In less than 100 days, Marston Quad will be bounding with activity. Blue and white flags will flutter in the wind and white chairs will be aligned like teeth in a perfect smile. My classmates and I will don floral dresses and collared shirts, and we’ll cover them in gigantic, flowing robes, and we’ll cover those with leis and hats topped with squares. We will sit through a ceremony that manages to evoke boredom and waves of emotion simultaneously. We will take the stage one-by-one, and then we’ll exit in a line, and then we’ll depart in hundreds of different directions.
Finally, I have an inkling of what my direction might be. Or, more accurately, I at least have some direction that might welcome me: I’ve gotten into a graduate school at last. This is relieving, because even if I can’t land a job, and even if I hear back from no other schools, I have something to cling to and something to call my own plan. My admittance isn’t a fallback in any respect, but I can’t deny the anxiety of being entirely without a paddle to propel myself to some other place in life.
Pomona students are sometimes defined by not wanting to go. The last week of school, we lament the long break away from Claremont. In August, we scramble to return early, becoming OA leaders and sponsors and Orientation Committee members, and we bask in the Pomona bubble until school resumes. When we study abroad, we’re conflicted, as we explore and learn but also yearn for home, and by home, we mean Pomona.
After all this staying and returning and enjoying, we know it’s time to leave, and suddenly Pomona is not the point where we reunite. We are building our home bases all over the country and the world, and we’ll immerse ourselves in different spheres. Some of us will continue to learn, while others will begin to teach, and others will explore or code or market or research or consult or write. In less than 100 days, we will still be Sagehens, but we will be something else first.
Pomona is here to give us our wings so we might pursue all of these other dreams, so such achievements should be a mark of success for our school. When I applied, this is what I expected Pomona to do for me. However, I didn’t expect to become so entwined and enamored with the community while being here. I’ve been properly launched into The Real World, as we so affectionately call it, but a piece of my heart will remain here, even after those 100 days.