Breaking the Mold: Excelling as a First-Generation College Student

Issue 20: November 8, 2023

“Why college?” The question from my mother loomed over me like a rain cloud for weeks in high school. Why college? Why take on four more years of education? No one in my family had ever gotten that far. Not a single family member had ever even attended a university. Why should I break the mold? Now here I am four years later and I can confidently say that choosing to attend McMurry University was the best decision of my life. There have been struggles, at one point I had a 2.01 GPA, but the fantastic support system around me at McMurry allowed me to raise my GPA back above a 3.0 in just two semesters.

You are not alone in your struggles, college especially for first-generation students can be a daunting task. The unknowns seem unmeasurable. How do classes work? How does financial aid work? These endless questions seem unanswerable. The best advice I can give to first-generation students is to be brave, and take risks. No feat of greatness has ever been achieved within one’s comfort zone. I have had several majors, each of which pushed me closer to my passion. The journey at times can feel like a grind, but now nearing the end of my undergraduate lifespan I can tell you that the journey was more of a blessing than I could have ever realized.

College can feel isolated, and lonely even. You feel as if it is you versus the world, but that could not be further from the truth. You are surrounded by love and support at McMurry; take advantage of that. I have been blessed to have excellent professors, coaches, and advisors to help guide me on my journey. Now, here I am two semesters away from graduation. I have inspired my siblings to attend college and hopefully inspired a new start for my family in growing their educations. If I had not made the decision to break the mold of my family and take risks, I would have never inspired this change. You have the opportunity to make this change. Unfortunately, we are only given one shot at this life, take your chances and bet on yourself. Dreams without work stay dreams. Find your dream, your passion, and chase it endlessly. A chance taken on a dream is not a chance at all, but a step forward.