WSU Spokane – WSU Insider

As Washington State University prepares for a system-wide celebration of National First Generation Day on Monday, November 8, the university is taking this opportunity to congratulate and congratulate all of and all of the first generation students, faculty, and staff at each of our locations to thank. In the days leading up to November 8th, we’re introducing you to some of these extraordinary personalities.

For this first feature, Steve Nakata of the Student Affairs Department reached out to Christina Brelia, Graduate Program Coordinator in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Selomie Habtemichael, PhD student in Pharmacy (2023) and MBA Candidate (2022), and Tanya Rivera, a senior in speech and Hearing Sciences, at WSU Spokane, for their thoughts on the first generation at WSU.

What does it mean to you to be the first generation?

Tanya Rivera

Rivera: “First-Gen means that I experience opportunities that my parents missed. Your sacrifices give me a better life than they had, and that way they can make their dreams come true through me. “

Habtemichael: “For me, being the first generation is a hope, it is a hope to make my parents’ dream come true. Getting a higher education is an honor because my parents sacrificed their own education so that I could lead a better life in the future. It is an opportunity for me to make my parents proud, and I hope that in the end I can show them that their sacrifices have not been in vain. ”

How did the first generation affect your college experience?

Selomy Habtemichael

Habtemichael: “During my studies I felt lost for a large part of my academic years, mainly because I didn’t have many friends. That made it a lot harder for me to find information about success. Eventually I gained courage through my struggles and learned to leave my comfort zone in order to become the person I needed to be successful. “

Brelia: “Sometimes I felt a little out of place because I didn’t really know what questions to ask or how to navigate the system. My advisor was very helpful, but sometimes I missed opportunities because I didn’t know 100% what phrases or how to look for things like scholarships or internships. ”

What has helped you the most?

Christina Brelia

Brelia: “During high school, my MESA teacher helped promote college opportunities. My family was lower-middle-class, so the college’s financial impact seemed daunting. I also believe my Head Start advisor at Spokane Falls Community College has helped me a lot as a single mom in college life. “

Rivera: “The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) has not only helped me as a student, but also as an individual in the real world. Through CAMP, I was able to have a family away from home, be part of other first-gen ministries like McNair and TRIO, and meet people from the same background. “

What would you say to your younger self and / or current first generation students?

Rivera: “Get out of your comfort zone and find out what works for you. Give yourself grace as you start networking, joining clubs, taking risks, and just trying to take advantage of every opportunity around you. The worst that can happen is to say no, but even then keep trying. “

Habtemichael: “There is no reason to fight and there is no reason to fail when there are sufficient resources to help. You made it this far because you are smart and able. Never underestimate yourself. Find your voice and seek advice from academic advisors and do your own research. When you meet people who don’t believe in you, don’t let that stop you. “

To learn more about WSU’s system-wide plans to celebrate National First Generation Day, visit the First at WSU website.

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