By Emily Kim ‘25
“You’re a what columnist?”
That is how people typically react when I tell them my position on The Student Life (or, TSL) , our 5C-wide student newspaper. “Food columnist,” I respond, chuckling. “I write about food.”
Though I always knew that I wanted to participate in student journalism at Pomona, never did I think that I would be able to write about something as niche as food every week. But the role of a food columnist is truly the perfect role for me. I am obsessed with Eater magazine. I pore through restaurant reviews on Yelp when I’m bored (and hungry). Moreover, when I would go to Trader Joes with my mom as a child, I cared less about the stickers and lollipops at the cash register than I did the Fearless Flyer, a seemingly unassuming pamphlet that would feature things like the latest dipped pretzel and the top-selling nut spread for that month. It always amazed me when a short paragraph about yogurt or gnocchi could make me salivate, and I remember telling my mom that “when I write about food, I want to make people’s mouths water, too!”
Fast forward to fall of 2021—a couple weeks into my first semester of college— when I came across a flyer in Wig Hall saying that TSL applications were open for the semester. I had no prior journalism experience but was intrigued nonetheless: I had always enjoyed writing but had little time to write for leisure at my arts high school where I focused solely on visual arts. As I glanced at the flyer, I remember thinking to myself, “Perhaps now is the time to try something new.”
That evening, after spending the entire day contemplating whether I should actually apply given my lack of experience, I flipped open my laptop and pulled up the application page. “I’ll just apply and see where this goes,” I thought to myself. I filled out the basic information—my name, my school, my class year—and then under the “writers” section, I noticed that “food columnist” was one of the available positions. Immediately I was intrigued. Maybe I didn’t have prior student journalism experience, maybe I didn’t exactly know what a column was, but I knew that (1) I was passionate about food, and (2) I knew that I enjoyed writing. “As a food columnist,” I thought, I can bridge these two interests.”
I pictured delicacies from my childhood and the stories that accompanied them, thinking how I could make readers hungry with my descriptions. I was excited to channel my inner Eater and Fearless Flyer contributor and craft vivid stories of my own. Sure, I was still nervous about my lack of experience, but, at this point, I was excited more than anything. And I believe that this genuine eagerness to write about food every week—to pick something that I’ve consumed in my 20 years of life, tell its corresponding story, and extrapolate some sort of greater applicable truth—is what earned me the much-desired food columnist title.
Writing my column, “Moments to savor,” brought me so much joy during my first year of college. I was able to merge my interest in writing with my love for food, writing about everything from salty instant ramen to crunchy strawberry pie crumble. Under the guidance of the wonderful TSL Arts & Culture staff, I learned about the importance of strong ledes and short, concise paragraphs in column-writing. With a typical schedule of draft due Sunday, revise, final draft due Tuesday, I learned not only how to consistently generate new 500- to 800-word content, but to revise my work in a timely manner. I am grateful to have been part of TSL during my first year of college—for the new experiences it provided, for what it’s taught me, and for all that it’s allowed me to indulge my foodie childhood self. And I am excited to continue with TSL in the years to come, to write about more delectable dishes and sweet moments to savor.