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Oh the places you'll go! | Eric Martinez

April 29, 2014

Eric Martinez is a graduating senior from Dallas, Texas. He is an environmental analysis major and will be joining the Teach for America team in Los Angeles this summer.

The 2013-2014 Draper Team

Alternabreak San Francisco 2013

In just over three weeks I’ll be getting ready to cross the commencement stage at Pomona College’s Marston Quadrangle. While it seems like just yesterday that I was but settling into my dorm room in Lyon, eagerly signing up for courses for my first semester of college, my eight terms at Pomona are drawing to a close faster than I can take the time to appreciate them. The last four years of college have been extraordinary, with times of joy and celebration as well as anguish and fear. In just three weeks, however, I will leaving the place I’ve come to call home forever— never again to set foot as a student but forevermore holding onto everything I’ve learned at the place that is Pomona College.

Between academics, professional, and personal life, Pomona College has pushed me to new limits that I often deemed impossible. One of the key drivers that pushed me to these new heights was the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. Unlike most work-study positions at the college, the Draper Center is more than a workplace, it’s a family. The Draper Center is filled with some of the most brilliant, compassionate, and understanding people I have ever had the opportunity of meeting and working with. These people have not only challenged me when need be, they have also been there to support me in my times of need, and to collaborate with me on projects, assignments, and the programs at the Center. From the full-time staff to the student coordinators, every single person at the Center has contributed to the larger puzzle that is the Draper Center and in doing so, have allowed me to begin completing my own life puzzle.

From Alternabreak, which I had opportunity to both participate in and coordinate during the 2012-2013 academic year, to K-12 Campus Programs, which continues to amaze me when my co-coordinators and I witness pivotal moments in the making, my experience at Pomona College cannot be encapsulated without the Draper Center. When I applied to work at the Draper Center, I never imagined learning everything I have come to learn. I never expected to learn to write grant proposals, to give elevator pitches, to learn what it meant to practice self-care… amongst many other surprises the Draper Center staff had in store for us.  The Draper Center taught me to trust in others to complete work, to relearn the meaning of teamwork, and ultimately, it introduced me to a workplace that acts as more of a family rather than a workplace. While I may have always been co-coordinating two programs at the Draper Center, I always felt that every single program and every single person at the Center was interconnected in a way that allowed us to function as a single well-oiled unit, as a family. I would like to thank everyone in the office that was always at the ready with an ear and a smile — Maria, Sergio, Jose, Jessica, Rose, Tomas, Scott, Priscilla, and last but certainly not least, all the student coordinators— the Draper Center would never have been what it has been for me without you.

While I may not know where I am headed, I do know this: the experiences, the people, and the times that I have had at the Draper Center, and at Pomona in general, have helped define who I am today and will continue doing so for years to come. I cannot thank enough every person who has taken an interest in me and helped me reach the position that I find myself in today. I am excited for the future, excited for what’s to come, and eager to put to use everything that I have learned at both Pomona College and the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. Chirp!

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