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SCU First Gen Staff/Faculty Profiles

Haoning Richter
Adjunct Lecturer, Accounting Dept.
Where did you attend college?

San Jose State University

What was your college experience like as a first-generation college student and what message do you have to share with current first-generation college students?

College will be one of the most challenging experiences in a young person's life. Everything is new, and for the first time in our lives, we start to bear the responsibility for our own decisions.

My college experience was harder than most. I was also an international student who came to U. S. at the age of 29 alone with only $200 in my pocket to start my American Dream. I worked several jobs and lived in a garage for a number of years in order to save every penny for my expensive tuition (int'l fees) and books. Constantly I was tired and had nightmares about not having enough money to pay for the next course. I prayed for a day that I could get at least 6 hours of sleep. I missed home and my family but I was very determined. I graduated with honors and after that, there was no stopping me from pursuing my American Dream. I asked for help many times, and was rejected many times, but I kept asking. Eventually I found mentors who helped lessen my load, and eventually things started to get easier.

I am very grateful for all the opportunities that I have received in this great country. This is still a country where Dreams can come true if you have faith and never give up. If you need help, ask. If you get rejected, ask someone else, or ask in a different way. If you are having an easy time, try to find someone who needs your help. Learn one, do one, teach one. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Don't lose hope when you get rejected. Try again, and when you finally do succeed, reach back and try to pull others forward. That is what I have always tried to do, and the greatest compliment you could ever pay me is to try to do the same.