First-Year Adventures in Southern California

By Marc Beaulac ‘26

As a first-year, it has been interesting transitioning into independent life, especially as the plethora of activities that Pomona College offers keeps one in the 5C bubble. However, one of the elements I have appreciated the most is the activities that can be found in Claremont as well as the whole of L.A. county.

steps leading down to Santa Monica beachDuring the relative peacefulness of fall break, I took a day to enjoy Santa Monica. Although the trip was short, I took the most pleasure in enjoying the journey to the beach. As a public transportation enthusiast, I find taking the train to be one of the most calming experiences, especially when compared to other forms of transportation. The smoothness of the trip was nicely complemented by views of everyday life outside the Claremont Colleges. The beach walk itself had a sensible calmness as I had chosen to visit it midday on a weekday. Walking along the pleasant Santa Monica Pier, I found the endless sandy shores as well as the quaint promenades of Santa Monica a meditative experience. The tranquility of the beach is something so rare that I will be taking advantage of more beach trips during my subsequent breaks at Pomona.

In hockey arena looking down on rinkAs a Canadian, feeling slightly put off from the cultural differences that do exist, I feel the need to reacquaint myself with our national sport. Although differences remain in how important hockey is taken here in the U.S., being in the vicinity of an ice rink gave me the right dose of home that I needed. When I ventured with friends to a hockey game at the Arena, we were able to enjoy a nice meal and nighttime views of downtown LA which, in my estimation, is a neighborhood that is wrongfully overlooked. The colorful nighttime billboards illuminated the plaza as we stepped in the arena and took the escalator to our nosebleed seats.  My friends couldn’t understand the fanaticism I displayed while talking to them during the game, but I never expected them to. The childhood memories that ran through my head as I analyzed the game comforted me in my absence from home. I figure that a dose of hockey is the only way I’ll be able to cure homesickness from now on.

Whilst the dining hall scene at the 5C’s has plenty of quality and variety, the food scene in Claremont is very vibrant. Although it might be difficult to justify the prices at restaurants in the Claremont Village, certain American staples are a must. Outside of the Village, one of those beloved staples is In-N-Out, which I still can’t understand the hype for. Although it might just be a Californian thing, the fanaticism around the drive-in, burger chain piqued my interest. My friend from the Bay Area tried to convince me that In-N-Out is somehow the gold standard of fast food, but I wasn’t having any of it. The most memorable culinary experience I have had during my time in college so far was when me and my friends went to a local, family-style Italian restaurant for my birthday. The food was plentiful and delicious, but the central aspect of the experience, sharing the food, is what I have enjoyed the most. The sense of community such an experience brought is something I will remember vividly for years to come.

The experiences outside the perimeters of Pomona’s campus are as enlightening as those available on campus and could only happen because of the college’s prime location in Southern California. Whilst the everyday activities at Pomona keep me very busy, I will be taking more frequent advantage of the unparalleled entertainment and leisure opportunities that exist in the region.