Anna Chung '18
In my first year at Pomona, I thought about studying various different things — from chemistry to computer science to mathematics. But I never would have thought that I would be here, three years later, as a media studies major. In fact, I had never even heard of media studies before I decided, on a whim, to register for a class called “Media, Space, and Power” with Professor Mark Andrejevic.
People often talk about certain classes at Pomona as having transformed their lives, and before I took this class, I doubted how true this could be. But this class really changed the way I viewed my education. Until that point, I had accepted my education as something that was otherwise isolated from my everyday life. However, this class challenged me to question the physical and digital spaces that I am constantly occupying, whether it is the very classroom I am in or a social media site like Facebook.
What I find so important about a subject like media studies is that it challenges us to question the intent and impact of things we tend to accept without question. From the moment I took my first media studies class, I found myself becoming a much more inquisitive and perceptive person. At times, I became overwhelmed with realizations of how some of my favorite films perpetuate racist and sexist ideas and how these kinds of media uphold exploitative social systems. In other moments, though, I began to experiment with different mediums, like animation and 360 video, and to create pieces that seek to challenge oppressive ideas. I’m so thankful for my media studies education because it has empowered me to always think critically and to create content that reflects this way of thinking.
Through media studies, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the intersections of so many different fields — film, computer science, philosophy, literature, sociology, and more. Rather than limiting me to a singular way of thinking, media studies constantly challenges me to expand my worldview and to become a more empathetic person.
Shivani Doraiswami '18
Before coming to Pomona College, I dreamt of making the world a better place. My mother was wary of this grandiose notion, often reminding me that while nice in theory, it is very difficult to make such an impact. She encouraged me to be more realistic; perhaps I could be part of an innovative research team or lead a company sector when I grew older — two critical yet also more straightforward paths to follow. However, after taking Intro to Film with Professor Jonathan Hall during my freshman year, I uncovered a realm of people who single-handedly revolutionized the world: filmmakers. We studied films not only for their technical structure, but also to analyze the cultural and historical impressions they left. Almost immediately, I became enamored with the power of film, shaping and influencing people across nations for generations to come.
My interest in film led me towards analyzing other storytelling mediums, such as television, newspapers, books, magazines, and even social media. In this day and age, the media is more widespread than ever, and I think it is crucial for people to critically assess what they’re consuming. As I took more classes in the media studies department, I became aware of some high-level issues behind media production, such as censorship or lack of representation, which can generate misunderstanding. For instance, did the Golden Era of Television erase the struggles of the Civil Rights Era and other such movements, with its depiction of solely upper-middle-class, nuclear families? And do the current roles for minorities in film and television promote harmful stereotypes that alter our perception of race? These are just two examples of inquiries I began to think about on a daily basis.
Ultimately, I became a media studies major because I believe one idea can change the way people think. In studying both the technical and theoretical aspects of media, I hope to one day produce something that will inspire, shape, or fascinate others, just as the films
which impacted me, with a newfound awareness of my social responsibility as a filmmaker.