The College Experience at MMLA
In late June, I left home unsure what to expect. I had never gone away to camp before and the longest I had been away from home was about a week. I wasn’t worried about being homesick, but was unsure about how the rooming situation would work and whether I would enjoy living on the Pomona campus. I did end up feeling homesick during the first week of the program due to my difficulty with the language pledge but these feelings soon faded as the program progressed. Never having lived in a dorm before, I did not know what to expect. To my surprise, I was assigned a single, without roommates, as were all the other boys in my hall. At first this disappointed me, as I envisioned having a perfect roommate with whom I would instantly become best friends, but I quickly made friends and later appreciated the private space I was afforded by the single.
I think that spending the month on a college campus began preparing me for college because it both gave me a taste of what to expect from the general living situation in college as well as gave me a better idea of what types of colleges to consider. For example, before attending MMLA, I believed that I wanted to go to a large university but now I would consider a smaller liberal arts college like Pomona. In addition, I realized that I’d prefer to go to a college farther from home as I felt a bit too close to Los Angeles at the Pomona campus. Many of my friends who were from the East Coast conversely enjoyed Pomona for its notable differences and distance from their homes. As I am trying out the opposite extreme this summer by spending a month in Spain, we’ll see how I like being 7,000 miles from home instead of 45.
During my summer, I (unfortunately) experienced a feature of MMLA not many students encounter: the staff’s fantastic emergency preparedness and quick action. During the third week of the academy, I hit my head hard on a ceiling corner while joking around with friends, fell and passed out, cutting my head badly in the process. Within minutes several RAs were there to help me, and my friends brought ice, pillows, and a few of my things. The paramedics arrived quickly and inspected me. After a phone conversation with my dad, who is a doctor, I decided to go home for a day where my aunt, who is conveniently a plastic surgeon, could mend my head. Both the dorm’s nurse and my RA drove me back to Los Angeles and took care of me throughout the entire ordeal. I was able to return the next day with a bandage on my head and a good story to tell.
While I hope none of you experience something like this while at MMLA, it is definitely good to know that the staff is so well prepared and capable of taking on any situation. While I certainly wasn’t happy about what happened to me, it couldn’t have happened at a better place as the RAs made what could have been a bad situation into what essentially amounted to a learning experience and a good story. While I learned more Spanish in my month at MMLA than in my previous year of school, I also learned a valuable lesson in physics.
Maddox Kay is a high school junior from Los Angeles, California, who enjoys music, sports, especially basketball, and learning Spanish. In 2013, he attended the Spanish Academy at Pomona College, and this year will travel abroad to Comillas, Spain, for the new Spanish Academy abroad.