Campaign Launch Speech: Kimbia Arno '11
This speech was delivered at the Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds launch dinner after the main launch event on Saturday, October 16, 2010.
In fall of 2007, I was a Pomona freshman--bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, eager to get started. In the fall of 2010, here and now, I am a Pomona senior—and I am really sleep-deprived—a side-effect of thesis work, afternoon labs, shifts at the library, a cappella rehearsals, and the like. Weirdly, for the most part, I never get tired of being tired.
I think that’s one of the best things about going to Pomona—most of the people I know here are very tired. . . but we’re all still enjoying ourselves. We’re working hard and playing hard, studying for exams and being with friends. It’s an important balance to learn.
My life has been changed dramatically since coming here. I’m a girl who makes plans. I like knowing where I’m going. I like lists. I like order—though you might not believe it when you see the state of my dorm room. When I was in high school, Pomona College was an integral part of my plan for life, in which I majored in biology, graduated, and went to medical school, my head filled with the science to be an excellent doctor. Nowhere in that grand plan was the Japanese language. You see, my plan for Pomona College had not actually accounted for Pomona College.
Pomona sneaks up on you. “Come try this,” it says. “You might like it.” And, not knowing any better, you say “Sure!” and then a year later you’re declaring a Japanese major.The more I studied the language, the more I grew to love it—which was definitely not part of the plan. In sophomore year, I felt I had to choose between science and the humanities—and then Pomona stepped in. Or more specifically my then-professor, now-advisor, Professor Lynne Miyake stepped in. I still remember the two- hour conversation we had in the few days before Winter Break, when I realized that, here at Pomona, I could really do all the things that I want to do, that I didn’t have to choose between wanting to go to medical school and majoring in Japanese. I could study something just because I found it interesting, and for no other reason. It’s one of the many beauties of a liberal arts education.
This brings me to our faculty, which is one of the many things that makes Pomona unique. Perhaps I’m biased, but I really think that we have some of the best professors in the nation teaching here at Pomona. But more than that, we have some of the best professors in the nation, not teaching at Pomona. Let me be more clear—we have some of the best professors in the nation leaving their doors open to us at Pomona, having lunch with us at Pomona, exchanging photos and e-mails at Pomona. We have the some of the best professors in the nation as our friends at Pomona. It was a matter of chance that I stopped by Professor Samuel Yamashita’s office on an ordinary Wednesday, just to say hello. That day, he told me about Mt. Sinai Medical School’s Humanities and Medicine Program that I’m entering next fall. On that Wednesday, when his door was open, my life was changed.
This is just my story. We all have these stories. We all have that moment when Pomona College changed our lives—and I’m really looking forward to what happens next.