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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Back to Reality: Everything is Coming Together

I have officially landed and settled (sort of) back to Grand Rapids from New York as of Saturday. It was strange to get used to the silence back at home (no sirens or honking!) and fresh, clean smelling air compared to New York, but I would love to experience it all again. 

My last week in New York was very bittersweet but by far my favorite. I got onto my plane in Newark exhausted, satisfied and inspired more than ever to go after what I want for my career and my future.

Tuesday was my very last day at Relevent and it was just as sad and depressing as I thought it would be but filled with promise. I told myself I wouldn’t cry (but I did) when I said goodbye to everyone there. They were really like family. I made handwritten thank you cards for every person there and bought a large batch of GET UP AND GO caffeinated baked goods for the whole office as a parting gift. Fellow interns Emmy and Bri also got BEAUTIFUL (and I mean the best looking I’ve seen) cupcakes for the office too! I’ll miss everyone there so much but truly appreciate all the experiences, responsibilities, and opportunities I was given there. I was able to meet people and visit places I never imagined I could go to in a million years. If any of you are given the chance to intern there, I seriously recommend it. You will never see a team of people work harder. You’ll grow professionally in 3 months more than you have in a year at school.

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