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Am I Old Now?

Aidan reflects on each of his years at Carleton up to this point.

Aidan reflects on each of his years at Carleton up to this point.

Time at Carleton is a mysterious thing to me. I simultaneously feel as though I’ve been here a lifetime (in a good way) and just a couple of days (also in a good way). Imagine my surprise when I come back and suddenly my introduction in class is “Hi my name is Aidan, I’m a Junior Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major”. A Junior? When did this happen? Although I don’t quite understand it myself, I’m excited to describe this evolution to you all!

friends first-year
Flashback! Me and some friends from my first year at Carleton!

Back to the Basics (First Year)

Coming to Carleton for the first time is definitely a huge adjustment. Going from being the oldest group in high school to being the new kid on the Carleton block is strange. There is of course New Student Week to help you get acclimated! Meeting new people is super exciting, but I definitely remember feeling nervous about talking to other students, especially upperclassmen. They seemed so knowledgeable, cool, and confident. How could I even dare speak to them? 

dining hall friends
My old friends Martha and Charlotte (who were seniors when I was a first-year!) and I reunited at Hideaway!


Reflecting as an upperclassman now, I should have had no reason to be nervous. I am equally excited to talk to anyone on campus. I still have first-years in some of my classes and love when they chat with me outside of class! As a dining hall worker during my first year, I loved talking to my managers and developing relationships with them. Now as a manager, I love how I get to see my previous student workers across all class years. It really feels like we share a special bond! My advice is: when you’re a first-year, be brave! Talk to that upperclassman. It could become one of your best friendships.

Second Step (Sophomore)

After that first year on campus, I remember coming back and feeling on top of the world. I got to meet even more new people (can you tell I like meeting new people?). Housing options open up a lot after freshman year, so I even got to live outside of the residence halls. Everything just feels so much simpler. You already understand what schedule works for you, where you’re going to study (the libe, obviously), etc. You’ve built up that confidence in terms of day-to-day life, but now you have to figure out academics. What am I going to major in? Should I take that 300 level? Will that professor convince me to do the philosophy minor? 

Me and some of my friends grabbing a bite (summer after my sophomore year).

Maintaining Momentum (Junior)

Now we’re at where I am today. Even writing through it, I’m not sure how I got here myself. I’ve declared my majors. I’m in a bunch of clubs. There are more people on this campus younger than me than older than me. It’s honestly crazy how fast my experience here has gone. I only have 5 terms left including this one, but I’m nowhere near ready for it to end. Next year is already on my mind, and once I get there I’ll come back to let you know how that feels too.

Aidan (he/him) is a junior from Batavia, IL coming back to Northfield after a semester off-campus in Paris. He is a Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major with a passion for ceramics. Outside of class, he enjoys spending his time cooking, hanging out with his housemates in the Culinary Interest House, and performing in Carleton’s sketch comedy group. You can often find him at the campuses’ two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager.