Missing Claremont from San Francisco
Xiaoyin Qu | Feb. 22, 2013, 4:12 p.m.
I have been in Silicon Valley for one month. That is to say, I have not been able to party at PUB, wait in line for stir-fry at Frank, or do my homework on the second floor of Lincoln for one month. Every day after work, I would sign into my Facebook, seeing my friends wearing quirky clothes for a party or showing off their amusing yet crazy facial expressions, read every single post in Chirps, and complain, “Shoot, they are going to Wicked again?” Briefly speaking, I miss Pomona College.
I miss Pomona because Pomona spoils me. It spoiled me by offering me an Alternabreak to L.A. for a whole week, paying me $180 to do community service while enjoying the best delicacies and watching a Lakers game in Los Angeles. It spoiled me by providing me with the best piano lessons as well as those expensive Steinways, giving me snacks for Art After Hours, and organizing those free 47 trips to make me fall in love with 47. Now I am sitting on a couch in downtown San Francisco, and there are no free concerts, no free pianos, and no free snacks. Hey yo, welcome to the real world.
But don’t get me wrong. I am not merely complaining about my Silicon Valley life, nor am I saying I hate the real world. In fact, what really surprises me is that I still need Pomona, here in Silicon Valley, a fast-paced, profit-driven, innovative piece of the real world. When my boss asked me to research Asian-Pacific markets for enterprise software, I tried to research China’s company hierarchy and interview normal customers about their user experiences. I accumulated sufficient information in multiple prospects to better help the company make decisions. While impressing my boss, I was simply copying what psychology class had told me: find background information with respect to political, cultural, and economical factors, and do surveys to find the true answer. When I was chatting with my colleagues about classical music, telling nerdy jokes about Python and HTML with engineers, or discussing the cause of inflation with the passenger sitting beside me (thanks, Professor Steinberger), I know it’s Pomona that makes me a more interesting person to speak with, even in the real world.
Yet there is one more thing that I truly miss at Pomona. I miss the people. Those who work their asses off while maintaining a laid-back attitude, those who would spend two hours making you laugh when you feel moody, and those who are the best singers among the chemists and the best chemists among the singers. You might get too used to Pomona’s high-quality people and mistakenly think that everybody could be like that. But the reality is there are not so many attractive guys with nerdy cores inside and artistic talents getting crazy at the $47 Target receipt. There are not so many hot girls who are good at dancing and doing bio-experiments, asking about others’ birthdays whenever there’s a fountain nearby. Only by living away from Pomona do you realize that you are already so fortunate, and that you need to keep stalking other Sagehens, shouting “Pomona!” in the street when there is a game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and getting insane at your little cousin’s "16+31=?" math assignment.