By Oluyemisi Bolonduro ’23
Salutations! This is a follow up to my blog Application Advice. I’m going to assume that you’re reading this as a Pomona admit (if I’m wrong you can cackle at your screen and enjoy the rest of your day with a smile). Continuing with this assumed audience, I offer congratulations on your acceptance!
If you don’t know, we Sagehens have a huge thing for the number 47 (here’s why). So, I will offer four to seven pieces of advice after your admission to Pomona (or another institution if you applied to multiple schools).
I was told by my classmates that I was accepted to Pomona as a token Black kid to flex for diversity stats. I had known most of these people my whole life. To them I was not an old friend/acquaintance, classmate or teammate but a number to compete with. Some people will truly celebrate your acceptance, but others may want to claim it as their own. So, I hope that you stay rooted and confident in yourself and your application if/when this happens. My only piece of advice beyond that: let yourself process and feel. It hurt and still hurts—there’s no denying that.
2) Choose Truthfully
If you’re a Regular Decision admit, then you may be deciding between multiple institutions. I’ve already stated why I applied in “Picking Pomona,” but I’ll summarize here real quick. Yes, Pomona is described as “prestigious” and “elite,” but these and other superficial labels shouldn’t be the only reason you pick an institution. Choose a place that suits you as a person (fit!!!) and whose ideals/values align, to some extent, with yours. Hopefully, you will see some part of yourself reflected in the institution you pick. (Though it’s understandable if financial aid puts you in a spot where you can’t use this rationale!!)
Group chats are helpful, so join one or a few! It’s nice to know who’s in your corner and what you have in common. Maybe you’re all admits and that’s it, but you could have a lot more in common in terms of personalities and hobbies. These are the people you’ll be spending a few years (or more!!!!!) of your life with, so get an idea of who they are. Also, an institution is nothing without the actual people, and you can learn a lot about the school by its people. If your final decision is based off the small everyday activities you expect to engage in, you’ll find an answer with the people.
4) Save Some Money (and Stress)
At least at Pomona, we have this thing called ReCoop where the Sustainability Office sells used/lightly used items to students. So, don’t worry about buying non-essentials until after you arrive. It’s similar with textbooks: wait until you get your syllabi before buying textbooks. Also, wait until you get your syllabi to know when your semester ends and when you can go home (if you fly). Some people are done the first day of finals week, and others are done the last day. Also, pack warm clothing. I do not care if you’re used to below-freezing winters or Seattle rain. Your body will acclimate, and suddenly 60 degrees on a Sunday afternoon feels just the slightest bit chilly. If you need to bring a puffy coat, turtlenecks, rain boots and/or an umbrella, then do it without shame.
5) Tentative Schedules
Consider making a tentative schedule if you have an idea of what you want to major in or what classes you want to take. It may sound excessive, but you’ll have backups for your first-choice classes if an ideal semester/schedule doesn’t work out. Also, with all of Pomona’s general education (GE) requirements, it helps to keep track of what you’ve done and need to do. Annnndd it’ll make you look at our ~exciting~ course catalogue. The emphasis here is “tentative.” Your plans/mind can always change!
6) Core Four Curriculum
A policy I follow when choosing courses each semester is one course required for my major, one course just for fun, one course that fulfills a GE and one course that falls in between one or more of those categories. For example, I’m taking research methods for Africana studies (major + fun cuz I like the prof and class), digital photography (fun), French (GE + fun), and Africana philosophy (major + fun). So, I enjoy showing up to my classes even though they are virtual. Hint: During registration season at Pomona, you can request to enroll in courses before it’s your window to sign up for classes! It’s called pre-PERMing (PERM = Permission to Enroll).
7) Cherish Final Moments
Because of the pandemic, I’m back home in the greater Seattle area, cherishing some of the things I ignored in my rush to leave last year for Cali. I’ve found myself standing outside with an umbrella just listening to raindrops pound on the umbrella’s dome. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it was something I stopped experiencing in Cali. If you work or intern over the summer someplace outside your local area, then winter break may be the only time you’re home for a month. For some of you, that’s no big deal. But just in case, cherish it :).