Be Proud

hen I decided where I was going to spend the next four years, I unloaded some major cash on official school merchandise at the student store. A nalgene bottle, a sweatshirt, some sweatpants, a banner and a window decal were among my purchases. The colors light blue and yellow, my college colors, are also the colors of the sunny SoCal sky, where I have chosen to remain for college (go Bruins!), and a refreshing upgrade from the severe black and red that I have never really gotten accustomed to these past four years.

I am proud. My family is proud. My brother and sister beg me to drive them to the student store so they can also sport a school-spirited sweater. My mother couldn’t be happier that I am attending her alma mater, the school which she credits with having “given her everything.” My father is glad to have his first-born daughter around for a while longer.

At home, I feel the sense of elation that I am entitled to after years of long homework-filled nights and tiring, stressful days. At school, however, it is a different story.

Sophomores dress in crimson sweatshirts with H-A-R-V-A-R-D stitched across the front in all caps. Yale and Princeton are also ubiquitous around campus. How come?

What about USC, which has been skipping ahead in the rankings? Or the unsung heroes of higher education: the small liberal arts colleges, such as Pomona or Carleton? Or the great public schools, like those of the UC system? Where are those sweatshirts?

Why do old, northeastern schools have so much influence at Harvard-Westlake? There are colleges and universities scattered across the country that can provide an excellent education.

The schools in the Ivy League account for just 0.2 percent of college freshmen. Those consumed with an Ivy fetish seem to believe that only Ivy students land great jobs and make incredible career connections. You can’t tell me that a mere 0.2 percent of all college graduates are hogging all the great jobs and places in renowned graduate schools.

Although the deans try hard to make students see beyond just the traditional few and diversify their college lists, the culture here esteems the traditional private colleges.

I say enough with this old fashioned view of higher education. Students of the underrepresented colleges of the United States, bust out your collegiate merchandise and wear it with pride. You earned it.

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