First generation students in college

Keara Noyd is a Communication major at San Diego State University. She is the first person in her family to go to college. Keara served one year as the Public Relations officer of the Aztec Poet Society at San Diego State. She participated in “VDAY” at SDSU where she volunteered her time by acting in a fundraising play, and loves giving back go her community. The things she is passionate about vary from theater, film, writing, to public speaking. Keara plans on attending Grad School, and one day becoming an HR representative.

To my first generation college students:
You made it! You’re the first person in your family to go to college and you are setting the bar high for the next generation in your family. This is what independence feels like. This is what accomplishment feels like. However, this is also what pressure feels like.
You now have the responsibility to prove to your family that college is worth all of the stress, anxiety, risks, and potential debt. You are now responsible for showing your younger siblings and your peers that furthering your education was the right choice. Why wouldn’t it be? You know about many people who went to college and became something with their life, and now it’s your turn.
First generation college kids will face many battles during college. Please take a look at the following advice:
1. Your family may question or show little support with your decision to go to college. – People do not know about what they do not understand. It is very difficult to convince someone how beneficial college is if they have not experienced it themselves. It may even be hard for you to believe that college is worth it because you do not have any success stories from your parents to refer to. Keep in mind that you are in charge of your own life. You are responsible for your own future. The lack of support from others may cause you to second guess your decision but just realize that you are only benefiting yourself by receiving a higher education. A college degree opens many opportunities up to you that would not be available with just a high school diploma. A college degree gives you credibility in your desired field of study. Even though you may not have the support of your family now, use this as inspiration to do your best in school and prove to not only them, but yourself that it was worth your time. Think positive!
2. You may worry about being in debt after college. – Many first generation college students take out loans to help them get through school. There are many expenses that must be covered during school. Not every student is fortunate enough to have these expenses covered for them by their parents, and not every student receives the right amount of scholarships or grants. When you begin to worry about this keep in mind that you are investing in yourself. You are investing in your future career. Take school seriously, do your best, and work hard to earn the career you envision for yourself. Many people take out loans for a new home or a new car. Many people use credit cards to buy miscellaneous things. You should not feel discouraged due to the fact you have to take out loans to earn a degree. A degree is something no one can take away. What else could be a smarter decision than investing in you?
3. Don’t compare yourself to other students. – Everyone’s situation is different. Everyone has different foundations to start from and setbacks they will experience. You may not have it altogether like your fellow classmates, and your parents may not be able to support you like your friend’s parents. Keep in mind that everyone is different. Comparing yourself to others with only give you a pessimistic mindset during your college years. Why dwell about something you can’t change? Your current situation may not be as smooth flowing as the next students, but your future is whatever you want it to be. Take control of it. Look forward, and not side to side.
4. Have fun. – College will go by very quickly. You will find yourself in your senior year and wonder where all the time went. Get involved in organizations on campus, make friends, and have fun!
Also, congratulations! You’ve now set a new foundation for your children and the generations following. Now let the journey begin.

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