When I came to college, I was very excited about the endless possibilities that awaited me. I wanted to become a writer, editor, computer scientist, and study every other major offered at the university here. It was exciting and frustrating at the same time because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. As a first-generation student, I don’t have anyone to guide me through the college process. I have to pave my own path. Furthermore, not only do I have to deal with stress at school, but I also have to deal with stress from home.
We all have things that we struggle with. From our parents to ourselves, we struggle to make sense of our lives. We also lack a strong professional network. Our parents never went to college and only a few of our aunts or uncles went. Therefore, we only have a few people to guide us, to inspire us, and to ask questions. In order to create a professional network, we will have to seek out people in the community, school, and work-place settings. For many of us, we start from scratch.
When I came to the U, my connections include myself, my friends, and my siblings. I didn’t even know what LinkedIn was! But this is what I did: I looked for programs, student organizations, and local groups in the community that I was interested in and reached out to these people. I was lucky to have been a Wallin Education scholar and in this program, I was paired with a mentor whom I can talk to and seek resources from. Wallin also held many workshops throughout the school year where Wallin scholars can intermingle and connect with professionals. It was through these events that I was able to connect with people and build my professional network. I also build my network through my job at school, my internship, and my professors. As first-gen students, we don’t have the advantage that many other students have. That is why we have to keep our eyes open to take advantage of networking opportunities.
I shared my personal experiences with academic and family struggles. Now I want you to share yours. What are some of the things you have to deal with? Comment below and don’t forget to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more similar posts.