BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: All boys public school in Dallas, Texas with a graduating class of 10 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I primarily participate in Mock Trial.
What impact does Mock Trial have on your experience?
It’s opened up a different side of the Pomona community that I didn’t see when I first started. I was able to get in contact with a lot of people who enjoy doing the same type of activities as me, such as arguing or being able to act out fake cases. It was enlightening and helped me create a family outside of my insular group of friends. It gave me more connections.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your Politics major?
I have a lot of essays and readings. When it comes to the humanities courses, you’re doing a lot of reading. Some of them can be interesting, and some of them can be kind of boring depending on what your passions are. For me, whatever reading directly impacts my worldview, I find interesting. For the most part, the professors have been pretty strategic in what readings they give us. They are always in some way applicable to my life or what’s happening in our country.
Is there anything you feel the Politics department does especially well or especially poorly?
What the professors do especially well is listen to their students and ask what it is that they want out of the class. What they don’t do well is offer courses that students may want to take. They should at least schedule them at more opportune times each semester, and let students know when certain classes won’t be available.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it depends on you as a student. You can make it collaborative. I know the campus encourages collaboration among students, especially in the humanities majors. Some students think they can do it on their own, or might be so focused on their grade that they don’t allow time to get other students opinions. You end up having a lot of different opinions, and certain students may not be attracted to what you have to say.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
My professors are very accessible. I’ve been able to reach them via email, or just going to their office hours when they have them. The resources that Pomona offers have been incredible the three years I’ve been going here.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I would say that some are, and others may come from a different background that may not have experienced a certain school of thought or way of thinking. For me, coming from a conservative Midwest state in Texas to going to California, I was introduced to a lot of different schools of thought. It was a big culture shock for me, but I’m open to it opposed to some people on this campus that may not be. I feel like you experience that everywhere and it’s about how well you’re able to have a dialogue with those you disagree with.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
I’d have to say a class I took last semester about education and politics in policy. Because my mom has been a public school teacher for thirty plus years, it really hit home for me to learn about the policy of the education system in our country, and how broken and in need of reform it is.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
My dad ran for the District Board of Trustees in Dallas. This was my first introduction to how a political campaign should be run, and the types of things a candidate might do like attending town halls or forums. I thought this was a cool experience, and I had to get involved. Although a public servant may not be what I am once I graduate, I know that in the future I would love to give back to my community through public service.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Wig Hall with one roommate.
Sophomore: Smiley Hall with five roommates.
Junior: Walker in a suite with three other roommates.
What was your favorite living situation?
When I had suitemates or roommates because I felt like I wasn’t alone. It’s easy to get depressed and become insulated from the campus when you room in a single by yourself. I wouldn’t encourage it, but some people enjoy that lifestyle.
How was transitioning from Dallas to Claremont, CA?
It was a pretty easy transition for me. The weather is much better here than it is in Dallas. For the most part, I just had to be open to the new environment I was stepping into and embrace it wholeheartedly. I enjoyed being away from home because I experienced how it felt to be on my own.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve always felt pretty safe, although I wouldn’t say I’ve never been concerned about the safety around campus. You just have to be aware of what times of the day you should be careful.
Pros and cons of being in Claremont, CA?
1) You have a community to go visit and be a part of.
2) There are lots of extracurricular activities you can do. You can go to Mount Baldy or the movie theatre.
1) You’re separated from L.A.
2) It’s expensive.
3) Sometimes you may not feel accepted because it has been gentrified in a way.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Pomona?
I like to play basketball and be active. There isn’t much nightlife on campus unless you’re into partying a lot. I spend most of my time just hanging out and chilling with my friends. I enjoy their presence and their company. The people you meet here can change your life for the better because they open your mind to a diversity of thought that makes you want to be more productive individually and collectively.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sometimes on Wednesday night because it’s hump day.
Are there any events that you like going to?
