While some first-generation college students have concerns about their pursuit of a college degree, many first-gen students in Aggieland find a way to overcome their worries.
According to the Texas A&M social media, nearly 25 percent of its students are first-generation college students. Some first-gen students share their experience at A&M as starting a new tradition in their families.
Biomedical sciences junior Nicole Haynes said she was as excited as she was nervous when she decided she was going to attend a four-year university.
“My feelings were very mixed before I started college because I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into,” Haynes said. “I had no real mentor who had experienced college before to really guide me to know what to expect and to give advice on classes and organizations.”
Similar to other first-gen students, Haynes said she was frustrated at times because she lacked the tools her peers had to better counsel her decision making during college registration. Nevertheless, Haynes said it helped her grow as an individual.
“I was a little frustrated being a first-generation college student because most of the people I knew had siblings that would really help them out with registering for classes and knowing what professors to take,” Haynes said. “But I knew that whatever happens, every moment will make me stronger.”
Nursing senior Jade Stubblefield said she also had to figure everything out on her own.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, given that I had to figure everything out on my own since my parents and siblings did not have past experiences to guide me,” Stubblefield said.
As time passes, first-gen students are forced to adjust to college life like every other student, but they still have to carry their fears of the unknown. Stubblefield said it makes her feel proud to be doing something no one else in her family has done before.
“I began to feel more proud that I was the first in my family to go to college because it isn’t easy moving away from home and taking classes much harder than you’re used to in high school, but I was doing it,” Stubblefield said. “I was doing something that no one else in my family had done before, and it made going to college more special.”
Biomedical sciences junior Stevie Wallace said the disadvantages and advantages of being a first-gen student created opportunities for personal growth.
“I always wished when I was faced with certain challenges that I had someone to turn to who had been through it before,” Wallace said. “However, I am completely creating my own experiences and figuring things out for myself, and, in a way, I think that makes me a more resilient student because I am constantly living and learning.”
In addition to being a first-generation college student, these students are starting the tradition of being an Aggie. Wallace said she feels honored to be the first one of her family to represent A&M.
“I feel just as proud to be a first-gen Aggie,” Wallace said. “I have brought my parents so much pride, and it brings me so much joy to see them representing my school and supporting me in this journey.”