Claire Dwyer PO ‘20
March 5, 2020
Thank you and I love you Claremont. It has been a wonderful few years and I’ve been proud to know you. I couldn’t imagine a better place to have felt at home.There are many things you’ve done for me but the most important is that you’ve made me feel loved more than I ever have before in my life. Imagine a child who acted like a scholar at the age of eleven and you will understand why I had difficulties feeling accepted during my childhood. I’ve been waiting for college since then. I grew up young and spent my childhood dreaming, creating, trying my hand at academic research and feeling frustrated by the barriers against further study put on me because of my age. And now that I have reached the academic future I’ve always dreamed of, it has far exceeded my expectations.
Claremont life, and especially Pomona life, isn’t for everyone. There are so many varying levels of experience with Claremont–and I too have had my fair share of difficulties and frustrations that come with being a committed activist in this space. However, I really want to honor my truth, which is that life here has made me a much happier person.
You see, during my childhood, I was ostracized. I was once a thirteen year old girl unable to remove her eyes from the beckoning pages of 900 page books on history. I was elusive, somewhat hard to bond with because I was so much in love with my studies. My friends were special people who saw me for who I was–though my greatest love was learning, I am no misanthrope. I love people and I bond with them deeply. As a child, however, that was much harder for other people to see, as I was so intense and so different from most of my peers. I was more interested in studying than having a social life. I still am, though anyone who knows me now understands that my social aptitude has much improved.
So when I arrived in Claremont, it was the first time in my life that I encountered people who were just like me. I was loved and supported in being exactly who I wanted to be. Here, everyone loves me for the medieval historian I am. Here, no one shames me for furiously studying. Here, I am loved for who I am and no one is telling me there is something wrong with me because I am happiest with my nose in a book. Here, it doesn’t matter that I don’t like parties and that I am not “traditionally” social. I have more friends than I have ever had in my life, and I feel so loved by the people around me. I am loved on the basis of my kindness alone, though I do think most folks who know me find my undying passion for medieval history to be one of my best qualities. That being said, I know that I am loved for who I am as opposed to for what I do.
Ironically, this amount of support has led me to feel so happy that I actually talk a lot more. I enjoy “putting myself out there,” talking about medieval studies, being as engaged in our academic community as I can. Claremont “worked” for me, because I found my passion, my raison d’etre. I am the kind of person for whom the little liberal arts college is built. The wide-eyed scholar for whom “traditional education” was never really a home. The lover of history who upon arrival discovered that she could be a historian and immediately began to devote herself to that, entirely.
I love how my life has turned out, and I can’t be upset. I get to go to grad school for medieval history after graduation. What an immense privilege to be able to do what I love for my career! What a beautiful journey this has been for a scholar! University life, I quickly discovered upon arrival here, was my happy place. For a number of my friends, I knew it was not. There are a select few for whom a life in academia is where they are the happiest, and I lucked out that this was me. Most people will find their passions elsewhere. For me, my passion was medieval history but also university life. I know without a doubt I have chosen the right career path.
Thank you and I love you Claremont. I love all of those who have supported me along the way. I love that I am loved, and I love that I can be that person for other people as well, the person who makes them feel a bit more at home.
Image Credit: The Claremont Colleges