I’ve gone to a lot of concerts in L.A. I’ve gone to the Martin Luther King Day Parade, and I enjoyed that. I’ve also gone to a The Taste of Soul, which is a big one. There are lots of activities in L.A. that I’ve been a part of.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Pomona? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m content with the options I’ve had. I’ve come to the realization of what’s to be expected at a liberal arts institution, and what isn’t to be expected. My weekend life has been what I’ve made it, and I think every person should take advantage of any opportunity that is offered on the campus, or whatever you have access to.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I was adopted into the friend group that I’ve now been a part of for the three years I’ve been on campus. We met freshman year after we came back from Orientation Adventure (OA), and I got involved with a lot of people on my hall.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Pomona?
I’d describe it as temperamental. It depends on the climate of the campus, how social it is, and what’s happening. This year mental health was a really big issue, so a lot of people socialized over the issues going on. In the past couple of years there’s been a lot of socializing revolving around the Trump election.
Do you feel like you’re more so a student at Pomona or a student of the college consortium?
I think that happens at a lot at parties, and in different social settings like department events that are hosted, or things hosted by Pomona and the campus in general like Nochella, or the stress-free days. I think that’s when you have different students from all different backgrounds coming together. Outside those types of gatherings, unless the friend group has already been defined, I couldn’t tell you when the different groups hang out. I think it’s pretty common to see friend groups made up of a diverse group of people.
Do you feel like you’re more so a student at Pomona or a student of the college consortium?
I feel like I’m more a student of Pomona, rather than a student of the 5 C’s. Over my three years of going to Pomona, I’ve only taken courses here. That’s mainly because the Politics majors are required to take all of their major courses on campus. Although I had opportunities to take extracurricular courses outside of campus, I didn’t feel like doing so. I didn’t feel like transporting myself across different campuses, but I do enjoy the social aspect of visiting different campuses.
How would you describe the Black community on campus? How strong is it?
I don’t participate in the Black community on campus a lot. I’ve come to find that I don’t share the same beliefs as them, regarding students who may not look like us. Some of us are excepting, and some of us are stereotypical. It’s different, and I come from a community where I’m surrounded by Black people. I go to a Black church, so I know how to deal with my people. I wanted to go to Pomona to become more globalized, understating, and to experience different cultures. [9% of students are Black, 14% are Asian, 16% are Hispanic, and 35% are White.]
Do people generally seem happy with their choice of Pomona by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
I wouldn’t say they leave loving Pomona, but I’d say they leave grateful for the experience they’ve had, and the education that was provided for them.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve used it maybe once, but they haven’t been very helpful. That’s me speaking on behalf of a lot of my friends who’ve also visited the office. They kind of just reiterate the things you already know or have looked up yourself. There hasn’t been any true insight given in my experience.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’ve learned Excel in my Geology class.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs?
Need-based financial aid has been very helpful for me, and the office has been very responsive. I think it’s better if you go meet your financial aid officer in person rather than via email or phone, because they are very busy individuals. Pomona only does need-based aid, they don’t give any scholarships for academics or merit or anything you can apply for.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Pomona before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew what the school’s true mission was before I applied to Pomona. I didn’t know what school I was applying to when I did. This doesn’t subtract from my experience, and I’m not unhappy with anything I found out.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The dining halls. When I came to visit, I didn’t get to see all the dining halls. Although we do have two dining halls on Pomona’s campus, it’s important for them to know they can go eat at any of the 5 C’s dining halls.
Reasons to attend Pomona:
1) The resources that are provided. You have a writing center, a library open 24/7, and professors willing to give you research opportunities.
2) The transparency of the student body. They are not only transparent about the shortcomings of the campus, but also the benefits and the knowledge they gained from their educational experience.
3) The administration is willing to listen to the students, although when and how they listen is up for debate.
Reasons to not attend Pomona:
1) Sometimes Pomona can be stingy with their money, which is a big issue this year. For a school trying to promote the idea of students graduating debt free with no student loans, I think the institution should do all that they can to make that happen. [57% of students receive need-based aid and 33% of seniors graduate with loans.]
2) Sometimes when you go into certain classes, everyone may not be a student of color, so if that ticks you off this may not be the campus for you.