Overcoming the Sophomore Slump

As a sophomore at Pitzer, I have experienced a whole new set of stressors since I returned back
to campus. The newness and excitement of college seemed to have faded away. During my first year
I was guided into the world of college with more resources for support. I was expected to
make mistakes and learn from them. The following year I felt the pressure to become an expert
at navigating my way through the rest of my time at Pitzer. I wasn’t receiving the extra attention
anymore. I decided I had to become more academically focused; not knowing what I wanted
out of my college experience terrified me. Before, I had just picked a bunch of different classes
to take because they intrigued me. Now I had to actually start thinking about requirements and
majors. I was pressured to take control but the responsibility overwhelmed me. Sophomore is
such an appropriate term to use for second year students because it’s literal meaning in Greek
is wise fool. This describes a period in which I believed that my wisdom and lessons from the
first year of college prepared me to handle life’s challenges independently, but I was foolish in
thinking that my learning had ceased. The sophomore slump is a time for growth. Pitzer created
a program that helps sophomores during this developmental stage of confusion. The Sophomore
Year Experience (SYE) gives sophomores a space to discuss concerns that are specific to our
class. Because it is run by upperclassmen, you benefit from some of the same mentoring and
advising services that first year students receive. It is a useful organization that has soothed my fears
and helped me tackle my sophomore slump.

Posted by Jada Jones ’17, Economics

Jada Jones Tour Guide

Living On Campus

With the large majority of students living on campus at Pitzer living in the dorms is an important part of the college experience here. Both years I have lived in Mead Hall. I love living in Mead because of the suite style set up and all of the murals. It is a very communal space and does not feel institutionalized at all.  Mead can be a little grittier than the other buildings but many of us love it because of how much character it has.

Take a look at some photos of Mead:


IMG_3593IMG_3595 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Living with friends and/or strangers certainly holds some challenges. It takes an immense amount of compromise and consideration from everyone to have a happy, healthy living environment but overall it is often a very positive experience.  You learn a lot about yourself, how you interact with others, what you value, etc. when living in a shared space. There are RAs in every building who are student leaders that are a resource for residents who may need support, as well as Resident Directors who are staff that live in every residence hall. Living on campus has taught me how to advocate for myself, be a responsible roommate, and how to be patient. Learning to live well with others has been an important part of my education here and I’m glad I had the opportunity to live on campus.

Posted by Anna Pleskunas ’15, Philosophy & Art

Anna Pleskunas Tour Guide

Health and Fitness at Pitzer

One of my favorite parts of campus life is having access to our beautiful athletic facility. The Gold Student Center houses our gym, pool, pilates, and yoga studios. The GSC was just renovated last year so it is a really nice space.  Classes are offered almost every day of the week by professionals and students. The pilates studio is awesome; we have seven reformers so the classes are super small and there is lots of one on one time with the instructor. I also swim laps in the pool now and again, which is a nice way to take advantage of our California sunshine.

Another fun way to get some exercise is by taking a dance class. I am currently enrolled in two, ballet I and modern I. It’s great because we learn technique, theory, and some history of the art form. It is super challenging physically but a fun way to earn academic credit. There are many ways to stay active on campus that are both fun and convenient.

Posted by Anna Pleskunas ’15, 

Anna Pleskunas Tour Guide


Finals Week Stress

A typical not-so-fun part of college is of course the intense workload.  It tends to ramp up even more towards the end of the semester and for me it has been essential to take advantage of the on-campus resources to help me manage these stressful times. One of the most helpful services for me has been the Pitzer writing center.  The writing center employs students who are trained and experienced at providing advice and suggestions about how to improve your work. They have helped me write all kinds of papers from research to personal essays. You can go in for help at any step in the writing process, which is excellent. Professors also tend to have more office hours and availability to hold review sessions or to go over any material you still need to master.

Our campus also holds a few late night snack events so that students who are up late studying can take a break and get some nourishment. There are also stress-relieving events held, like this Saturday pit bulls are being brought to campus so we can play with them. We also have our usual yoga and workout classes offered which is a great way to escape some of the stress. Overall there are many ways to manage the stress of finals week and in the end we all here, in it together.

Posted by Anna Pleskunas ’15, Philosophy and Art

Anna Pleskunas Tour Guide

Big Plans and Frying Pans

New Desert Park and Garden at Holden Suite


holdenhallpicThe unofficially named Holden Desert Park and Garden, which fills the gaping hole in the ground where historic Holden Hall once stood, is also very convenient. 22 seconds more convenient to be exact. Pre-park, the food-driven primal journey to McConnell Dining Hall lasted an excruciating 1 minute and 45 seconds at a food-driven pace (2.9 miles per hour according to Snapchat) from the popular turn-off point of the southeastern corner of Mead Hall. Park construction completed, that’s down to 1 minute and 33 seconds. For PZ students who trek to the dining hall twice a day, they can expect to save up to roughly (very roughly), 1 hour and 40 minutes per semester. Not much extra time, but everything counts in college. That’s 44 more seconds per day to snooze, a 44 second head-start to classes after meals, 44 more seconds to get in those grad requirements, 44 more seconds daily to enjoy “the best years of our lives.”







