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University Library

First Gen Student Resources

This guide offers resources to support first generation college student success.

What inspires you to succeed as a First Gen Student?

In honor of the inaugural First Generation College Celebration on November 8, 2017, Sonoma State University Library asked our First Gen Students:

What inspires you to succeed as a First Gen Student?

2 students in front of a slatwall.My family inspire me because they are always there for me and encouraging me to move forward. - Carmela 

My parents, friends and college advisors inspire me to succeed as a First Gen Student. - Maria 

My family has inspired me to succeed as a first gen student. Creating change in my next generation is the next step for a successful future. - Rosa 

My mothers efforts and strength which got me to where I am now. - Leslie

What inspires me to succeed as a First Gen student would be my family and breaking through stereotypes. Being the oldest I have seen the struggles my parents have gone through to provide for my siblings and I. I continued higher education to give back to my parents for all their hard work. Being the oldest made me take on the role of being a role ,model for my siblings and this has motivated me to give my all in everything I do. Also, societies stereotypes regarding Mexicans has pushed me to want to prove many that Mexicans can succeed in a STEM major and can succeed in becoming a physician. - Monica 

Success in college, much like life, is not necessarily about how much you know but your ability to withstand the difficulties along the way. I am inspired to succeed so that I can show everyone in my life that a higher education is possible for anyone who is willing to try. - Riley

Family - Ana

Knowing that I can do something my siblings never got a chance to do. I could succeed in gaining the education my ancestors didn't have a chance to get. I'm inspired by those who has never/will never get a chance to be here. - Aareona 

Salir adelante (get ahead in life) - Joceylin 

I had a lot of people expecting me to succeed when statistic showed that I was supposed to fail. I felt like I had so much help from my teachers in High School that I did not want to let them down. They put a lot of effort into helping me get to college, against so many odds, that I owed it to them to succeed. To be honest, once I got to college (to SSU) I just kept coming. Each term I would finish and I would register for the next term and show-up. - J

What inspired me to succeed as a first generation student was the obligation I felt to support my family who first supported me. - Ashley

My mom is my inspiration, without her I would not be here. But also, myself is an inspiration, as I am not the person I was 3-4 years ago. Being in college gives me the chance to learn my skills, my abilities, my passions, but it has also gave me the chance to pave the way for my family, my younger cousins, and many younger children who look up to me. I am the first of both my parents sides to graduate high school and go to college. I am proud to be at SSU, to be at school receiving higher education, because I know how much it took to get here, how difficult it can be to get through it, but how privileged I am to experience it all. I am one of many who are taking the initiative to push through statistics to reach for a higher education despite my background story. I am one of many who still struggle to be a first gen student because being a first gen student means learning absolutely everything on your own. Having to adjust on your own, being self motivated, self determined, self reliant. Being a first gen student is not easy as it consists of not only teaching yourself the ways of college, work, social life, building skills, and life after college; a first gen student must then, explain to their parents, family, siblings, cousins, whoever it may be, about everything they are learning or have learned. Being a first gen student has taught me and still inspires me to never be afraid to keep going, that when the going gets tough, the tough keep going. And that no matter what life throws at me, keep an open mind that it's currently shaping me. I might not know exactly what I'm doing 100% of the time, but I know with the determination to keep going, ill achieve my degree with my head held high and someday be able to say "I did it." - Ariana 

What inspires me to be successful as first Generation student is my family - Anonymous

It took generations to get where I am today. I want to make my family proud. - Gloria

My parents have had a rough life with 2 kids and no degrees, they made me see how much I needed this education to succeed. - Katelyn

My family and setting a positive role model for my family and my community - Erick 

Being a First Generation Student as well as a Chicana woman, I refuse to give up and become another statistic . I am full of ambition to succeed and surpass any barriers which I come upon. The help and support that I receive from family and loved ones is what inspires me to continue to push forward to achieve my goal of becoming an environmental science educator for all generations and to achieve my aspiration of becoming a role model for my 13 year old brother and baby niece. - Nayeli 

I am inspired to succeed because no one in my family has ever gone to college, and very few people have graduated high school. I am determined to graduate and have a stable career and break away from the pattern of minimum wage jobs that my family is forced to work. - Quianna 

What inspires me to succeed as a First Gen Students is realizing that the struggles I went through were only shaping me for who I am today. A proud and unashamed First Gen Student. - Breana 

As a first generation student, I've learned to appreciate the importance and challenges of gaining a higher education. My parents' sacrifice has inspired me to succeed as a first generation college student. They sacrificed their lives to give me a better living. I’ve learned to persevere and to be resilient because of them. My background is my strength when others see it as a deficit. It does not define me. I am capable of breaking those barriers that don't allow be mobilize and prosper. The limitations that have been imposed on me inspires me to succeed as a first generation student. Being the first in my family has brought a lot of self-doubt. I’ve encountered the challenges of navigating higher education when the system itself was not made for me to succeed. Finding others who share the similar experience and background as me empowers me to succeed and advocate for first generation students. My work ethic, connections, and my vulnerability has allowed me to be where I am today as a first generation college student and has showed me no limits. - Briana 

"As a first generation student, I can passionately say that education means more than holding a degree. A college education is a time of dedication, to enhance your knowledge in both broad curriculum through general education courses, and to tune in to the interests you gravitate toward through your declared major. As a Sociology major, the theories and data included in my coursework have resulted in the connection and validation of my personal experiences, as more than just observed but as real for others beyond myself and my community. The Sociology discipline has been enlightening in educating students on diversity and global issues, so that perspectives that were once foreign can be applied to understanding the world with greater awareness. When I consider my years of college, I reflect on the continuous self development and the demanding pursuit of where I can give my "best self" that I have wrestled with. As a senior at Sonoma State University, I know that I am making progress in graduating this upcoming May of 2018 with a Bachelor's Degree. The degree I earn will be the foundation for earning a Master's in Social Work to become an Oncology Social Worker. I lost my father to lung cancer at seventeen, and I know that I can give my "best self" through honoring his legacy and enact positive change through the fieldwork of my career path." – Terra

My parents migrated to the U.S in search of a better life yet found themselves working 12 hour shifts and bringing the minimum amount of money to the table. Nevertheless, they always stayed up late helping me as much as they could with my homework and always supported me with school, pushing me to become someone in life. Seeing them struggle day by day gives me the motivation to achieve my academic goal.  - Cristobal

Would you like your voice to be added to this page? Please send your response to the question, "What inspires you to succeed as a First Gen Student?" to Thank you!