At my middle school, we used to have College Days, where you wore a shirt from some university. They also had these competitions where whatever classroom that had the highest number of participants wearing these shirts, a pizza party was thrown for the class.
My parents never went to college. My parents studied what you would call Marketing in Guatemala, but they fled their country in the early 90s because professors were being kidnapped, students beheaded and buses were being set on fire. Thus, they never graduated. However, these days they like to watch Superbowl commercials and analyze them for fun.
And so, I never wore a college shirt because I didn’t have one. Many people might ask why I didn’t just wear a generic USC or UCLA shirt that you could buy at Walmart and help my fellow classmates in the fight for the pizza party, but young Jacky was terribly honest, and by-the-book. To me, it would’ve meant to lie if I had just worn any shirt instead of a college shirt from your parent’s or other family member’s alma mater. So I just never participated. I guess I’ve always been an all or nothing type of gal.
This tradition followed me through high school, where we had Spirit Days. Same concept applied, except that I was more self-conscious about the fact that I didn’t have a college shirt. Seeing kids rep Fresno State, Loyola Marymount, Cal, or UCSD with shirts that were worn because of multiple washes, little holes in them because of multiple uses, made me feel shitty. I wanted to be in on the ~fun~ too.
I’m reflecting on these times as I start my last and final year of undergrad at CSULB tomorrow. I have a lot of hoodies and I have a CSULB sticker on my car. Sometimes, Steph, my best friend/roommate/biggest pain in my ass, comments on my display of school spirit.
“You really like our school, huh?” she says.
And sometimes I tell her that CSULB made it possible for me to leave my armpit of a hometown at 17, so how could I not. Or I tell her how Long Beach feels like home in a way that Lancaster or LA never did. I tell her about how I used my sacred birthday money to pay for my college applications and that CSULB said “Yes” to my 4 years of hard work, while I was rejected from other places. I tell her about how my brother wears a CSULB shirt when he has his own Spirit Days to participate in. I tell her how my dad eagerly tells anyone who will listen that I go “a la U” in Long Beach.
Or I just I tell Steph to shut up ❤
I've heard people scoff and sniff at the fact that I go to a State School but I don't give a shit. I'll be the first in a long line of Linares' with a degree this upcoming May. Not to mention, if it wasn't for the friends and professors that I've gotten the privilege to meet at CSULB, ya girl wouldn't be this woke. I know folks who go to snooty institutions and don't have a clue as to what White privilege is, in other words, a basic ass concept you learn in a 101 class. Run and tell that!
So here's to my last chapter at CSULB. It's going to be filled with stressful mornings, tired afternoons, weekends swimming with assignments, and nights tainted with bad decisions. It's going to be filled with fresh memories, ample amounts of booze and good times. Plus, Drake, Yoncé, and Frank all dropped albums so we're set on the tunez for the Senior Year soundtrack. It's gonna be lit fam.