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SCU First Gen Staff/Faculty Profiles

Lori Salazar
Assistant Director for Student Organizations, Center for Student Involvement
Where did you attend college?

Santa Clara University & San Jose State University

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

At 18 years old, my first chapter of higher education was a space of uncertainty, disconnection, and failure. I was pressured to do well while the other side of “college life” was taking over. As I drank and became a social butterfly, it became my way of coping with major family challenges. This was the lowest point of my collegiate career and the point when I decided to change my pathway and give college one more shot. Since it was my first time on academic probation it was mandatory for me to meet with an academic advisor. I remember being embarrassed and fearful of what to expect from a professional staff member. I felt like I was going to adult detention and I was letting my family down. However, it was at this meeting that I began to see the power of passionate and dedicated advisors. My academic advisor made me feel heard and empathized with my situation. They were honest about what happens if I don’t improve in my academic courses but also hopeful that I could retake classes, do well, and have my academic probation be lifted.

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

Join a student organization or team to get involved on campus. Make sure to utilize your professors office hours and visit your academic advisor. Embrace who you are and create your journey!