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The Struggles of Being a First-Generation College Student

The struggles of being a first-generation college student are almost never talked about, but they should be. There have been so many times where I have felt alone in my struggles, and maybe you have too, so let’s start the conversation! So many of us have immigrant parents who came to the United States just so that we could have the opportunity to go to college and earn an education, but this often leaves several burdens on our shoulders.

It’s hard, but you’re not alone. I get it, it’s the little things. It’s having to learn how to navigate FAFSA and TAP and the rest of your financial aid because you’re the only one who will do it. It’s having to figure taxes and fill out IRS forms from the age of 17. It’s never asking your parents for advice when registering for classes because they don’t understand how it works. It’s barely speaking about your classes because they barely understand what you’re studying to begin with. It’s your parents not understanding how stressful midterms and finals are. It’s not asking them for advice regarding anything having to do with higher education because they just don’t know, despite how much they want to help. It’s having to go to the financial aid and academic advisement offices regularly because no one else can help you. It’s getting stared at on campus when you speak in a foreign language when on the phone with your parents. It’s having to remember every tuition deadline because you’re the one that will have to go online and pay it. It’s having to constantly think about your student debt and loans because your parents won’t ever be able to help you pay. It’s feeling like if you don’t get perfect grades, you’re dishonoring everything your parents endured to get you here. It’s feeling like your parents have lived the hard lives they do because of your existence.

It’s so much more than I have space to say, but trust me when I say I get it. The most important thing for you to remember is this: you are already making your parents proud. You are in college, and you’re doing everything you can to receive the best education. You are making all of your ancestors proud by sitting in that classroom, in that dorm room, in that library. You are here. It’s hard, but you have the blood of your brave parents running through your veins, and you can do anything.




Hello! My name is Sophia Monsalve, I'm from Queens, New York and I'm a sophomore here at SUCO. I'm a Mass Media Communications and Women and Gender Studies major, and I hope to present my activism through my articles! I hope to make even the smallest ripples of change by advocating for important causes in my writing.
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