Friday, September 26, 2008

Justine Carreon - Don't screw up or you'll end up at Chabot

There is a looming social stigma that comes along with attending a community college. It is perpetrated to be a second-rate education, a last resort, or any other negative aspect. The formulaic teen comedy dealing with college will often times have a character telling another that if they don't clean up their act they'll end up at a junior college. What a positive image this sends to all future college students: Don't screw up or you'll end up at Chabot.

Every time a colleague asks where you go, a tingling feeling of resentment washes over you. You feel as though you need to validate your decision of community college with an answer better than "I go to Chabot College." No. Instead we choose to add to our answer with something more adequate. What we reply is more along the lines of "I go to Chabot College because I want to transfer to Berkeley," or "I'm at Chabot right now, but only so I can become a nurse." Once we do tell them our situation they give the empathetic head nod and say they completely understand. Then they insist on giving you reasons for going to a community college as if you hadn't gone over them before. Are we trying to convince them or ourselves of what we are doing in our life? Have we no pride in our school?

Walk onto any state or private college, and more than likely you will pass by numerous students wearing sweatshirts bearing their schools' names. Rarely do we see such an act on our campus. The Chabot blazoned attire in the bookstore goes untouched, despite their likeable appearance. People don't want to attach themselves to something degrading in the eyes of others. It is the opposite reason why people buy Coach bags. Forget the fact that it is simple in design and slapped with a hideous "C" print, it was expensive and heightens your social status.

But that is not the way it is. We aren't all slackers from high school, and even if we were it makes no difference. Our school is not a defunct decision, professors at Chabot aren't some hacks that somehow ended up where they are. Many hail from distinguished schools and have probably done many great things in their lives before settling here. Not to say that one "settles" at Chabot, but more or less find their way to this campus… and enjoy it. Opportunities are here if you aren't too lazy to look for it and teachers are not mindlessly nagging you to talk to them during their office hours, they encourage it. We all know of someone who started here then went to become something amazing. Tom Hanks attended Chabot! Think of community college as a stepping stone, not some easy way to a college degree. Some classes at Chabot are immensely difficult. This is proof enough that community college is not the decay of society. If we're getting this good of an education at a place that is supposedly full of idiots then we should be damn proud.

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Great article, Justine! (: