Fill in the blank: My experience as a first generation student is….

Northern Star Staff

Being a first generation student is….

Josie Janicki | Perspective Contributor

…lonesome, yet strengthening.

I went to a community college before coming to NIU, and everything is different. That being said, I am experiencing everything by myself. As an underclassman, I still lived at home and was surrounded by a lot of my peers from high school. Now, I moved into my own apartment, and spend a lot of time doing things on my own.

There’s been a lot of trial and error so far, and I’m surprised I haven’t had any major fails yet this semester. However, when they do happen, I’ll learn from them. Not having my family relate to my experience is hard, and it makes being alone harder. My friends have been helpful, but there is nothing like advice and support from parents.

I am realizing I need to experience this in order to accomplish my goals and gain independence. My family raised me to push myself as hard as I can and that’s what I’ll do.

Ginger Simons | Entertainment Editor

…navigating foreign territory.

There’s a lot about college my family can’t weigh in on. Entering college and subsequently transferring to a new university felt like going on a mission without a guidebook.

With each step of the process, I was unsure of what would come next, and it was a pleasant surprise when I showed up to my first day of classes registered and in the right place. Getting advice from friends and other former students gave me the framework to know I was doing the whole “college thing” correctly. Now, I feel comfortable helping my younger sibling do the same.

While feeling alone and without resources can be difficult, succeeding in school is all the more rewarding. Although family members may not be able to relate to the college grind, I’m now confident to relay my experiences at the dinner table with pride.

Haley Galvin | Perspective Editor

…an empowering experience.

Being the first person in my family to experience college is a very empowering and rewarding experience. I feel I am getting a completely different experience that others in my family did not have had. I am able to expand my horizons and immerse myself in a whole new college culture.

Seeing how different my parents’ and grandparents’ experience was to mine makes me realize how lucky I am. My grandmother was never given the option to go to college, and the fact that I am here makes me grateful. I remind myself every day how lucky I am to be here and how this experience will further the opportunities I have later in life.

I am the first member of my family to get this education, and I will do my family proud. I will make every second count.