"You get the experience of playing sports and having that team camaraderie without having to compromise your schooling and what you want to become later in life."
A whole new community came together quickly for Christine Calderon in her first weeks at Pomona College. She and her dorm mates were sitting in the hall playing a board game and "all of a sudden someone said something really random and kind of crazy and we started laughing. At that moment, it just kind of clicked. We've been really close ever since," she says as her first year at Pomona ends.
"Just being able to sit out there with all of your closest friends and talk and run around and be goofy - that's probably the best part."
She credits the College's Sponsor system, in which an older student facilitates a small group of freshmen as they settle in to dorm life. "We're like a family," Christine says.
"I don't think it was hard to fit in at all. It's a really good community to be part of."
And that's what Christina was hoping for after she first visited the campus and decided to apply for early admission: "As soon as I saw it I thought this was the place I want to be." Though typically reserved, she felt comfortable enough to approach people on campus and ask them questions. "I thought that was a good sign."
Pomona's academics have been challenging for Christine, but, once again, she has found the intimate atmosphere has been just right for her. Her first Spanish class had only six students in it. "It really makes you contribute," she says, adding that professors are helpful and accessible.
Playing on the softball team at a highly academic school means Christine has to be disciplined about keeping up her studies even while the season is in full swing. It's a busy time, but she finds the rhythm of practices followed by homework actually helps her stay in an academic groove. "You get the experience of playing sports and having that team camaraderie without having to compromise your schooling and what you want to become later in life," she says.
And then there was the rush of hitting her first home run. She was practically prancing around the bases. The way Christine talks, a home run might be an apt description for her entire first year of college: "I'm just excited to keep going."