Food, Friends, and Foliage: My Summer in Admissions!

Greetings everyone, it’s Hannah again!

Headshot of Hannah Larson

Hannah Larson, HMC ’20

I know nothing I write this week can be as heartfelt and awesome as Kailee’s blog from last week* — if you haven’t read it yet, go read it now! But as the summer starts to come to a close and incoming students arrive on campus for orientation, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the fun things I got to do this summer. I love living and exploring in the Claremont area and wanted to share some of the highlights with you!

*editor’s note: this blog post is pretty awesome. Read on!

At the beginning of the summer, I spent most of my weekends (and any other spare time) reading, which is something I don’t always have lots of time to do during the school year. I got to read books ranging from a few Harry Potter books, some cool biology books, and everything in between!

Left: A book sits on a table next to a sign saying “Office of Admission Closed for Lunch” Middle: A book is held up in front of a row of dryers Right: An open book is in the foreground, a sleeping person is in the background

Left: Lunch breaks at the Admissions Office were a great time to read The Serengeti Rules, which combines molecular biology with ecology. Middle: I love going to the laundromat and just quietly reading poetry for 2 hours as the machines hum in the background. Right: Aom Pongpiriyakarn (‘20) naps and I read Bill Nye’s book while we wait for a play to start

I also explored some new cool areas close to Mudd. One of my new favorite views in Claremont is from the top of the parking garage in The Village, where you can see everything from the town to the mountains! My friends and I drove up Mount Baldy (a 10-minute drive from campus) in the middle of the night and got to look up at the stars and down at the city lights. It was really beautiful and quiet.

Left: Some buildings and trees are in the foreground, in the background of the photo is a mountain range and cloudy blue sky Right: A clear blue sky is framed by trees and you can see part of a mountain behind the trees

Left: A view of part of the Claremont Village with the mountains in the background. Right: A photo from the side of the road going up Mount Baldy

My roommate Aom and I also took a drive east, tried a date shake, and found ourselves at a palm tree oasis! It was really pretty but also a bit too hot to walk around and explore for very long.

Left: A girl smiles, holding a bowl of food in one hand and a spoon in the other. In the front is a cup and geotag saying “Palm Desert” Right: A grove of palm trees is surrounded by brown shrubbery, short hills, and a gravel parking lot

Left: Aom Pongpiriyakarn (‘20) and I share a pitaya bowl and date shake. Right: A palm tree oasis as seen from the parking lot

There are many large palm trees scattered throughout the photo and in the middle are two signs pointing out various paths one could walk down

Another palm tree oasis right off the parking lot where we stayed for about 5 minutes before deciding it was too hot and driving home

I know I already wrote a blog about plants, so I’ll try not to spend too much time talking about plants again, but they really are super awesome! This summer I discovered Orchard Supply Hardware, and Kailee and I made friends with Parris, Adam, and Joey, the lovely garden section experts!

A smiling girl pushes a cart carrying two potted flowers and a container of fertilizer

The first plants Kailee and I purchased on a whim this summer, both of which have undergone many hardships in the meantime

I have now grown my plant collection from 1 lonely succulent to 16 thriving plants (and two plants who unfortunately did not make it…). Luckily Orchard has a great warranty exchange program and will always re-pot your plants for you! They also have great advice when your plants have been eaten by bugs, gnawed by squirrels, burned in the sun, or accidentally poisoned with Oasis Body Spray…

Left: A pot containing a shriveled plant sits on a table Middle: A smiling girl stands next to a shopping cart containing plants. The photo is captioned “Hannah and her 20th plant this summer” Right: One girl smiles and gives a thumbs up to the camera while another girl smiles but looks concernedly at a shopping cart with plants in it

Left: My first flowers (featured alive above) were accidentally burned beyond saving in the 115℉ weather. Middle: I recently purchased two more lovely indoor plants. Right: Kailee encourages me to buy more plants, but my roommate Aom worries about how much space there will be for her in the room.

There are also lots of awesome plants at the Farmer’s Market! That’s where I recently purchased 8 succulents and a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers!

Left: 10 different succulents in small pots are arranged in two rows on a cement block Right: A bouquet of different types of flowers sits under a photo of flowers. The caption reads “Farmers market flowers under a farmers market photo of farmers market flowers”

Left: All of my succulents, named after characters from musicals, are aligned on a cement block outside. Right: I recently purchased a bouquet of flowers from the Claremont Farmers Market

Aside from plants, the Farmer’s Market has lots of great food and I got to try fresh fruits and some things that I had never had before, like okra! There’s some stands that sell goat cheese or hummus and pita chips (pro tip: those all make great quick lunch foods or snacks while doing homework!).

One bag of carrots and multiple containers of different types of hummus and goat cheese are spread out on a table. The caption reads “Hummus and goat cheese galore!”

My friends and I shared hummus, goat cheese, pita chips, and carrots for lunch one day

Kailee and I got to cook a lot of food together too! I’ve made tons of new dishes, including lentils with market vegetables, stir fried okra and onion, glazed carrots, brussels sprouts with hazelnuts, fried tofu, salmon and broccoli, and lots of brownies and blondies!

Left: Two girls eat from bowls on the table. Also arranged on the table are many containers holding different foods. Middle: A close up photo of a dish of stir fried okra and onion Right: A plate with salmon, some pieces of broccoli, and utensils

Left: My friends and I share a lunch consisting of lentils and lots of fruits and vegetables
Middle: I learned how to make okra onion stir fry this summer and tried okra for the first time!
Right: Kailee made crispy salmon and broccoli for us for lunch one day

Left: A girl spoons sauce onto a plate of fried tofu as another girl looks on. There is another bowl on the table containing okra onion stir fry.

Left: Kailee spoons sauce onto a platter of fried tofu for our dinner
Right: Kailee and I made lots of brownies this summer for the Admissions Office and research groups who we talked to along the tour routes

Kailee and I have had lots of food with all the other admissions office interns too! The Financial Aid Office has a great drawer filled with awesome foods for pre and post-tour snacks! We have also gone out to breakfast at Wahfles a few times! Good food and great people is the best combination and everyone at the admissions office this summer has been amazing!

Left: Four people gather around an open drawer containing snacks. Three of the people in the back of the photo are holding containers of snacks Right: Five people sit around a table, each with a plate containing a waffle in front of them

Left: Some of the admissions office interns get their favorite snacks from the snack drawer after the afternoon tours and interviews!
Right: All the admissions office interns (Kaille Lin (‘20), Erica Quinn (‘19), Hannah Slocumb (‘19), Jason Dwyer (‘19), and me) got together for pre-work lunch before Kailee and Jason left for the rest of the summer

Left: Four people sit around a table with plates of waffles in front of them Right: Four plates of different waffles are all arranged in a square

Left: Me, Jason Dwyer (‘19), Erica Quinn (‘19), and Kailee Lin (‘21) all went out to Wahfles one morning
Right: We each got a different waffle dish and shared them amongst ourselves

It’s been great to get to know even more cool Mudders, try new things, and explore Claremont when I don’t have quite as much homework. If you ever find yourself with a bit of extra time, I encourage you to try something outside of your comfort zone or hang out with new people!