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Overcoming Barriers as a First-gen Latina

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 SJSU chapter.

Being a first generation Latina college student isn’t easy. Some students may have had the privilege of being guided by a family member who attended college.However, it can be difficult for first gen. students to navigate their way to and through college without immediate guidance.

As a first generation Latina, I’ve had to rely on school programs, clubs, and resources to not only get to college, but also get through it. Since the system isn’t built for underrepresented people of color to excel and pursue higher education, I’ve had to overcome many barriers.

One of the first barriers I had to overcome as a first gen Latina was figuring out how to apply to college. Something as simple as knowing what website to apply to was taught to me by a college program. 

Additionally, completing FAFSA for financial aid was an obstacle in and of itself. It was very difficult to learn and understand tax terminology all alone. 

Once in college, another barrier I faced was having to work full time while being a full-time college student, in order to afford my education. As a result, I had to push myself to complete assignment deadlines, despite feeling tired, overwhelmed, and burnt out after an 8-hour shift. 

Regardless of the obstacles I’ve had to overcome so far to get to and through college, one thing that helps push me through is having purpose. My purpose as a first gen Latina is to inspire and uplift young, underrepresented people of color like me and to reduce racial disparity in education and in the workforce. 

If you are a first generation Latina or a person of color, I praise you for your hard work and dedication while pursuing your degree. You are breaking generational curses and are a true inspiration to the younger generation. 

Know that after a storm, there is a rainbow. That rainbow is your success and a paved way for the future generation to follow in your footsteps. Without your determination and strength, there would be no role model.

What do you think the term “purpose” means to you? Let us know, @HerCampusSJSU!

Madeline is a first generation student at San Jose State University. She is majoring in Public Health and minoring in Biological Sciences. Her interests include reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations to achieve equitable health outcomes. For fun, she likes travel and try new boba/coffee shops!