Pressures of Being a First Gen College Student

The Pressure Of Being A First Generation College Student

I know your ancestors are so proud of you.

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My mom always told me I was going to college.

No matter if I had to kick, cry and scream my way through the process, I was going to college. Growing up in a multi-cultured, indigenous household, I never once thought how all odds were against me. No one in my immediate family received a four year college degree. So when it came to applying for colleges, I could not look to my parents or grandparents for help. Everything was done through my own research and asking my school counselors. Even then, I was completely confused on what would make me a good candidate in each college. What would make me stand out? I then began to focus on my story.

Personal statements hold a great importance to represent yourself in the admissions process. As I wrote my story I started to cry. Not because of the deep trauma I have had to build myself up from, but the trauma my family has felt through each generation. I admit, the women in my family are some of the strongest women I know. They are the reason I have a backbone and do not hide behind corners anymore. When I write my story, whether through blog posts or poetry, I find myself looking back at obstacles and things that could have prevented me from going to college.

I knew I was smart. I worked my butt off all throughout school, despite some traumatic events. When everything around me seemed to be out of control and falling apart, I chose to focus on school. School was the only thing in my control. If I failed a test, that was on me. If I got 100%, that was because I studied. I did not blame my family for having bad grades or not working hard enough. I could blame them. I could blame a lot of things on those who have caused my PTSD and anxiety, but what is the point? These situations make me stronger. No one whose had an easy life ever has an interesting story to tell.

Now that I am in college, the pressure has intensified. Grandma and Papa are so proud of me. They tell everyone around them that I am a college girl and going to get my degree. But when I look around, it truly is only me. I cannot call up a family member and tell them, "Hey how did you deal with this in your 3rd year of college?" My peers are great people to talk to but nothing beats asking a family member about this.

Sometimes, I just want to drop out or pause my courses for a little while. When I bring that up, it is as if the world has been set on fire. Being in college can appear easy from the outside looking in. University looks so easy and stress-free if you have never attended. College is a whole new world from high school. The amount of independence does not compare to high school. No one is going to check up on you every single minute, you have to check up on yourself. Life happens too. My grandma passed away the second quarter of my Freshman year, and that broke me. I wanted to drop out right then and there. I had two midterms that week. And guess what I did? Two days after my grandma passed, myself and two blue books were in class, ready to take two exams. Of course, I cried my eyes out in the bathroom after the exams. That year hurt so bad. Even now, I still remember that type of pain. It just doesn't go away, but it does get better though.

Stay strong. Because it does indeed get better.

You are climbing mountains just attending college. Be proud of where you have come from and who you are becoming. I know your ancestors are so proud. I am proud of you.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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