First-generation College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff share some advice for our first-generation students:
"Be patient with yourself as you settle in and adjust to new routines and expectations. And, don't be shy to seek out people to support you and your interests."
"There are lots of challenges, but it is totally worthy! Also, don't worry too much about grades! Figuring out who you would like to be as a person and a professional is way much more important."
"Ask questions and seek out trustworthy mentors. Everyone experiences moments of discouragement and self-doubt, so when you have those moments, remind yourself that you are in good company and that it's part of the journey toward your goals. SCU needs you and wants you to thrive here."
"Enjoy it. Ask questions. Find faculty and staff you feel comfortable with and chat with them about how things are going and ask them how to navigate. You are not alone."
"Your feelings are valid, and you are not alone. You belong in higher education, and your participation makes the college experience for other students that much richer. Diversity in backgrounds and ways of thinking about the world are important for a well-rounded education because it challenges us to think outside the box and to be inclusive of all populations and perspectives."
"You belong at Santa Clara University. You add depth to the learning experiences of everyone: students and faculty. Make the most of your time here. Ask questions. Get to know people who are similar to you and people who are different from you. We all benefit when we meet new people and increase our understanding of each other."
"You already have all the skills you need to be successful within you. But you will absolutely need mentors and a support system to help activate those skills. So reach out to others, and be open to help too."
"Be flexible and open new ideas about knowledge and education and be patient in expecting big changes to occur rapidly; it’s a process."
"Ask for what you need. You might be surprised to find that most people are happy to help."
"Every generation faces challenges which are different and yet the same in many ways. First and foremost, know that you earned admission to college and are strong and talented. Know too that there are students, faculty, staff, and alumni ready to be your ally, waiting to accompany you in solidarity to discern your goals, succeed, and find your path to service for others."
"Never be ashamed that you come from a different background. If you have economic pressure that makes it difficult to participate in an activity and class, make the organizer or professor aware-- I found that most often people are not trying to be exclusionary, they just aren't conscious of how hard it can be to spend an extra $20, $50 or $250 for an experience."
"Find your passion. Work as hard as you can. And don't give up."
"You may think that everyone else has all the answers and is super confident. You may feel that you're the only one feeling confused or having to play catch-up...but I guarantee you a lot of people are having the same feelings as you. You are not an imposter! You belong! And if you reach out, there are people willing to help."
"Take your studies very seriously and work hard to get through, regardless of what your peers may or may not be doing. And education is the best ticket for success for first generation students, in my humble view, as without education my life certainly would have been very different and not so good."
"Always remember that you belong here at SCU and that you have the power to rewrite your narrative. Your choices, your perspective, and your priorities will have a lasting impact on your life and on the lives of others--always move forward with great intention. When things get tough, don't hesitate to lean on the incredible support network at SCU. There are so many faculty, staff, alumni who want to lift you up on your journey! Go, Broncos!"
"Build your support network, they will be there for you through the roller coaster of your college education and beyond. They are those people who will remind you how amazing you are even if you feel knocked down or when those imposter feelings arise."
"You may look around and wonder whether you belong. Everyone else seems to be better prepared, already know what they're supposed to be doing, and have access to so many other resources. I'm here to remind you that you DO BELONG. Despite not having access to the same resources, you made it here - that's a testament to your resilience and tenacity. And don't feel like you have to do it all by yourself to "prove" that you deserve your spot here. Others get help, maybe in ways that you may not be able to see, and you deserve help too. Seek out and use the resources available to you."
"No one is born knowing how the university system works and how best to use it. Don't hesitate to reach out for help when YOU need it. SCU wants you to succeed, and wants to help you to succeed."
"Stick with it! It does get better."