Let’s face it, being a first-generation college student can be TOUGH. It’s an experience that your peers may not understand as non-first-generation students. There’s the adjustment to a new environment, potentially being away from home for the first time ever, or parents not understanding the college experience. Some struggle navigating finances and a new form of academics or finding your place on campus and in the student population. It’s not a transition you have to go through alone, though. Take it from this first-generation college student—support is all around you, and there are ways to tackle all these challenges head on!
Although everyone’s experience is unique and individualized, I struggled with truly finding my place on campus. I started my first semester in 2019, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit during my second semester, so the rest of my undergraduate experience was almost entirely online. Not only that, but I also struggled at first to get accustomed to college academia and figuring out financial aid/FAFSA. I wondered if I could truly handle college or if I would be able to get where I wanted. Luckily, I had great support from Student Support Services and my family, even though they did not have college experience. Due to that, I adjusted to the new form of academics, worked very hard in all aspects (academics, finances, social) to study abroad in South Korea before I graduated, and I also ended up graduating a year early. Then I applied for graduate school to earn my master’s and found the best people I have ever known through my cohort here at WVU. All of this goes to say that if you dream it, you can do it—even if it takes every ounce of your being and allowing yourself to lean on others to make it happen.
WVU has a plethora of great resources for first-generation college students:
- Loads of student organizations for you to find your place.
- Student Support Services is a great support for first-generation students.
- The Carruth Center has a group specifically for first-generation students.
- And see these additional resources:
If nothing else, just keep in mind that this is a huge milestone and success story for you. It is not an easy feat to go to college and be the first in your family to earn a degree (or a few). Be proud of yourself. You deserve it.