Spiblings for Life

By Chris Meng ‘23

Every college has its acronyms and funny lingo; Pomona is no exception. From OA and ID1 to AAMP and the QRC, Pomona needs its own dictionary! As a tour guide, we are specifically trained to explain those words that have become colloquial vocabulary to us as Pomona students. However, you still might catch a tour guide slip up as they excitedly talk about their spiblings. One of my favorite tour questions is when someone asks what everyone is wondering, “What the heck is a spibling??”

While most college students have hallmates that they may or may not ever talk to in their dorm, every incoming first-year at Pomona is intentionally placed into a sponsor group with 10-15 other first-years headed by two (usually) sophomore sponsors. These people are more than just your hallmates; they often become your second family away from home. Cue adorable mish-mashes of “sponsor” and different familial terms — spiblings for your fellow first-years and sparents for your sponsors.

Sharing meals with spiblings: priceless

My spiblings and I have all left the nest, but these relationships can go way beyond your first year of college. My next-door spibling took yoga with me in the fall semester, and we ended up running together every weekday morning for the beginning of the spring semester. From sharing classes to musical interests, it’s needless to say that we had a close friendship.

Chris with golden retrieverAfter we were sent home during the pandemic, we kept in touch. As it became clear that our sophomore year would be virtual, we hatched a plan for my spibling’s actual family to adopt me as a temporary sibling for three weeks, like a host family situation. It was a magical time full of many firsts — playing Bananagrams, living with a dog (the floofiest golden retriever!!), and eating bagels with lox. Don’t even get me started on all the delicious food that their mom cooked up for us!

I thought I knew my spibling well, but it was amazing how much I learned about their family, childhood, and hometown. From going by their old high school on some of our morning runs to having the same pizza that they used to get in middle school math club, the three weeks passed all too quickly. Originally, the idea was for my spibling to come back and have a similar experience with my family, but the busyness of our virtual schedules took us by surprise and cancelled those plans.

landscape of central PASo, our time together came to an unexpected end, much like our time as spiblings on campus. However, I returned to my house in central Pennsylvania with a feeling of peace. Even though we are no longer in the same sponsor group, and I have no idea when I’ll see them next, I know that we are friends — or rather, spiblings — for life.