by Will Kostas

If you've found yourself registering for classes at Seattle Central Community College, without a doubt, you've hit rock bottom. Despite being once named Time magazine's "College of the Year," SCCC remains greatly hindered by massive computer problems, uninspired teachers, and an overall high-school-like atmosphere. In a word, the school is a shanty. Clearly, not much can be said for your future. While there are probably a few smart, motivated people who go to SCCC (I've never met them, but they could exist), the school is greatly dominated by students who are there because they weren't accepted anywhere else.

That's just one of the things you should know in advance about what you're getting into. Following are a few more tips that you won't find in your student orientation packet--the kind of information that only a former student can provide.

Do not fool yourself.
You are not actually in college. You attend classes at a community college. No matter how many Time magazine banners they hang, there is still a difference, and it's monumental. At a community college, expectations are low (and expected future salaries are even lower). People at real colleges, getting real educations, are working toward a promising future. You, on the other hand, are merely delaying the inevitability of a mindless, droning existence. Don't lose sight of that.

Do realize the teachers were probably inbred.
Remember sitting in high school and wondering if you were ever going to have that one amazing college teacher who would change your life? Well, SCCC students, you will not find that teacher here. The teachers at SCCC--barring a handful of exceptions (Mohamad Al-Madani and Jawed Zouari come to mind)--are the most woebegotten, stroke-impaired educators in the Western Hemisphere. Honest to god, I don't know what an SCCC teacher has to do to get fired. Urinate on a student? Show up to class drunk? Stab someone?

Do not slack off.
The upshot of this not being a real college is that it's easy to do well. The only thing more depressing than going to community college is failing community college.

Do pick up the school paper.
Although the City Collegian has gone basically unnoticed at SCCC, it contains smart, original features by writers who are always pushing the envelope. (At the very least, it's better than the redundant tripe you're reading right now.)

Do not have sex with strangers.
I know what you're thinking: "Sex with strangers is what college is all about." Quite true. But you're not in college--remember? The fact is, many of SCCC's students are actually high-school students, attending classes through Running Start. Remember that girl you hooked up with last week? She's 13.

Do take the stairs.
There are elevators in the building, raising and lowering themselves through the building's five stories at a glacial, creaking creep. Unless you are horribly disfigured (i.e., you are in a wheelchair, you are half-man/half-goat, etc.), you are not to use the elevators. You will use the stairs at all times.

Do not ever be a part of the following conversation:

"I got an A!"

"That's great! Me too!"

Guess what? It's community college; everyone gets A's. You're supposed to get A's. That's why they call it "community" college--so people from the community can take classes here. Have you ever met people from your community? They're incredibly dumb, and this is where they take classes. Is any of this sinking in?

A better exchange:

"Are you in school?"

"No, I'm taking classes at a community college."

"Oh." (Walk away.)

Do get in and get out.
Seattle Central (and community college in general) is a horrible place to be. If you find yourself taking classes like Jogging, it's time to move on. Community college is a two-year experience, no more.

Will Kostas has one more quarter to go at SCCC.