Last week at work—I also often refer to it as school out of habit, since I spent four years there for college—a few organizations on campus were celebrating National First Gen Day, which highlights first generation college students. I went to take some pictures of the event for the university’s Instagram account, and I took one of the pins they were handing out.
Neither of my parents went to college; they both graduated high school—the same high school I went to before the town shut it down a few years ago—and my dad went to a technical school for computers, but no real college.
So that makes me a first generation college student. And I’m proud to be one.
I was lucky enough to be able to choose which college I wanted to attend. If I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, my parents were going to have me start at the community college in town. But I knew I wanted to write—I went into summer orientation wanting to be an English major but changed to communication when I found out it was a thing—so I applied to five colleges. The original plan was for me to commute all four years, because to be honest, I wasn’t really ready to move out yet and really “go away” to college. I was accepted to all five colleges—technically three universities and two colleges—and chose my alma mater because I instantly loved the campus when I toured there. I think I went on like two tours and shadowed a student and went to Accepted Students Day because I really liked the school.
Once I started to live on campus sophomore year, I got involved in class council and other organizations, and that’s when I really felt confident in myself and sure of what I was doing. The first year and a half or so was rough, but it did get better, and I met some great people—some of those great people I get to work with now.
I’m also grateful that my parents supported me when I got my master’s right after I graduated; they were able to help me out with some of my college, but I do have some loans that I’m paying off. They also supported me mentally as I spent a few months in the end of 2016 and all of 2017 in classes—online, but I was taking two classes every 11 weeks.
In the end, I just want to make my parents proud, because I have opportunities that they didn’t have. They’re both extremely happy that I’m back working at the university, and it’s also my way of giving back to the school, because I got the education there that helped me get back there.
What were your post-high school plans? Are you a first generation student?