College Map Cultivates Peer Judgement

The age of the Little Red Paper Schoolhouse approaches. Visitors, teachers, and students traveling through the Office Hall will soon revel in the privilege of gawking at maniacally glitter-glued paper houses pinned upon a United States map, a proud display of Campolindo seniors’ chosen colleges.

Of course, with technology replacing such crude, barbarian relics, seniors may now view each others’ destinations on a Facebook page dedicated to said cause. And, with the internet’s glorious search powers, one may easily ascertain the various statistics, reputations, and prestigious merits of a classmate’s college choice. And so it comes to pass that we cast our final, most lasting judgment on our peers.

One could say that the tradition of the Little Red Paper Schoolhouse, and its more sophisticated Facebook sibling, is an important outlet of natural pride for our “success,” and a wonderful way to assuage our curiosity as we compare ourselves with those with whom, even if we don’t particularly care about their persons, we have spent the last twelve years. One may harbor a petty hatred of the Ivy-Leaguers, benevolently nod at the wisdom of our own friend’s choices, or sympathize with the less lucky attending “lower” ranking schools. Or we may snidely indulge our own vanity as we gloat, “I did better than you.”

Such feelings of competition are natural, of course, but the entirety of Campo’s population cannot be so harsh, can they? We all know that so much more goes into a college choice beyond where one was accepted; beyond GPA and SAT, a decision is also based on available majors, location, and perhaps the most influential, cost. With tuition rising every year, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if most Campo students were limited in their options by their family’s financial situation. Even if one qualifies for receiving federal aid, it does not necessarily mean that one will receive enough.

On this end of the spectrum, students who are attending second, third, even ninth choice schools may not be doing so because of their academic accomplishments alone.

Even if one is accepted and can attend a top choice, it is generally humbling to display a no-name school, or a school with a reputation for social rather than academic prestige, especially when faced with an onslaught of prestigious names.

Or maybe some students who know that they were capable of higher academic excellence feel that they have fallen short: “If only I had tried harder.”

Reserving judgement on those who will undoubtedly refuse to abstain themselves is not an easy endeavor, but at least keep in mind: where someone else goes to college really doesn’t affect you, does it?