Taking the next step after high school to college can be challenging enough when you’re a freshman, let alone if you are a first-generation student. I know many of my friends who are first-generation students in college who are doing great, but others realized college just isn’t for them, and that's OK, too. If you keep a positive mind and believe that college could be the right choice for you, that's a great start. You can figure out the rest as you go.
When you’re a first-generation student, you absolutely need to keep an open mind. You will be trying new things, making new friends, and have complete freedom unlike before. If you have friends of your own who are in college or went through college who are also first-generation students, it’s not a bad idea to reach out for some advice. I’m sure they will all tell you the basics of keeping an open mind, studying hard and to never take an 8am. But there is plenty advice to learn from others who are in the same boat with you.
One thing you also need to keep in mind is that college is the chance to give yourself as much freedom as you allow yourself to have. It is where you make decisions on your own for your own sake. Make your own decisions while at college and don’t let your family or friends influence your decisions. I have seen both sides of the situation where people don’t make their own decisions and it turns out bad for them. Keep a balance when making your own decisions. Take in other friends' and family members' advice, but listen to yourself more than others.
Stay confident in yourself as well. You may make the wrong decisions, but learning from your mistakes is what helps in the long run. If you have younger siblings, try to encourage them and tell them about your experiences with college as it could help them someday down the road to making their own choice.
Consulting an advisor or getting the right help with documents you need for college goes a long way. FAFSA and other documents can be overwhelming and confusing in the college process. Make sure you get the help you need when filling out these forms so you understand what you are signing up for before you do.
Make sure to utilize all the help you need such as the library and tutors if possible. Cabrini has a Peer Tutoring Program, a Writing Center, and a Math Resource Center, which are all free resources open to its students! You might even want to take on a campus job to help pay for off-campus meals or gas money if you have the time. Learn how much you can handle on your plate and step outside of your comfort zone to experience what you can handle.
Even though being a first-generation student can be overwhelming, look at it as if it is your time to shine. Going to college was your choice to begin with so make it the best four years you possibly can. Create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.