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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Opinion

First-generation students most likely to miss out on college life hacks


First-generation college students sometime face obstacles that their more traditional counterparts don't. | Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

First-generation college students sometime face obstacles that their more traditional counterparts don’t. | Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

As a first-generation college student, the most common phrase heard during your first year is that the worst thing that can happen is being told no. 

Starting college can be overwhelming, especially for first-generation students. Not having a guiding hand throughout the college application process and getting settled at college leaves first-gen students to figure things out independently. 

According to Very Well Family, first-generation college students are unaware of several nuances and common knowledge regarding college because they had no one to teach them. 

Because of that, first-generation students are less likely to step out of a rigid path they’ve set for college as they are often afraid to mess up. However, asking questions could be the best thing you can do in college. 

In order to make the best out of your college experience, take the chance and ask any burning questions on your mind. No question is a dumb question.

To start off, financial aid is a huge factor in deciding what colleges are at the top of the list for a majority of college students. After receiving your financial aid offer, you can go to the financial aid office and negotiate for a better package. 

Even a few hundred dollars make a huge difference while paying for school. Taking the chance to go and talk to the office could land you a better aid package and that would make a huge difference. 

Talking to your professors, especially during the first few weeks of classes can be crucial in building a relationship with them. Having a working relationship with your professors can not only help you in that class but also build a reference when you apply for internships and jobs. 

To add on, picking a major can be challenging as many times we’re not sure if the major picked is the right one. You can ask your professors more about the field you want to work in and get many questions answered. 

This could not only be a great networking opportunity but you would be able to get one-on-one answers from someone who has already worked in your field of interest. 

Another important aspect of college that can slip many students’ minds is the internship and shadowing experience. 

Networking is an important step in college. Through your LinkedIn profile, you could reach out to an alum and ask if you could get together to answer some of your questions. If all goes well, you could ask them to reach out to you if there are any internship opportunities in the future at their company. 

For many students, self-doubt clouds their minds which creates a barrier that keeps them from reaching out to these experiences and opportunities. 

First-gen students feel like they’re not good enough compared to their other peers which is completely false.

Many of these first-gen students offer different perspectives, ideas and experiences that create the diverse campus known as UH. Without these students, the university would be lacking and dull. 

With that in mind, college is different for everybody. No one’s college experience is exactly similar to someone else’s. As much as setting a clear timeline is comforting, it can keep you from taking opportunities you never opened yourself up to. 

During your first year at the university, take the chance and ask your questions. 

The university is welcoming to students of all kinds and if you are looking for an organization to help you along the way, First Generation Coogs is the place to start. 

Keep your head up high. You belong here.

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