How To Make Friends At Pomona

Bryce Kelly ‘23

This is decision season! People from all over the world are making the final choice to come to Pomona. After so much confusion and anxiety, congratulations on completing a chapter of your life and beginning a new one. Since you no longer have to worry about which college you’ll get into/attend, your brain might find something else to feel dread about in its place. Your brain might start to worry about things like classes and making friends. I was the exact same way. To help, I am going to look back on how I met many of my closest friends, so you might get a sense of your future social life at Pomona. Heads up: I won’t be using their actual names to protect my friends’ privacy.

pencil drawing of Friend A and Bryce
Illustration by Teodelina Martelli (Friend F)

Friend A: Back when I was a wee high schooler going to Pomona’s Admitted Students Day event, my mom arranged for the two of us to have dinner with one of her old co-worker’s son who currently was going to Pomona, hoping that we could learn more about student life. I forget just how exactly we got there, but at some point, a certain historical video game was mentioned, and the conversation drastically steered away from life at Pomona into the nerdiest historical minutiae we could think of. I knew I wanted to keep in touch with him when I arrived on campus, and I did. Almost two years later we’ve never grown tired of having that same conversation we started in that restaurant.

Bryce running with his classmates through the gates, beginning of his first year
Running through the gates, beginning of my first year. My eyes are super wide open, haha.

Friend B: I just KNOW she’ll end up reading this, so I have to be careful what I say. Oh, well. We met during the admitted students’ reception for people in our home region, and I honestly don’t think we interacted much. It wasn’t until we ended up in the same residence hall that we started to get to know each other. I don’t think we so much became friends as much as we just adopted each other. We remembered each other, ran into each other a lot and … honestly, it’s not that complex. I think one day she just decided “we are friends now,” and I just rolled with it. And thank God I did, because she is responsible for some of my favorite memories at Pomona.

Friend C: My first-year roommate! We actually met up before school started, in a sheer coincidence of being in the right place at the right time, and within an hour I knew we weren’t going to have any problems. After the first month, I knew we were going to stay friends throughout our time at Pomona. Two years later, I know we’ll be friends for life. We navigated the first-year experience together, going to every event, eating meals, and so on. He made the initial stress of the first few weeks infinitely more manageable because, no matter what situation I ended up in, I knew I had at least one person to talk to.

Friend D: She lived right across the hall from “C” and me. Together, the three of us formed a group that could go anywhere, anytime, for any reason. In college, you appreciate having people you can just exist alongside, companions you can grab meals or study with. In high school, you go home and interact with your family. In college, you go to your room and interact with your friends. And over time, they start to become family as well.

Friend E: One night, I was with “C”, hanging out with a group of people. A classmate from my ID1 (first-year writing seminar class) was there too, and we’d talked after class and eaten together a couple of times. Knowing I was passionate about history, he turned to me and asked, “You know Bryce, what happened during World War I? I don’t know too much about it.” Three hours later, I had only gotten halfway through the history of the war, and he had somehow remained interested the whole way through. Before, we were classmates. After that night, we were friends.

photo of lecture hall from Bryce's point of view
Probably the only day in history class when I didn’t sit with A or F.

Friend F: I was taking a history class with “A”, and together we had formed a dynamic duo. We LIVED for that class, for the professor, for the content, everything. One day, however, I arrived early, and I struck up a conversation with the person sitting behind me. We all had name placards in that class, and she had drawn herself an insanely impressive one, complete with a realistic eagle, and I soon learned that she was incredibly passionate about birds. When “A” arrived, he joined in on the conversation, and it soon became a tradition for the three of us to to pass time before class chatting. One day, she moved her seat down to the front row next to us, and things took off. Her name is Teodelina Martelli, and she has drawn the pictures for my blog posts this whole year!

Do you notice any themes? My passion for history, definitely, shines through. Pomona is the kind of place where people love to share passions, not just your own, but to share in others’ as well. Openness, too, is a theme, because I bonded with many of my future friends simply because we saw each other a lot. Don’t expect to make your best friends in a night, nor do you have to worry about making them before school starts or even during the first few weeks. Best friends are born over time. As long as you show openness and passion, Pomona students will see that and come to you.