Monday, May 14, 2007

Don't Be Ashamed of Your School: Pick Your Head Up and Have a Little Pride

By Melissa Pinto
News Editor

The author, Melissa Pinto, outside HCC.

Due to a jam-packed Spring 2007 Issue 3 (a record-breaking 32 pages long!), the picture above didn't make it into the print edition, but it was too good to waste...

The full text of Melissa's editorial is repeated below.

I've done it. I know a lot of you have done it. When someone has asked you, “Where do you go to school?" you made a face, shrugged your shoulders, and replied, "Housatonic."

Enough is enough. Pick your head up, and say it with a little pride. "I go to Housatonic, and it's not bad like you think it is."

About two weeks ago I overheard a conversation. Sadly, it was a family member of mine. As I listened in on a conversation between an over- zealous family member and my younger brother, my temperature began to rise. I heard him say, "And don't think you are going to that Housatonic school. You are going to go to a real college."

Never before had I had much feeling on what people thought of where I currently studied…until then.

HCC gets a bad name solely based on ignorance. People assume because we are in downtown Bridgeport that there must be thugs, drugs, and violence roaming the campus. Odds are, if you're silly enough to believe that, you probably haven’t been downtown recently. Growing up in the area, I’m proud to say that the area gets a little better every year. In my opinion HCC's campus has only added value and a better reputation to the respected area. Never has there been a single day in the two years that I've attended HCC that I've been afraid to walk down the street to the deli on my break, or to walk to my car after dark, contrary to popular belief.

Ignorant people also assume because we here at HCC are just a community college, that it's not a "real degree". Like hell it's not. I work just as hard as Joe Shmoe who goes to Quinnipiac. I still pull all-nighters, and write long, outlandish 15-page papers. The difference is, I'm not paying $30,000 a year to do it. I'll pay my small tuition for two years and save my money before I'm forced out the doors and into a high priced university.

By the way, Joe Shmoe is just a number. At UConn or Southern, Mr. Shmoe is known solely based upon his social security number and gets lost in a sea of a hundred faces in his freshman English class. My English teacher knows my name here at HCC. He knows I'm there without a sign-in sheet or having to read roll call, and, to me, that counts for something. Not only am I graded on my written tests, here at HCC teachers have the ability to factor in your eagerness to learn.

On top of all of this, here at HCC I found my inspiration: a teacher. As corny as it may sound, when I came here, I was uncertain of my future and or career, lacking motivation and just going through the motions. One fall day, upon walking into a new classroom, I came across a teacher who would soon change my life and, more importantly, my way of thinking. Because of the student-teacher relationships that HCC prides itself on, I was given the gift of a teacher who cared. Most friends I know who attend large universities were never lucky enough to have their inspiration placed right in front of them.

Recently I have been accepted in a well-known, reputable school in New York City. Not only did I get accepted, I was awarded a large sum of money to attend. The humdinger is, two years ago, this university would have not only slammed their door in my face, but would have had quite the chuckle too!

HCC gave me an outlet to work hard, bring up my grades, and finally make a name for myself. I feel that, in some cases, high school students don't comprehend the severity of "grades" until it's too late. In my opinion, school is an area of life that you aren't able to prosper in until you are ready. HCC gave me a place to finally "be ready" and to erase the times when I was not.

Although starting in the fall I too will become a Joe Shmoe, and probably just a number in a crowd, for two wonderful years, HCC gave me a place to just be me, and that is something worth being proud about.


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. HCC students to show some pride!

Are there any plans to report on the passing of Professor Tony Ball? He did a phenomenal amount for HCC, and was probably the best teacher I've ever had. I know he hasn't taught there for a few years, but I was just wondering...

Anonymous said...

we should all be proud of the fact that we are moving on to college, period. Many, many don't. Housitonic IS a great school with great teachers. I am grateful for the opportunity as well..and I just started this fall.

peace all!