#ILLINOISfirstgen

#ILLINOISfirstgen

Oct 26
Manuel Colón, NRES Student Recruitment Coordinator
  
At the start of the semester, I read an article on Huffington Post about “things first generation college students should know” and it made me think about what are some unique aspects and nuances to our campus that might be helpful for first generation students here. So, like any good millennial who wants to crowdsource information, I decided to create a hashtag (#ILLINOISfirstgen) and reach out to my friends. I wanted to cast the net wide and see what advice our first generation alumni had for students here on campus.

The results were amazing and went above and beyond what I expected. I obviously knew the friends who I invited to participate, but faculty members joined, other campus units and staff participated, and it still continues to be a semi-active thread. People shared advice, their experiences, tips for success, and more importantly – they shared themselves! I think a lot of first generation college students fear that they are out of place and that no one will understand their situation, when that’s not true at all. In fact, the Class of 2019, our incoming freshman, are nearly 20% first generation students – 1 in 5 are the first in their family to come to college – you are definitely not alone!

I’m the youngest of three children who all graduated from college, so I often forget that I’m technically a first generation college students, since my parents don’t have degrees. And I think I credit that a lot to the wealth of resources, information, and mentorship I received from my peers, my siblings, and people who were just generally invested in my academic success. So, if you haven’t already – definitely go to Twitter, check out the thread, and please do contribute!