The author, Enoch Jemmott, wrote fascinating points in his article from the New York Times called The Implicit Punishment of Daring to Go to College When Poor. How many of you retain the memories of struggling to apply for college? There was the dreaded FAFSA, the anxiety-ridden financial aid award letter, and the acceptance letter. Yes, it was a time of suffering, grief,  and happiness mingled together. As a first-generation student myself, I remembered how stressed I felt because there were too many colleges I wanted to attend! Furthermore, my parents never went to college so they couldn’t give any advice. They could only stand by the side and encourage me.

The college application process was long and frustrating for me. It started with college tours. I remembered visiting schools in Chicago, Madison, and Duluth and making notes of all the major qualities that made each college standout, but even then, it was still a bewildering experience for me. How do I know which college is the right one? Should I stay close to home? Should I venture out? How will I pay for college? How will I make friends? Is this school diverse? These thoughts spun inside my head. It was an exhilarating moment, but it was also a stressful time because I was about to enter one of the most thrilling stages of my life and I want to make it right.

Since my parents and relatives didn’t go to college, I couldn’t ask for advice from anyone about which college I should apply to. I did, however, joined a few programs at school that took me on college tours. Some of these tours were free while others were paid. They did, however, offer scholarships for students to apply to if they can’t afford to go on these trips. Project Success, Upward Bound, and College Possible were three such programs. They are awesome and I recommend you check them out. The farthest states I went to for a college tour were South Dakota and Illinois. Thinking back, I don’t know why I would go to a college that far from home. But then again, if I didn’t go on these tours, I wouldn’t have known that I wanted to stay close to home.