By Lucy Pan ’24
Move-in day for first-year college students is often seen as a significant moment in one’s transition to college. It’s the day when we leave our families and truly step into adulthood for the first time, and it usually occurs at the beginning of our first semester. I’d watched videos of students celebrating this step in their journey with their families and anticipated experiencing that moment for myself. Therefore, when the pandemic closed down campuses last year, I felt a couple twinges of sadness that I would never have a proper first-year move-in day. Nonetheless, I had the unique opportunity to move into college in the summer before sophomore year, living and working here for two months before the academic year is set to begin.
Stepping onto campus again after two years was one of the most surreal moments I have ever experienced. The last—and only time—I’d visited Pomona was for a campus tour when I was a senior in high school. Now, I’d be coming back full circle to work as an admissions tour guide.
It’s strange how life can change so quickly—it felt as if one moment I was in my room at home, doing virtual classes, and in the blink of an eye I’d arrived on campus two months before I would begin my first in-person classes as a college sophomore. The first few days I was here, I often wondered if I was dreaming. Was I really seeing my dream school after believing for the longest time that I’d never see this place? Zoom University can truly mess with one’s perceptions of reality. Despite my excitement though, throughout the summer the campus remained mostly empty, and many locations looked as if they had been trapped in time, frozen in March 2020, waiting for students to return and start the clock again.
The transition to living on campus, although exciting, was not necessarily easy. After spending a year in quarantine, it definitely took time for me to adjust to the feeling of doing in-person activities again. I found that I would often feel fatigued after work or even after large social interactions, as I had been so accustomed to solely participating in online events for months on end. Plus, being on my own for the first time and learning how to be an independent young adult in college is honestly quite the challenge—I constantly found myself completing errands in my free time or making multiple trips to Target to grab items that I’d forgotten. Managing money and establishing good spending habits are also skills I still have to work on. Regardless, it has been an insane period of growth and I still don’t know how to process the overwhelming feelings of joy, excitement, nervousness, and confusion I’ve experienced all at once in the past month. Nevertheless, I’m immensely grateful. I could have never imagined myself here a year ago, and I’m looking forward to what sophomore year has in store for the future.