Conventional wisdom often proposes that young people should flee to a bigger city so they can explore bolder options or challenge themselves in a fast-paced environment. Having grown up outside of Los Angeles, Natty Maneerit ’18 didn’t need to see any more of a bustling metropolis.
Instead, “it felt like time to get away,” she says.
During her college search, Maneerit leaned on the advice of an English teacher who surmised that a liberal arts school in a small town might provide some much-desired soul searching. A campus visit during the fall Taste of Carleton program—a college she only learned about during her senior year of high school—sealed the deal.
“I wanted to be in a place where I could really think about who I was, where I could find myself,” Maneerit says. “I remember applying to all of the state schools (in California), and when I visited some of them, they were all so big and impersonal. I didn’t want to be a number to my professors. I wanted them to get to know the real me.”
It’s easy to see why. Maneerit’s vibrant personality—“I don’t have a problem introducing myself to people. I like attention,” she jokes—keeps her engaged with new opportunities and friends on an intimate campus like Carleton’s. But when Maneerit needs to recharge or simply get her schoolwork done, she also knows how to escape.
“Being on a small campus, you can always find room to mix your experiences together,” Maneerit says. “’Okay, where do I need to go to relax? How do I get away? What am I going to do now that I’m tired of this?’ It’s very easy to stay connected but explore those important options at Carleton.”
- Natty Maneerit ’18, Arleta, California
- Major: English
- Campus involvement: Club tennis, Synchrony II (dance), Carleton Figure Skating Club, Admissions student worker
- Favorite spot at Carleton: "Blue Monday (in downtown Northfield) is where I go to read, drink coffee, and get away from the campus bubble. I’ll sometimes be there until it closes.”
1. What have you learned about college life that you wish you knew at the start of your freshman year?
“I was a bit of a goody two-shoes in high school, so I came here and got so excited by the prospect of meeting new people, trying new things, that I almost didn’t know how to process it all. It was that whole FOMO thing—fear of missing out. So I was trying to do everything during fall term of my freshman year, and that’s not a really calm way to approach being in a new place like college. You can’t really find your niche that way. So it took awhile, but now I can say, ‘Hey, you can stay in on the weekend and watch Netflix. It’s okay! You don’t have to reach out to everyone all the time.’”
2. What has surprised you at Carleton?
“That Carleton isn’t really defined by any one thing. You’ll find a variety of people here, and they all fit in with how you go about your life. Like, one of my best friends is a computer science major. I’m an English major. Our personalities really don’t match, but we’re super close and have our own way of relating to Carleton. Then I have my tennis friends. We’re close. But I also have another group of friends from work, so we have our own way of talking about things. You get to bounce around from one experience to another.”
3. What challenges you at Carleton?
“During the first convocation I went to, I remember the speaker saying, ‘When you come to Carleton, you feel smart. Then you get here and you feel stupid. Then you leave and you feel smart again.’ Yeah, that’s how I feel. (Laughs).
“But that’s also what office hours are for. I came here wanting to get to know my professors, and I just love how accommodating they are. Sometimes I’ll go to my professors and it’s like, ‘Can you please help me with all of these problems?’ Just whining to them about my struggles. I’m not professional about it at all! ‘Okay, okay. Here’s a box of Kleenex, Natty. Calm down. We’ll talk it out.’”
4. How has the liberal arts model fit with your academic interests?
“I initially thought about biology as my major because I wanted to do pre-med. But I talked with a lot of people here and they kept saying, ‘You don’t have to be a science major to go pre-med.’ Which is great, because I love reading. I’ve always loved reading. So I’m still pre-med and want to do research in a lab, but I’m an English major. Which means I get to read so many amazing novels, Jane Austen, African literature. . . . I learn so much from it all.”
5. What advice would you give to someone who is considering Carleton?
“Accept the fact that when you get to college, there will be an adjustment. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s living on your own. That’s being away from your parents. So it’s okay to take time to figure things out. Because in college, you freak out about everything! What’s my major going to be? Everyone knows but me! But then you come to realize, it’s fine. You’re not alone. Take time to figure it out. You’ll have plenty of resources to help you along the way.