The mental state of first-generation students

You’re off to college and you may be scared because this is a new city for you. You’re doing something you never thought you would be doing, or you’re excited because this is something you’ve always dreamed of. It is even more exciting and scary if you're a first generation college student.

If you’re a college student, you know the pressure of feeling as though everyone is looking up to you to graduate within four years, maintain good grades, and work to support yourself.

As a first-generation college student, that pressure is something that may be ingrained in you more than someone who is a second or third generation college student.

Marcera Bell, a junior business administration student from Orlando, Florida said, “As a first generation college student, you have to figure a lot of stuff out on your own. My parents are always here for me but sometimes they just don’t know what college students go through and the challenges we face”

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 85% of students have stated they are so overwhelmed by the pressure of being a first-generation student and balancing everything in life that it leads them to depression. The stress of being a first generation college student can also lead to increased dropouts.

Raina Wilson, a freshman environmental science student from Jacksonville, Florida said her first year of being on campus was tough. She also found the silver lining through her experience.

“Besides the fact that there was a lot of scholarships for first generation college students, I also felt as though I hustled more because I did not have the blueprint that most students had who are not first-generation college students.”

Victor Cupp, a junior agronomy major from Sarasota, Florida said while there may be a lot of stress to being a first generation college student, there are also a lot of benefits.

“I have been able to strengthen my work ethic and education by being offered constant opportunities to further my education and speak about the daily life of being a first-generation college student.”

From my own experience, it is very tough trying to pass classes with nothing less than a “B.” It is hard to make sure your grade point average stays over a 3.0 work, be involved on campus and keep in touch with your family and friends. You also tries to stay fit, and make sure your mental health is in tip-top shape, all at the same time. It can be rewarding giving your younger family members something to look up to. First-generation college students are the ones who are up for a challenge because we are the ones starting a new beginning for the next generations to follow.