A Summer in the City of Trees and Ph.Ds
This summer, CMC students travelled to the farthest corners of the world, participating in various internships, studying abroad and having many other memorable and unique experiences. However, a small yet enthusiastic group of students remained in Claremont over the summer, working for various CMC departments. I sat down with several of these students to uncover what the Claremont summer experience entails.
Over the summer, Salome Lefort and Harrison Hosking worked as conference assistants at the Office of Special Events. Their responsibilities included organizing and being on call during all summer events on CMC’s campus, and doing administrative work. While summer interns are usually housed in the senior apartments, students like Lefort and Hosking lived in Wohlford this year due to the apartment renovations. Lefort commented that this was tough as there was no proper kitchen in Wohlford, and since the dining halls were closed, the two ended up eating out a lot. Hosking mentioned how he became quite accustomed to salads and the walk to Trader Joes.
Lefort and Hosking also struggled with being so far away from home; Lefort is from Boston, and Hosking from New Zealand. Lefort also said the quietness of Claremont was frustrating. However, during their free time, Hosking and Lefort traveled to places like Santa Monica, the LACMA, and Malibu. The two also organized hikes with other 5C summer interns. On weekends, Hosking was even able to travel to Seattle, San Antonio and Minneapolis, staying with friends at each destination. He said that the highlight of his summer was receiving a tour of his closest friends’ hometowns. He also emphasized how much he was able to learn this summer. “One fun fact I learnt was that every new residential building on campus is named 'Claremont Hall' until a donor is found. It blew my mind that Crown and Auen used to be called Claremont Hall!”
Lefort noted that her favorite part about being in Claremont was getting to know people and offices she would not have otherwise. “Story House does amazing work that is so underrated, and I learned a lot about offices that I never even knew existed. I got to know my bosses really well, they’re amazing people who check in with me all the time; I have people who watch out for me now which is huge.” Hosking also appreciated the connections he was able to make with his co-workers and bosses in the Special Events Office, as well as the ability to be on campus in a less pressurized context. “I was able to really reflect on my freshman year and I had a lot of time to think about how I wanted to tackle my sophomore year.”
Hosking would definitely recommend staying in Claremont and working with the Special Events Office over the summer. Lefort also said it’s a good plan for the summer. “You get free housing, and if you are placed in the senior apartments you will be able to cook. If you live close by and have a car it's very manageable and fun, especially if you have friends in the area!”
Pearl Park worked at the Office of Annual Giving, making phone calls to ask for alumni donations and performing other administrative tasks for her summer internship. Due to the renovations at the senior apartments, Park was housed at Pitzer in Mead Hall. Park very much enjoyed her experience, as she got to meet new people and explore the Claremont area. She was also able to learn a lot about the inner workings of CMC through her job, and gained a first hand look at the behind the scenes administrative work that helps the college run. On the weekends, Park was able to spend time with her friends who were also living on campus, by going to movies, malls, and restaurants. She also enjoyed walking around the 5Cs and exploring different campuses. “I got to know Pitzer and even Pomona extremely well. I also got to explore the surrounding Claremont area more.”
Although Park had a great experience this summer, she also experienced hardships. “A lot of my friends left campus towards the end of my internship, so I felt very isolated and lonely because I had been on campus for so long. I still had some friends and family visiting me every once in a while, so it wasn’t too bad.” Park also noted the heat as a particularly gruelling struggle. Like to Lefort and Hosking, Park only had access to one kitchen at Pitzer, and due to this inconvenience, she ended up going grocery shopping a lot and cooking for herself.
Overall, Park would recommend staying in Claremont over the summer depending on what you are doing. “Research, for instance, is a really good opportunity to stay on campus during the summer, but you really have to enjoy what you’re doing and have a community or be able to build one with the people on campus, otherwise it does get pretty lonely.”
Santiago David worked for Mike Sutton and the Office of Advancement at CMC's alumni center, conducting research and helping with various projects. He also aided in data collection and analysis for Professor Cook's Human Learning and Memory Lab. David was fortunate enough to live at a family friend's house. Thus, in a sense, he was able to find a second family in Claremont, and enjoyed home-cooked meals every night. Similarly to Lefort, Hosking, and Park, David appreciated the ability to get to know the greater Claremont area. “Since there is no campus life, you explore areas of Claremont and LA that you would never otherwise think to experience. You quickly learn how charming this area can be. I also learned more about people from the other 5C's. We often live distinct and separate lives while in school, but since there were so few of us, we all came together and became really close.” On the weekends, David sought to push his boundaries, by hiking and attending various events in the area, for instance, an “Eat,See,Hear” event in Pasadena. “Weekends went by quite quickly, but were full of unique experiences and new people.”
While David enjoyed his experience overall, and felt that his summer in Claremont was the best summer of his life, he did initially struggle when he only knew one other person staying in Claremont. “The initial task of finding other people was quite difficult, but once I found a few, momentum grew and I quickly met many others.” David also struggled to battle the heat, “I remember one day it reached 114 degrees outside and it was constantly over 100. You just had to find ways to stay cool.”
David would highly recommend staying in Claremont for the summer, however, he recognized that people have varying experiences and knows some people who did not enjoy staying in Claremont as much. “I think if you approach it with an open mind and a willingness to put yourself out there and try new experiences, it has the potential to be amazing. You really never know where you'll end up, whether it be in Bel Air, the top of Mount Baldy, the Bridge to Nowhere, or simply at a concert in the park. Who knows, maybe it could be all of them.”
After speaking with Lefort, Hosking, Park and David, it seems that if you can beat the heat, form a community and are passionate about your internship, spending the summer in Claremont has the potential to be an extremely enriching experience, and maybe even the summer of your life!