Like Pitzer’s desert indigenous Xeriscape, being able to enjoy the good life to the fullest extent on the Park is a little rough around the edges in its current state. Two skeletal benches are situated in the center, providing six butts worth of seating. Opinions on the park range from dazed confusion to optimism about the space’s future. Its physicality and topography has been compared to a “bumpy frying pan”, having the potential to cook students alive when the temperature inevitably breaks triple digits again in the Spring, and just generally “looking like the desert.” Mirages aside, the vision for the Garden will expand Pitzer’s open art policy with an increase of art-in-the-open. A sculpture garden will be installed, murals painted, and seating added to admire the view. Think rock cushions, and other contradictory seating fitting an oxymoronic “desert garden” concept.


holden2Students will have somewhere to sit their butts down in the Spring. For the Fall time being, if you hate the color green and you like to eat, your life at Pitzer has just been improved.

Posted by Kara Powell ’15, Media Studies and Organizational Studies

Kara Powell Diversity Intern

The Student Senate

One of the many things I love about going to Pitzer is being involved with Student Senate. It has been a wonderful environment to foster friendship, leadership and learn about the college’s governance. This year I hold two positions; I sit on the Campus Life Committee and am a student representative for the Alumni Board. Both positions are great and I love the groups I get to be a part of.

CLC is responsible for allocating many thousands of dollars each year to fund a variety of on campus programs. Being a voting member on this committee is so fun and we are able to bring really great events to campus. The Alumni Board is also something I’m very happy to be involved with. Last weekend we had our retreat with all our members and it was so lovely to meet some Pitzer Alumni. I think sometimes when we are here it is hard to remember that we belong to a much larger community then who is just currently on campus.

Student Senate has allowed me to engage with Pitzer and the larger community in a way that is so unique. I am proud to be part of school that gives students so much power to become involved on their campus. It has been a really integral part of my Pitzer experience.  If you’re interested in learning more about Student Senate take a look at our website!

Posted by Anna Pleskunas ’15, Philosophy and Art

Anna Pleskunas Tour Guide

The Heart of Pitzer’s Campus

It’s More than Just a Delicious Cookie.

You may have heard the story of how the grove House came to Pitzer’s campus in 1970. How Pitzer students fought for it’s preservation, and purchased the home in auction for $1. You might have heard exclamations of joy and passion over the mouth-watering food the kitchen puts out. Even a tantilizing description of an oozing fried egg sandwich and warm, gooey, double chocolate mocha cookie for lunch. All of this is true, but the Grove House is so much more than just that. it is a home. It is a refuge. It is a center of community, connection, and activity.

Grove 1
Vintage pic of the Grove House

As a first-year student in college, I had difficulty finding comfort in a time of immense transition. I often felt isolated, even though I had the most lovely suite of girls who remain my best friends to this day. I sought comfort in the outdoors, as I was familiar with Southern California, having grown up in Santa Barbara, but this often took me off campus. One of the first Thursdays of school, a bi-monthly event entitled Story Slam, was held in the living room of the Grove House. Modeled after “The Moth”, story slam brings students together to share stories of any nature. A theme is presented for each evening, and anyone can choose whether they would like to share or not. SUddenly, I felt a sense of connection to a large group of Pitzer students, many of which I did not even know their name. I began spending more time in this home, trying out the infamous sandwich combinations, writing essays upstairs in the Womyn’s Center, reading on the porch, and making connections with new people each day as we shared this incredible space with one another.

Grove 2
Another vintage pic of the living room inside the house

Since these first months, I have spent increasingly more time in this home. I now work in the kitchen, serving breakfast two mornings a week. I am an active member of the Grove House Committee, the club that plans logistics of the events that happen in the house, and works to preserve the 112 year old home. Many of my other various club meetings happen in the house, and I continue to do my work in the nooks throughout the downstairs and upstairs of the house.  When prospective students ask, “Why Pitzer?”, the importance of this community center is always the first thing I speak of. This community has given me constant support during my two years here, and I can attribute a large part of my personal growth to the people and activities the community has connected me with.

Posted by Casey Venturelli ’16, Dance and Sociology

Casey Venturelli Tour Guide

A Better Sequel

Movie sequels are notoriously disappointing. As a Media Studies course veteran, I have learned to never question the extrinsic value of releasing sequels (say no to drugs, but yes to box office success kids), but most times the intrinsic quotable magical quality, the very integrity of the original version is edited out of the sequel and becomes lost in translation as the once well-known dialogue becomes tangled up in complicated plot lines. Pitzer’s acceptance rate drops multiple percentage points each year, yet the student body is still highly accepting of all who come to campus.

