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Reflecting on the Last 3 Years

Zoë fondly reflects on some of her most formative college experiences, freshman through junior year.

Zoë fondly reflects on some of her most formative college experiences, freshman through junior year.

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing some of the college milestones that I had hit as a rising junior. From adapting to dorm life to studying abroad, I found it a rewarding exercise to reflect on all the new experiences I had gained since coming to college. Now, as a rising senior, I can add even more items to this list.

Below, I reflect on several of my most formative college experiences! I hope you find them as helpful as I found this blog post fun to write.

Freshman Year: easing into college life, finding friends

Adjusting to dorm life

Perhaps one of the most nerve-racking aspects of becoming a college student for me, the idea of living in a dorm with a roommate was definitely somewhat intimidating. Luckily, there was no need to stress as I did. My assigned freshman year roommate and I got along super well and became very close friends. We lived together again our sophomore year, and even went on the same study abroad program together. Nowadays we remain great friends, and I am so happy that the Residential Life staff paired us together as freshman year roommates!

My roommate Nikki and I meeting for the first time ever!

Making friends

Coming to Carleton as a first year I did not know a single other person. After going to school with the same people for over a decade, it was crazy to think I’d have to start from scratch when it came to making friends. It turned out there was no need to worry, because right off the bat I found some amazing friends. Between my freshman roommate to my New Student Week group to the extracurriculars I joined, within a week or two of moving in I felt as if I already had a number of people who I could trust and rely on.

The club soccer team took a field trip to a nearby apple orchard for a fun weekend activity.

Work study

While starting a paid job during the school year initially seemed daunting, especially with the course load at Carleton, I am so glad I got involved with student employment right off the bat. My first two years I worked as a Technical Services Assistant at the library. Junior year, I split my hours between working as a Tour Guide and Blog Editor for admissions. I’ll also be working in admissions my senior year.

summer admissions fellows
The admissions fellows/tour guides from last summer.

Having the responsibility of going to work shifts throughout the week was super helpful in structuring my days. I was able to be more productive because I had a limited amount of time to finish my homework. 80% of Carls hold a work study position, and it’s no surprise! Being employed triples as a source of income, an avenue to add skillsets to your resume, and a means to build a balanced school-work-life schedule.

Sophomore Year: feeling more established, figuring out my interests


Holding Carleton externships, or an “experiential internship,” have been enriching experiences. A great way to connect with alumni and obtain practical work experience in a career field of interest, I am happy that I’ve taken advantage of this opportunity. Sophomore year, I externed with a non-profit called The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. Junior year, I worked with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, a research unit of the Smithsonian Institution.

carls help carls
Carls Help Carls! The externships are hosted by the Career Center and donated by alums to the school, meaning that only Carleton students are eligible for these spots.

Studying abroad

Off campus studies is super popular at Carleton, with 70% of students going abroad at some point during their college career. I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark my sophomore year, and it was a very formative experience. From living in a multicultural living environment, to exploring a new city independently, I felt as if I grew a lot as a person.

The famous Nyhavn canal!

Major declaration

Declaring majors happens during spring term of sophomore year here. While I was undecided about my major coming into Carleton, I quickly learned that I really liked my Sociology-Anthropology classes. By the time the end of sophomore year rolled around, I realized that I wanted to be a SoAn major. It was an exciting development!

soan lunch
The SoAn department routinely hosts gatherings bringing together faculty, staff, and students.

Junior Year: deepening my knowledge in my chosen field, becoming an upperclassman

Higher level SoAn classes

Junior year was definitely the most academically challenging. It was no easy feat, taking both Sociological and Anthropological Theory courses and learning how to conduct social science research in my Methods class. However, I know I absorbed a lot of new material and am eager to take on my senior comps project as I demonstrate the skills I have learned.

Taking SoAn classes with my fellow majors has been such a bonding experience. I’m excited to continue getting to know my peers outside of the classroom!

More Carleton traditions

Now that I have spent 3 years at Carleton, I have encountered and participated in most of the traditions we hold so dear. The Freshman Frisbee Toss, Midwinter Ball, Date Knight, Convocation, Friday Flowers, Spring Concert, and Late Night Breakfast are just a few of my favorites.

sproncert pic
The Sproncert venue. Photo by Andriana Taratsas ’23

Stepping into leadership roles

As an upperclassman this year, I found myself with the opportunity to hold a couple of leadership positions. Being the Blog Editor for this admissions blog was a cool job. I was tasked with directing and coordinating the blog writing of a handful of admissions bloggers. Beyond that, I stepped into the role of a Student Departmental Assistant for the Sociology-Anthropology department. I am eager to work closely with the SoAn faculty to provide guidance to new and prospective majors.

Senior Year: completing my comps project, wrapping up my major

As a rising senior, I am anticipating the next year with some nerves and much excitement. Starting my research for my comps project is already a work in progress! Additionally, I am stoked to live in a townhouse with my friends. These last 3 years have truly flown by—I hope this next year doesn’t feel too fast.

The iconic Carleton sign: the perfect location for a photo! My roommate snapped this photo of me at the end of junior year.

Zoë (she/her) is a senior Sociology-Anthropology major from South Bend, Indiana who loves traveling and photography. Her sophomore year, she studied abroad in Denmark and started a personal travel blog. When she’s not giving tours and blogging for admissions, Zoë enjoys frequenting the coffee shops in downtown Northfield, luxuriating in long walks in the glorious Arb, playing the cello, participating in club soccer, doing research with her sociology professor, and scoping out delicious plant-based restaurants and recipes. Meet the other bloggers!