If you ask first years who their closest friends are, they might say something like, “Oh, my spogro is tight!” (sponsor group) or “I love everyone in my AAMP/ISMP/Quest/etc. group” or “People from my OA!” I’m sure the last thing they’d ever say is, “My ID1.” For those who don’t know, ID1 is a required writing seminar for all first-years. In Fall 2015, course topics included J.R.R. Tolkien, the relationship between religion and science, the economics and politics of food, among 27 others. I’m not totally sure if my writing skills improved leaps and bounds because of my ID1, but I was able to read and write academic articles and papers about subjects that don’t fit the pretentious, snooty perception of “academia” plebs have, and I was able to find precious people that I cherish with all my heart.
Initially, I had my concerns. When I found out I ended up in “Anima, Anime, Animal,” I loathed the past me who had ranked that course high on her list without even really examining the course description. Why the heck did I choose a course about anime? What if my class was filled with a bunch of fedora-wearing, Mountain Dew-drinking nerds? What if my classmates were hardcore weaboos that distastefully incorporated Japanese words into their everyday speech? I, of course, would be the only sane one.
All the individual ID1 classes congregated together one evening before school actually started; we were to discuss our summer reading. Thirteen students sat around a rectangular table. I glanced around—no one was wearing a fedora, and no Mountain Dew cans in sight. The professor smiled a lot and had a kind face. He led the discussion and did that thing where we go around and everyone has to say something about the book or whatever. Many people were so articulate and intelligent that I was intimidated. My mind scrambled to prepare something equally intelligent to contribute. I remember choking on my spit and my face getting hot and that’s about it. Why was I so worried about being in a class with weaboo nerds? I had something else to worry about…how would I survive this discussion-based class? For the next few (read: many) Tuesdays and Thursdays, I stayed quiet for most of the time and observed rather than participated. Some days I really wanted to speak, but my shyness sewed my lips shut. I never imagined I would talk to any of these people outside of class if I could barely talk in it.
I think it was when we started a group chat to collectively cry about our ID1 that we started getting closer. I was so relieved that I was not the only one struggling to understand what the heck our assigned reading meant, I was not the only one freaking out about a paper. After class, many of us would trek down to Frank to eat lunch together. We also saw each other some evenings for movie screenings. I soon found out that my classmates may have been intelligent, but they were far from intimidating (sorry, lol). Some are shy and introverted, some have the most adorable laughs and mannerisms, and some unintentionally say really stupid things (like me). Some are easy to pick on, and some are too precious for this cruel world to tarnish. All of us are, in one way or another, dorky. Additionally, I confirmed that my classmates are, in fact, weaboos who occasionally distastefully incorporate Japanese words into everyday speech. Except as far as I know, no one drinks Mountain Dew, and most certainly no one wears a fedora. I think my class has the honor of being the dorkiest, nerdiest ID1, and we’re probably the only ID1 that still stays in contact even after first semester.
To my Anime, Anima, Animal ID1’ers, thank you so much for being you. Thank you for giving me a space where I can be weird and awkward and nerdy without judgment since y’all are weird and awkward and nerdy, too. Thank you for sharing your quality memes in the group chat. Thank you for putting up with all my teasing and my bad jokes. Thank you for eating with me in dining halls so that I don’t have to eat alone like a loser. Thank you for sending sympathetic emojis when I rant about professors. I hope I’m not jinxing our friendship by writing this blog post, but thank you so much for making my first-year experience at Pomona amazing, and I really hope we stay good friends in our next three years here.
Sweet Mint Chamomile