I can’t remember when I first decided that I wanted to go to college, but I knew that it was something that I needed to do. My parents had emigrated from Mexico years before I was born with hopes that being in America would provide better opportunity for our family. I remember when I was younger being out in the fields with my parents, seeing them work rain or shine every day to provide for our family. I was taught that in order to achieve success I must work hard and always stay humble. For me, being a first-generation student means realizing the sacrifices that my family made in order to provide me with the possibility of higher education and not to take that for granted. I’m a working class minority. The road hasn’t been easy, but I feel this experience has made me stronger. As the youngest in my family I have been fortunate enough to watch my older siblings graduate from college and that gave me the motivation I needed to pursue my education.
If I could give any advice to first-generation students, it would be to keep going. No matter how long it may take, how hard it will get, or how frustrated you may be, just keep moving forward. Never give up on the idea of being a college graduate because you are investing in yourself and your future and that, in itself, makes it all worthwhile.
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org