A Pivotal Point: From North to South

Three years ago this month, a scrawny, flaxen-haired first-year stumbled into Walker
Fishbowl, armed with a third-degree sunburn and a dream.

Born of genuine desire to derive
some kind of meaning from the collective experiences of the class of 2015, the
dream was vague, to say the least, but it was a dream nonetheless. She pitched
it (haltingly, as the hangover-stricken first-year will) to Ian Gallogly PO ’13, who,
in that time so far removed from our own, served as the keeper of the
journalistic keys—TSL’s very own
Grand Poobah-in-Chief.

As fate would have it, the
magistrate in question glimpsed within the creature’s fragmented proposal
something akin to potential, bestowing upon her the title “The View from South
Campus.” Under this mantle, she wrote, publishing her innermost thoughts on
life among the froshpeople, until that academic year waned into nothingness, and
another came to take its place, bringing with it a new generation of
first-years, successors to the legacy of excitement and confusion she had so
long sought to capture. Her duty fulfilled, she retreated, pledging to live out
the remainder of her college days in private.

Much has changed
in the intervening years. Comrade Gallogly has departed for the greener
pastures of postgraduate life; the year-long view from Pomona’s South
Campus has lapsed into obscurity, clogged by wide arrays of
fencing and increasingly less relevant as TSL has widened its scope across the 5Cs. That wayward first-year, she of
the murky vision and the resultant View, awoke quite recently to find herself
transformed, by mysterious processes gradual and sudden, into yours truly.

I am a senior. I grow old, I grow
old, and I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled, if only to stave off that
infernal heat which has plagued our inland basin of late. I look back at much
of what that naïve and nigh-perpetually hungover (I’m allowed to say this because the statute of limitations on underage drinking has expired) first-year
student had to say about life at the 5Cs and beyond with a mixture of respect,
regret and nostalgia.

Ultimately, I come away with a
certain pride regarding my past contributions to TSL (Southern California’s oldest college newspaper, don’t cha know).
I have a sense that my articles—self-centered and myopic as they seemed as I was writing them—genuinely captured the interest of some among the larger
student body. Perhaps they even hit upon some of those questions and quandaries
that I suspected so many of us shared as we approached our first year at
school.

I sit here
now, cozy and comfortable in my lush room on Pomona’s North Campus, fully aware that if ever there were a time to throw in the towel, it
would be now, yet hounded by the restlessness that so afflicted Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” And so I return, in the spirit of repetition and difference, to finish
what I started in my obstreperous youth. Or rather, an attempt to extend the scope of the
question at the heart of that original venture: What does it mean to be a
student at the outermost temporal bounds of the Claremont Colleges experience?

This
column will explore the vagaries of seniordom, on a fortnightly basis—for long gone are the carefree days of freshman year
(though never quite so carefree as some of my readership seemed to infer, given
the longevity of the rumor that I had time sufficient to act as both the
first-year columnist and the sex
adviser). I’ll attend
to the material and philosophical dimensions of its many quandaries and larger implications (if any there be—and o, how we hope there should, for the
capstone of this collegiate kit-and-caboodle ought to equip us with something,
when all is said and done). 

For all the personal pomp of this
prelude, I wholeheartedly urge you, the senior class of the Claremont Colleges
en masse, to think of this as your space. My impressions and evaluations are mine
alone, and I welcome your input as I continue to flesh out this snapshot of our
lives.

If you’ve got something on your
mind—a question, a contention, a theory of everything, a particularly
representative ‘senior moment’—I encourage you to shoot me an email at amk52011@mymail.pomona.edu.
For if you, too, have awoken from uneasy underclassman dreams to find yourself
behind the wheel of a large leadership position, or in a beautiful dorm or
off-campus house, you may ask yourself: How do I work this? That, in essence,
is the intended focus of this column; and its answer, if I may allow myself to hope, may be the most important thing we take away from our time here.

So think
diligently about what you’d like to see here, dear seniors—and watch this
space, the lot of you all across the years, because you may learn a thing or
two, if only in the negative. Not too many concrete lessons to be found within
this week’s offering, I’m afraid, but in the meantime, I ask of you only this: Keep in your minds that girl of three years ago, as short-sighted and
naïve and reckless as they come, but undeterred, despite the hangover, from the
pursuit of a vague and likely unobtainable dream. After three long years she’s
still at it—will you be?

Lexie Kelly Wainwright PO ’15 is a religious studies major and a linguistics studies minor. This North Campus queen was destined for royalty from birth—she was born in the same hospital as Blue Ivy Carter. 

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