By Porter Reyes ‘25
Being a first-year at Pomona last year was weird. We were getting close to “normal,” but the pandemic’s effect on the first-year experience was tangible. This year, however, things are different for the new first-year class and the entire student body as Pomona approaches normalcy. Staples of life at Pomona, such as Orientation Adventure, cross-campus dining, and 5C parties are returning, and with them have come a renewed sense of community and fun.
While each individual at Pomona feels differently about how to behave as COVID-19 continues to circulate, this year, the administration is enabling students to make their own choices. For example, masking is optional in all spaces except in classes where the professor requires them. Although this raises the chances that COVID-19 will spread across campus, mandated testing for the first two weeks of classes and our campus’s high vaccination rate helps mitigate that risk.
Some of my friends had the opportunity to lead an Orientation Adventure trip before the start of this semester, and they loved it. They also attested to how much the trips helped their group of first-year students bond with one another. The first-years weren’t the only ones who bonded; the Orientation Adventure leaders became close with one another and have been hanging out as a group since their respective trips.
I cannot emphasize enough how awesome the return of cross-campus dining has been. While the food at Pomona is good, having the option to go to any of the other dining halls is amazing. Not only is it nice to have a change of cuisine and setting, but it is also great to be able to socialize with other 5C students. In terms of figuring out which dining hall has the best food on any given day, there is an app called 5C menu that tells you what each dining hall is serving, so you are always able to find a meal you’re in the mood for.
Our campus’s ability to quell the spread of COVID-19 has allowed for the return of 5C parties, some of which have been a blast. My favorite party so far was called “Life’s a Beach,” and it was hosted at Pomona’s Greek Theater. As we begin returning to a sense of normalcy, the student life at Pomona is improving, and I can’t wait to see what these three years ahead of me have in store.