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How Do We Do it All? The Work/Life Balance of a Carl

Jancyn examines the importance of having a healthy work/life balance as a Carl.

Jancyn examines the importance of having a healthy work/life balance as a Carl.

“Carleton is hard, you’re doing a million things. How do you do it all?” 

This is probably one of the most common questions we get.

In all honesty, I’m a bad example as I notoriously over-schedule myself, and I think that is because there are so many activities, opportunities, and adventures available to you at any given minute. I’m a varsity athlete, serve on the student senate, run a student organization, and work full-time in admissions. This is certainly a full schedule! However, many students are good at self-regulating and luckily we have a culture on campus where it’s okay to change your mind about a commitment which enables students to take care of themselves. 

The Kid in the Candy Store Effect

I think being in a place with so many interesting opportunities puts you in between a rock and a hard place. Such an impressive roster of academic courses and extracurriculars is enough to make anyone’s head spin. However, the first line of defense against over-committing is your advisers. For first-years, this adviser’s job is largely to help guide you through the class selection process. Of course, they keep degree progression in mind, but when you’re considering slotting in Calculus 3, Astrophysics 2, and an advanced examination of John Locke, they’re going to stop you in your tracks. The common denominator at Carleton is the thirst for knowledge, but sometimes you can take on too much.

The second line of defense is your friends. I know I have gotten a lecture or seven from my roommate and friends alike about overcommitting and the frequent “Are you sure you should add that on right now?” While at the moment it can seem frustrating, it truly is a way to show they care.

The Point of Realization
Here’s an example of knowing I need a break.

Next comes yourself. You’ve finally come to the realization that maybe you’re taking on too much right now. Professors are accommodating when you need an extension to get things reconfigured, clubs are more than understanding if your patronage needs to lessen, and support services like SHAC can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

In my time at Carleton, I’ve gotten much better at making and taking time for myself. I’m an avid nap taker, I love a good craft, I stop by the chapel to play the organ, and you’ll commonly see me talking to people for hours instead of doing my work. However, I’ve learned that not working can be a good thing! Navigating when to prioritize your social life (whether it’s a night out or a simple coffee break) is important, as is intentionally not working all the time. This post is not to suggest not doing your homework, because that obviously won’t pan out well, but rather to encourage you to understand what taking a break from work means for you. 

A team can be literal or metaphorical
A team doesn’t always have to have a jersey number. Here I see a group of people genuinely happy for one another, and this translates off the court as well.

It Takes Work to not Work, but You’re Not Working Alone

The takeaway from all of this is that at Carleton, you are never alone. Even when I let myself hide away in my room while cranking away at my 3000th email or writing another essay, my roommate is always there to distract me with TikTok, my friends to drag me out of my room for a weekend night of fun, my advisor to make sure the term is going well, my professors to meet me where I am when I ask for help, and myself to shut my screen and get a coffee in Sayles. Carleton is an incredibly fun place to learn, not just because of our admittedly nerdy disposition, but because you have people that won’t let you drown and will together lift you back into the boat. Everyone wants to have a community, and maybe, that’s right here in little Northfield, MN. 

Jancyn is a rising junior from Kansas City, MO. She is a Political Science/IR major and has minors in Public Policy and Spanish. Outside of class, Jancyn serves as a senator on CSA (student senate), plays women’s varsity volleyball, coaches men’s club volleyball, serves as president/founder of the Black Student-Athletes of Carleton, participates in a number of Black student orgs, and works for the Admissions Office! Meet the other Bloggers!