Two Years, Five Highlights

By Siena Swift ‘22

Since Pomona College announced we would be online only for the fall semester, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my time at college. I have a big decision ahead of me: should I take online classes or take a leave of absence from college and hope that I’ll be back on campus soon? Thinking about some of my favorite memories from my first two years at Pomona, and realizing how important being on campus is to me, I want to share five highlights from my first two years.

Siena with backpack, looking back at camera, with mountains before her1. Orientation Adventure

Orientation itself was an exhausting but exciting experience. But what really stole the show was my Orientation Adventure (OA) to Sequoia National Park. I spent my time camping, hiking, watching the sunsets, stargazing and bonding with new friends. Barriers and walls came down as the 47 of us (chirp, chirp) didn’t shower for four days. I saw some beautiful views, cooked camp food and sang songs around a fire. In fact, some of my closest friends were on my OA, and I’m currently missing them and southern California in general.

2. Brockhampton Concert

My first Los Angeles concert took place during my first semester at Pomona. One of my spiblings (what we call the other students in our sponsor group) and I took the Metrolink train into downtown L.A. and met up with one of my friends from home who attends USC. We got dinner and hung out before heading to the Shrine Auditorium, where Brockhampton was performing that night. The concert was fantastic, the crowd was energetic and we danced the night away. It’s a memory I won’t forget any time soon.

looking out car window at sunset over mountains3. Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy is by far one of my favorite spots near Claremont. Only a 20-minute drive from campus, Mount Baldy offers snow in the winter and amazing sunset views all year round. During the winter a river runs through the valley which is a perfect spot to hang out with friends. I love renting a Zipcar and heading up there for a sunset drive, blasting our favorite music and taking cute pictures once we get to the top. I definitely want to ski here before graduating.

the tapestry Siena and friend created4. Tapestry Painting

One of my favorite projects from second year was painting a previously black and white tapestry with my friend Haidee. She found the wall tapestry from the Free Room, a sustainability initiative on campus to re-use, reduce and recycle stuff. She decided that it would look better with some color, so for the next few months we would meet up at Marston Quad or Walker Beach, usually around sunset, and paint until there was no more light. Friends joined us sometimes, but usually it was just the two of us painting and listening to music. It was a fairly large tapestry so it took us quite a while. But we eventually finished it after returning from winter break. It’s one of my favorite art projects ever!

light show at concert5. Tropicalia Festival

It was a beautiful Sunday in November, first semester second year, when I went to my first ever festival. Tropicalia was happening just 15 minutes away from campus at the Pomona Fairplex. A few of my friends joined me and we Ubered down to get there right when the venue opened. We stayed from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., a full 11 hours of fun and eventual exhaustion. I got to listen to some of my favorite artists perform live, helped people crowd-surf, got stuck in a few mosh pits and watched the sunset while dancing my heart out with my best friends. It was an amazing experience and I hope I get to go again someday.

I have many more cherished memories from my first two years in Claremont, and I hope I’ll get to make more there soon. For now, I’ll be missing my second home and all my friends as I take a semester off from college.