Since beginning my blog for Diverse , I have had the fortunate opportunity to talk about my experiences in education at several campuses across the nation. Often, someone has read an essay about my experiences with microagressions or some of my reflection pieces of being a first-generation college student. They reach out to me with kind words of encouragement, thank me for sharing my story and ask if I give talks or workshops about my experiences to help students like me thrive.
There is something about using my personal story to encourage others that is both transformational for the audience and helpful in my development as a scholar. Although it excites me to know that I can help students through my story, the thought of speaking to large audiences or being vulnerable to strangers can be frightening. However, at the end of each of these talks, I have always had a euphoric sense of accomplishment, especially when students speak with me afterward to share how much they enjoyed my time with them. Rather than dwell on all the challenges first-generation students encounter in post-secondary contexts, I focus on the assets they bring or acquire during this experience.
The Confessions -- and Confusions -- of a First-Generation Scholar
What tools do these students have because they are first-generation, and how can they use these tools to overcome the challenges they encounter? These students are the first in their immediate family to navigate the experience of a four-year institution, thus their success can have an influence on their peers, family and those who look up to them.
The opportunity to leave a legacy can serve as a motivational factor for first-generation students to thrive and serve as a role model to their community.
When reflecting on my undergraduate experience, I often speak about the doubts I had toward my intellect and the fears I had of failure. In any case, this taught me three survival strategies at home: 1. Absolute transparency. No one can think you have a secret agenda if all of your agendas are on the table.
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When you argue, make clear what personal biases and motivations are setting that argument in motion. Even if those biases undercut your argument. Because honesty is a better survival method than success. Success is fleeting and can collapse out from under you. But if you are honest, you will remain on level ground.
Family will relate to you consistently because they know who and where you are. Never argue from expertise.
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Arguing from expertise is too close to arguing from being "Brainy. It was a great way of being a grandson. It's a terrible way of being a colleague. I think I have discovered three things that I would share with an academic son or daughter, were I to have one: 1. Transparency doesn't work with people who presume that other people are not transparent.
Maybe "family will relate to you consistently because they know who and where you are," but so will colleagues, and they will be able to outthink you all the time because you are on their map and they are not on yours. Expertise is never recognized locally, whether you argue from it or not. Expertise is often recognized across the discipline, but only sometimes within the department. Again, these are not local claims nor an expression of any local conditions. Rather, I want to raise the question on my mind: How does being a first-generation student screw up professionalization behaviors?
I think I have my answer, but what do you think? And do you have any reading suggestions? Give me more than a citation -- give me a reason to read! David Beard is associate professor of rhetoric, scientific and technical communication at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Be the first to know. However, I was the first in my immediate family to obtain my bachelors in chem. I feel like this makes me a first generation student.
Am i correct? Also, when the time comes for my mom to receive her bachelors degree, will i still be a first generation student? Hi Joel! You will always be a First Gen because that is the way that you grew up. My two siblings both went to college and got their bachelors and masters. My granddaughter will graduate in the spring of Her mother attended a four college but did not graduate and her father got his AA. Both of them as well as the parents were born in the US.
Does my granddaughter qualify as a first generation? Yes, as the article states, your granddaughter did not grow up in a home where the primary caregiver had a four year degree. Thus, she is a first gen. Neither of my parents have any sort of degree and both only went to college for about a year. However two of my grandparents have 4 or 6 year degrees, do I count as first gen?
Life as a first-generation college student as told by "Master of None" | Unigo
Hi Georgia, this depends upon who raised you, so if you grew up with your parents, then yes. If your grandparents raised you in their house, then no. Can you tell me why you, and so many people, are asking this question? While in grade school and in high school my parents did not attend college.
While I was attending my community college my parents went back to school through an accelerated program where they both obtained their bachelors degree. Would I still be considered a first generation college student since I was enrolled and attending college prior to their enrollment?
Hi Kiahna, can you tell me more about their accelerated bachelors program? My dad finished community college and then went to technical school for 2 years and graduated from there. Would this make me a first gen student? Hi Vicki, as this article states, since your dad does not have a 4 year degree, then yes, you are a first-gen. Can you let me know which part of this article did not make that clear? I would be very grateful. Hi Kiannah! I think yes and no. Yes, because you will be the first gen to live on campus, but technically sort of no since your dad has a degree, but I lean more toward yes since being first gen is about being a pioneer in a new place—so go with yes!
Will I be considered first generation. If a parent graduated from only a regionally accredited four year university, is the child considered a first-generation college student?
Hi Rebecca! Sorry for this delayed reply.
Finding Success in College as a First Generation College Student
The letter of the law would say no, because the parents have a four year degree. Hope this helps! I graduated in with my bachelors and had 2 masters by My mom graduated with her bachelors in Someone told me that I was not first-gen college grad now that my mom has her bachelors. Thank you! Hi Samantha!