3 Tips for First Generation College Students

Are you the first one in your family to head to college? Becoming a first-generation college student and grad is a big deal. In fact, you are setting a precedent possibly for generations to come. Hopefully, you are feeling the pride and excitement which comes from such a wonderful accomplishment. But there might be other things you are feeling as well. You could be feeling nervous and unsure of how to navigate these waters and unsure of where to turn to since your family’s support can only take you so far. Keep reading to discover 3 tips to help you make it as a first-generation college student. 

Embrace Your Accomplishment 

Many first-generation college students feel intimidated by their own accomplishments. You may start to have feelings such as, “Can I really handle this if no one else in my family could? Do I deserve to be here?” This is very normal, but if left unchecked, it can start to eat at your confidence.

The way to overcome these types of feelings is to remember that your family is also proud of you. You are setting an example to younger family members, an example that you did not have growing up. You will be an inspiration to others. You have worked hard and you absolutely deserve to be where you are. Embrace your accomplishments. 

Reach Out For Resources 

If you are a first-generation college student, you will likely have a ton of questions on everything from dorm life to how to interact with professors. The best place to start is with your academic advisor. This person is here to help you with scheduling as well as any other issues you may have when you first arrive at school. 

Beyond just offering advice and pointing you in the right direction, and academic advisor can also become a strong personal resource if you take the time to develop a relationship. These professionals will have important information on upcoming scholarships, opportunities on campus, and even job leads. Making a strong connection with your academic advisor can be a benefit for years to come. 

Another important type of resource will be your professors themselves. Many people feel intimidated by their college professors, but in most cases, they are here to help. If your professors keep, “office hours” be sure to take advantage of this important service. Office hours are a time which professors set aside to meet with students, either individually or in small groups, to discuss the material being learned in a more laid back informal environment. Office hours can be a great time to developed a relationship with a professor and get some one-on-one help which you might not want to ask for during class time. 

Participate in Teams, Clubs, or Employment That Build Your Resume 

Don’t think of college as what happens before your real career starts. For many people, college is when they start building their careers. Career building includes any jobs or activities which you can use on a resume in the future when you attempt to land your dream job. Resume material can include teams, sports, clubs, extracurriculars, internships, and even relevant part-time work which provides you with experience relevant to what you want to do long term. 

Although resume building should not be your only motivation for participating in an activity, it should definitely be a consideration. Pretty much anything constructive you do in college can become potential resume material. 

Being a first-generation college student can be both exciting and intimidating. At the end of the day, though, remember that you are doing something special and the benefits of earning your degree often go far beyond how much money you will make one day. 

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