By Nelia Perry ’24
Transitioning to college, navigating college, and transitioning out of college can be stressful, overwhelming, and confusing to manage. But you do not have to face these stages alone at Pomona! Whenever people talk about layers, they use an onion as a metaphor, so I guess I will do the same here: Pomona mentorship is like an onion; it has many layers. These different built-in structures of guidance and support help ensure that nobody falls through the cracks; even when someone may begin to slip, they are quickly swept back up by another support system.
On my first day of classes at Pomona I already had over a dozen mentors: Sponsors, Dean Paola (First-Year Dean Paola Ruiz-Beas), two mentors per class, a mentor for each lab, multiple mentors from ISMP, Pre-Health Liaisons, department liaisons, CDO peer mentors, and folks at the Writing Center and Quantitative Skills Center (QSC). If there is one thing I could emphasize to someone looking at Pomona it is the power of this multitude of layers of mentorship that the college offers. To provide more context, let me share a bit more background on these different sources of support.
As a first year, you will be in a Sponsor Group led by two Sponsors (current Pomona students) who serve as your big siblings or even parents during your college transition. Check out some of our other blog posts that go deeper into the Sponsor Group experience.
Each class dean sends out monthly newsletters, holds office hours, hosts different weekly events focused on mental health and study habits, and always serves as a point person if you don’t know where to go to get your questions answered.
Class mentors are common for most STEM courses and some social science classes. They host weekly drop-in mentor sessions, are available via email or Slack to answer questions, and help you navigate the course. These are students who have taken the class before and usually with your same professor. This has been the resource I have most benefitted from. Mentors can answer questions about assignments or lecture material and also give general advice on the class.
As an international student I had a designated additional orientation and was paired with a mentor. Other identity and affinity groups also have peer mentorship programs. These mentors are there to give you specific advice and guidance related to your identity which might be unique from other students’ experiences. This is another one of the forms of mentorship students most benefit from.
Pre-career and department liaisons are yet another form of support. These are both peer mentors and department heads available for one-on-one meetings to give you guidance on course selection and work experience, and to support you in your decision making about what you want to study and how to study it. Additionally, department liaisons put on different events throughout the semester that range from social settings for community building to informational sessions with recent graduates.
The CDO (Career Development Office) is there to help you apply for jobs, check over résumés and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and much more. They host different events around fellowships, internships or careers; offer weekly drop-in sessions; bring companies and organizations to Pomona to host recruiting events; and provide digital and print resources relevant to you and your interests (like alumni and internship databases, as well as available jobs on campus). This is a resource you can tap into whenever you need from your first day at Pomona to years after graduating!
And last but certainly not least, the Writing Center and QSC (Quantitative Skills Center)! These are two amazing resources you can take advantage of as a student at Pomona. You can schedule one-on-one or small group sessions to get extra tutoring in your STEM and social science courses at the QSC from experienced students or get a draft or more-polished paper looked at by a Writing Partner in the Writing Center. The Writing Center also offers support for students with less experience with English as an academic language both in writing and speaking skills.
And believe it or not, this isn’t even a comprehensive list. There are also Sage Fellows (peer academic coaches for study skills and habits), professors, teammates if you play a sport, alumni connections, and the list goes on.
I believe the mentorship at Pomona is unmatched. There is always someone there for me to talk to, ask for help from, and form community with. If you are someone who wants to feel supported, who appreciates collaboration over competition in the classroom, and is excited about forming a tight community, I can assure you Pomona will offer you just that.