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Meet a Carl: Kate!

October 23, 2013 at 9:15 am

Kate was one of my floormates on the description-defyingly wonderful 4th Burton last year as well as a classmate in my freshman seminar (a cognitive science and biology dyad, Evolution and Mind)--we then went on to take Intro Chem (123) and Intro Bio (126) together. We’re currently in a state of estrangement since we’re in different Organic Chemistry I sections. I believe we first bonded over our mutual “love” of Grey’s Anatomy (no, we’re not ashamed...).

She gets a feature on my blog because her mom is my number one reader (hi Cindy!). Also because I look up to her (funny thing though, she thought I was cool when we first met--no illusions now though!). I love her work ethic and determination to always do the right thing, and compassionate and sustainable consumer practices and vegetarianism are part of her life philosophy. She’s one of the most grounded people I’ve met here and definitely someone I want to have around for the rest of my life.

**Parenthetical interjections are me talking.


Nickname: Croftonk, Kitty Cat, Petunia, Unicycle Chicken


Hometown: Richland Center, Wisconsin

Class year: 2016


Prospective major: Biology
    Percentage certainty about prospective major: 80-90%
    Other 10% breaks down between self-doubt, that “Bio doesn’t account for people enough and I’m more interested in learning about people”, and  “I’m not sure I’ll be doing liberal arts enough if I do that”.
        0.5% considering Chemistry (!)
        9.5% something not science
        She wants to go to med school, so any major is possible. “In the meantime, I want to study what I’m interested in, and I think that’s Biology.”

Favorite Northfield Establishment: Walking along the river and creeping on the kids. (She really likes kids, see below:)


Activities at Carleton: Project Friendship, which is a program that strives to provide positive mentor roles in kids’ lives. I mentor an 8 year old girl from Northfield for a few hours every week.
Fundraising chair for Carleton College Medical Brigades. We’re planning a trip to Panama, where we’ll work at a mobile health clinic for one week over spring break.
When I have time, I go to student-led social and swing dance events or social dance club.
(When asked why she likes social dance:)
I find comfort in the structure--it’s a cool way to meet people on a very human level.
Kate’s also an RA (resident assistant). I like the role because my job is to be nurturing and a support for my peers. The residential community is one of Carleton’s strengths. Late at night when working on a homework problem, you have help down the hall. Living together, you develop commonality through long winters and classes.

Classes this term: Organic Chemistry I, Introduction to Sociology, Spanish 204, symphony band, trumpet lessons, Social Dance II


Favorite class so far: Possibly Orgo (!) but it’s too early to say.
    Biology 126, unexpectedly--I wasn’t expecting to be interested in the ecology aspect as much but systems interactions were really interesting.


Current contents of mind: Studying for sociology midterm, “thinking about where I am in the life course and the factors of how I came to be at Carleton and how it deviates from norms of my background.”


What is one of the ways Carleton has changed you?: I’ve become more comfortable with who I am and talking about who I am. Carleton has prompted me to think about my identities that I haven’t before. I’ve become more independent. I never would’ve gone to social dance club by myself last year. I’m living in a single and being comfortable being by myself--not needing other people.
Academically, the science program was weak at my high school. I wasn’t sure was ready. My background wasn’t equal to that of my peers, but with help, I was able to catch up. My determination and work ethic were enough with the available resources.


Favorite campus event: Friday convocations. They’re a good break and I’ve gone to all of them so far (an impressive feat, considering most people skip Convocation at one point or another in favor of finishing homework or something).


Favorite convocation speaker: Jose Antonio Vargas
His talk made me worried that I wasn’t educated about immigration in this country at all. He told a compelling personal story that made me aware of larger questions.


I wish I had known before coming to Carleton that…:
I wish I had known that I would make friends and I wouldn’t have to eat alone in the dining hall and when I did eat alone I would be okay.


Exam survival strategy: Grin and bear it (ha!).
    Go to the Libe early and get a good desk on the east side of the 2nd floor and barricade yourself there for a couple days. There’s a comfy chair next to each cubicle to take naps in. The desks are next to windows so you can space out and watch squirrels when you need a break. The desks are nice and spaced out from each other. Eight hours of sleep is good but not always possible.

De-stressing techniques: feelings walks (talk and a walk with Ms. Nora Katz, fellow 4th Burtonite), a cuddle sesh, Grey’s Anatomy, stress baking, telling bad puns (to people who don’t want to hear them), being tickled


Sophomore perspective: Life at Carleton is less bright and shiny and sparkly and new and surprising, but I find comfort in my routine and having friends and knowing what to expect. There are definitely more challenges and opportunities and always new people to talk to, though. I don’t feel claustrophobic like in high school.

Takeaway from freshman year: It’s okay to ask for help! It was humbling at first to not understand a problem and not be able to figure it out, but there are so many resources (prefects, writing center, math skills center), and Profs are really fun to get to know outside of class. There were 43 people in my graduating class in high school--I was a big fish in small pond. Switching from a small rural school to Carleton was a shock to my ego.


Favorite thing about winter at Carleton: Excuses to stay inside and bake cookies are abundant.


Favorite food at Carleton: I eat granola and yogurt at least once a day (it’s not as good as my mom’s granola!). (After some thought...) Sweet potato falafel at Wild Thymes (the vegan station in the LDC Dining Hall)


A good Carleton story: One of my favorite days was midterm break spring term last year. It was a sunny, temperate day so we went outside to play frisbee as all good Carls do. But it was still winter so there was snow outside Scoville, and we had an impromptu snowball fight. The informal things are my favorite moments at Carleton.


Highlights of past weekend (midterm break!): A giant coed sleepover with last year’s 4th Burton cohort, complete with When Harry Met Sally, snacks, pillow fights, and cuddling. Her mom and brother visited for parents’ weekend (hi Cindy!). She was “on duty” Friday night (RAs are on call on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the term to be an additional resource for students), but there were no parties (:-(). She baked brownies and we watched Grey’s Anatomy.



Plans to go abroad: Yes! Peru spring term junior year--the program is sponsored by Spanish department but with a sociological focus.


Advice for prospective students: “Don’t worry so much--you’re gonna go to college and you have the ability to make your experience good when you’re there. Don’t make the mistake of imagining 20 little Kates going to 20 different schools and living twenty extremely different lives as a result.”


On life after Carleton: I’m really interested in medicine and I plan to attend medical school and that’s all I know. Pam (Carleton’s pre-med advisor) is great about helping with planning courses and off-campus studies and my options as far as when to apply to med school. I’m going to start the application process junior year.

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