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Advice For a First-Generation Student

Posted on 10/20/2019 3:34:36 PM by Desiree Junfijiah

So, what is a first-generation student? A first-generation student is a student who will be the first in their family to attend a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree. This means that the student’s parents or legal guardians have not completed a bachelor’s degree.

Congratulations! This is an achievement and something that should be celebrated!

Now what? If you’re like me, you have now set foot in “no man’s land.” Most first-generation students don’t necessarily have the blueprints needed to ensure a successful college journey. Most of us go into this completely blind, hoping for the best outcome. 

Though the advice here may be limited, there are multiple resources at Cabrini that can aid you on your college journey.

Connect with your Counselor!

  • Transitioning into college is a complicated process. It’s important to utilize your resources to the fullest point. You’ll need all the help you can get, but don’t worry, there are faculty on this campus who will help you! Talk with your counselor to ensure you're taking the right classes to graduate on time. Counselors can fill you in on the nitty-gritty of financial aid, who’s who on campus, and even be an ear to listen.

Apply for first-generation scholarships!

  • Did you really think scholarship season was over as soon as you entered College? Well think again; scholarships are year-round. You should never stop applying for scholarships, in fact, you should look for ones that apply to you! There are endless amounts of scholarships for first-generation students. Just how there are scholarships for specific majors, organizations, and even hobbies! Your counselor can familiarize you with the types of scholarships out there and the ones offered at Cabrini. The key is to know where to look. 

Get involved!

  • Are you aware of the calendar that gets delivered to your dorm every month from SEaL? This calendar is a key component in getting involved on campus. Workshops, events, and get-togethers are all listed on there to help students get acquainted with one another. There are club sports, student clubs, bingo nights, and other opportunities on campus that allow you to fully immerse yourself in Cabrini Culture. You can even start a club of your own!

Birds of a feather flock together

  • Finding friends on campus or even those in the same boat as you can help you feel less alienated. Find (or create) clubs that celebrate who you are and those similar to you! Surround yourself with motivated peers who, when the time comes, can remind you why you are here.

Don’t forget where you come from

  • Enough said.

Know when to get help

  • Find a mentor who can help you make the most of this experience. It’s also important to seek academic resources provided on campus: Tutoring services, Math & Writing Center. If you’re having trouble with a subject or even if it’s a specific problem, email your professor or visit them during their office hours. You’re not bothering them, they want you to show up.

Never doubt yourself

  • This isn't a fluke! You belong here and everything that you’ve done so far to get here has been noted. Trust me, there will be times when self-doubt creeps in, but the key is to not allow these misconceptions to hinder your progress. Know when to seek someone to talk to and vent, whether it be a peer or mentor. Breathe and remember who you are and how far you’ve come.