Experiences As a First Generation Latina in College

 

It’s an incredible feeling to live in an age where Latinx people are breaking the barriers that our ancestors faced. Many Latinx folks are the first in their family to attend college or university, a great accomplishment for many.

 

When I was growing up I knew that I wanted to be a professional but my aspirations kept on changing. Some days I wanted to be a fashion designer and others I wanted to be a lawyer. I did think of college as a serious possibility until my Sophomore year of high school when I decided wanted to be in the medical field. When I told my parents that I wanted to major in Biology and go to medical school they were excited,  but explaining to them the experiences I face in college is not always easy. I want to share some of these experiences in an effort to let all my fellow first-generation Latinx or simply just first-generation college students know that you’re not alone and to be patient with your parents.

 

Classes Are Not Always In the Morning

 

(Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash)

 

My parents are your typical strict and concerned type. Since they had no knowledge of what a college schedule looked like, they thought I was lying when I told them I had a class at 7 pm. They immediately thought I was sneaking off to meet up with a boy or friends. I had to show them my schedule to prove that I was not lying. This was new to me and them, so I tried to be patient and understanding.

 

Not Driving At Night

 

(Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash)

 

Having night classes to my parents meant that they were picking me up from school. They always showed up 10-20 minutes early so that I would not have to wait alone at night. During my first quarter at college, I only had my driving permit, which added to their list of reasons that kept me from driving at night. They were also concerned with me having to walk around campus late at night, but with time my parents saw that there are always students walking around campus late at night as well. I did appreciate the sacrifice that my parents made to pick me up and drop me off at school even though, they lost hours of sleep and rest that they needed, they put me and my safety before themselves and their needs.

 

Explaining My New Major

(Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

 

During my first quarter of college, I realized that I didn’t want to major in Biology anymore. I found that I was more interested in politics, government, and international relations. I decided to change my major to Political Science. I didn’t know how to tell my parents that I changed majors because they were so excited to see me become a doctor and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I feel that in my culture the only careers that people care about are medicine, lawyers, or engineers, so I feared that when I explained my new major to my parents, they would not understand what it was or what type of careers I could pursue. My mom seemed confused with my new major but she said she supported me nonetheless. I never really told my dad that I changed majors, but he has recently himself found an interest in politics. I feel positive about him understanding what my interests and passion are within Political Science.

 

My Thoughts

 

College brings many different experiences to the diverse population of students that attend every year. I have experienced many things myself and these are only a few. Know that just as college is a new thing for you, it’s also a new thing for your parents. They are going to be concerned, they are going to be overprotective, and you are going to get annoyed by all this. But what I have learned is that time really does make them ease up on you. Also, share some things that you saw or experienced throughout your day because it allows for their trust to build and they also want to know what a college environment is like. I appreciate all the little things my parents did and still do for me so I can have a successful college experience, in a way they’re also working with me for my diploma because even their support at the end of the day means a lot to me and keeps me going.