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Looking Back

Lucas looks back on his first two years at Carleton.

Lucas looks back on his first two years at Carleton.

I tend to get sentimental at the end of a term. More so at the end of the school year. When I wrote this, it was the end of my sophomore year, which also marked the end of the first half of my time at Carleton, so… ack.

I just wanted to take this post as time to reflect. It’s been a whirlwind, just like it was at the start.

I’m immensely grateful for my time here. And, as I’ve hinted at in the past, more than a little freaked out by the fact that it’s now halfway over. I’ve grown here – in terms of my social circles, in terms of my interests, in terms of my endurance (boy, is this place quickly paced). It’s very interesting each time I go home because I always genuinely feel like a slightly altered person. Things I used to get real worked up about feel much more manageable now, things I used to be amazed by slightly more in reach.

I could spend this entire post summarizing my overall underclassman experience at Carleton, but there’s the rest of my existing blog for that. Instead, I’m going to get a little unusually specific, because I’m genuinely at a loss when I try to conjure up some nice, grand, summarizing statement right now.

As I’ve explained before, I like looking back at my classes and seeing if I can come up with a single takeaway sentence for them. Now, I’d like to (attempt to) do so for each one I’ve taken so far, in order. Maybe something will add up there.

  • Society in Silico: The emergent properties of even the most rudimentary computer models can yield powerful insights into humanitarian issues.
  • Elementary French I: I can learn new languages way more quickly than I thought I could.
  • Introduction to Multivariable Calculus: Calculus gets excitingly capable of mapping real-world events when it’s in three dimensions.
  • Elementary French II: It’s astounding how many grammatical and stylistic rules and conventions we unconsciously follow in our native tongue, and the process of communicating with a different one is very different at first.
  • Astrophysical Systems – Mechanics and Relativity: Mechanics is nowhere near the whole story.
  • Memory and Politics: History is constructed, and is ever-evolving and often-contested.
  • Intermediate French I: I can have conversations in another language?!
  • Introduction to Cinema and Media Studies: Pretty much every aspect of what you see and hear in a film is highly intentional.
  • Digital Foundations: Actually shooting a film is pretty darn time-consuming, but often the best results come from spur-of-the-moment ideas or mistakes during the process.
  • Atomic and Nuclear Physics: Orbitals are way more complicated than I thought.
  • Introduction to Educational Studies: Education isn’t just a professional field; it’s a highly humanistic, philosophical discipline.
  • Intermediate French II: I can read books in another language?!?
  • Linear Algebra: Even the most simple of mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) can be extremely powerful when thoughtfully applied.
  • Introduction to Astronomy: The cosmos is…even bigger than I already understood.
  • Analytical and Computational Mechanics: Physics can be modeled in multiple ways.
  • Electricity and Magnetism: The fundamental forces travel at the speed of light – they don’t act instantaneously.
  • Introduction to Statistics: As I understand it, statistics is the surprisingly intuitive practice of using numbers to evaluate the validity of other numbers using some surprising numerical patterns and some very clever methods.
  • Introduction to Rhetoric: The act of writing is at once an intensely personal and intensely strategic act – or at least it can be.

Okay. So that’s that. I’m looking back at my first two years at my favorite place on Earth and I’m thinking, Where on that Earth has all the time gone? I am very definitely hiding behind the gravity of it all by fixating on academics, but… Well would you look at that! I’ve already taken courses in seven different departments (Political Science, French and Francophone Studies, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics and Astronomy, Cinema and Media Studies, Educational Studies, and English!)! Go liberal arts!



More to come soon. In the meantime, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

When he wrote this, Lucas was sheltering in place for the remainder of his sophomore year. He fought his pandemic anxiety with a passion for all things nerdy and a talent for overthinking and awkwardness (and self-deprecation). He hails from Pasadena, California, and hopes everyone is okay back there. He saw himself majoring in Physics, while hoping to explore Cinema and Media StudiesChemistryEconomicsMathematics, StatisticsComputer Science, and pretty much every other department at Carleton as well. He misses everyone and sends his love. Meet the other bloggers!