Just a quick note to Elizabeth Kokemoor about her “Life After Life After Graduation” article. There is no reason you would fully appreciate your Pomona experience; you have nothing to compare it to yet. Once you leave Pomona and see what other people consider to be “the college experience,” you will likely have a much greater appreciation for all that was given to you while you were here. I can’t predict what you will miss most: best friends, dining hall food (yes, shopping, cooking, and cleaning are not so fun in real life), intelligent discussions, access to more activities than you could ever possibly do (for FREE in most cases), faculty members who know your name and write amazing letters of recommendation—the list goes on and on, but you get the idea.
Whatever it is you value, please remember it was only made possible by alumni (like you!) of Pomona College. Yes, there are some who can donate seven million dollars to build that gorgeous new residence hall, but they probably had no idea they would be able to do that someday. I suspect there are a few trustees who never imagined that at age 22 they would be trustees of Pomona College either, but they are. Completely aside from the people who make large donations, last year’s alumni donated more than four million dollars to the annual fund so you and your classmates could have this amazing experience. Some donations were as small as five dollars, but they gave and it added up.
Students pay for roughly 40 percent of their own education costs at Pomona, according to the statistics I have heard. This assumes that you don’t receive any financial aid, otherwise it would be more. Every single student who attends Pomona does so only because of the generosity of their fellow alumni. You have not met most of the 24,000 alumni who came before you, but they believe Pomona College creates the kinds of people who will change the world for the better. They believe in you.
So as you head out into the “real world,” by all means “bear your added riches in trust,” and do what you can to help the world reach its potential. Follow in the footsteps of Inspirational Young Alumni Award winners who are recent grads and who literally HAVE changed the world. I would be glad to tell you more if you are interested. At the very least, consider paying back the roughly $30,000 per year that the alumni paid on your behalf. With or without interest is up to you.
Good luck as you finish your final year at Pomona!