This year, I returned to the prickly set of Pitzer College after spending five months in Paris, France. For one semester I experienced a full-fledged springtime in Paris with plenty of rain, but no umbrellas, chocolate-covered everything, Seine riverside chilling, and the essential ‘B’s – bottles (of water of course) and baguettes…but let’s go back to Pitzer (stay tuned for cliché memories from the city of lights in another blog post).

I did not experience the classic reentry culture shock that the Office of Study Abroad had promised, or rather warned of, but the Pitzer set had changed its aesthetic in a big, gaping way. Rolling onto campus for the first time in a long time, my eyes lingered on the hole where Holden Hall used to be. I inquired to myself in Frenglish regarding the dormitory’s whereabouts:

Where est Holden Hall?
Where est Holden Hall?














Beloved supporting characters often disappear by the end of the original version all the time, so Holden’s conspicuous absence in The Pitzer Experience: Senior Year should have come as no surprise, though my perma-raised eyebrows betrayed such rational conclusions. I observed the beginning of Holden’s end in Junior Year, and after an initial shocking “holy crap there should be a building here” type-of-feeling, a flashback to the final days of Holden Hall revealed the forgotten truth; tiny ill-lit makeshift offices of faculty and student-run clubs that became waterlogged and super depressing after severe flooding and poor drainage. In the end of its days, Holden Hall was hardly functioning, and had strayed very far from its sunnier days of decades past. So in coming to form a second opinion of the second version, or rather lack thereof, Holden’s eminent destruction was a good thing. The massive dust bowl on the side of the service road will make room for newness and improvement to come in future versions of the Experience. And while the rest of us keep dreading the unending drought, the Holden Hall lot is grateful for the little to nil chance of flooding this year.

Another plot twist ~ The Gold Student Center, new and improved as the Gold Student Health & Wellness Center
Every year a familiar story begins. We all move back in on or off-campus, are reunited with old faces, choose classes based on professors we have grown to admire, memorize the dining hall schedule, all while chasing the first time we experienced it all. A sociology professor of mine had this to ask during the first session: “what has changed, and what has remained the same”?  Whether it is an architectural face-lift, or a giant hole of possibilities, Pitzer’s colorful characters may find peace of mind knowing that both the infinite changes and permanence of the things that remain the same here create a brighter future, and ultimately, a better sequel.

Posted by Kara Powell ’15, Media Studies and Organizational Studies

Kara Powell Diversity Intern

The Music City, Part 1

The KING of Rock & Roll is going on tour with Cecil the Sagehen…Ok, so although we would all love it if Elvis would grace our lands again (haha sorry for the cheesy pun), the fact is he left a long lasting legacy in the music city of Memphis, Tennessee. This past week I hit the road again continuing the travel season, but this time my traveling adventures took Cecil and I to the rhythmical music cities of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.


I was especially excited about my trip to Tennessee. Way back when I was a senior at Pitzer (class of 2010), I wrote my Chicano/Latino Studies senior thesis on rockabilly music and culture. My thesis was titled: “From Past to Present: The Evolution of Latino/a Rockabilly Culture.” It was great to visit such a place as Memphis, where Elvis himself hails from, not to mention one of the original godfathers of rockabilly music!

Hey by the way… did you know that for the past three years, Pitzer College has been home of the Rockabilly Music Festival?!?! Students from the Latina/o Student Union and Pitzer College Professor of Politcal Studies & Chicano Studeis, Adrian Pantoja, have created an ever growing much anticipated tradition on campus. Every year, the festival draws over a thousand people from the Claremont Colleges and local communities in the Inland Empire, while featuring dozens of custom cars, a handful of student selected rockabilly bands, and vendors galore. The Rockabilly Festival happens every spring and this coming year students can expect to relive the music, art, and custom cars on Saturday, March 26th, 2011.

Posted by Tim Campos, Admission Counselor



Let’s Play Ball

Hi everyone! Things are now officially quiet in the office, but as the office slows down, life around campus speeds up. Last week students were finishing up finals, others were moving out and graduation was on Saturday.

Last week, with graduation is right around the corner, there were a ton of events going on for the senior class ranging from graduation rehearsals to parties at a Professor’s house and a reception at the President’s house. Wednesday, however, was one of Pitzer’s best traditions. The Faculty and Staff vs seniors softball game. Yet again the faculty and staff won!!! In fact we have won every single year, this may be because we have the math department on our side creatively keeping score, but I think it is just because we are that good.

As always, the softball game was a lot of fun. Everyone from the maintenance staff to the President came out. Unfortunately Angel and Arnaldo were busy, but don’t worry, I represented for the Admission Office.

I think my favorite part of the game was Jim Marchant’s (our Dean of Students) new haircut.

