February, the month of love, is almost over. For me, love and college do not tend to flow with each other in the same sentence. Complicated is a more accurate description of my relationship status with my college, and that’s not to say that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed what we have built together. I have. But it’s more like I have love for Pomona College that at times retreats deep into my core when I have multiple deadlines in one week.
So what’s kept this partnership amiccable? Why hasn’t the spark between us not entirely faded out? For one, even if I reimagine myself as a high school senior applying to schools, I still come to the conclusion that Pomona “Harvard of the West” College was the one for me. To begin, this relationship has perks that I simply cannot underappreciate. Aside from everyday care like having a place to stay and substantial meals to eat, the environment here at Pomona has allowed me to cultivate my maxium geek in ways I would not have been able to if I were at home. It is important to clarify that geek and nerd, two words that are often used interchangeably, do not, in fact, mean the same thing. According to the Big Think, the definitions are as follows:
- geek – An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.
- nerd – A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.
While some students may identify more with the latter here at the college, I relate more with the former’s fan-like and “collection” oriented habits. By now, I know a lot of useless facts that will probably never serve more a meaningful purpose than my own temporary enjoyment. With free time that I make for myself to take breaks from school, I have been able to delve into more of my interests that range from all things sci-fi to up-and-coming Latinx-owned brands to comicbook superheroes. Because of the culture of the college, many other people also have the similar passions to mine and that has made me feel more secure with myself and who I am. In high school, I had few friends who would make me feel as comfortable theorizing about fictional multi-verses and characters. Geek sessions were and still are limited to the handful of days we are able to get together to hang out.
Entering college opened a whole new realm of possibility for those kinds of sessions due to dorm life and late night mania. Through Pomona, I have been able to meet other people as enthusiastic about tech, Star Wars, and Marvel releases, more so than I am. Even my professors have elevated my geekspiration. I remember walking into the office of one of my Chican@/Latin@ Studies professors last semester, Professor Tomás F. Summers Sandoval, surprised to see shelves filled with Star Wars miniatures adjacent to his library of history books. He hosted a Star Wars marathon my sophomore year before the release of Episode VII. Professor Darryl A. Smith, a Religious Studies professor whose class Problem of Evil is beloved among students, is also a person who instantaneously captivated me as a sci-fi lover. He incorporated Octavia Butler and other afro-futurist readings into our coursework. Being in his class was really the first time I was exposed to that kind of literature. Although there are times I think I fall short of being a student at the college, sometimes I step back and revel in how much I have been able to embrace aspects of myself that I was too afraid to when I was younger. It’s odd to think about comparatively too when I weigh my willpower to read for class as opposed to catching up on the latest speculations of any given blockbuster, but I find that giving myself time to indulge in that later helps me maintain the energy I need to get through a week of classes. All that to say that, when it comes down to it, being a Pomona College student or a student at any college with cool professors and weird friends can be very fulfilling.
Geek love has been one of the only healthy loves I know. I encourage prospective students to use their college careers as a time to develop themselves holistically, embracing every aspect of themselves.