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:
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.
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