Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Finding your First Gen Career Zen

Six years ago, I was staring at my computer, ridden with fear. In front of me was the Common App, but behind me there was no one. No one who could help guide me through the process of applying to college. I was the first in my family to even consider incorporating college into my long-term plan. Although I knew I had incredible amounts of support from both my parents and the rest of my relatives, I knew I had the burden of figuring out how to get where I wanted to be all on my own. Knowing that, combined with the high expectations that my family had for me, the pressure was on. 

My freshmen year at Hofstra was definitely a culture shock. Being on a college campus seemed like being on another planet, filled with aliens that were accustomed to life on Mars. Although my new normal was nothing shy of exciting, there was a slight feeling of insecurity, as if I did not belong here. I kept this feeling to myself, both because I did not want to hurt my parents’ feelings and I knew they could not relate. 

 Looking back, I was lucky enough to find my niche at Hofstra, specifically in career services. I started working in the Career Center as an undergraduate assistant and opted to make a career out of it. Although I attribute my success to both my Hofstra journey and my support system, there are some things that I would’ve done differently. I can now clearly see the advantages that I have in the workforce as a first-generation student. I had to go the extra mile to get where I want to be, which goes hand-in-hand with the work ethic that I learned as the daughter of parents who had to compensate for their lack of degrees. The transferable skills that I have acquired as a result of my upbringing will carry me through all future endeavors. I encourage all first-generation students to approach their college experience with this attitude and find ways to connect with other first-generation students that share your thoughts and feelings. This is an aspect of myself that I am more than proud of and you should be too!

Sabrina Iaria
Graduate Assistant of External Relations

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