Julia Bargmann, Graduate from Carleton in 2013
Like many top liberal arts schools, the academic and student experience at Carleton can be described in one word as rigorous. The trimester schedule (3-4 classes packed into a ten week term) makes finding the balance between academics, social life, and sleep a real challenge. But a good one.
Students have high personal standards for work and fun and the prevailing attitude is that as long as you can accept a certain level of sleep deprivation you don’t have to miss out on anything. I found that to be a large part of what makes the Carleton experience so stimulating. Students are perpetually wishing for a few more hours in a day, but in reality, they love running from place to place and relish being stretched thin. When stress is high, stress-release is even higher and students take pride in the creative ways (both sub-free and sub-full) they find to mitigate that pressure. Some token examples include breaking the Guinness World Record for most people spooning at one time and the outdoors club’s winter term long-underwear dance party (no clothes allowed).
Regarding academics, Carleton’s professors are unbelievably dedicated. All keep regular office hours, but most are available at any time during the day or even evenings and weekends. The night before my Introduction to Sculpture critique, my professor was in the studio until 2:00 am helping a fellow student weld her final piece together. I found professors wanting to continue class discussions after class, talk to students about their kids, and come to sports games and performances. This creates a dynamic in which students then find themselves trying to match or exceed that commitment and everybody wins.
All in all, students are there to learn and push boundaries and as a result of that, the campus has developed an impressively positive and supportive community, fostering student-driven adventure and ingenuity on the daily.