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I Love My Friends

McKenna talks about her wonderful friends and how she made them at Carleton!

McKenna talks about her wonderful friends and how she made them at Carleton!

I’m sure this isn’t a particularly unique feeling, but I really love my friends. If there’s anything that quarantine has made clearer for me, it’s that Carleton is what students make it. I was still able to engage in meaningful class discussions, learn from my peers as well as my professors, and grow as a writer during the online term. But it just wasn’t the same.

Going into Carleton, my biggest fear was finding friends on campus. However, there are a huge variety of ways to meet people and I can confidently say that, about halfway through my time at Carleton, I have met some amazing people who will be lifelong friends.  Here’s how!

When people say Residence Life does a great job matching up roommates, they aren’t kidding.

I was paired with an absolutely amazing roommate who is still one of my best friends. We texted a bit before move-in day and I helped her register for classes. When we first saw each other, we screamed and gave each other a hug — earning lots of weird looks from the parents surrounding us according to my mom. (No, they haven’t met before, I swear.) We may be a little more unusual (they totally hit it out of the park), but Residence Life consistently does a great job of matching roommates and many people stay with their first roommate throughout their time at Carleton!

McKenna and her roommate peeking out from behind a tree
Here’s my stunning roommate and I during our first year at Carleton.

Orientation Week (New Student Week/NSW) Groups!

During our orientation week (New Student Week, or NSW), first years spend a lot of time getting to know the other people in their group. Groups have around 12-13 new students and 2 NSW Leaders as well as some additional peer leaders like RAs. I’m still friends with some people from my NSW group!

NSW group planting trees
During NSW, students plant trees in the Arboretum together! (Photo taken before March 2020)

However, I met more of my friends in less structured ways during NSW. After the activities finished, I found myself hanging out in the Superlounge (a huge area in Goodhue, a common first year dorm). I joined a card game with at least 15 other people — it was crazy chaotic, but super fun. We made a group chat and, after NSW ended, we ended up eating together pretty regularly. 

Students recreating The Last Supper in Sayles
Before we left campus in March, we all met up for a late dinner in Sayles and did our best to recreate The Last Supper.

Floor Communities

As a first year, you can choose to live on a floor surrounded by others in your class year. This is pretty unique at Carleton, and I have a few friends who took advantage of this. Because everyone is in their first year, everyone is looking to meet new people!

I personally did not live on an all freshman floor, but still got to know a lot of my floormates. Some of them are my very good friends now! That community building happens intentionally, by RAs, and accidentally, as a by-product of living near others. Katie talks a bit more about the role of RAs at Carleton in her post.

Every floor with first years participates in NOlypmics during NSW. NOlympics is kind of like a field day combined with a costume parade — it’s super fun! Awards are given out for performance, of course, as well as spirit. Past costume themes included: Skype Interview, Cows Colleges and Contentment (Northfield’s town slogan), and an entire group dressed up like our college president, Stevie P.

Carls eating cookies in the Superlounge
Some of my friends having a cookie party in the Goodhue Superlounge. (Photo taken before March 2020)

Extracurricular Activities and Classes

I know these are two different groups, but for me they merged during my first year at Carleton. Through my Russian language classes, I got to know a lot of my good friends. In class, we spend a lot of time talking to each other about the facts of our lives. Outside of class, we attend Russian Club events and chat in Russian about music, games, and all sorts of other jokes. I was also able to meet Russian students a year ahead of me, just by studying in one of our classrooms!

Student cooking in Evans
My friend Olya (Оля) making kissel (кисель) with me in my dorm’s kitchen! (Photo taken before March 2020)

There are a ton of ways to get to know people on Carleton’s campus, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I met a lot of my friends! However, I can say with absolute certainty that I’m forever grateful for meeting all of them.

McKenna is a Russian and Psychology double major who is suffering from major Minnesota-withdrawal (her favorite season is, in fact, winter). On campus, she’s often designing lights for a student performance, speaking Russian in Parish house, or grabbing a meal with friends. She’s also a proud member of the Carleton Equestrian Team and is currently playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in her free time. Meet the other bloggers!