Here is my two words about first generation students. Today I attended a forum about first generation students and it made me want to give a them a shout out. This event was a space to talk about what does it mean to have first generations student on campus in a college setting. What does that mean?
At my university the number of first generation students has increased double since 2010. This meant that institutions are no longer accepting privilege students, but rather opening doors to another community. First generation students are assets on campus. They fight and they fight hard.
Often first generation students are viewed as students with low potential, knowing the majority will drop out after first year in college. Some do not understand the academic language, and most will have economic insecurity, etc. But First generation students are also special. They know how to work hard. They understand independence and are resourceful. They take big risk and are flexible. They understand what it means to fail, to take a hard fall in academic, to troubleshoot problems and work their way into earning their degree.
One key note that I took away from a student panel is the idea of lucky. Often as a first generation student myself, I struggled with balancing two worlds. The world I mention in my first post about not fitting on campus, and yet when I went home, I felt like I did not belong there as well. I changed. I had grown. I would call home and I start to feel the weight of everyone at home struggling. I thought I was struggling academically with no one to help me and pull me through. I had to figure out how to earn a degree. I was struggling. But yet, I get to say I’m lucky. How can I say I am struggling, when I hear my mother’s voice? How can I say I was not the lucky one who made it? I get to have a chance to build my kingdom. I was lucky.
First Gens are lucky! But they are much more than that. They are a legacy, they are hard smart work, and perseverance. They are assets.
#firstgen #fight #imherenow #dowithwhatyougot