Music was never as important to me as it has been for the past two and a half years since I started my journey here at Pomona. Months after the August that I arrived, I started to miss, almost immediately, the sound of the accordion playing underneath melodramatic lyrics and the oscillating frequency of Shakira’s singing. I missed the tango, the suave calls of violins through my grandparent’s living room from my abuelo’s IPad in the afternoon. That was part of the culture shock of coming to college where EDM vibrates the walls of most dorm rooms. Rooms filled with people that do not know how to dance merengue or cumbia, my favorite music to dance to.

I know I am not alone in missing this music. Over the years, I have found some of the most beautiful people bring the music out of my body, onto floors that rarely experience the footsteps of a Selena-wannabe like me. Alone in my room is where you can find me, spinning in the air back and forth, one foot centering my weight as the other pivots me from left to right. I fill the white walls that make up my tiny space with waves of all the energy I hold inside my belly from disappointment or pain or outright happiness. I also study often at the Chican@/Latin@ Studies lounge at Pomona. When I study with my friends, we take multiple breaks in between essays and gossiping to dance. In those moments, all the frustrations I feel regarding my academics and my personal life suddenly become released in movement. In one-two-three-four steps I enter a state of being that makes me forget, temporarily, the plentiful doubts I have about being a student here. I think of only sequined dresses and vibrant purple lipstick, neon lights that blanket everything, the warmth of a brown hug, and beautiful brown eyes. The Coop Fountain, our main café located at the center of campus, is as equally pleasant to study in some afternoons because I hear Chance and Latin pop frequently over the sound system. I eat chicken quesadillas as I read for my classes and although this semester has been difficult in ways I have yet to reconcile, I feel some ephemeral peace when I walk into the orangeness of the Coop to familiar faces who are also studying, also trying to do the “big things” our families and friends back home have always wanted us to do.

If you are in an emotionally drained or vulnerable period in your college career, I would say to dance those feelings out into the open. I easily become stuck in my head with several disabling thoughts and this negative energy takes a toll on me physically if it goes unchecked. I can soothe awe into my lungs when I stroke the air and bump to a dope beat, and defining this awe is as crucial as spending hours reading for a seminar. Do not forget to make joyful memories when you are here.