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10 Morgan Harper Nichols Quotes for Every First-Gen Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

It’s first-generation appreciation week! As a first-generation student, I know how difficult the adjustment to college life can be. Learning how to navigate social situations, applying for desperately-needed financial aid, and battling with self-esteem are all issues that I have faced in the first few months of my freshman year, and things that I am still learning how to overcome. No matter your struggles, you are meant to be here. Because I know how hard that may be to see, I’ve picked some quotes by my favorite poet to give you some motivation to finish off the semester with confidence.


“Let this be the season you choose to do the courageous, intentional work of being made new. Let this be the November you never forget, because you chose to leave the past behind you.”

With every new month, new week, and new day, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and begin again.

“Even when you are waiting for certain things to fall in place, may you know there is still room to believe, dream, and create.”

With all the chaos of college, don’t forget to give into your passions. It’s so important to cater to yourself every once in a while!

“You were made for this life, terrifying and beautiful as it may be, holding on in troubled times, finding light in little things.”

Even in the hard times, when it seems like you shouldn’t be here, there is a place for you. The fact that you keep fighting proves that you are meant to be exactly where you are.

“If it ever seems your bones can no longer bear the weight of your own restlessness, and you are up at night fighting a sea of endless questions, even in these midnight depths, take each moment breath by breath. For no matter what has happened, you are far from finished yet. For when waves and winds are heavy, your soul is whole and steady. And even here, there will be light bringing mercy in the morning.”

It’s so easy to let stress, doubt, and the unknowns overwhelm you. Take things one step at a time. You’re on a journey with many twists and turns — admire the scenery and keep going, even when you aren’t sure exactly where you’ll end up.

“I hope that one day, you are able to look back and be so glad that your story did not look exactly like theirs. I hope you are able to be equally excited for where you are as you are for them.”

I find myself constantly comparing my experience and my journey to others, even when we’ve had completely different struggles. Your journey is your own. Be proud of yourself for where you are and be proud of others for how far they’ve come.

“May this be the season you say goodbye to doubting yourself, choosing to believe you are worth being believed in, no matter the ones who failed to see it.”

For me, I sometimes wonder if I should actually be here, if the teachers and mentors who told me I might not be ready were right. I promise you, they weren’t. I am meant to be here and you are, too! Never give up and acknowledge your worth, even if others don’t.

“And slowly you will begin to find: the past did not define you. It is certainly a part of your story, but it was not the final chapter.”

The past is just one chapter in your life, college is another. Don’t be afraid to rewrite your story on your own terms.

“You never know. You could take the leap and everything could go according to plan, or everything could change in unexpected ways, but what matters is this: either way, you will grow. Either way, you will walk away knowing: you were brave and you gave your all.”

There are so many ways to get to where you want to be and, sometimes, all these choices are too much. The right choice is almost never an easy one. Fear is proof that you are growing — look it in the face and remember your strength. You can do this!


“The same morning light that shines on the most beautiful places on Earth is shining on you, too.”

You are enough. The struggles, the let-downs, and the tough days can wear down on you. But you’re still here, no matter the doubt and the weight on your shoulders. You have such strength in that heart of yours. Keep fighting!


“Sometimes hope is the morning sun rising over the mountainscape, and sometimes, it’s the gentle whisper in the valley: “you are going to be okay.”

Through it all, you have what it takes to overcome. This journey takes time and resilience. You are more than enough, even when you can’t see it.

But, there may be times when you aren’t okay. Never be afraid to ask for help, and never think that needing help makes you weak. Your friends and family, and even your professors and advisors, are there to support you. If you need a professional to talk to, MSU’s Counseling & Psychiatric Services are always here to help!

The end of the semester is just around the corner. Keep working hard and remember your worth! 

Emma Helrigel is a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in social work. In her free time she enjoys taking unnecessarily long naps, writing poetry, getting caught up on the most recent political events, and forgetting to stay hydrated.
Ananya is the President of Her Campus at Michigan State. She is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Health Promotion, and post-graduation, she will be attending medical school! If she's not studying, you can find her watching TikToks or Grey's Anatomy!