As the semester winds down and that end-of-semester anxiety builds up, we can all agree that balancing coursework, a social life, campus involvement and personal interests can be a tad overwhelming. Somehow, Junior Classics and Mathematics Major and Computer Science Minor Karl Boettcher manages to take it all in stride, while simultaneously maintaining an amicable persona and deft sense of humor.
Karl is a calculus tutor, first chair trumpet for the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, member of the Jazz Live Band, sergeant at arms for Eta Sigma Phi and a self-proclaimed video game addict. Quite the list, isn’t it? As Junior Computer Science Major Ben Barnard said, “He’s in a decent amount of stuff.”
While some might find it incredible that, as Junior English Major Emily Peterson put it, “He’s able to balance allof that and survive.” It might be even more shocking to learn that his coursework never suffers.
“He’s a very, very good student. I’ve heard faculty remark on how brilliant his work is,” Assistant Professor of Classics Mary McHugh said.
Karl’s work in his on-campus activities and personal life inspire the people around him. He has risen to the challenge of fulfilling a leadership position in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, and he is very involved in class.
“For me,” Junior Computer Science Major Cory Ruegg said, “he always makes me want to work harder by example.”
Although Karl is a very busy person, he always finds time for his friends and hobbies.
“He always makes an effort to get out,” Peterson said.
In his group of friends, “He sparks the conversation,” Ruegg said.
With Karl, that conversation is likely to include a lot of good-humored sarcasm. “He has a dry sarcasm that reminds me of something out of a British novel,” Peterson said.
When he’s at home in Princeton, MN, he likes to snowmobile, four-wheel and hunt. It was with a hint of mock-bitterness he remarked that these things could not be done on campus. But he bears no real grudge. As he says, due to the many concerts he attended here when he was visiting his grandparents whose lake home lies about 15 minutes away from campus, “I was predestined to come to Gustavus.”
Few people know it, but among his many other interests Karl enjoys an additional, non-musical art. “He does have an artistic side that no one sees,” Peterson said. “He draws.”
It would seem as though Karl really has found the perfect balance. With his vast array of interests and activities, he truly embodies the liberal arts education.
There must be something to his advice, which fits to his “pessimism-is-truism” mantra: “Always look at the worst option and it’ll turn out better. If it doesn’t, at least you anticipated the worst.”