Joana Cervera

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First-generation students, who don't have a family history of higher education, are a group that makes 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.

Joana Cervera, UW Tacoma first-generation student.What does being First Gen mean to you?
Being first gen feels like we are carrying the weight of our families on our shoulders. While the awesome example of our parent’s hard work to sacrifice for us may feel like a burden, we know firsthand that not everyone is able to attend college and this gives us an incentive to work hard.

What challenges have you experienced?
The lack of resources was a big challenge for me. I didn’t know where to start or who to go to for help. A lot of us may be first gen but we all live different lives.

What strengths do you draw upon to persist?
I use failure as motivation to break down barriers.

Who supports you?
My family, friends and mentors support me, but my baby nephews are my motivation.

What’s your major?
I am a junior in healthcare leadership with a minor in applied computing.

What advice do you have for other First Generation UWT students?
Choose a major you love. Don’t do it because that’s what your family wants you to do, because you’re the one working for it. Get involved on campus and around your community because that’s where you’ll meet great people.

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Written: 
June 5, 2018