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Staying Connected From Afar

Andriana talks about how she's staying connected to the Carleton community while at home in Richmond, VA!

Andriana talks about how she's staying connected to the Carleton community while at home in Richmond, VA!


Hi everyone!

In my first post of the year, I talked about being at home in Richmond this term. Just to recap, I ultimately chose to stay home because it felt safer (and cheaper!) than being at school. It is now the fourth week of the term, and classwork is picking up, activities are in full-swing, and we are starting to enjoy fall temperatures here in Richmond.

I decided to use this week’s post to talk about how I’m able to feel like a part of the Carleton community, even though I’m not physically there. First, it’s worth talking about how many students are actually on campus, since this percentage is different at each school.

Over the summer, Carleton opted to give each student the option of whether or not to return to campus. (The MDH had determined that Carleton could only house 85% of the student body due to the pandemic.) About 1600 students chose to return to Carleton, and the remaining 500 students stayed off-campus for fall term. This latter number includes me, of course.

So the point of this is to say that I am not the only person who chose to stay remote this term. Admittedly, knowing this makes me feel better, even if it doesn’t actually change anything. It feels less like I am missing out (FOMO, am I right?) since nearly a quarter of the student body is not on campus.

Beyond this, I’m able to connect with the Carleton community in a number of ways. The most obvious one is through classes. Having synchronous meetings helps me form relationships with professors and classmates. I find that small group discussions in particular help with this. Since going remote, I have even made some new friends!

In addition to classes, I have two jobs at Carleton. I have been able to work remotely, for which I am grateful. In addition to blogging, I also work for the campus Language Center as a Language Assistant. These jobs allow me to continue interacting with my supervisors and peers at work.

This includes regular Zoom meetings for my job at the Language Center. For my Language Center job this term, I am working on planning events and contests. To do this, I meet frequently with the other workers who share this task. I have gotten to know many great people through work, and I am happy that I can continue to be active in my jobs.

Finally, I have made an effort to communicate with my friends from Carleton. Two of my close friends returned to campus, and we have FaceTimed and texted since school started. Even though we can’t physically see each other, it’s so nice to catch up with them.

Of course, being remote is definitely not the same as being on campus. There are parts of the college experience that rely on physically being at school. I now find myself missing the parts of Carleton that I had taken for granted while on campus.

For example, during winter term I had started studying in Sayles during the week and getting lunch from the café. I also found myself daydreaming about the library yesterday, specifically studying beside the large windows on 4th Libe. Even when I was doing something as mundane as studying, something that I’m still doing now, it was simply being on campus that made the experience so special.

I also miss doing things like going to convocations on Fridays. We are lucky to still have our convocations over Zoom, but there was something special about going to the Chapel on Friday mornings and actually sitting with my peers. I also find it harder to get myself to attend now that we’re online, since Zoom can eventually become exhausting–sometimes, at the end of the week, it’s hard to add one more video meeting to my schedule.

Finally, I’m remembering how much I enjoyed the walks I would take regularly. I really loved walking through (B)arb (the Cowling Arboretum) on afternoons and weekends. I would also walk downtown on weekend mornings and get a bagel and coffee from Tandem Bagels. The walks were a wonderful way to start the mornings and enjoy some downtime during the weekend.

Despite this, I am so happy that I can continue to engage with the Carleton community from my home in Richmond. Even though I miss being on campus, I am so excited for the time when I can finally return to Carleton!

-Andriana

P.S. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of Carleton to fuel the nostalgia.

A year ago today
A year ago today!

 

Lyman lake
Sunset over Lyman Lakes

 

First snowstorm at Carleton
My first big snowstorm at Carleton

Andriana is a sophomore at Carleton, where she plans to major in English and double minor in Creative Writing and Cross-Cultural Studies. Although she will be spending this fall at home in Richmond, VA, Andriana is already excited to return to Carleton and escape the southern heat. When she isn’t busy avoiding Virginia’s never-ending summer, you can find Andriana binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!