Why+We+Shame+COC

Why We Shame COC

October 17, 2017

We love College of the Canyons (COC), don’t we? We can make up classes over the summer there, get ahead in some subjects, or take something that interests us but isn’t offered at West Ranch. Well, at least we like it when we are in high school. It’s funny how that changes when college applications come around.

“College app season, my kids who are applying to CSUN or deciding to go to COC and then transfer are almost shamed into not sharing that with people, because you’re only going to go to CSUN [or COC],” said senior English teacher Heather Frame.

There is a stigma here at West Ranch about attending COC. It has brewed a complex sense of superiority in students who somehow think they are better than those who go or will go there.

The reason we do this is because for so long we have been told we must succeed far further. We have been drilled by our counselors about what colleges like to see in us. Our parents have not-so-quietly held expectations of us going to a UC or Ivy League school. The prospect of going to COC is scary because for so long we have been told to do better. But the thing is, we have underestimated COC.

“I think each step prepared me for that next step; West Ranch prepared me really well for COC and COC prepared me well for CSUN,” said West Ranch alumni Kathleen Barr who now teaches APUSH and Modern Civilizations at West Ranch. “There’s just a lot more responsibility when you go to a university, so I thought that the transition to go to COC was really good and just the fact that I was able to save money with the same education.”

I think each step prepared me for that next step; West Ranch prepared me really well for COC and COC prepared me well for CSUN.”

— Kathleen Barr

It is revealing that Barr works alongside UCLA and USC graduates on a similar pay scale and was able to save tens of thousands of dollars in comparison.

Then again, that path doesn’t have to be for you. It turned out well for her, but we all have to choose different routes for ourselves. Go to Harvard or a small liberal arts college or wherever, but realize that for some, community college is the best and sometimes their only option.

“They [students who attend COC] are making a choice for themselves that has nothing to do with you,” said Frame. “You can go to your fancy college and do your thing; that’s a choice between you and your family. You are not better because you got into Columbia. You are not better than anyone else; you’re just going to get a lot of debt, so there you go.”

It shows a lot of character in someone if they constantly makes COC the punchline of their jokes because often times it is out of a sense of elitism. One is implying they are above going to COC, for they are better than that.

The irony of this is that many people act superior over COC before they have even been accepted into another college. It is like they have decided there is no way that they could ever possibly go there.

But there is always the chance that something unexpected happens. Maybe you do not get into your dream college, or any of those you applied to. You can’t afford to go to college, even if you did get in. Perhaps you didn’t receive the financial aid package you thought you would. In the end, you might have to go to COC.

Imagine degrading COC for four years of high school and then it being your only option. You would feel like a failure even though you have not, by any means, failed. You would have been the perpetrator of your own shame.

Imagine degrading COC for four years of high school and then it being your only option. You would feel like a failure even though you have not, by any means, failed. ”

So the next time you feel stressed about college, do not take it out on COC. You are only shaming the thousands of students who go there and the thousands who will attend in the future, maybe even yourself. Instead, let us encouraged people to follow their own paths, because that is what we all want ourselves.

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