I actually posted about this topic last year, but thought I’d talk about it again this year because it’s important to me.
I really didn’t know that the term “first generation college student” existed until a few years ago. Like after I graduated college. Neither of my parents went to college, so in our little family of three, I’d be the first to attend college. I never questioned that it was the next step after graduating high school, and I’m lucky enough that I found a university I loved so much that I not only got two degrees there but now work there.
Last Friday was National First Gen Day, and an organization on campus, Success First, celebrated the day with an information table set up out in the middle of campus by the gazebo where students could pick up a pin (they said either “I am 1st Gen” or “I Support 1st Gen”) and answer a trivia question for a chance to win a prize basket. I wore my “I am 1st Gen” pin all day and stopped by the event to take some pictures for social media.
This year this event was a little more special to me because I signed up to be a mentor to a first generation student through the Success First program. There was a meet and greet last week with some of the students, and this week I was paired up with a student who I’ll meet with a few times during the semester, and I’m looking forward to getting to know him. I wish that this program existed while I was a student because I totally would have signed up as a student to be a mentee.
I’m proud to be a first generation college student, and all I ever wanted was to make my parents proud. I think I have, and I hope they know how grateful I am for their support over five years while I was getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. And now I get to give back on campus.
What were your post-high school plans? Are you a first generation student?