I am preprofessional and I am: a first generation college student

  • Dec 8, 2016

My parents are amazing people. They have managed to make something of themselves and start a business despite never getting college degrees. My mom was a mother to 3 at the age of 21, so college was kind of out of the question for them. This has definitely shaped the way I was brought up and molded my work ethic. I will be the first person in my family to attend and graduate college. I would be lying if I said it was easy to get where I am today. In all honesty, it has been quite the opposite.

My parents helped me a lot when I was a kid, but once I hit high school I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. I do have an older brother, but he wasn’t planning on attending college and didn’t know the process. When it came to asking for help navigating applications or writing personal statements, the internet was my mentor. I had to rely on myself to do a lot of things, but in many ways that has helped make me independent. It has also been very difficult. Having no one in my family to talk about and relate with about the transition into college was a struggle. That, on top of the expectations everyone placed on me, made college more stressful. I was always a good student in high school, but college was different. I had so many people in my family counting on me. I had neighbors tell me they “placed me on a pedestal” and that was a lot of pressure to do well. On top of doing things for myself, I had to help my younger brother out a lot. The things I had to figure out alone in high school, I was now expected to help him with (homework, applications, etc). While I don’t mind because I love my brother and obviously want him to succeed, worrying about his stuff as well as all the things I had going on was hard sometimes. A lot of people are expecting me to do something amazing with my life. Sometimes I wish more people in my family had gone to college just to take off some of the pressure and make it seem less special. If everyone in my family had gone to college, perhaps so many people wouldn’t be looking at me.

Conversely, I feel very lucky. While my family can’t help me with college classes or applications, they still do a lot. My mom and dad are always doing things to relieve my stress and make college just a little bit easier. They’re extremely selfless. There have been many times that they have driven up here when I was stressed to take me to dinner. One time I was so stressed with school and overwhelmed with my to-do list that my mom drove an hour and cleaned my apartment for me. They really are the best parents in the world, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them. They knew how important college was and have echoed that since I was a kid.

I’ll graduate from MSU in the spring. The road getting there certainly hasn’t been easy, but I’ve had some really great people supporting me. I had to do a lot of things on my own, but I have no doubt in my mind that any of my family or friends would have gone to the end of the earth to alleviate any of my stress. I do have a lot of people who expect a lot from me, but they love me. They care about my future and they push me to do something more with my life. I may be a first generation college student, but I feel so lucky to have the people I do rooting for me. Despite everything, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s made me who I am.

With love until Spring, 

Bailey <3