In less than two weeks, my first year at Pomona will be over. A year ago, I was nowhere close to done with the school year: AP tests were approaching (and way too quickly). There were senior award ceremonies and breakfasts and graduation rehearsals to attend, enrollment deposits and housing forms needing completion, scholarships needing securing, yearbooks needing signing, and prom dresses needed buying. College wasn’t at all real to me yet, not any more so than high school graduation—and the latter was to happen in June, still a whole month and a half away.
Somehow, I blinked and a year went by. I’ve always been slightly amused at the upperclassmen who smile fondly at me and talk about how fast everything is going to move, urging me to make the most of my freshman year/college in general. I’m not usually a fan of perpetuating cliches, but here I am a year later, blown over by the truth of their words. On May 17th, some of the Sagehens I love most will be graduating (shout out to the incredible Albert Chang), and I will move up to take the place of the sophomores I’ve been looking up to all year. This moment of “almost-but-not-quite” is a moment of teetering on the edge of something, of losing and gaining and uncertainty and change.
Next year, I will be a sponsor for the incoming class of 2018. (It still kind of amazes me to be able to say that.) I will be living in Wig 2 North with, in my opinion, the greatest two co-sponsors in the history of Pomona, down the hall from another pair of sponsors who are too awesome for any inadequate description of mine to suffice. I get to participate in introducing the newest group of Sagehens to the place I have come to call home, with most of my best friends living either a two-minute walk away in Oldenborg or as sponsors in one of the other freshmen dorms. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky.
I also don’t know what to do with myself now that over a month of nail-biting, worrying, and wondering if the choices I’ve made are the right ones has culminated in this revelation. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of other things to be worrying about, (internships and summer plans, anyone? final papers and final exams? course registration? any one of the literal dozens of things I should be focusing on instead of writing 2 a.m. blog posts?), but I’m still so taken aback to have something this important to me work out so nicely in my favor.
How to Become a Sponsor
Being chosen as a sponsor was not a sure bet, not by a long shot. It never is, of course, but this year in particular was a bloodbath. Out of approximately 130 applicants, only 70 of us were selected to be next year’s sponsors, and those who weren’t were as insanely qualified as those who were. In case it’s of interest in a year or so to new sponsor applicants who, like me, prefer being over-prepared for everything and always want to know what to expect, here’s the sponsor-selection process in a nutshell:
1. You submit your sponsor application (ours was due March 7).
2. You complete an individual and a group interview with members of the RHS team (both before March 23, in our case, but the dates tend to change every year).
3. You beg your sponsors and friends and professors for letters of recommendation (which had to be submitted by March 24).
4. You wait. And slowly die of suspense. And tell people that you definitely don’t care whether or not you become a sponsor, because you applied to live in Oldenborg as a backup plan, but everyone sees right through your flimsy lies.
5. You find out, via a letter in your mailbox, whether or not you made it (April 1 for us).
6. If you made it, there is a brief (read: 24 hours) period of time where you celebrate with your friends who were also selected before the angst begins all over again with sponsor-pairing forms and “speed dating” rounds, which finally culminate in the revealing of your co-sponsor(s) and your hall (which happened on April 25 for us).
And, after nearly two months, it’s over. One tiny bit of the uncertainty of what sophomore year will bring has been eliminated. I know where will I will be living (more or less), who I will be living with, and whether or not I should invest in a designated “sponsee couch” for my new room (answer: yes. Definitely yes).
And yet there’s still so much I don’t know. I don’t know what my sponsees will be like; I don’t know whether they will like me—or, more importantly, each other. (Of course, how my sponsees feel about me won’t impact my ability to be there for and care about them, but it would sure make my job easier.) I don’t know with any certainty whether I will get into the courses I’ve planned to take in the fall, because PERMs for some of the fall semester classes are generally not accepted until post-registration of the incoming freshmen. I still don’t know what I am doing this summer, or even the topic of my final English paper, which is due in five days.
Uncertainty is terrifying. Change is so difficult. It hit me while walking through Lyon at 3 a.m. last night that these rooms will no longer belong to my friends; Lyon 2 Central won’t be mustache-themed, the head sponsor room in Wig won’t be Albert’s, my room in Harwood 1 West will no longer be my perpetual point of return. That’s not to say that things won’t be absolutely incredible next year: I’m excited to watch these same halls fill up with incoming freshmen, excited for all the new friends I’ll make and new adventures I’ll have. But this, the transition period, watching the change happen…it’s harder than I’d expected. I am not good at letting go.
So, instead, I’m looking ahead and behind at the same time. I am about to begin something exciting and entirely new, side-by-side with the people I’ve come to think of as family. These changes are not happening in a vacuum, and they are not happening only to me—or only this year. It’s easy to feel alone in these transition periods. It’s easy to forget that you are not the only one having a hard time adjusting or moving on, whether it be from high school to your first year at college or from your first to second year at college. But you inevitably find people who are there for you, who bring out the best in you and whom you love too much to even imagine letting go. These people, at least for me, become family. Speaking from my own experience within a huge extended German-Canadian-Mexican clan, families are sprawling and messy and too close to be torn apart. There are people you see only a few times a year who never leave your heart; there are people you see every day and appreciate just as much. This year, some members of my Pomona family will be graduating and moving on to conquer the world, some will be studying abroad half a world away, and some will be living a two-minute’s walk away. But no matter how physically close or far apart we are, these are the people I love and who love me, independent of time and space and the changes between. Uncertainty is terrifying, and change is so difficult, and right now we are all going through it.
But, as hard as it gets, we are never alone. And no matter how easy or how hard it is to get there, we will all end up where we are supposed to be.