My name is Claudia Crook, and I am a college graduate.
What a bizarre concept.
I don’t know about the rest of my class, but graduation was hard for me. As Commencement drew nearer and nearer, I wanted to cry everyday, from happiness and from frustration. On one end of the spectrum, the realization of the fleeting nature of everything I loved about being here and being a student made it all that much more precious, and inversely every vague critique crystallized and was all the more disconcerting. But these lauds and complaints seemed minute in comparison to the overwhelming fear and uncertainty about myself and my own path, from which they were born.
College graduation is supposed to mean something…but what? What had I really learned? Why was it important? How would it travel with me? How had I grown? Who has Pomona made me, and who am I without it? Doubts about my own worth and ability clouded my mind. Surrounded by unbelievably accomplished classmates, having moved on from a high school graduation filled with recognition to college graduation with none, not having a high paying job or fellowship or grad school stipend to look forward to, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps Pomona had made a mistake. It seemed like everyone else knew what they were doing; if I didn’t, had I failed Pomona? Had Pomona failed me?
The turbulent tides of my questioning consciousness have settled a bit since the maelstrom of graduation weekend 22 days ago. I have my summer job, I’m settled in to my new off-campus housing; I make breakfast, read the paper, examine my budget, read and re-read my new credit card terms and conditions and look for my next apartment while I wait for my housemates to come home. But those questions are still largely unanswered and I struggle with deciding what level of priority they should take, next to house hunting, making dinner, going to sleep so I can get up and go to work the next morning, etc. Now that I’m a college graduate, I no longer have the luxury of spending all of my time thinking about the big issues, reading, exploring – it’s ironic how only after graduation do I realize how much being a student was a full-time job. Now, I have a different job: helping to decide who gets to come here and start to answer those questions next.
I’ll spend a lot of blog time writing about this job as a Senior Interviewer in the Pomona College office of Admissions – things I’ve learned about our student body, admissions, day to day office life – as well as the rest of the Claremont Summer experience. About going to meet a friend (PZ ’12) for advice on LA apartment hunting; meeting a former professor and his wife for dinner and a mentor sesh; getting in touch with local alums to grow my professional network and get some tips for starting down the post-grad career path; about early morning bread-baking with housemates and fellow 2014’ers still in Claremont.
Mine may no longer be a current student’s perspective; but I think (I hope) this institution and this student body has done enough work on me that mine will always be a Pomona Voice!