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Catching Up

Andriana writes about her winter break, and her plans for winter term (and beyond)!

Andriana writes about her winter break, and her plans for winter term (and beyond)!

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a happy and healthy holiday season! It has been a loooooooooong SIX weeks, and I am very excited to be returning to classes and blogging. So… let’s get started!

What did I do this break?

It was a very quiet and uneventful break this year! Because of COVID, we tried to avoid seeing people in-person. The main exception was my grandmother, who lives nearby and was able to spend the holidays with us. (We literally do not go out except to get groceries, so this was about as safe as can be.)

To pass the time (of which there was way too much), I did a variety of activities. I spent a lot of time over break going for walks and reading. One of my favorite authors is Jhumpa Lahiri, whom I’ve loved since I read her novel The Namesake. During the break, I took advantage of my free time and tore through her collections of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth.

Also, while my parents were off for the holidays, my mom and I spent time baking. We found a bunch of new recipes and made (too) many batches of cookies. We tried our hand at gingerbread men (and women) and coconut macaroons. My dad also made the Greek sweets that are a staple for us every winter.

My dad’s baklava

I also listened to music and watched some new movies and shows. I recently found a band called Sylvan Esso which I’m enjoying along with music by Maggie Rogers, Highasakite, and Saintseneca. My parents and I watched a couple of older movies, including Casablanca and Barefoot in the Park. We also finished The Queen’s Gambit and are currently working our way through The Mindy Project.

Finally, I was very glad to continue working for my job at the Language Center. A lot of my tasks over break involved event planning for winter term. I really enjoyed working as it gave me lots of opportunities for interactions and helped me maintain a routine, which makes me feel more productive.

Where do I stand with my plans for the future (duh-duh-DUH)?

Well! If you have been reading my posts this year, you’ll know that I was hoping to be in Greece for a winter semester program. Alas, that did not happen, and I am still here. Why, you might ask, did I choose to stay home in Richmond rather than spend the winter months in beautiful Athens?

Unfortunately, COVID rates are going in the wrong direction here. While Greece appears to be on the mend, the US is not. As such, I was nervous about the idea of traveling (particularly spending so much time in airports and on planes). Additionally, though Greece’s numbers are decreasing, the country is more or less under lockdown. So while I could have gone to Greece, I don’t know how much I would have experienced Greece had I done the program this year.

That said, I am still planning to go next winter. I had initially been reluctant to consider that, as I am already spending (at least) three terms off campus. Going abroad for another two terms would mean being off campus for almost half of my college experience. I ultimately decided, however, that studying abroad is more important to me than maximizing my time on campus, so I will hopefully go for the 2022 program.

What am I doing this term?

I’m online again! My reasons for staying remote this term are mostly the same as last term. While Carleton managed its COVID numbers pretty well in the fall, I believe it would be safer for me to stay at home. I’m concerned about long-term risks associated with COVID, and I’m doing everything I can to avoid getting it and/or bringing it home to my parents. I also decided that it didn’t make sense to pay for room and board this term, considering that all of my classes are online.

Speaking of which, I’m very excited about my courses.

At the end of this year, I’m planning to declare an English major and a Cross-Cultural Studies (CCST) minor. As such, I’m taking Modern American Literature and a CCST course called I’m a Stranger Here Myself. I’m really looking forward to both of these classes!

I’m also taking a biology class called Human Reproduction and Sexuality. In all honesty, this course is a pretty big step outside of my comfort zone. It’s been five years since my last biology class, which I took when I was a freshman in high school. As I’ve written in the past, I’m not a huge STEM person, and I find these classes to be particularly challenging for me.

That said, I thought the subject matter of the class sounded really interesting. I was also pleasantly surprised by my linguistics class last term, which was the closest thing to STEM that I’ve studied since starting at Carleton. I found that I enjoyed taking a course that wasn’t strictly humanities, so while registering for this term, I looked through the STEM and social science classes that were being offered. I found this one, and decided to go for it!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is so important in college to keep an open mind and try new things!

There are many resources available that allow you to learn about anything and everything that appeals to you. If you find a class or organization that piques your interest, challenge yourself to try it, even if it surprises or scares you a little. (Sometimes that’s a good thing!)


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!