“What does it mean to be a first-generation college student?” “How has being first-generation hindered you during your time at Tufts?” “What are some of the problems faced by first-generation college students?” I get asked these questions all the time because not a lot of people understand what it means to be first-gen. However, I feel like I’m always complaining about it.
My answers are always the same: “Being first-gen means not having all of the resources that a lot of other students might have. I’m also a low-income student, which is another factor on top of being first-gen. I don’t know all of the resources that are available to me. I can’t talk to my family about my studies or what’s going on at school. I didn’t come into college knowing what to expect. Blah, blah, blah…”
For this Thanksgiving break, I don’t have the privilege of going home, but am I complaining? No. I’m thankful that I have a place to be for Thanksgiving, whether or not I’ll be back home in the ‘sip (Mississippi) or not. As I plan out my personal Thanksgiving meal, I’m thankful for being first-gen and low-income because it has taught me how to navigate the world successfully without having things that others may have to navigate the world. I’m thankful for the other first-gen people I have met and watched grow and learn through my time here at Tufts. I’m thankful for all of the learning and growing I’ve done while being here at Tufts, and I’m thankful for everyone who has helped me along my journey.
I’m thankful for the opportunities that Tufts has given me through the organizations, clubs, and groups I’ve been a part of – BLAST, First-Gen Council, QuestBridge, the Latino Center, the Women’s Center, Diversity Admissions Council, and many more. They have created spaces on campus for me to go and not feel like I have to explain my story because they already know or understand. They have given me resources that have saved me countless times from failure. I’ve met so many amazing, strong people, from students to the faculty and staff here at Tufts. I’m thankful for all of my first-gen friends who have been by my side and always pushed me to strive toward success. I’m thankful for all of the faculty that have listened to me and created opportunities for me and others who will come after me to succeed. I’m thankful for the Tufts administration opening their doors to more and more first-gen, low-income students every year and giving others amazing opportunities.
I’m thankful that Tufts gave me the opportunity for me to be the first person in my family to go to college.