Across universities throughout the United States, the presence of first-generation college students is on the rise (Stephens 1). Students whose parents do not have a degree of higher education, are being given the opportunity to shape their future for the better as they embark on a journey to receiving a four year degree unlike their parents who were not given such an opportunity. With the number of first-generation college students on the rise from the past, I became interested in seeing how the views, relationships, and ideas of these students was unique, and how they differed from the average student attending a university; an average student coming from at least a middle class background who has at least one parent with a degree of higher education.
The University of Miami is a top ranked private university in the United States, and while very diverse, it was not an easy task to find a student who fit the profile of a first generation college student whose parents were born and raised in the United States. After a long search, I came across a girl I’ll call Sarah. Sarah is attending the University of Miami on a scholarship to run on the schools Division I girls cross country and track team. Sarah attended high school in a large suburb just outside of Chicago, Illinois where she ran cross country and track before being recruited to UM. As a member of the university’s environmental club called the “Green Team,” Sarah has used her passion for a clean environment to inspire her to study environmental engineering while here in her first year of studies. Although Sarah is only freshman, she has completed just about one semester at the University of Miami, is quite a...
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...d the way in which she makes friends, also suffered. So what can other first generation college students do to avoid what has happened to Sarah? The answer lies in directing a passion towards learning and education in students and their families that will build self-motivation and avoid the negative predispositions of being the first in the family to attend college. While Sarah has not been attending the University of Miami for too long, her experiences thus far have given her a very good understanding of her position in this academic community, and nevertheless, gives a representation of first year first generation college students. Sarah is only one person though and may not be fully representative of the population first generation college students, but as a member of this community, Sarah’s input is essential to the ideas and views of the students in this group.
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