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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

In transition: C-C-Chasm

I knew that transferring to UC Davis would mean taking harder classes, having more responsibilities and inevitably facing the terrifying process of graduating and moving on to the real world.

I expected to have longer homework assignments and learn more diverse concepts than I previously had. I’m not sure I can say that I was “prepared” for it, per se, but at least I was aware.

However, I was surprised by the significant amount of insight I gained about community college when I transferred. Suddenly, I realized what I had truly learned at my CCC and what I had missed out on while I was there.

So aside from the pedagogical aspects of taking more arduous classes and forging a path for my eventual career, I recognized some other incredibly significant differences between my experiences as a CCC and a UC student.

As a CCC student, there was little to no sense of overarching community or lifelong skills taught there. I didn’t have many chances to build lasting relationships with my peers or join groups to develop my interests.

In community college, there was no equivalent to the dorms or the DC. We couldn’t spend nights eating yummy late night cookies or getting to know the people on our floor. I still lived with my parents and found it difficult to connect to my peers.

My CCC didn’t have a football or basketball team, so there was never a chance to attend tailgates, rallies or even show school spirit. We couldn’t support our fellow students or take pride in our school’s history.

We also didn’t have many social groups on campus — no sororities or fraternities to join, no cool CoHo people and very few interest clubs.  It was difficult to feel immersed and harder to establish a dedication to our school.

But here’s the kicker: our campus didn’t even have a quad. The biting irony of a “community” college with no communal space for students to hang out in still makes me chuckle as I sit in the CoHo.

We didn’t have the chance to build that feeling of “community” at our community college simply because we didn’t spend much time on campus, or even think much about our school outside of class.

Aside from those missed opportunities, CCCs diminish the focus of long-term goals and structured plans for its students, so your education and experience feels incomplete.

For transfer students, CCCs present a rudimentary education — one that will be fulfilled at a secondary school. It was commonplace to have large chasms in the flow of our studies because we were consistently dabbling in subjects, often dipping into and out of certain fields every semester.

It was a far cry from the regularity of a declared major at a UC.

For other students, CCCs are utilized to supplement past degrees or stacked to earn field-specific certificates.

So ultimately, no matter your route, your education at a CCC is temporal and subordinate. Even more frustrating, there is also this anomalously withering comfort zone that accompanies a CCC education.

During your time there you’re only focused on, well, only your time there. Your classes are a bargaining chip for satisfying requirements and moving on. You take a class, do well, and move on. It’s a type of pass-go-and-collect-$200 focus — not exactly the epistemological one UC Davis proclaims.

Overall, this unsteady and inconsistent education creates and instills a very real “you’re on your own” mentality for CCC students.

As unfortunate as it is, the fact remains that my primary goal during my time at community college was to get out of there as quickly as possible. I had absolutely no interest in maintaining loyalty or boasting school pride. It was sad.

But things are different now.

I’m thrilled to be an Alpha Phi, live within walking distance of my school and have the opportunity to create the life my UC Davis education prepared me for. I’m proud to be an Aggie and I don’t want to leave.

 

To add to this list of discrepancies, email SARAH MARSHALL at smmarshall@ucdavis.edu.

 

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