Those of you who have undergone the college application process can surely agree that it’s mildly overwhelming at best and heart attack-inducing at worst. Even acceptance letters don’t always put a cap on the stress; there remains the sometimes agonizing dilemma of which school is subjectively “best,” according to factors ranging from academics to the eternal issue of cost.

In this regard, high school senior Brennan Jackson Mogambo on dvd Tora! Tora! Tora! rip

isn’t all that unusual. His choice to attend UC Berkeley carries with it the weight of a precarious financial situation (his father has been unemployed for over a year according to the NY Times). The Hollywood High student, who will graduate at the top of his class this spring, was only offered a couple hundred bucks in aid from Berkeley, and therefore has taken matters into his own hands by applying for basically any and every merit-based scholarship he can find in the hopes of raising $25,000.

Again, not entirely out of the ordinary—except in addition to the expected amount of anxiety accompanying his pursuit, Brennan now has to deal with the added pressure of the New York Times readership weighing in on his incredibly personal decision to attend Berkeley in spite of hefty economic odds. In response to an article encapsulating the ambitious senior’s situation, at least a hundred people have offered their two cents on the subject, and for the most part they haven’t been too encouraging. Many of their comments maintain the opinion that Brennan should basically say “eff Berkeley,” go to a community college first, and save himself and his parents a lot of undue strain.

While we hate to look like the douche bags who jumped on the bandwagon just to give the guy our own (and not exactly unbiased) advice, we would at least like to point out how entirely unhelpful and ridiculous some of these responses have been. Rather than commending Brennan on his perseverance or congratulating him on choosing Berkeley (which we think is totally awesome, by the way), many readers have criticized him instead, recommending j.c. or UCLA as more viable alternatives, and offering up such misguided input as the following:

…at the heart of this story is the myth that a college education guarantees a job, job security and greater economic rewards. This belief is so far from reality. When nobody has an education then an education is valuable.When everybody has an education then education is worthless.

Correct us if we’re wrong, but college isn’t just about “job security” (a harsh reality for which we can categorically vouch Se7en on dvd ), and an education at a school like Berkeley is a hell of a lot more than simply a means to that particular end. Yeah, money’s important, which is unfortunate for those of us who are lacking, and it certainly makes life a bit harder for people like Brennan Jackson. But if he’s willing to literally lose his hair over making it here, then kudos, godspeed, and more power to him. We’ll welcome the boy with open arms and a promise of four really spectacular years.

UC Men’s Octet [spring 2007] Under Pressure [YouTube]
buy Fall Goal Is College. Hurdle Is Finding Financial Aid. [The New York Times

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