Pomona junior, Jenny Johnson, made waves on campus this week when she petitioned to change her residential status to international, although not actually coming from somewhere outside of the United States. Johnson actually traveled 400 miles to get to Claremont, as she proudly calls Marin County “home.” Feeling that SoCal and NorCal cannot be anymore different, Johnson told the Golden Antlers that it “was a big culture shock” for her.
Johnson, who claims she’s from San Francisco, when in actuality was born and raised in the bay area, sees no similarity between her hometown and the suburbs of Los Angeles. “They have palm trees and more of a mission style down here, while we favor craftsman style houses and more forest up North,” Johnson continued, “It’s not just physical differences, there’s a language barrier as well. No one says ‘Hella’ here, like, ‘I have hella homework.’ Also, why does everyone call highway one ‘PCH’? What about highway 15? Google map those curves!”, Johnson feels disconnected from her fellow campus members, “Some people here don’t even know what I mean when I say Berk.” Neither do we, Jenny. We think she means Birkenstocks, but we are still unsure. Johnson’s final complaint was about public transport: “How am I supposed to get to the nearest suburb full of tech industry-employed hoodie-wearing gentrifiers when there isn’t communal pool of old Teslas?”
In solidarity with Johnson, hundreds of students physically blocked access to Frank late Sunday morning, causing a hunger protest by starving several brunchgoers reluctant to go anywhere else. A large group of Seattleites were outspoken too, chanting, “SoCal is So-Different! Where’s our rain? Where’s our salmon?” or probably something like that.
We interviewed a few students passing through the ‘protest,’ who joined in for a light dose of upper-middle class dissent. “It doesn’t matter what side I’m on, I just love to exercise my first amendment right. Down with the man! Fuck the patriarchy! Everyone’s international! That kind of stuff gets me going,” said Tripp, a Pitzer freshman.
A group of actual international students were amused by Johnson: “If this girl actually had to go to school in a country halfway across the world from their home, she’d have a fucking breakdown,” and “what the fuck are the Americans doing now?”
Should schools make accommodations to support students who have grown up in cultures so thoroughly different to those of Southern California, like Northern California? While we are still waiting news from the registrar’s office on whether Johnson will be granted International Status, the Golden Antlers stands behind her, damnit. But mostly just for the shits and giggles.
“It’s just really not something people are talking about. I think raising awareness about this issue is a really good first step.”
If you’re interested in joining their cause, Johnson is planning on starting a support group for NorCal students called “Bay Area Baes” that feel like they are too far away from home.