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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 Texas chapter.

After completing my first year at UT Austin, I experienced and learned many things about myself, all as a first-generation student. There are so many things that are overlooked and not talked about when stepping into such a transitional stage of your life that I felt so alone throughout my experience, especially my first semester. All I wanted was for breaks to come in faster so I could go home. I had no idea what an RA or TA was, or even what office hours were until over a week into my first year. I was overwhelmed and terrified, but I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

Coming from a small town in South Texas with immigrant parents, no one prepares you for what university is like. You grow up hearing “echale ganas para que tengas un buen futuro”, so you work so hard all of high school to be able to attend the university of your dreams to just doubt yourself the moment you step out of your first college class. It feels as if no one at home understands what you’re going through because you are the one to have to break barriers and heal generational wounds, and you’re so scared of not just failing yourself but failing everyone back at home for everything they’ve done to get you where you are today. Having to go through your educational career with this weight on your shoulders can feel so heavy, but it is so worth it in the end.

You will be the one to pave the way for your siblings who won’t have to struggle the way you had to with your college applications. You will be the one to finally check that bachelor’s degree or higher box when it’s been generations of high school/middle school education or less. From having to translate your mom’s immigration documents to helping your sister with her math homework, just know you are the pillars that hold your family together, but don’t let that hold you back. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t let the guilt of putting yourself first for your education and mental health hold you back. Moving over five hours away from my immigrant parents was so difficult since they depended on me for so long, but know everything you are doing is not just for them, but for yourself.

So as a final remark, to my fellow first-generation Latina/x students, you are amazing and so much more brave than you think. You are a part of the small percentage of students who had to grow up in such difficult circumstances to be able to get to where you are today and you should give yourself so much more credit than you think. Tu mereces estar aqui.

Hi, I'm Natalia (she/her), a second-year student majoring in Mexican American Latina/o Studies with a minor in Law, Justice, and Society at the University of Texas at Austin! My articles cover a wide range of interests, from fashion and concerts to a deep commitment to activism and social justice. Eager to explore a broad spectrum of topics, I aim to touch on everything from beauty and culture to the important issues that shape our world. I hope my writing serves as a platform to create a safe space and shed light on mental health challenges and political complexities faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds.