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Term Reflections

Lucas reflects on his first term at Carleton.

Lucas reflects on his first term at Carleton.

Even though this past week was the last (regular) one of fall trimester, it was still filled with plenty of firsts.

For one, I voted for the first time. It was a stressful, exhilarating experience. After spending a good number of hours researching every single candidate on the ballot (exhausting but worth it) and annotating a copy of it on my phone ahead of time, my friend Annie and I drove to the nearby voting spot. And guess what? I saw snow fall for the first time there, at the same moment that I cast my first vote! Weirdly appropriate — exciting and new.

Lucas sporting an "I Voted" sticker
A process I’m honored to finally be a part of.

With this snow has come a whole new Carleton, visually speaking. And it’s gobsmacking. The past weeks have definitely ramped up in the stress department, but a welcome respite has come in the form of exploring and marveling at a whole new world all over again.

The Bald Spot at sunset
Beautiful, even with a big ol’ construction scene plopped in the center

Another first has been my finally needing to really (really) bundle up every single time I go outside. Up until a few weeks ago I was still kind of in denial that weather was now A Thing (even though that had been one of the Things I was looking forward to at Carleton), often getting caught (and made fun of for) struggling through every single day in my same pair of Birkenstocks with socks by my friends. (As much as I’d like to claim that the whole socks-and-sandals thing was some sort of Californian fashion statement, it’s really just because I’m much too lazy to bother with tying a pair of shoes every morning — it’s so boring!) Now, it snows almost every night. And it never ceases to amaze me.

Snow falling past a street light
Snow! Falling! From the sky!

Yet another first: I finally met Lyman! It was like running into a celebrity. I knew he must be friendly and sweet in order to be such the campus personality that he is, but I didn’t realize how ridiculously cuddly he would be. It was such a therapeutic experience spending time with him in the middle of one of my more hectic recent nights.

Lyman, the campus cat
He was really set on getting inside Nourse for some reason!

As I’ve found myself nearing the end of my first term here, I’ve started thinking about how the past ten weeks have gone. Overall, I’d say fantastically. However, I’ve learned some lessons.

Firstly, I definitely intend to go to office hours more frequently in the future. It’s scary at the beginning, especially with an entirely new set of educational faculty, but I have never had less than great experiences each of the times I’ve gone in to see any of my three professors this term. Additionally, although it’s easier to feel on top of things at the beginning of the term, by the end I’ve found myself wishing I’d been a little more proactive, consistently and throughout the term, about “staying on top of things,” and one way to have done so would have been to check my comprehension more regularly with my professors. I also simply wish I had spent more time with them. Every single one of them are amazing people and the prospect of not seeing them every week next term has genuinely saddened me.

Secondly, I think I’ve gotten better at noticing, and appreciating, the little things here. A day where it’s easier to go to bed earlier. Another new friend you didn’t expect to make so soon. Or an unusually friendly squirrel who stops his busy day for a conversation that affords you a small break from your own.

A squirrel climbing a tree
It was nice speaking with you.

All in all, a first term at college that I am immensely grateful for, and one that has me inspired to manage even better ones in the future. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me build the new life I have here, and to everyone who’s read these weird little blogs.

On to finals!

Lucas is in his freshman year at Carleton, bringing with him a passion for all things nerdy and a talent for overthinking and awkwardness (and self-deprecation). He hails from Pasadena, California, and yes, he realizes it gets cold out here. Currently wildly undecided, he can see himself attempting a Physics and Cinema and Media Studies double major, although Chemistry, Economics, and Computer Science (among many other subjects) have been tempting him as well. He misses his bearded dragon.

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