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Pomona College - I learned my most important lesson before classes even started

When I was a freshman in 1960, there was a traditional rivalry between the freshman and sophomore classes, conducted, as I remember, by the male students (not quite “men” yet).

One thing that sophomores did was to hunt down freshmen and shave their heads.

One evening, a day or two after the sophs returned to campus, I was walking back to the boys’ end of campus (dorms and dining halls were separated by about a quarter mile) with a group of frosh when we saw a group of sophs grab a freshman and start dragging him off. I was in the lead - I walked faster then - so I raised my hand and waved it forward, saying, “Let’s go save him!” or something, and I started running. We outnumbered the sophs, after all.

By the time I looked back and saw that no one had followed me, it was too late.

That was a lesson.

After my head was shaved, I was immune to further harrassment and felt a kind of freedom.

I hope that wasn’t a lesson, too, but it probably was.