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The First-Gen Guide To Surviving College

An article that provides 4 simple tips for students who are the first in their families to go to college.

By: Pamela Alvarado

A photo of post-it notes on a white board with inspirational messages to freshman students written on them.
Photo By: Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Welcome to the First Gen Guide to Survive!

Let this mini-guide be your compass to navigate the uncharted waters of higher education. As a first-generation college student, you’re not just stepping onto a campus; you’re stepping into a legacy. Whether you’re in your first year or graduating soon, let this guide help you survive and thrive in college.

#1: Seek Out Support (As cliche as this tip may be)

Don’t be afraid to ask for support. Trust me, I know it can be challenging to ask for help due to the fear of appearing weak, but that is not the case. I should know myself. Ask your professors, counselors, etc. You are never alone in your journey, and there are many people who want to see you succeed. The difference is that you have to make the first step.

#2: Be Yourself

Imposter syndrome is real. I know that for sure. Remember that you are here for a reason and have something valuable to offer. The school chose you for a reason. They saw potential in you. Maybe you don’t see it at the moment, but trust me, they did. Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior or ashamed of who you are or where you come from. Be proud of who you are.

#3: Take Care of Yourself

College is stressful, as always. It’s always important to take care of yourself. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, etc. Find healthy ways to cope with stress and seek professional help if you struggle with mental health issues like anxiety or depression. I know it is tempting to strive for perfection as a first-gen, but never at the expense of your health. You deserve to be happy and healthy.

#4: Have Fun!

Enjoy the college experience and appreciate the opportunities it offers in the long run. College is not only about getting a degree but also about learning more about yourself as a person. This is something I am still learning along the way. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself; focus on your goals and dreams and pursue them.

This was a simple guide, but hopefully, it helps you in your journey.

I mean, hey, I’m still learning myself.

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