1 (1)This year he made a bet with the senior class. The bet ran, if the senior class got 100% participation with the senior class gift Jim would get a Mohawk for graduation. As you can see, the seniors succeeded in getting 100% participation in the gift campaign.

Here is another picture of Jim looking tough as nails (I think we also win the competition for having the coolest Dean of Students).

Jim mohawk and tattooThe senior class gift is the first chance for graduating seniors to give back to the Pitzer community.

Just so the seniors don’t get all of the attention the faculty and staff campaign was also a huge success. This your 90% of our faculty and staff gave back to Pitzer. This puts us at number one in the country for faculty and staff giving.
Back to the softball game, it was obvious that we were going win because, as Justin said, we had a ringer, Laura Skandera Trombley Pitzer’s President.
3Can’t you see the fear in the students’ faces as she steps to the plate?
Here is a picture of Chris Brunell, our Director of Residence Life, right before he crushes a ground rule double.
4And just to prove that I was out there, here is me waaaayyy out in leftfield.
5I would like to say that I was responsible for catching many pop flies, but in reality the ball came absolutely no where near me.
But hey, I did get my base hit! And let me tell you running on grass in dress shoes is not easy.
6All in all it is an amazing tradition and Adam, one of our Admission Fellows who graduated in January even came back to play.
As you can see he has been missing the southern California sun.
Before I leave you to start preparing for graduation, I have a quick note for any juniors out there. The Claremont Colleges Receptions (or CCRs) are about to begin again. These receptions are a great way to get an introduction to the Claremont Colleges and gives you the change to speak with representitives from CMC, Harvey Mudd, Scripps and of course Pitzer. Here is the schedule of where we will be in the next few weeks.

Washington, DC- Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Philadelphia, PA- Monday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m.
New York, NY- Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Boston, MA- Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Honolulu, HI- Sunday, May 31 at 1:00 p.m.If you are interested in attending please register on our shared website

Tune in for graduation pictures as soon as I get them.

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy

Haiku Contest

You have waited for one whole week.

Now the eagerly anticipated Haiku Contest begins.

Today we have four haikus for you, written by Angel, Justin, Jasmin and myself. Each haiku is posted anonymously. It is your job to vote for your favorite. Anyone who votes will get a point for our Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen competition (and the competition ends at the end of December so now is the time to get your points in and win your very own Cecil).

You can also win two extra bonus point if you can correctly match each haiku to the counselor that wrote it. And I will give you another point if you can include a haiku in your answer.

Haiku #1

Organic Garden

Grassy Mounds, Murals, Fountains

Think Pitzer, Think you

Haiku #2

The Sagehen flies free

Pitzer is the place to be

Come and you will see

Haiku #3

Pitzer’s old Grove House

Full of cookies and coffee

Meet me after class.

Haiku #4

Pitzer changes world

With an eye on the future

You too can thrive here

They are in a random order, but vote for me! Votes will be tallied next Fri, December 12th. So be sure to check back.


Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!

So it is official! Mark your calendars! November 26!
Winter has begun in Southern California
(Isn’t life grand)

Today was our first heavy day of rain. I am a little confused though. It was pouring when we came back from lunch, but now it is sunny, lightly showering and about 72 degrees outside.

Weather be damned, our tour still left on time. Chris, our tour guide, was loving the rain and started off without using his umbrella. Isn’t he great?

Chris 1 Chris 3

So to sweeten your Thanksgiving feast, we in the Pitzer Admission Office have decided to hold a competition. This competition was Justin’s idea, so we let him write the introduction.

Cecil the Sagehen
Haiku contest on the blog
Best counselor winsThat’s right boys and girls we are having a haiku competition.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the art of haiku, a haiku is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of seventeen syllables in three metric phrases of 5, 7 then 5. In Japanese they are written in a single vertical line, while in English they are broken down into three sentences.
For example:Haikus are super
Five, seven, five syllables
Danny is the best

And since I don’t want Justin to become the center of the blog…. I figured I would include another haiku of my own and this time it’s seasonal.

Turkeys taste good
Cecil is not a turkey
Don’t eat the Sagehens

So next week each counselor will write their own haiku and I will anonymously post them to the blog. The winner will be decided by you, the students, and whichever haiku receives the most votes wins bragging rights and the ultimate respect of the office. (we might have to make a crown)

Now that I have given you something to look forward to, here are some pictures from the second Preview Pitzer Day on Nov 14.

DSCN1572 DSCN1562 DSCN1560 DSCN1555 DSCN1549 DSCN1548 DSCN1544 DSCN1543 DSCN1541 DSCN1540 DSCN1539 DSCN1538counselors


Well before you go enjoying your turkey, lets play another round of…

Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen?

This week is extra hard so double points if you get it correct.

Cecil in Space
Where is Cecil this Week?

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy