A Substantial Letter to All C.A.R.E Students

Dear C.A.R.E Students,

I am writing this letter to mentally prepare you and give you tips and advice regardless of what school year you are currently in. First, I will tell you some things about myself. I am in the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement program, which makes me a first-generation student like you or others who might qualify for the program. This means I can relate by all means, to any inconveniences you have had financially, academically and emotionally. Being a first-generation student puts me ahead of people in my life in many ways but also reminds me of how behind I am in other ways. It is like we are the “man in the middle” of the university. Fortunately, the middleman is usually the most determined despite being the least expected to succeed. You will be the misfit or the least understood or acknowledged but you will also have the upper hand of having nothing else to lose, and a lot to gain.

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I want to make this letter all about us, so I will be discussing the most important concepts we need to understand that the average student may not be aware of. First, we are different from most people inherently. We have most likely been through more than others can imagine or have ever experienced - that means it is most important to learn about who you are, your identity, and embrace where you come from. In order to do that, you will need to reflect, and gather information about what makes you who you are culturally, geographically, socio-economically, and intellectually. You also need to understand and work on developing your strengths and weaknesses.

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Relationships are very important. It is important to understand how the relationships you make negatively and positively impact you. Most of us probably have complicated, inconsistent and unreliable relationships. But since we made it here, we also have some sort of support system, which is very necessary for our success. Simply because we are growing and there are probably other people in our lives who cannot catch up or are not trying to. People will try to use you, take advantage of you and have nothing to show for it. Do not let them. Set boundaries, communicate your expectations and set standards. This is how you avoid toxic, harmful and abusive relationships that can negatively impact you. Also realize that as a first-generation student, you may be attracted to people who are familiar but without the same values, morals, and determination as you - beware of those people.

 

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Realize that you have trauma to overcome. Also, note all your conditioning growing up. You are a first-generation student and life has never been easy - if it has been, kudos to you. You should always be aware of your mental health. Be aware of who your influencers may be and why they should or should not have an influence over you. 

This helps with staying focused and accomplishing your goals with the least possible stress. I will leave it off here. I hope you take note of this letter and use it to your best ability.

Sincerely,

Unique K. Castro