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Being The First: Tips For First Generation College Students

Being the first in your family to go to college can be harder than it seems. You have this whole host of expectations for yourself and your family has expectations for you too. You want nothing more than to make them proud, do your best, and succeed. You will do all of these things and I promise you, your parents are already proud! However, there are a couple things that when I was first entering college I overlooked, so make sure to remember and consider these things.

College Costs Money

Obviously as a cheery senior graduating high school I did realize that college would cost money. However, I failed to think about such things as financial aid until about two days before school started.  Silly me, forms need to be filled out prior to starting school. Your requests can be looked at, way before the semester starts.

You will be able to know exactly how much money you are getting in financial aid or how much money in loans you may need. It definitely beats scrambling around two weeks into the semester trying to fill out your FAFSA form two months after the deadline!

I Need What?

If you are the first in your family to go to college there are some things your parents just might not know you need.  I recommend phoning a friend who attends college to see what you may need if you are living on campus. They can remind you that you’ll want some shower flip flops.  They will also let you know that as ugly as rain boots can be you may want to invest in a pair.

They will tell you that eventually you may get a little sick of dining hall food so stock up on cereal and ramen noodles for the nights you are starving.  Also, purchasing a decent pair of headphones to block out your noisy neighbors may be beneficial to your sleep and study habits.

I for one, was the sole person in my dorm room that came without some sort of mattress pad or egg crate cushion to put over my mattress. Trust me, You don’t want to be that guy.

Try It Out:

As you may know by now, I’m a big pusher on getting involved. Being the first in your family to go to college, you may not realize just how many organizations there are for you to join on campus or the events there are to attend. My advice: do it all! Go to events that sound different and visit club meetings that you may have some interest in.

Also, try not to head home on the weekends (and for commuters don’t leave campus right after class). Weekends and in between classes are chances to meet those who live on your floor or other students in your classes.  By attending events and seeing everything the campus has to offer, you never know what you might like, where you will end up, or the great friends you could potentially make.

Ode To Yo

Maybe as the first in your family to go to college you may not know everything there is to know about it yet.  So What? You have four wonderful years to get it all down pat. Take your time!  Some students may come from a long line of college goers but even for them- it is their first time going too! College is a brand new world for everyone. Be proud that you are going to school, because you deserve to be here, and this is just the beginning of a great series of successes in your life.

If you are the first in your family to go to college, what is it like for you?  What are some tips you would have for incoming freshman?