This semester, every weekend I’ve had at Pomona has been full of new and different adventures. Though there’s always dreaded homework to complete over the weekend, it’s important to make some time to relax and have some fun as well. From attending on-campus events to exploring downtown Los Angeles, there are so many affordable and fun things you can take advantage of. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite experiences as well as things I want to try this semester. Honestly, there are an endless amount of activities you can do over the weekend, but hopefully these will provide you with some inspiration!
1. L.A. Art Museums
Downtown LA is about an hour away, and you can easily get there by train. This semester, my friends and I went to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) during the free admission weekend to SoCal museums. I’m very much a city kind of gal, so it was refreshing to see some tall buildings and explore L.A. On our way back to Pomona, we took a detour to Din Tai Fung and had some AMAZING soup dumplings. (Xiao Long Bao, anyone?!) Little tip: many art museums have weekly free admission days, so you don’t have to wait until free admission weekend to save a few bucks. Going to LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art) is also one of the “47 Things” trips organized by Pomona, so if you want free transportation and admission, keep an eye out for that.
2. Exploring nearby cities
Though I love going to a small and tightknit college like Pomona, it can be stifling at times. What’s great is that you don’t even need to go to downtown LA to take a break from what we call the “Claremont Bubble.” Pomona is near a lot of really cool cities in L.A. County. I’ve taken a day trip to Pasadena with a friend to grab dimsum, gone out for dinner in Santa Monica and relaxed on a beach in Malibu. To get around, most Pomona students use Zipcar. Zipcar allows you to rent a car for a day or by the hour, includes gas and insurance, and has multiple car locations around the Claremont Colleges. I definitely recommend checking it out if you want to get off campus frequently but don’t have access to a car.
3. Student retreats
Student retreats have been a hallmark of my experience thus far at Pomona. Some are held in Pomona’s cabin called “Halona” in Idyllwild, California, while others are hosted right on Pomona’s campus. As an Asian American and international student, I am part of two mentorship programs, both of which host a retreat every semester. It is really nice to just spend the weekend with a supportive group of people and learn about yourself and others. I have gone on other retreats not affiliated with mentorship programs, and they have been equally as rewarding. There will be numerous opportunities for you to attend retreats, no matter which organizations you are a part of. Even academic departments hold retreats!
4. OTL trips
I have yet to take advantage of this opportunity, but it is on my bucket list of things to do before the end of the semester! OTL, or On The Loose, is the outdoors club of the Claremont Colleges club. It facilitates and funds student-led outdoor trips. You can visit Mount Baldy, go camping in nearby national parks like Joshua Tree, go hiking on Potato Mountain and so much more. It is a super affordable and fun way to escape from school, bond with friends and make new ones.
5. Athletic events
Go support your fellow Pomona Sagehens at games hosted on campus! From swim meets to basketball games to track and field meets, there are so many opportunities to show some school spirit. You’ll probably make friends with student athletes, and they always appreciate some support from the sidelines. Definitely don’t miss the games between Pomona-Pitzer and our biggest rival, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. We may not be a big Division I school, but these games are guaranteed to be filled with school spirit.
6. Explore the Village
The Claremont Village has a lot of things you can do if you want to change up your weekend routine a little. If you are tired of studying on campus, you can go to a nearby café, drink some tea, use their free wifi and get some work done. If you need a little treat, go and visit Some Crust Bakery (a favorite among 5C students). You and your friends can go to the theater for a movie night or visit a fro-yo joint (21 Choices is my personal favorite!).
I would like to close this post by saying that although I hope you are now full of fun weekend ideas, I write it with the additional intention of reminding you that it is important to prioritize yourself and not exclusively your school work. It is easy to get overwhelmed by homework and tests and not make time for self-care; I was definitely stuck in this mindset during my first semester at Pomona. This semester, I have decided to act upon my realization that leading an unbalanced academic lifestyle is neither healthy nor worth sacrificing all the non-academic opportunities I am given in Pomona.
Whether it is exploring L.A., going on a hiking trip or chilling on Marston Quad, do what you need to do to unwind and take care of yourself. I promise that it will be worth it. Academics are very important, but coming to college is about thriving in your learning environment and finding fulfillment and happiness in that journey. It is very difficult to do this when you don’t make time to take care of yourself beyond your academics. So besides using this list as suggestions of fun things to do on the weekend, see it as a reminder that your life at Pomona is about more than your next problem set, reading or essay. There are endless places to explore and people to spend time with; you deserve all of those opportunities and more.