I used to make fun of those people wearing the “once a hornet always a hornet” shirts. I thought this was all so lame, like why are you embracing being a loser? I used to feel slight embarrassment when having to correct friends and colleagues, “No, not the Cal state – the junior college.”
These were all real emotions, they were subconscious but I think many of us feel slightly embarrassed, as if we are less than those who made the jump to college straight from high school.
I came to junior college because I hated high school. In high school I made the conscious decision that I would rather party, play sports and slide by academically, than put in effort and get to a real college.
My best friend ended up here because she shot for the stars, but failed to get accepted to any of the top schools. Another friend simply didn’t feel he was ready to go away to college.
We all have these stories. Maybe we chose war instead of college, but now want a second chance at getting an education. Some of us gave up, had kids or even had a medical condition that stopped us.
These things happen, but you shouldn’t diminish yourself or your standing just because you’re at Fullerton College, while your friend is at Arizona State University.
In a class of mine, I stumbled upon a conversation between a classmate named Christian Ramirez and a professor, only slightly overhearing the mentions of UC Berkeley. Intrigued, I poked my head into their conversation and listened more intently. Ramirez was asking the professor for advice on the next steps in his path towards a career.
“UCLA has better grad school, but I would enjoy Berkeley’s program more,” said Ramirez.
Shocked I finally spoke up.
“You’re telling me you got into Berkeley and UCLA?”
When pushed to answer me how he got in, Ramirez explained, “I have a 3.8 GPA, and got my AAT, so essentially I take priority over almost anybody.”
And that’s when it hit me, junior college is not any lesser-and while trying to avoid being cheesy-it’s just different.
When that classmate of mine graduates, his degree will not say, “Finally, after 7 years, 2 disappointed parents, a poor high school academic performance and a confused time at Fullerton College.”
It will state his name, his degree, and say UCLA in very large fancy font. His degree is worth just as much as any other graduate from that school.
And that’s something I wish people recognized from the beginning. Don’t feel like a chump. And don’t give up on chasing the stars.
It’s actually easier to get into these highly prestigious schools from a junior college than it is from high school. Requirements are dropped down a bit, and with an AAT (associates degree for transfer), which is easily acquired, you take priority.
Another student I asked shared similar story.
“I spent four years in the Marines before attending school. After two years at Fullerton College and a semester with the study abroad program in London, I received a 3.4 GPA and will be attending UCI in the fall for a degree in Literary Journalism,” said sophomore Zachary Kam.
Colleges want their students to be hardworking, and devoted to make sure that they won’t drop out before graduation.
Taking students from a transfer program has become highly encouraged, as these are the students who have already exemplified that they are here to work, not the high school kid looking to go experience parties, girls, and living away from home.
Not to toot my own horn but, I have maintained a 3.0 GPA during my time here at Fullerton College. I will recieve my AAT in History this semester, and will be transferring to Long Beach State in the fall to continue an education that few, including myself, thought would ever be finished.
It’s important that this information is received, as everyone should be putting their best efforts in. Don’t settle for a school with lower rankings than you originally wanted, shoot for the stars.