Where did you attend college?
University of California Berkeley
What was your college experience like as a first-generation college student?
For most of my undergraduate years, school came second to work. As a result, I missed out on quite a few opportunities. I never quite felt as if I fit in my classes, but I did love the libraries--my substitute for world travel. I attended as many plays as I could, as well as undertook numerous visits to the art exhibitions. I made a few good friends, but was anything but a gregarious student. I did work up the courage to get to know a few of my professors in upper division courses. Some of them provided encouragement regarding my aptitudes that really surprised me, since I thought for the most part that I was a fake.
What message do you have to share with current first-generation college students?
What would you rather be? A young person constantly resisting the "imposter" syndrome by working to discover and assert your legitimacy, or a young person with an exaggerated sense of legitimacy who therefore fails to live up to your self perception? As I look back on my education, I do not bemoan my first gen status, since it necessitated my embrace of the first--and I think preferable--of the two options.