Being a First-Gen & What That Really Means

Here at the University of Michigan, I’m part of a minority group.

No…It’s not about my gender or my sexual orientation. It’s definitely not about my political affiliations or tax hikes or what I think about food stamps. And it’s not your usual suspects: race and ethnicity (although I am a minority in that realm, too).

I’m a first-generation college student.

It is only now, as a senior at the Michigan, that I am truly beginning to grasp what that term means, understand the challenges that came with it, and (slowly, but surely) embrace it. Money, socioeconomic status, and talking about my family’s past had always felt taboo to me. It was hard to talk to my friends about the small everyday assumptions they made or challenges I was dealing with that didn’t make me feel ashamed, alienated, or different. If there is anyone with a distaste for pity, it was me. I had no outlet of coping with these issues without internalizing fear of judgement or misunderstanding until I heard about First-Gens.

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