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Reflecting on My College Milestones

Zoë considers some of the college milestones she's hit thus far as a rising junior.

Zoë considers some of the college milestones she's hit thus far as a rising junior.

It’s hard to believe that I’m about to be an upperclassman at Carleton. In all honesty, it’s simultaneously exciting and a bit nerve wracking. I vividly remember New Student Week and the jitters of being a new college student on campus, and it’s crazy to think it has been 2 years since my journey as a Carl began

While I feel more established than I did as a first year academically and socially, I still have lots more milestones to hit! I only declared my Sociology-Anthropology major in March of this year, and have yet to take several higher level courses within the department. Completing my comps project for senior year is also a significant part of my academic journey. 

As I enter my third year as a college junior, I want to reflect on some of my most memorable milestones that I have hit as a first year and sophomore. I should note that the ones I list below are common milestones that Carls experience as underclassmen. From engaging in academic exploration and declaring my major, to making new friends and prioritizing a healthy work-life balance, I’m proud to say I have seen growth in myself. Carleton’s tight-knit student body in combination with the initiative I have taken to make the most out of my college experience have been invaluable.

Finding Friends

Making friends was a top priority for me upon arriving at Carleton, and perhaps one of the aspects of college that was most initially daunting. Luckily, making friends was made an easy feat during New Student Week, and I met some of my closest friends within my NSW group of 10-15 other first year students. After that, befriending people through classes, extracurriculars, social events, student employment, and mutual friends became a natural process. 

apple orchard
Spending the afternoon at the nearby apple orchard with the Women’s Club Soccer team was a lovely weekend activity.

Adapting to Dorm Life

As an only child, the prospect of living in close quarters with another person was something I wasn’t used to. I was nervous about the relationship I would have with my roommate, but it ended up wonderfully! Nikki and I were paired together by the Residential Life staff, and we got along so well we lived together as sophomores too. She is one of my best friends on campus and I have loved living with her.

Nikki and me posing by our room in Goodhue Hall.

Holding a Work Study Position

I wasn’t sure how balancing a job with my classes and extracurriculars would work out, but it hasn’t posed an issue for me. If anything, work study has greatly enriched my college experience. My first 2 years I worked for the Technical Services department of the library, and starting this year I will be working as a tour guide and Blog Editor for the Admissions Office. Working 8 hours per week as a first year and sophomore was totally doable and a great way to structure my day. Read more about my work study journey in this blog post!

Attending Fun Weekend Activities

So much happens on campus throughout the week and especially on the weekends. Whether I attended a peer’s performance, dressed up for a school-wide dance, met people at a social event, or stayed in and hung out with friends, I have made a concerted effort to prioritize my social life. Carleton’s academics are rigorous, which makes it super important that you take time out of your day to relax and bond with other people. The Student Activities Office and student-run organizations put on many of the events students attend in their free time.

Dressing up as the Mystery Gang from Scooby-Doo for Halloween in 2019.

Participating in the Externship Program

I wrote a blog post about my experience with the Career Center Externship Program. The Carleton “Experiential Internship” is an effective way to learn about a field of interest, pick up some new practical skills, and network. I’d never done an externship before, and my time as an extern with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement was an amazing opportunity.

Studying Abroad

Studying abroad was an opportunity I knew I wanted to take advantage of in college, and luckily Carleton has a phenomenal Off-Campus Studies Office. Earlier this year, I jumped on the opportunity to study in Copenhagen, Denmark, and while there I even started my own travel blog! My love for photography, food, and writing made it a really fun personal project and I was proud of how it turned out.

Trying out restaurants and sampling foods with my Danish flatmates in Copenhagen was one of my favorite aspects of my study abroad experience.

Declaring My Major

Carls only declare their majors near the end of sophomore year, and it was exciting to finally make a decision. I’ve taken several Sociology-Anthropology classes that I’ve loved, so declaring SoAn was a great feeling. I look forward to taking more higher level courses, getting to know the professors, and befriending my fellow SoAn majors very soon.

Living in Northfield Over the Summer

I’m so glad to have had the chance to live in Northfield and be around campus over the summer, working as an Admissions Fellow and exploring more of the town. I’ve loved my job—it was rewarding to meet prospective students and make an impact on their college search process. Additionally, I am so appreciative of the friendships I developed with my coworkers Ben, Darius, Jancyn, Joe, Kelly, and McKenna.

summer admissions fellows
The 2021 Summer Admissions Fellows.

It’s safe to say I’ve had lots of new experiences since September of 2019 when I entered college, and I’m grateful for all the resources and opportunities I’ve had to expand my horizons. My first 2 years at Carleton were a success, and I eagerly anticipate the next.

Zoë is a junior Sociology-Anthropology major who loves traveling and studying abroad, taking photos, and luxuriating in long walks in the glorious Arb. At Carleton, some of Zoë’s favorite pastimes include frequenting the various coffee shops in downtown Northfield, playing cello in the orchestra, participating in club soccer, and spending time with friends. Meet the other Bloggers!