Kendy Trinh

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First-generation students, who don't have a family history of higher education, are a group that make UW Tacoma a very special place. Read their stories as they tell, in their own words, about the challenges they overcame on their path to success.

Kendy Trinh, Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies major and UW Tacoma first-generation studentBeing first-generation and a transfer student, coming to a university campus was a big change from my time at community college. I feared that I would not find the community or support group that I had at my previous school. I thought students at UW Tacoma were already in their own cliques because they’d probably been with their friends for years. I would have to be proactive. I was not going to stop until I was completely involved.

At times, I felt like I was alone. I thought I wasn’t good enough and that I was not going to make it far. How was I going to get anything done when I had no idea what I was doing? You feel like you lack so much knowledge, that you’re at your limit. The fear of failure and uncertainty about what’s next is hard. Trust me when I say it is the worst feeling. You will continue to get those feelings, especially during the most stressful times in your life. That is why I say: when you feel like you are alone, you really are not, because there are many other first-generation students that are here for you.

We will be here to take you in open arms. When you are doubting how good you are, reflect on how far you have come, how much you have achieved. Do not compare yourself to others: everyone has their own pace. The staff, faculty, and your friends on campus are the best resource when you feel the way you do. Talk to your professor or go to the career center for advice. This really helped me feel less stress, especially now, as I plan the next chapter in my life beyond the university.

At UW Tacoma, I was lucky enough to meet great new friends that are involved in student life and are very welcoming. You also have that opportunity to get involved; just don’t give up after a failed attempt. Keep bugging everyone. My only advice is that you have to be proactive. Step up and make the moves to reach out. You cannot just try something once. You must continually make yourself known. Sometimes you must get out of your comfort zone just to make a difference.

My name is Kendy Trinh and I am proud to be a first-generation college student.

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May 10, 2017