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SCU First Gen Staff/Faculty Profiles

Zucel Aguilar
Associate Director of Admission, Office of Undergraduate Admission
Where did you attend college?

De Anza College/Gonzaga University

What was your college experience like as a first-generation college student?

It is always hard being first. As a transfer student and first gen there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. A lot of language used in the admission process or at the university are barriers to first gen students. It took a long time to find my rhythm and a sense of belonging at my university but eventually, I did. You will still struggle with imposter syndrome at school and loneliness of having limited family who understands. It is, however, all worth it when your family is being so obnoxious during graduation weekend in their love and support of you. It is your degree and your accomplishment but it is also the fulfilment of your families dreams.

What message do you have to share with current first-generation college students?

Finding community is so important to your success. Whether that be your peers or mentors. Being first-gen can be an isolating experience but you are not the only who feels that way. Reach out! Allow others who have been in your position help make your college process easier. Your peers/mentors can give you advice, advocate for your, or just listen. Another message I would share is to network! Many non-first gen students reach out to their parents' coworkers or family friends to network, job shadow, or talk to people who work in various industries. For many first gen students, however, our network does not look the same. My father was a janitor and so his connections were limited to landscapers, construction workers, and food service employees. College is the first time many first-gen students can network so please take advantage. Go to the career/internship fair, reach out to a recruiter on Handshake. Take advantage of the opportunities we haven't had before.