I got my first camera when I was around twelve, but I’d been fascinated with photography and “capturing life” long before unwrapping that Kodak Easy Share. My mom threatened to stop making Walgreens’ trips to develop the photos if I didn’t stop snapping shots of trees, dirt, spiders, and the left side of her nose. I loved taking the ordinary and flip-flopping it every which way until it couldn’t be recognized. Change interested me. Variation caught my eye. Transformations were absolutely captivating.
Sophomore year flashed by. There was actually very little that remained similar to my first year, besides the best friend. Classes and professors were different (obviously), the friend circle widened and fluctuated, the clubs & organizations that I was involved in narrowed and solidified. This was my Round 2, and because I’d managed to firmly plant my feet during Round 1, I was able to look beyond myself and take more notice of the Pomona community. I started critically thinking about campus climate & diversity, problems that impede residential life, and adjustments that might help facilitate improvements for future years. But back to the idea of transformations. Butterflies seem too cliché, so let’s assume that I’m in the process of becoming a frog. Last year, I was a larvae. I managed to overcome the dangers of bigger fish, sickness, and weather catastrophes (also known as bad grades, homesickness, and earthquakes), and I made it to tadpole stage.
As a tadpole, I helped mentor larvae throughout the year, serving as a resource during confusion or hard times. I learned more about our environment (lake or Pomona…wherever you’d like to go with this analogy) in order to answer questions and help avoid disasters. I monitored my behaviors, while still being myself, to help set a positive and thriving example. As junior year approaches, I’m moving into the awkward pre-frog, huge-tadpole phase. I’m one of the Head Sponsors for the Pomona College Sponsor Program (first-year academic & mentor support program), and I’ll have an entire group of larvae & tadpoles in my building. Together, we’ll set a tone and establish a smaller residential community that will aim towards having an exciting, safe, and productive year. Looking back, this year has helped me realize how much college is truly about new experiences & change. Every year, a group of frogs leave & a horde of larvae arrive. Each class has its own personality just as each academic year is drastically unique, and yet, the four years will accrue into “MY COLLEGE EXPERIENCE”. Whether you end up a butterfly, frog, newt, or crustacean, this metamorphosis is life-altering. Pay attention to the details and appreciate the people and opportunities that happen your way.
I can drive myself to Walgreens now, and I’ve moved on to a Nikon Digital Camera, but nature still astounds me and I still prefer a little switching up every now and then. And just to keep the tradition, I send Mama images of snails and lizards through picture messages.