2 years ago, around this time, I told my parents that I wanted to apply ED1 to Pomona College. It had been a long process of considering all of my options, a few hours of meditation, and a lot of listening to thought provoking music before I knew for sure. The long two hour conversation I had with my parents after telling them only confirmed my desire to apply ED. The main question I received from friends and family over the subsequent weeks was, ‘why?’ Specifically, ‘Why Pomona?’ With the next generation of ED students considering whether to take the plunge or not, I figure I’ll try and explain the most important decision I’ve made to date.
I hail from the great state of NY, and on first glance I would probably seem to be a pretty stereotypical East Coaster. I walk a little too fast and with a little too much purpose, throw around EC slang, and I’m a little bit too familiar with I-95. However I’m a born n’ raised die-hard SF Giants fan, worked in LA the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, and declared at a young age that I was going to move to the West Coast ASAP. That being said, when it came time to look at colleges, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go West Coast. My mother really wanted me to stay within driving distance, preferably not 3,000 miles away. A lot of kids from my high school weren’t even allowed to go past the Mississippi River, and my closest friends planned on staying closer to home. That being said, I decided to visit a series of West Coast schools, and from the moment I stepped on Pomona’s campus I felt a kind of energy I hadn’t felt anywhere else.
If you’re interested in Pomona and you’ve been on the campus, you’ve probably felt it. There’s no way to describe it other than an undercurrent of passion. In the very fiber of this school, there’s passion. Passion for literally everything you could possibly imagine, from a super specific area math to the most broad genre of film. Everyone I spoke to in my visits to Pomona had a passion, and sometimes they had zero to do with school. I met a guy who’s passion was announcing sporting events, a girl who learned Elvish and could recite the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and a guy who designed crossword puzzles for the New York Times, all within 10 minutes of my tour. I have a passion for stories, so the idea of being surrounded by 1500+ people who all had passions and stories to tell was electrifying. And when you realize the school itself is passionate, you have a community that is constantly becoming more and more passionate about more and more topics. Some people will talk your ear off about how great the number 47 is (myself included), but not everyone loves 47. The main thing, though, is that even the people who dislike 47 respected that passion.
Other schools were passionate, of course, generally about their athletics or a program or two, but nowhere else was as passionate about passions. When I told my parents I wanted to apply ED1 to Pomona, I didn’t argue it for the top liberal arts college or the consortium or any of the many other pros that Pomona really pushes in their brochures. I told my parents that I wanted to go to a school that would support my passions, surrounded by others who were just as passionate about their subjects as I was about mine. There are tons of logistics for ED1, stuff that needs to be figured out both with family and on a personal level. ED is not the right call for everyone, for a whole host of reasons, but if you’re considering applying ED anywhere, go with the place where you feel a special kind of energy. I chose ED to Pomona because I wanted to be surrounded by passion. And I can say with full confidence that it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made.