A First-Generation Student's First Term of College
Coming to Dartmouth was a big step in my life.
My father, a farmer, only studied up to middle school before having to work to support his siblings. My mom finished high school, but was not able to pursue a college degree. Thanks to their support, I am the first in my family to attend college.
No one before me had even thought of applying to an elite institution. As you can imagine, I was intimidated by the idea of attending college. During high school, I did my best in class and was heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Still, I didn't think I had much of a chance of getting into my dream school once application season rolled around. Then, it happened — I was admitted to Dartmouth.
Now that I was in, I had lots of new questions. What classes do I take? What major should I pick? Does my major matter? How do I get my stuff to Dartmouth? And so many more! Fortunately, the First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) came to my rescue.
FYSEP is a program to help first-generation students thrive in college. In early September, they help a week-long pre-orientation where we received information about academic, financial, and health resources at Dartmouth. Moreover, we attended short lectures on Calculus, English, and Psychology to give us an idea about what college classes are like; there are many staff members throughout campus who support FYSEP, including professors and Undergraduate Deans.
FYSEP does not stop after pre-orientation. Part of the program's goal is to create a community for first-generation students to support one another and forge meaningful relationships. We have upperclassmen mentors, bi-weekly dinners and fun events like apple picking, pumpkin carving, and talent shows. I have met my best friends in college through FYSEP, and I continue to be involved in the program whenever possible because, frankly, I love the people.
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