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Self-Care at Carleton

Andriana talks about her college workload and self-care!

Andriana talks about her college workload and self-care!

Hi everyone!

This weekend was so nice, not only because it was fun, but the weather was beautiful. We had some sunny days in the upper 30s which felt amazing and, in all honesty, a bit like spring. A few students were in front of the Chapel on Saturday building a snow sculpture of an octopus, as there was still enough snow on the ground to take advantage of it.

Octopus snow

Besides the beautiful weather, on Friday night I went with a few friends to a Lenny Dee comedy show in Nourse Hall. Comedy shows at Carleton draw a huge turn-out, with students lining up long before the show starts to get a seat. There is usually one show per term but Lenny Dee is not the only comedy group on campus; this weekend, I’m planning on going to another show by campus stand-up group Queens of Comedy.

On Saturday, Maya and I enjoyed the lovely weather by going for a walk around downtown Northfield. Since it has been cold lately, I haven’t wanted to spend as much time outside, but this week I started going for walks again. In the evening, I walked downtown once more to have dinner at Chapati with my friend Eva. The food was really good, and it was fun to go off campus for a little while.

Speaking of free time, this week I want to talk about homework and self-care at Carleton. I think that these are important things to think about when considering colleges, but it can feel awkward asking about them while visiting. In my past posts, I have talked about balancing workload and extracurricular activities, but now I want to focus more on the former.

During this post, please remember that I am only writing about my experience, and that students can have different experiences with workload here at Carleton.

Transitioning from a high school workload to a college workload can be overwhelming. I did not know what to expect, which was a bit nerve-racking. It is hard to compare the college workload to the high school workload, though, for a few reasons.

First, you spend a lot more time in class in high school – usually seven to eight hours each day. At Carleton, I don’t spend more than two hours a day in class. Admittedly, part of this is because Carleton students usually only take three classes per term because of the trimester system. Additionally, each schedule is slightly different, and taking courses such as lab sciences or introductory language classes can affect how much time is spent in class.

I have also found that the kind of homework assigned at Carleton is very different from high school. Most of my daily homework now is reading assignments, and for the most part, I don’t have the worksheets and busy work that comprised much of my high school workload. This is in part because I choose to take classes that emphasize reading and writing – if I were in a STEM class, I would be more likely to have problem sets due each class instead of readings.

Carleton is an academically rigorous school, so it is fair to expect a relatively heavy workload. That being said, it has been easier to adjust to the workload than I expected. High school prepared me well for college-level workload, with the added bonus that in college you can select classes that really interest you. Because of this, I often don’t mind doing my homework as I am so interested in what I’m learning.

Regardless of where you go to college, it is really important to prioritize your health over everything else. This includes getting enough sleep and having down time to relax. In a college environment, these things can feel like guilty pleasures, but they are extremely important in terms of taking care of yourself physically and mentally.

If you have an activity you really enjoy doing, make time for it! You will be much happier if you allow yourself to continue doing the things you love in college. Personally, I take breaks throughout the day, reserve time for calling my family/friends each night, and stop doing homework by midnight (unless I have a big assignment due the next day, which is not common).

In college, I would recommend that everyone have a cut-off time when they allow themselves to stop working for the night. Of course, you might have days when this is impossible, but you should try to adhere to your cut-off time whenever you can. I plan mine according to when I have to wake up, so that I can get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Everyone is different, but in college taking care of yourself is a holistic process and you should never feel guilty about prioritizing your needs.

A lot of this advice applies not only to college students, but to high school students especially during their junior and senior years. No matter where you are, take care of yourself!


Andriana is a native of Richmond, VA, and is looking forward to starting her freshman year at Carleton. She is especially excited to experience the Minnesotan Tundra first-hand and learn what the phrase “polar vortex” really means. When Andriana isn’t busy staying warm, you can find her binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. She is hoping to double major in International Relations and English, while also reminding herself to keep an open mind as she begins her college career. Meet the other bloggers!