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Posse Selection: The Challenge of Self-Representation

December 20, 2013

My nose is still pink from the Chicago air.  I walk into a room, nervous, excited, and anxious for the evening to begin.  I’ve been waiting for this moment the last few months, and hearing students buzz about it for even longer.  The moment is finally here when the next Pomona Posse will be selected, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

No, I’m not one of the students going through the selection process, but I sure feel like one.  The emotions I’m trying to subdue and mask with a confident exterior are staring right back at me on 22 eager faces.  I seem to be mistaken for someone with some sort of authority. For me, it still takes a lot of work and reflection to present myself publicly and I am constantly reminded of how much we expect of 17-year olds applying to college.  I am reminded of how hard self-representation can be -- at any age.

For many students, the college admissions process is the first time that they are asked to present themselves in a formal capacity.  Who are you?  What are your passions?  Who do you want to be?  These are questions that challenge people at every age. This is one reason I connect with the room. We are all reflecting on who we are, who we want to be, and how we hope to get there.  

Posse is a unique selection program that requires students to present themselves beyond their applications. For the next three hours we ask students to present themselves through group interviews and projects.  We ask them to share with us, and each other, their most difficult and rewarding life experiences.  I also will share my own experiences with the students, as I am asked to answer the same questions.  There is an openness to this process, an honest give and take.  It is incredibly humbling.

We hope Posse students are willing to wrestle with the challenge of trying to find and articulate ideas -- that’s what we look for in all Pomona students. Posse may be a different kind of selection process, but it represents our overall commitment to finding students who will add to the diversity of the student body and push each other to think more critically from a variety of perspectives. This may be through different backgrounds, experiences, interests, and ability to push topics beyond what we deem “comfortable”. Pomona is a place where students are going to be learning from each other, and we look for students potential to thrive in that kind of environment.

Presenting yourself will come up again and again. I have found I learn more about myself each time. Nobody is perfect; there are no perfect answers, and that’s okay. Getting into college is just the beginning of an experience, which we hope will stretch students, challenge them, and go beyond what they thought they were capable of when they started this process. 

Finding future Sagehens is always exciting, and I can’t wait to see all the potential and talent they are willing to bring to the Pomona community.

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