by Sophia Augustine ‘23
“Professor Abrams, would you like to grab a meal sometime?”
First-semester first years, my friend and classmate Emily and I sent this email to our remarkable Intro to Cognitive Science professor, Lise Abrams. Although class sizes are very small, and a massive part of Pomona’s appeal is the supposedly tight-knit relationships between students and professors, we did not think we would get much of a response, let alone an acceptance of our invitation.
“Of course! Do you guys want to grab breakfast at Frank Dining Hall? I haven’t been there in over 30 years…” Professor Abrams instantly replied. We were shocked and so excited. How many college students get to say they grabbed breakfast with their AWESOME profs right before heading to class together? I’ll tell you the answer … not many. We instantly arrived at a time to meet at Frank (one of Pomona’s three dining halls) before our Intro to Cog Sci class on a Thursday to discuss life, the class, any questions we had about the major or Pomona in general, and, honestly, just to get to know one another outside of a restricted, classroom environment.
As my introductory blurb states, I am an EXTREMELY indecisive person, like so very, painfully indecisive, and so this whole liberal arts experience has really played to my indecisiveness and interdisciplinary interests very well (evidently why I chose a liberal arts college). BUT I was having serious doubts about my major because I felt like I was not truly “amazing” and “incredible” and “great enough” at any one single subject to pursue a major in it. However, I quickly realized after breakfast with Professor Abrams that my thought process was skewed, and I should be thinking about my potential major in a completely different light.
This was just one of several vital realizations I had after a single meal with one of my Pomona professors. We talked about a myriad of things, not just majors and school, but about our own lives and about her experience as a student at Pomona years ago. It was so interesting to hear her views on the college experience and life and how things have drastically changed since then. Professor Abrams is a major reason why I am heavily leaning towards a Cognitive Science major right now because she has helped me realize that you do not need to be the best in the room in order to pursue something that you love, are passionate about, and believe can make a real difference in your life and the lives of others.
While this is just one example, I think Pomona professors have incredible power and ability to shape/mold the young minds of us college students. This power is not to be taken lightly, and the profs at the 5C, not just at Pomona, do a remarkable job of directing, mentoring and guiding us through the mysterious and sometimes very unclear path of college and “finding yourself” and “your passions” if you want a good old-fashioned cliché. This is one of the many reasons Pomona is the right fit for me, and there are many, MANY more which I will happily address in future blog posts.
Just remember: breakfast, lunch, dinner, office hours, really anywhere on campus, is a time/place to have important conversations with your professors as they are invaluable tools to all of us not just inside the walls of a classroom but, most importantly, out in the real world. It took only one extraordinary breakfast for me to truly come to this realization, and I am very thankful I did.