First gen students, college classes, oh my!

Taylor Roth

Movies portray college in one of two ways: fun, partying and hanging out with friends or stressing out over projects and assignments as the due date creeps up on students. 

College is a step to a better-paying job. However, with students varying in their backgrounds, no one will have the same college experience, especially first-generation college students. 

Starting at a college or university is a big undertaking and can be intimidating. Taking on the responsibility of completing assignments on time with multiple classes, intramurals, trying out new clubs and social groups and taking care of yourself is a lot. 

Balancing all of that can be daunting, especially if you’re a student going in with no one to tell you what college is like, and the resources Augustana provides are not the most accessible or applicable to every student.

Millions of students who attend college are first-generation, including myself, and going into Augustana I was a fish out of water. 

I had no idea what college was going to be like. My only ‘knowledge’ was seeing movies centered around college, but Hollywood doesn’t have a reputation for portraying real life realistically. 

My first year at Augustana was exciting but had its ups and downs. 

It was during the height of COVID-19, and my senior year of high school ended so abruptly that I still felt like I was there. 

The courses at Augustana were also more difficult than those at my high school. I didn’t feel prepared to go to college, but I felt like I was expected to know what I was doing. I couldn’t ask my parents what college was like for them. 

But not every student was entirely lost. 

First-Year student Ariadna Escobar is one of the many first-generation students at Augustana. 

Escobar says the scholarships the college gave her helped with paying tuition, and that classes are less challenging with the tutoring sessions available.

The opportunities available for students are the stepping stone to helping first-generation college students, but that’s not the case for everyone.

Going into my first year at Augustana, I didn’t know of the resources available to students or what to expect.

My experience was paralleled by Sophomore Elia Murillo, a first-generation college student.

“I’m like, lower middle class [but] I’m also not well-off either. We’re in the situation where we’re living paycheck to paycheck,” Murillo said. 

Being a first-generation student is hard as you try to juggle classes and adapt to college life. 

The resources offered are not the most accessible and may not work for everyone academically or financially.

Not having any knowledge or experience going into it can be difficult for those who want to receive a good college experience and education.