So now that the incoming class of 2018 finally knows who they are, they’re probably looking around for some useful information regarding Pomona. Thus, class of 2018, this post on my reflections on my freshman year and some things I learned is dedicated to you.
Taking Classes You Love
When I came to college, I kept hearing (especially here at Pomona) that one thing we really do in college is learn. This is true. You see, you get to choose which classes you want out of a ton of classes, and you only have a few very general requirements and guidelines here at Pomona, so you can really take what you want. My advice is exactly that: take what you want to take! If you don’t like a class, drop it! Now, in order to get to what you really want, you might have to get through some preliminary stuff (eg. going through into to chem and bio in order to get to neuroscience), and that makes sense. But other than doing pre-reqs to get to the good stuff, you don’t really have an excuse to be in a class you hate.
Researching With Professors
I also learned that here at Pomona, doing research as a freshman with real professors with real expertise in their fields (read: not graduate students) is actually not uncommon! I got an offer from my Cognitive Psych professor at CMC to be his research assistant around the third week in the fall, so I was the first freshman I knew to jump on the research bandwagon, but a lot of my friends followed, and not too long later! Having said that, ask your professors for research opportunities. I got lucky in that I was approached, but you know what they say: if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself. Don’t be afraid to go up to your professor who’s working in a field you really like and ask if they have some research opportunities for you, even if you’re just a freshman! Also, don’t be afraid of looking for opportunities with your professors at the other 4Cs too!
Finding a Work-Study Job
Work-study is probably something you’ve heard a lot about but don’t really know much about. In terms of finding a job, I recommend asking around and finding out ASAP. I know the Coop Store (our school gift shop/convenience store) gives out applications before school even starts, so you can already apply to work there. As soon as you find out who your sponsors are, ask them too! Also ask your OA leaders since you’ll be spending a lot of time with them and they’re upperclassmen. Think outside of the box when it comes to looking for jobs! Everyone knows that the Coop Store, the Coop Fountain (our school fast food joint), and the library offer job positions. But did you know that ITS and the mailroom also hire students? I found my two work-study jobs in the randomest but most under-utilized way: on fliers that I saw posted around the school! Now I get paid to do two really cool and not-too-time-consuming things: I record concerts we have here at Pomona and I write these blogs! Moral of the story is: Really go looking for these jobs, and keep an eye out for any opportunities!
When it comes to buying books, you know they’re gonna cost a lot. Most of you have probably already heard that you shouldn’t buy books from the school bookstore unless you absolutely have to because books from there are expensive. Instead, look online. Also, rent your books (unless for some reason you want to keep them)! You must know how to search online the right way though. Don’t look at individual selling websites, like Amazon or Abe Books. Instead, look at a website that compares all of those selling websites and that will give you the lowest options. My go-to website is slugbooks.com. Another goldmine of books is…the library! The library only rents out textbooks and course-specific books for a week at a time, but novels can be checked out for as long as you need them for (as long as nobody requests them). And if our library doesn’t have a book you need, check Link+, which is a database that connects us to a bunch of libraries in SoCal so we can get books we need shipped from them to our library. You can have a Link+ book for up to six weeks.
And thus, that’s some of my advice on things you’ll need to know upon arriving to campus. Of course, there’s a plethora of other things I can tell you, but I’ll let some other upperclassmen bask in the glory of being able to impart some of their wisdom to you baby Sagehens.
And with that said, Congrats, not only on getting into Pomona, but on choosing Pomona! You made the right choice. Chirp Chirp!