While college is an exciting prospect, some students may have more at stake than others. After all, they’re the first ones in their families who will potentially graduate from college. These students have a different view of college because there’s no one in their immediate family who can talk to them about what to expect.
Being a first generation college student means you have less knowledge about traditions, patterns, and what to expect in college than freshmen who have someone in their family with collegiate experience. Having someone around to explain college experiences, the potential pitfalls, and the general routine of most college students is an advantage that many students take for granted. But you don’t have that, so you might be feeling a little lost and overwhelmed.
You may also be under a lot of pressure from family and friends who are rooting for you to succeed. That is, if your parents are a hundred percent behind your decision to go to college, whether they’re helping you pay for it or not. This is not always the case for a first generation college student. Not only do they have to work for their dreams on their own, they also have to take flak for being too ambitious. Whatever the case is, don’t let these drawbacks prevent you from pursuing your dream of finishing your college education. There are many first generation college students like you who have succeeded despite the difficulties.
Here are some tips on how to survive college if you are a first generation college student.
Find an College Adviser
Be Realistic When Planning Your Schedule
Burn can happen not only to a first generation college student, but to all students in general. The major cause of burn out is biting off more than you can chew in terms of courses and subjects for one semester. Do a self-assessment and figure out which subjects you excel in and pattern your schedule around your strengths. If you’re good in calculations, it’s probably ok to add two more subjects that involve math. If you know you can’t handle too many reading assignments, don’t take on two or more reading-intensive subjects. Pace yourself, especially if you have to work after class.
Be Observant and Ask Questions
Focus on Your Goal
Statistics show that first generation college students are more likely to drop out than students that come from a families with collegiate experience. There are many reasons for this, including mixed feelings of guilt and shame.
Some first generation students feel guilty that they’re off to college being brilliant while the rest of the family can hardly make ends meet at home. They may also feel ashamed of their socio-economic status, especially if most of their new friends are more well off and don’t need to work to attend college. Separate your goals from these feelings, which are normal and will always be there. The important thing is to commit completely to your goal of finishing school.