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A Very Carleton Summer

Fátima recaps her summer staying on and working remotely from campus.

Fátima recaps her summer staying on and working remotely from campus.

This summer, to be present for my internship at a Minnesota-based NGO, I decided to spend break on campus. My experience staying at Carleton during winter break prepared me for life on campus outside of the routine and structure of the academic year. When the summer started, I was determined to embrace anything that would come my way with determination.


During the summer, our beloved residential halls are repurposed for everything from hosting alumni during Reunion to housing high school students who come for Carleton’s Summer Liberal Arts Institute. Thus, those of us who remained on campus were moved to townhouses to make space for everyone else who we would be sharing the campus with over those summer months.

Alumni arriving at Carleton for Reunion.
Alumni and their families came from all around the country for Reunion Weekend.


My roommate and I ended up being placed in Faculty Club, an oddly shaped complex that houses both students and faculty, hence the name. Although during the academic year, it is an entirely quiet building, during the summer it loses that faculty (pun totally intended) to become the living space of students working on campus, doing research, getting involved through an internship (like me), or, like my roommate, working a close off-campus job.

Unstoppable Campus Life

The number of students on campus might decrease significantly during the summer, but that doesn’t mean that the buzzy campus life has to stop! There were several opportunities throughout the summer for us to hang out, but here are some of the ways I chose to remain a part of the Carleton community:

  • Pie baking contest: every year, Dacie Moses hosts a pie baking contest that calls not only students and faculty staying on campus, but even some Northfield residents! It’s always great to grab a meal at Dacie’s, but it is even better when it is sunny outside and there is free pie involved.
  • Badminton club: over the summer, I discovered the wonderful badminton club. We met twice a week during the summer to play casual pick-up games and stay in shape. Though I am by no means as good as some of the players I had a chance to meet, I still had a lot of fun and I hope I can come back during the term.A friend and I baking a cake for my roommate.
  • 4th of July fireworks: I was excited to take part in my first-ever 4th of July celebration. People all over campus set up barbecues. After sunset, I drove to one of the many Northfield locations from which we could see the fireworks. My friends and I ended up at the local middle school, where we witnessed the spectacle alongside many Northfield families.
  • Birthday celebrations: several of my friends celebrated their birthdays over the summer. This meant that every couple of weeks we got the perfect excuse to bake a new type of cake and treat ourselves by going out to eat.

All of Minnesota’s Colors

Now, I have officially spent an entire calendar year in Minnesota! I remain marveled by the seamless transitions from one season to the next that yet manage to cover the entire spectrum from freezing cold to melting heat. While fall is probably still my favorite of all four seasons, I absolutely loved the summer colors. The purple sunsets over Lyman lakes made it so that I could barely resist spending dry evenings inside. And yes, mosquitoes are a pain, but have you ever seen fireflies!?

Me riding my new bike.
Learning how to ride a bike was not on my summer plans, but it was definitely fun!


Early in the break, my friends gifted me with a bike that they themselves had put together from scraps and taught me how to ride it! Having a bike allowed me to gain a greater appreciation for the beautiful outdoors that surround the campus. Riding to the supermarket after work, I got to watch a local puppy grow up in his family’s backyard. Sitting on a bench on one of our islands with a good book I got to see everything from fathers and boys fishing to high school seniors taking graduation pictures. My favorite evenings were the few I spent watching the sunset in an empty Bald Spot, ice cream in hand.

Living in Northfield

The hectic rhythm of the academic year can make it easy to forget that Carleton is not a self-sufficient ecosystem and that we are part of the larger Northfield community. However, during the summer the beautiful weather, the plethora of local festivities, and all our free time make it the perfect excuse to go out of campus and mingle with town residents. Though I was still confined to my makeshift home office from 9 to 5 on weekdays, I think I made good use of the rest of my time, getting to know a little better the place that so kindly hosts us.

  • I hung out with my mentee! During the summer, our bond grew even stronger, and she undoubtedly remains the highlight of my weeks. We took advantage of the favorable weather whenever we could and went on walks around downtown that included ice cream tasting, teddy bear shopping, and frisbee playing!
  • With most of my Christian friends gone for the summer, I started going to church on my own. Although it was a bit daunting at first, I was welcomed and integrated into the small but strong fellowship of Northfield Community Church. It was super nice to get to know some of the couples and families that go there and to know I have a support network outside of campus too.


My friends and I posing on our Wisconsin excursion.
My friends and I acted all cool during our Wisconsin trip.


  • I remained connected to the Northfield families I had befriended during the school year. One of them even invited me, alongside several St. Olaf and local school students, to spend a weekend in a cabin in Wisconsin! It was a fantastic experience, and I truly enjoyed meeting folks from the other side of the river.
  • I’ve got to take this opportunity to shout out this summer’s MVP: Northfield’s Public Library! I am very fond of libraries – I think they are little utopias, in which everyone is welcomed, people are nice to each other, and you can gain access to almost any knowledge your heart could ever desire. Naturally, I then decided to get my very own Library Card. Many a rainy evening was saved by the latest movie, graphic novel, or history book I had taken out. Truly a marvelous place.


So, there you have it! My summer on campus had its ups and downs, but the variety of challenges it presented me with allowed me to learn a little more about myself and the world around me. Would I do it again? Absolutely! And I hope I get to in the summers to come.



After a trimester abroad, Guatemalan sophomore Fátima (she/her) is looking forward to continuing her pursuit of a SOAN major and an Educational Studies minor. In addition to blogging, she works at the Admissions Office and the Spanish department. Outside of class, Fátima can be found watching cartoons, poorly playing the piano, attending Bible studies, or desperately missing her dog, Cosmo.  Meet the other bloggers!