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A letter to home

(Submitted photo)

Dear loyal DL Tribune readers,

Greetings from the land of cows, colleges, and contentment—the booming metropolis of Northfield, MN! I hope the turning leaves are lighting up the landscape and every morning the sound of geese beginning their journey south can be heard in your neck of the woods.

After a year of writing to you, it is time to say goodbye to my beloved Wave column. There have been columns on everything from swimming to public speaking, from the importance of family to the grieving process. How I have enjoyed having this platform and all the things that come with it! It's a good thing I now have the rigor of college life to distract me from this painful separation.

My physical removal from my home community coincides quite nicely with the end of my association with the paper, so my experiences at college seem like the most appropriate topic to leave you with.

I left Detroit Lakes for Carleton College just three weeks ago, yet it feels like home already. The campus is nestled in a small town in southern Minnesota, surrounded by an 800-acre arboretum and endless miles of corn fields. The Cannon River winds its way through part of the campus and several lakes add some lovely interest.

Every morning the wind carries the smell of chocolate cereal from the Malt-O-Meal factory and every night the air takes on the somewhat less-pleasant aroma of local hog farms.

When walking from class to class, students can be seen lounging, studying, slacklining or tossing a frisbee around the Bald Spot, our campus lawn. Many students zoom around campus on their bicycles, but there are also many scooter enthusiasts. It's always fun to see adults zipping around on brightly colored scooters, making rhythmic thudding noises as they roll over cracks in the sidewalk.

There are also three campus cats, my favorite being an orange feline named Lyman. He loiters around the doors of the residential halls and sprints inside when students go in and out. I woke up one morning to him trying to get under my covers and it was quite possibly the best morning I've ever had.

Upon arrival on campus, I was greeted by a herd of friendly students dressed as cows, and every day since then, I have discovered something new on campus that adds to the zany character of Carleton.

There is a competitive ballroom dance team, a house with a kitchen open at all hours to bake cookies, an international student who read me Mongolian poems, an old tunnel full of graffiti, a brunch hosted at a student house featuring live folk music, and a cow skeleton assembling club. That last one is probably the weirdest thing you can find on Carleton's campus.

Within my first week here I was exposed to more cool activities than expected—these included learning the cha-cha at a social dance club meeting, harvesting over 300 pounds of cucumbers at the student-run organic farm, attending a reenactment of the death of Jesse James, entering into a rubber duck race, and exploring a library after hours.

Carleton truly is a magical place.

The academics here aren't bad either. Some fancy college ranking system put Carleton at the top of the list for undergraduate teaching, and I have yet to find evidence to contradict this ranking. So far, my professors have been engaged with their students, very passionate about the subject matter they teach, and incredibly willing to meet with students to help bridge any gaps in their learning.

Most of the students here are very committed to learning and are genuinely excited for their courses, which makes for a wonderful environment to learn in. My favorite class this term is titled Muses and Composers: Women and How They Shaped Classical Music, which allows me to study the intersection of two topics of great interest to me: feminism and classical musicology.

It is often said that Carleton alumni seem to have more of a connection to their alma mater than any other college. I hope that my years here offer me the same connection. The friends and memories that I have made here already seem to be an indelible part of me, and I cannot wait to see what the next four years will bring.

I wish my home community to know how grateful I am for every experience they afforded me that led me to Carleton.

All my best,