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Managing Stress at Carleton

Aidan talks about how he destresses at Carleton.

Aidan talks about how he destresses at Carleton.

If I’m being honest, Carleton can get stressful. Balancing taking three classes, going to your professor’s office hours, working your on-campus job, being in clubs, and doing homework ends up eating up almost all of your time. So every once in a while, you just need to let off some steam. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to do it at Carleton. Here, I’ll share with you some of my favorites that have kept me sane throughout my time here so far.

Hanging out with Friends

No matter how stressed you may feel about an assignment or anything else, making time for your friends is still a necessity. These are the people who will provide the good laughs and smiles that will make you far happier than any assignment ever will. If you’re stressed about an assignment, I guarantee you will feel better about it after hanging out with friends. At worst, they help you relax a little and put you in a better mood. And at best, they give you some helpful advice and you write a better paper because of it. At the end of the day, your friends are the ones who help you get through tough times in college and beyond.

Me and Lucy had a photoshoot on our computers today to destress!

For me, even just taking the time to watch a TV show with a friend or housemate totally betters my mood. There’s no grade too bad or embarrassing story too cringy to laugh through with your friends. These people will be in your life for a long time post-college too, so you should take the time to make those memories while you’re here!

Taking Time to Myself

As much as I like hanging out with my friends, sometimes I need just the opposite. At a residential school like Carleton, you truly see people all the time. Breakfast? People. Library? People. Class? People. Club? People. There are not really any places in day-to-day life where you’re going to be just totally alone. And, no matter how much of a people person you are, you’re gonna want a break at some point. No, doing homework doesn’t count as alone time. 

krlx record libe
Going to my radio show or sitting in the Record Libe are some of my favorite places to get alone time.

What I really like doing is just blocking off the time just for me. It’s gonna feel weird and awkward. But take that time for yourself. You could do literally anything, even nothing! Taking that couple of hours to decompress will recharge your social battery and let you work out some of those emotions on your own time. There’s no shame in wanting to spend time alone!

Calling my Parents

Let me tell you, there’s no shame in calling your parents either. Somehow your mom and dad always know just the right thing to say to make you feel better. Plus, your parents are going to miss you and would definitely love to hear from you. There’s nothing a parent wants more than a college kid who wants to actually talk to them. 

students posing at cave
Me and Maisie might not actually be family, but we grew up together! It’s nice to get a taste of home.

For me, calling my parents is sometimes difficult due to how busy I am, but I have never once regretted calling. The amount of teary-eyed moments my mom and dad have talked me down from is hard to count at this point, but no matter what they’ll always be there for you. No matter how far from home you are, your parents will always be just a phone call away.

Closing Thoughts

In my opinion, the college years are meant to be some of the happiest of your life, so there’s absolutely no reason to spend all of your time stressing about schoolwork. Life’s a balance. Your happiness and mental health are just as important as your grades, so don’t let either one take control!

Aidan (he/him) is a Senior from Batavia, IL coming back to Northfield after a summer studying churches in Europe. He is a Religion major and French minor with a passion for cello. Outside of class, he enjoys spending his time cooking, hanging out with his housemates, and broadcasting his favorite songs to the Northfield community on KRLX. You can often find him at the campuses’ two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager.