By Bilal Adamjee ‘24
Harwood Lounge will forever be for me a place of fond memories, fun, and new beginnings in coming to Pomona College. After finishing my first year on campus as a sophomore (my first year was spent remote), I can only look back at the moments I’ve had with friends and see what I think is a microcosm of what Pomona College offers.
The Lounge itself—the many sofa sets, chairs, and tables, the corridors around, and the grass courtyard outside—quickly became a haven, a safe space, and, above all else, an environment where I could be my silly self unapologetically. Harwood Lounge is the place where I made my first close friends in college. In the first few weeks on campus, almost every night we’d play Uno in the Lounge, and we’d have the craziest games! Uno for us would be anything but normal – we’d tweak the rules and periodically debate over them, roasting and teasing each other, especially the loser (who may have mostly been me). Not to mention the silly punishments the losers (me, me, and me) would have to endure. I loved it. It was in those moments, through the ridiculous chatter and banter, that I found my people here.
As much as we still play Uno and other games from time to time, the Lounge progressed to become a place for me and others to chill after a long day, rant about grueling mid-terms, or try to make up for a night of half-baked parties at the other 5C colleges (Pomona is no better). It’s been the place where I’ve prepared last-minute for exams, in which I was taught the syllabus by friends better than my professor ever would (ahem, Econ 102) or enjoyed spontaneous 2 am fast-food take outs. Also, there was an occasional bustle of life as the Lounge would be full of people from time to time, and that was a great time to blend working and chatting with different people who I otherwise would barely see elsewhere on campus.
An environment like this represents what Pomona College provides that other colleges simply can’t. Harwood Lounge, for me, strengthened my sense of community and gave me a chance to share myself, my personality, in a safe space, one that allowed me to forge so many close relationships on campus. I wouldn’t take simple moments like these for granted—I look back and only wish I could relive even one night again and meet some of my closest friends again for the first time, feeling how precious our first conversations were in that lounge.
It doesn’t’ have to be Harwood Lounge for you but, at Pomona College, whatever dorm, class, team, or part of campus you are on, you will find your space that allows you to be the best and most authentic version of yourself, and attract others who can add to that.