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As a future first-generation college student, what advice could be given to me for my daily life in college?

#first-generation-college-students

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Angelina’s Answer

Be prepared to get lost at first. To be late and to be unprepared no matter how prepared you might think you are. You will get into a groove for sure after the first couple of weeks of going to school and figuring out your schedule. Plan out study times based on what the syllabus says about tests, that way you can get some studying in between classes depending on your schedule. Once you start making friends maybe some lunch dates or meeting in the library for study dates. Don’t lose focus on why you are in college. Good luck

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your amazing response. I will definitely take your advice and remember to never forget why I am in college. Miranda
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Lise’s Answer

Adding to the advice below- I think the hardest thing for you will be to "bridge the gap" between yourself and your family. They have a perception of how college is that is based on social media or what they have heard from others. At times that can be very difficult because it can result in feeling as though no one close to you really understands what you are going through. Try to take the time every once in a while to talk to your parents/family and (patiently) explain to them what your days are like and what classes are like. If you want, send them assignments or papers that you have worked on and talk to them about it. I know it seems like a lot of work on your end, but that helps them learn how to support you. By the time you are a sophomore/junior you won't have to explain much to them and you can just call and vent about whatever you would like without wondering if they understand. It also helps your family to be more involved with you and your school in ways that many first gen. parents are not (such as attending homecoming)

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Mario’s Answer

Both of my parents did not graduate high school. I got my bachelors degree from Texas A&M. I would suggest that you join a social group so you can find friends from a similar background who can support you.


When I went, I was surprised at how many students were able to call their parents and find someone to discuss their life and get ideas on how to manage the stress. My parents did not know what college was like and kept encouraging me to leave. I found friends that supported me. Once you have your support group, you will be able to keep going.


A lot of schools have support groups and social clubs for freshman. I would suggest getting involved there so you can build your social group

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Kortnee’s Answer

I am a former first-generation college student, and the best advice I can give you is to find programs/resources on-campus tailored to first-generation college students. In doing so, you can get the support you need to navigate through challenges such as feeling "lost" as a first-generation college student. Another suggestion is to find other first-generation college students on campus to connect with you. Last, always remember that there was something "special" about you and that's why you were admitted into the University. Follow your dreams and surely you will find success in your academic, personal, and professional endeavors!


Best of luck,

-Kortnee B.

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Mariah’s Answer

First generation college student here! My recommendation is to explore the resources on campus. For example, I joined a program called the "Challenger Program" and they guided me my entire college career. They helped me fill out any situation or question I had at whatever time of day, gave me reminders about important dates (tuition due, etc), made sure I maintained good grades by contacting my professors (with my permission), conducted workshops, got me first pick on classes, etc. Another tip is to join clubs and make connections with other students! There is always a first generation student club on every campus!
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Aruna’s Answer

Hi Miranda! As a first generation college student myself, I struggled with "imposter syndrome." Impostor syndrome is feeling of self-doubt and feeling like a fraud. The biggest help to me in overcoming this challenge was to remind myself that I had worked hard until this point, and that hard work had earned me a spot in a great college. It wasn't a mistake! You were chosen because of your grades, activities, personal statement, passion, and more. The admissions council decided that YOU would make a fantastic addition to the college and that you both had great potential to learn but also great potential to contribute. Never forget your why of why you wanted to go to college in the first place.

If the pressure of being the first to go to college in your family ever feels like too much, remember that your loved ones are already proud of you for getting where you have. Consider positive affirmations to keep your motivation and confidence high!

It's also really helpful to have mentors (professors, teaching assistants, older students, etc) who you can honestly and openly chat with. Mentors can be there for you when you have challenges and need to talk through ideas on overcoming them, and they can also help identify opportunities to help you grow and succeed.
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Rosemarie’s Answer

Hi Miranda!

To echo all of the responses above, it is a huge accomplishment to be a first generation college student, so props to you! I was fortunate enough to find a trusted advisor early on in my college career who helped me navigate life as a college student. As a first generation college student and the daughter of an immigrant, I was also unable to connect with my parents on my career goals. I was able to develop some great relationships with advisors on campus who were able to guide me through the academic aspects of college (i.e. major/class selection, internships, etc.). Definitely be on the lookout for mentorship opportunities and other first generation clubs for both academic and social support! Best of luck to you!
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Matthew’s Answer

Hi Miranda - Fellow 1st generation student here! I've learned so much through trial and error, and happy to share what I've learned.

1) It is okay not to have all the questions. Often times, you can demonstrate your intellectual curiosity by asking questions
2) College = more freedom than high school. As such, time management is crucial.
3) Focus on what matters to you (is it friends/family, grades, extra-curriculars, sleep?)
4) It's okay to ask for help. Professors, staff and peers are there to help you.
5) College can serve as a safe environment to "fail"
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Soha’s Answer

Hi there!

As a first generation college student myself, I can honestly say that the first 6 months were a daily struggle! It's not that I hated my classes, or that I disliked my professors, or that I found my schedule unmanageable. Actually, everything was going fairly smoothly. What I struggled with was a feeling, a general sense that I was behind, or that I was doing something wrong, or that I would soon slip up and fail. None of that ever happened, and deep down I knew that my worries were not a reflection of reality. But that didn't stop me from worrying! What eventually helped me was finding people who could help me reflect on how I was really doing. For example, I went to the academic advising and career counseling office every term for almost 4 years. By the end of college, everyone who worked there knew my name and I knew theirs! This helped me immensely. Those kind and supportive people helped me calm down and see that things would be alright, that I was generally on the right track. And if I was veering off course, or struggling with something, I had people to go to for advice.

Another thing I learned to do was go to my professor's office hours regularly. At first, I felt almost guilty about going to office hours, as if I was wasting the professor's time. But this is not at all the case! Professors want to see you, and they appreciate students who take a proactive approach to their education. So before every major exam, I would make a list of all the things that I had questions on, and I would take that list to office hours. At first, I was pretty nervous, but it got much better over time. Going to office hours didn't just help me perform better on exams though. Engaging with my professors allowed me to make connections that eventually led to the most rewarding experience I had as an undergraduate: working in a cognitive psychology research lab. One of the professors who I visited frequently noticed my interest in the subject material, and my grades, and invited me to join his lab. This is something I could not have imagined happening, but it was the direct result of putting aside my fears and engaging with my professors.
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Padmapriya’s Answer

Be open to new things.
Be kind to everybody, and experience a little bit of everything.
Remember that everyone else is nervous, too, so share a smile and start a conversation.
Be open-minded about other people's viewpoints.
Set goals for yourself early on, and go out and make it happen!
Be organized and make deadlines your priority.

Best of Luck!!
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