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Home for the Holidays; Stop Living For Validation!

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

Being a first-generation college student was something most people in my family admired. When I go home for the holidays, I hear my family talk about how proud they are. Of course, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and am so glad that I am making my family proud.  However, there is also a part of me that feels slightly suffocated. Being the first person in your family to go to college does change your life and opens doors in so many ways. When I set off to go to college I was ambitious, I told myself I would break generational curses and be successful. Though I still have these goals, this kind of pressure placed on me; whether it be self-inflicted or by my family has been incredibly difficult. 

The hardest part of coming home for the holidays is being painfully aware of the fact that you know you are not where you want to be. Sometimes things do not always work out as planned. It is hard to face your family who has so many hopes and goals for you and not really know how to tell them you are not living up to their expectations. Another thing about being a first-generation student is that you are essentially going through the process of college alone and it may be hard to explain to your family how difficult college actually can be.

At the end of the day, however, you have to learn to live for yourself. I am writing this to any first-generation college student who is going through the same kind of struggles and dreading going home for the holidays. I have learned to navigate the anxiety that comes with not living up to your family and peers’ expectations and the solution is simple. STOP LIVING FOR OTHER PEOPLE. You do not have to prove yourself to anyone. College is not a race, life is not a race. Take your time, don’t live in shame. If you need a gap year, take one, if you have to stay at college for an extra semester or two do that, if you fail a class retake it. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail or how behind you think you are. All that matters is persistence. Do what makes you happy, but also think about its long-term effects and consequences. I promise you, once you stop living for everyone else things will feel a whole lot easier. 

Like I said, it is not easy being a first-generation college student. Sometimes you will fail and disappoint others, but as long as you keep moving forward and live the life YOU want things will turn out okay!

I am a student at SUNY Oswego studying a BA of Arts in Political Science and minoring in Creative Writing. I am eager to express myself through my articles and hope to improve my skills!