COLUMN: First-generation students, pursue your dreams

Courtesy Photo by Meaghan Morton

When you are a first-generation college student, there are a lot of fears that you have to deal with that other people may not think twice about. One of my biggest fears as a first generation was choosing my major. While this is a normal fear for most college students, being a first-generation student made it harder to choose between something I actually wanted to do or something that would make me money. 

I grew up with a family of 10 kids in a single-parent household. That alone made it really challenging going into college because there was so much pressure on me to be better. I had so many people in my family aggressively expressing their opinions on what they thought I should do with my life. They thought I was crazy when I told them I wanted to be a journalist. 

Journalism is somewhat of a dying field, and it does not pay well compared to other careers. My family took every opportunity to remind me of that. It was as if they were rooting for me to fail.  

The fear of failure is a huge fear of first-generation college students, and this fear is what I struggled with the most when it came to choosing my major. What if I spend all this money studying for a career only for me not to find a job? What if I find out I’m not as good as I thought I was? There are a million of “what-if” questions that I struggle with even to this day; however, life is full of unanswered questions, so I knew I couldn’t let those questions be my deciding factor. 

My choice to choose a major I’m passionate about instead of a major that will make me money came down to my own personal definition of failure. To me, failure is giving up. I knew if I took the easy way out and majored in something that I wasn’t truly passionate about, I would let myself down by giving up on my dream. I came to the decision that I would much rather let other people down than myself. 

When you are a first-generation college student, you are already overcoming the odds, but your chances of succeeding are much greater when you are actually doing something that you want to do. So, I would encourage every first-generation student to take the time to figure out what they are passionate about doing and stick with it, even if it's hard. 

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