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SCU First Gen Staff/Faculty Profiles

Jose Gallo Alvarado
Externship Program Coordinator, SCU Law
Where did you attend college?

Santa Clara University

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

My college experience has pushed me to grow in unimaginable ways. Through Santa Clara, I have expanded my network, befriended teachers, and participated in clubs and activities. I would not have been here without the list of mentors and people telling me it is possible to achieve my dreams. The self-doubt of not coming from a family of wealth, being guaranteed a job after graduation, and having to work and commute during undergrad was the most difficult challenge in my life. I come from a public education, low income, and had to take the public bus every day throughout undergrad. I do not regret waking up early and knowing that every challenge would pay off. I faced all the struggles that would make a student drop out. I am now happy to talk about all the challenges of undergrad and how I balanced full-time work and going to school while keeping my personal and mental health in check. My journey has never been a straight line, and the ups and downs have grown me to be the best version of myself.

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

Everyone and everything is telling you that you don't belong here. Could you not listen to them? First-generation students must graduate to change the norm because first-gen students historically were not granted the option to attend college due to money, background, race, etc. All the challenges that may seem impossible, however, there is a way. We have faced one of the most difficult historical challenges in the last century. You that are reading this have survived COVID-19. Not only did you get through one of the most stressful times, but you have been able to dedicate time to your mental health and well-being. Undergrad is another challenge of its own, but you will get through it by reaching out to your familia. Your familia is your list of friends at Santa Clara, LEAD Scholars, SCU Professors, and Erin. You do not have to face the challenge alone and lost. We want to help. Let us help. Now go and prove to the world that you want to grow. Shine your light and be bright.