14 Things No One Tells You About Being A First-Generation College Student
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14 Things No One Tells You About Being A First-Generation College Student

You may feel alone, but you're not.

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14 Things No One Tells You About Being A First-Generation College Student
Student Ski

Getting that degree isn’t easy for anyone, but for first generation college students, the college experience can be all the more grueling. Everyone tells you that you’re going to get a great education and eventually obtain a stable job with a comfortable income. What they don’t tell you, is the emotional roller coaster that comes along with those four-plus years on campus.

1. You're going to get very homesick.

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It’s not uncommon for homesickness to bring a college student running back to their family. Several studies have found that first generation students tend to suffer a higher degree of homesickness from separation. Mentally preparing yourself to live independently, and figuring out ways to stay in contact with your loved ones back home will help make the transition a little smoother.

2. You're going to lose friends.

You don’t have to move away from your hometown to grow away from people. College is a whole new stage in your life. You’ll have new outlooks and learning experiences that unfortunately (or fortunately, in some cases) will distance you from people that were once a big part of your life.

3. You're going to feel like you have to keep proving yourself to everyone.

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You feel like you’ve got to prove to your family and friends back home that you haven’t really changed that much, even though in some ways, you have. You also feel like you’ve got to prove that you’re just as smart and capable as your colleagues in the classroom

4. You're going to be overwhelmed.

You may have been the top of your class in high school, but easy A’s are hard to come by once you hit college.

5. You're going to feel inferior.

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Hearing your colleagues talk about all of their amazing accomplishments might make you feel like a bit of an underachiever. Back in high school, you were always the best at everything, and now, you feel average at best. Those in-depth class discussions and debates can be intimidating at the beginning, especially when your colleagues start using vocabulary you’ve never even heard before. Something important to remember: eloquent language does not make a stronger argument.

6. You're going to feel alone.

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None of your family back home has ever gone to college, so they don’t understand a lot of the struggles you’re currently going through. On the other hand, many of your colleagues already had parents, or even grandparents, who went to college before them to show them the ropes. Sometimes, it’s going to feel like no one understands the position you’re in.

7. You're going to feel responsible.

You have now become a role model for the younger members of your family, and it’s up to you to help make the college transition seem possible.

8. You're going to feel guilty.

You know how hard your parents had to work to support your dream of a higher education, you know the sacrifices that were made for you. You also know that others that worked just as hard as you did in high school were not provided the same opportunities as you. You may start to ask yourself, “Why me?”

9. You know college is a privilege, not a given.

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College was not the automatic next step for you after high school. You saw the amount of work that went into getting you to where you are currently at, and that will not be taken for granted.

10. You're going to work twice as hard.

Because you know how lucky you are to attend college, you plan to give it your all. Everything that has led up to your attendance at a prestigious campus cannot and will not be for nothing.

11. You can take the pressure.

Some people consider high school graduation a minor accomplishment. But for some, it’s huge. You might have been the first in your family to graduate from high school. You might have been taking college classes already to save money in the future. You might have worked your way through high school, taking a part time job after school. You might have had to learn an entire new language in order to get that diploma. You might have had people trying to discourage you from even attending college. Whatever your obstacles may have been, chances are that you are already familiar with struggling to get what you want, college won’t be much different in that sense.


12. Your degree feels just a bit heavier.

Your name may be the only one on that diploma, but that certificate isn’t just for you. It’s for everyone whose helped you get this far and everyone who needs your help to get to where they want to be.

13. You're going to be humble.

You know firsthand that an education and higher paying job does not make a person more important or hard working than any other. You have been raised to have the same amount of respect for all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

14. You will have so many valuable perspectives.

You’ve grown up seeing the world from the opposite side of all the perks and privileges you are now open to. The experience you have is something that can’t be taught in a classroom, and will become just as valuable as your college education.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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