First-Year Tips on Surviving Pomona College

By Myles Ashitey ‘22

Being here for almost a full academic year, I am starting to feel comfortable amongst students and faculty alike. Not to sound overconfident, but I’m 90% sure that I know almost all the ins and outs of Pomona College. Whether I’ve experienced it myself or heard it through upperclassmen, I know what jobs to find, what dining halls to eat at, what activities to get involved in, etc. Nevertheless, all of the following advice about the most important first-year issues (i.e. classes, friends and food) should be taken with a grain of salt.

Your first week here may seem rough. Like me, you may have received a pretty harsh sign-up time for your classes, but that’s ok. If so, you may have to rely quite heavily on PERMs (permission to register requests) and knocking out your general education requirements. It’s only your first semester! No one is expecting you to have your major set in stone just yet. It’s a great time to fulfill some of the breadth requirements. But if you can’t get in to a class you’d really like to take, PERMing is a way to email a professor and plead your case for why you should be allowed in the class—sometimes it even works out. Also, don’t forget: if your registration time was poor the first time around, chances are you’ll get lucky the next semester. You may have a vague idea of your major requirements by then, and you should be able to get into the intro-level classes for your intended major.

seminar tableWalking into a college class for the first time may seem a bit intimidating. Your friend group at that point is limited to the people you’ve met in your hall, through a club, or during some orientation event that occurred only a few days earlier, or maybe you haven’t actually made any close friends yet (which is fine too). The classroom is a great place to grow closer to students from all over the Claremont Consortium. For example, I’ve grown fairly close to many of the students in my algebra class. We rely on each other.

Frary dining hallThere are plenty of options for your meals on campus. The challenge is often separating better from the best. If you’re a first year, you’re going to be living on south campus; there’s no question about it. Two factors come into question: distance and food quality. If you want the most options and best food, you will have to make the trek to Harvey Mudd. Personally, I would only go to such lengths on special occasions (Thanksgiving dinner comes to mind). Frank’s breakfast omelets are a cut above the rest, and this Pomona dining hall is only steps from the first-year residence halls. However, for lunch or dinner I would head to CMC. Their pasta bar arguably offers the best tortellini not only the 5CS, but Claremont has to offer.

Like you, I arrived on this campus not knowing what to expect. I soon learned that there are plenty of people eager to show you how to thrive within this small, loving community.