around 11:00 so that I have time to relax. It usually ends up being around a 10-12 hour work day, which I think is pretty reasonable for college.

It’s worth mentioning that how I spend this time is heavily dependent on the day, the week, the term, etc. Some evenings I spend a good bit of time doing a task for one of my jobs, attending office hours or a project meeting, or something else entirely. It really can vary.

Also, I’m very much a homebody (or, on-campus, a dormbody). Even when I was at Carleton, I would make an effort to be in for the night by about 8:00 PM (during weekends, this was subject to change). Of course, this wasn’t always possible–sometimes I had project meetings that had to be held at night, or some other work/school event to attend. But usually I tried to be in early, especially during the winter, so that I could be comfy and cozy while doing homework.

11:00 PM-1:00 AM (Relax)

Alas, the blessed relaxation. I’m a total night owl, so I love having that last part of my day to do whatever I want. I might use this time to call a friend, watch TV, or do a crossword. Having this time at night gives me the chance to wind down and distance myself from the daily stressors of college life. I’m not the kind of person who can go straight from working to sleeping, so this is super important to me.

In college, I’ve also prioritized getting enough sleep. (Reading this post, I’m starting to realize how sloth-like I sound. I promise I’m not lazy, just comfort-oriented.)

Sloth Pic
My stuffed sloth, Biscuit

Anywho… I try to get eight or nine hours of sleep each night. Again, this will not always be possible, especially toward the end of the term when there’s usually more work. But it’s a good goal to have anyway! Figure out how much sleep you need, and try to get it. It will seriously make a difference in your ability to function throughout the day (at least in my experience).

At the end of the day (hahaha)…

I hope this helps you get an idea of what it means to be a Carl on a day-to-day basis. Just to reiterate: my schedule is in no way representative of that of the average Carleton student. That said, I would argue that there’s no such thing. We all have our own plan based on what works for us.

The main takeaway: Figure out what works for you and stick to it!


Andriana is a sophomore at Carleton, where she plans to major in English and double minor in Creative Writing and Cross-Cultural Studies. Although she will be spending this fall at home in Richmond, VA, Andriana is already excited to return to Carleton and escape the southern heat. When she isn’t busy avoiding Virginia’s never-ending summer, you can find Andriana binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!