Being a first-generation college student


Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

What does it mean to me to be a First Gen student?

In middle school, I thought I had the capability to attend Harvard University, without any idea of how nearly impossible that was.

I just did not understand the whole concept of college at this time of my life. I assumed it was a free for all, that everybody after high school chooses whatever college they desire, and it was a 100 percent guaranteed admission.

As I grew older, reality sunk in that education after high school was optional but highly recommended to land a successful career in the future.

My parents did not have any influence on what I was going to do after high school. They just imagined I would go to a junior college because that is what my older siblings had done.

No thank you, I wanted to move out, and far away too.

The only way this was possible was to apply to college. I went off and applied to as many CSUs as possible with the help of my guidance counselor at my high school.

Although I had wished to attend a UC school, I would most likely only be able to afford a state school and my GPA was leaning that way as well.

I found CSU Chico had a great variety of majors, that I was interested in. I saw a ton of online pictures of the campus, and I was intrigued by all the green lush. It seemed like the perfect little town that conveniently was an eight-hour drive from home.

I committed to Chico, and with the financial support of my mother, I made it.

Even though CSU Chico is not some prestigious ivy league, I am still proud of my accomplishments.

I feel inspired every day by having the opportunity to receive an education and pursue my dream. This is something that always kept me motivated.

According to University Business, approximately 30 percent of college students across the nation are first-generation students. 24 percent of the 30 percent happens to be first generation and low income.

I am not only working to graduate in four years with a degree, but I am working to gain as much as learning experiences as I am able to. So far, it has definitely been an enjoyable experience, living on my own and balancing many aspects of my life.

I take pride in being a first-generation student because it makes me feel accomplished. I can only hope, my future generation with experience a higher education.

Danielle Cortes can be reached at the [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.