Juniors and seniors in HISD’s EMERGE fellowship program got to hear firsthand Monday what attending a top-tier university is really like on the first day of a whirlwind tour of nine Northeast college and universities.
EMERGE students from 15 HISD high schools toured Tufts and Northeastern University and heard from students about what it is like to be the first in their family to go to college.
Here’s what EMERGE students thought of their initial day:
“On a daily basis, I struggle with being a minority and coming from a different socioeconomic background. It is difficult when you do not portray the stereotypes expected of you. I related to the panelists because they know what it is like to be bitter (toward) someone with more resources than you. They understand the overwhelming anxieties and fears of being the first in their family to attend college. They understand how it is like to be a chameleon intermingling with the wealthy and intellectual while then calling a parent who doesn’t speak English. It was nice to relate to someone who had to push instead of pitying themselves. Stories of first gen students can be gritty and tough, but I hope one day to give advice to those in my shoes too.” — Brittany Blain, rising junior
“I am the oldest child in my family, thus I have no one to really guide me. I don’t know where to look for help. Listening to the panel of first gen students blew away my fears about attending college. My parents, as typical as immigrant parents can get, just nod their heads whenever I bring up a single detail about college. They have nothing to offer me but their love and support. I learned today that that is enough, especially during my freshman year when things may get tough. This panel has helped me learn that I am not alone in this situation. They came from the exact same story, yet they made it. I now know that it is completely possible for someone like me to make it into a top-tier university. I realize that there may be bumps in the beginning, but the horizon is not that far away.” — Humza Baig, rising senior
The EMERGE program encourages and prepares talented HISD students from underserved communities to successfully attend and graduate from Ivy League and other top-tier colleges.