By Myles Ashitey ‘22
Coming from a small boarding school in southeastern Pennsylvania, I didn’t want to stray too far from my comfort zone when choosing a college. Also high on my list of importance was ensuring that my college education was affordable to me. As it turned out, Pomona was one of the only schools I applied to that offered me a viable financial aid package, which surprised me, considering I applied to over 10 schools.
I knew just about everyone in my high school class, and, while I figured that wouldn’t be possible at a large research university, I figured I had a shot at it at a small liberal arts school. After my first visit to Pomona, I learned that I had set too lofty a goal (knowing everyone) but discovered a bunch of new things that I admired about the college. I was not used to being around people with so many different interests and hobbies and a school that was ready to support them in developing all of them. It didn’t take me long to find the Black community on campus through organizations like BSU or OBSA, a community which made me feel at home. Every aspect of this campus was inclusive, and it was a nice change of pace compared to what I was used to. Pomona draws people of different cultures and backgrounds to this small campus and fosters a sense of community around them.
What I was most surprised to find was that Pomona fosters an environment of expression. I found that Sagehens are able to freely pursue their ideas, without fear of judgement or isolation. Coming here for the first time, I discovered classes that I thought were completely fictional. The faculty was warm and receptive, eager to answer any of the burning questions I had about being a student on campus or even questions about the work in each of their individual fields.
I think what really sold me on Pomona was the class sizes. In a school of over 1,600 students, I still managed to find classes smaller than those at my high school. These were classes that I could actively participate in, that I wouldn’t be afraid to interrupt in order to ask my burning questions. The professors encouraged discussion: My professor Edray Goins often boasts, “Your questions inspire the rest of the class, so keep asking them.” After my first year at Pomona, I can say that I definitely made the right choice.