A wise man once told me, variety is the spice of life. Living at Pomona can often be excitingly monotonous, an endless routine of Frank dinners and hyper-scheduled living. There is something to be said for consistency and regularity, but reciprocal spontaneity and irregularity, I feel, are certainly needed around campus.
Fortunately, I have a few recommendations for how to flavor up a complacently original life. First, sit somewhere new for at least 20 minutes. Recently, I rediscovered that I have two cheapo red camping chairs. Once upon a time they served as seating for guests, but now—or until last week—they sadly rested in an awkward nook between my bookcase and bed frame. Tired of reading on my couch, I boldly took my red chair into the hall and sat. The next day I ventured further, taking my chair to the quad, plopping down in a random corner beneath a tree that awkwardly shaded and illuminated my reading. Revolutionary? Maybe. Satisfying? Definitely. One of my friends has recently taken to sitting on a yoga ball in front of his computer, mainly because he was too cheap to buy a new chair but also because he wanted to make things just a smidgen different and abnormal. By no means do you have to study or even feign working (cough, working at SCC outside the Coop). Even sitting somewhere randomly—a bench on the quad, the odd red plastic chairs atop the SCC fireplace lounge—wasting your precious time, in the opinion of the author, is worth it.
Second, take a different path to class every day. In my short walk from Oldenborg to the humanities quad, I typically walk the same way—skirting along the edge of the quad, cutting through the bushes and ignoring the notoriously accommodating Claremont traffic, then trudging up the very center of the vaunted steps of Carnegie. Imagine, instead, if I walked along the south side of 4th St., stopping to glance at Little Bridges before unnecessarily walking through the middle of the road, cutting kitty-corner across College Ave., and entering Carnegie through the basement door. Not the most scenic or quickest route perhaps, but a change of pace to be sure. Or maybe I re-tread my usual course, but a few minutes earlier than my typical timing. A walk with unusual people in regular surroundings can be stimulating in its own right. For those really looking for a challenge, take up jogging alongside those crazy kids who run with backpacks. Does it make sense? No, but who cares?
Third, intentionally spell words wrong. Not on papers that you’re going to turn in, but maybe in the first draft or just when you write notes to yourself. Perhaps this is biased towards the phonetically-orientated and, of course, I do not mean to belittle others’ spelling deficiencies, but a bit of fun with words really makes you thynk. Fourth, make a concoction at dinner. Last week, my hallmate sat down to dinner at Collins with a plateful of feta, Goldfish and spinach. She proceeded to wrap the feta and Goldfish in the spinach creating a crunchy, cheesy wrap. Again, for the radical variegators, put your salad in chicken tortilla soup or mashed potatoes on your grilled salmon. It might not be entirely delicious, but who knows. Worst comes to worst, you can always go back for seconds. Fifth, play pranks. The Italian hall of Oldenborg is currently rapt in an (in)tense battle of practical jokes. Doors have been taped shut and plastered in tampons.
Play trick shot beer pong. Rearrange your furniture. Laugh like a lunatic. Poop in a new bathroom. This list goes on and on. Regardless what you choose, the goal is to reorient your world, if only slightly. Obviously, if you want some real variety, you can choose to go big. Visit Little Vietnam or hike Gorgonio. Make a daily effort to meet a new person. Eat 47 chalupas. Whatever it is, do something outside of your class-programmed, extracurricular-slotted norm. In general, it’s the little things that make the difference, tweak your perspective, or change your outlook. Refreshing and brain-pleasing, variety is more than just a new way of getting to Malott or using the quad. It’s life.