Academic elitism overlooks community college

Olivia Perkins, asst. news editor

I’m not good at math. 

My math grade has been slipping, and it is no secret that finding the circumference of a circle will never come easy to me. In fact, nothing about math will come to me without long nights at the kitchen table spent leaning over my Geometry 263 homework. 

That hasn’t prevented me from wanting to put my all into trying to improve, but it also hasn’t prevented me from worrying that my chances of going to a “good college” are slipping away too.

My mind lately has been running away from the idea of college. Not just college but the kind of college that you don’t see pasted onto a t-shirt floating around the school hallways. Community college. Not because I don’t feel like it would be a good fit, but because I’m afraid that when May Day rolls around people will see my t-shirt and immediately judge. 

What makes someone a perfect fit for community college? I couldn’t tell you. I could tell you that for many it’s more impressive to just get in somewhere “good.” I will never understand why we are pressured with an extensive list of tasks to complete before we even consider throwing ourselves into the college scene. 

I know that it doesn’t take just straight A’s and extracurriculars to land yourself in a school that is deemed acceptable by society, but I can’t help and tell myself that that’s what it takes. 

As I have lived my life through a pandemic, I’ve started valuing certain things more. I feel more strongly about how I wish to start out college. I love the idea of staying home and focusing on my education in smaller steps. This way I could get the most out of my teenage years while still focusing on my educational responsibilities. However, elitism in the academic world has pressured me into believing that I must push myself to apply to a college that may not fit my needs or wants as a student. I don’t feel like where you chose to receive your education should dictate your worth or value as a person.

I’ve also grown to learn that understanding your morals and goals in life may not always align with societal norms. Everyone faces issues when wanting to pick the “right” college.

I try to avoid talking about college as much as possible, as I am one of those students that finds myself a little lost. Most students may feel pressured by their parents or friends to find a perfect career path, but I don’t struggle with this as much as I struggle with the pressure I place on myself to find the perfect college in order to find the perfect career someday. 

The college scene at South makes it hard to determine what really is best for you. We are talked to at the beginning of our Sophomore year about how to access Naviance. It’s a very scary thing looking at schools you want to fit in so desperately but don’t seem to have what it takes according to small charts that dictate if your grades are up to par. 

My goal is to decide when I’m ready. To pick a place I genuinely see myself at and not just a place that is pleasing to others. 

It ultimately boils down to what’s right for you, and sometimes community college is just that. Going to an Ivy League is impressive. So is pursuing an education that makes you feel fulfilled and provides you with the tools you need to succeed.