First-gen student gearing up for the road less traveled

Karen Banda

The route of a minority, low-income, first-generation student is filled with road-blocks and a mix of emotions: anxiety, fear, confusion, happiness, and sadness. I know because I am a first-gen student. I’m anxious to see what’s beyond my hometown; to see the things that I can accomplish. But I am also scared that I will not make it or that I will not do as well as I have these past few years in high school.

This fall, I will embark on the road less traveled by someone with my background – I will leave my home and family to achieve my “impossible dream.”

My family is centered by strong Mexican beliefs. When my mother encouraged me to apply to out-of-state schools, I was shocked. I know she wanted the best for me, but I didn’t expect her to be okay with me leaving. My father, however, was a completely different story. It took months for him to finally realize that I would be better off attending a small, private college away from home rather than a large, public, state university nearby. Now, both of my parents are glad and proud to say their daughter will be attending one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation.

Since the day I received Smith’s acceptance letter, I decided I had to start getting ready for college. Of course, going to a college located in the northeast entails the purchase of a previously nonexistent winter wardrobe, including winter boots and a thick coat. In addition to augmenting my wardrobe, I have been preparing mentally and emotionally this summer. I spend as much time as I can with my family – since I have never been far away from them for more than two weeks at a time. I also will start reading Whistling Vivaldi, a summer reading assignment from Smith. I have even started to conduct research about the academic advisers for my major and the different programs offered.

I may not be like the other students who will be attending Smith, but I am happy that I made the decision to go. I am scared of what the next four years will have in store for me, but I know that I made the right decision and it will all be worth it.

Karen Banda

6 thoughts on “First-gen student gearing up for the road less traveled

  1. Nancy Cintron

    Good luck Karen! Congratulations! Always remember, as long as you have a dream, it won’t matter from whence you come!

  2. Damaris

    Congratulations! You will succeed, continue to work hard in accomplishing your dreams. Remember that great things take dedication and perseverance because sometimes things in life wont’t always go as we plan but just be strong, stay focus and carry on. You have a bright future, God bless you!

  3. Carla

    Congratulations Karen! God will bless you to succeed.Your perseverance and detemination will pay off. Your parents and family will always be there for you. Keep intouch with them as much as possible! The future is yours, stay focused!

  4. Pat

    Congratulations! Change is a little hard to do. You have a great opportunity infront of you and I am happy
    you choose to take it. You will make your life more fulfilling than you previously planned. One good thing
    social media is good for, you can communicate with your family and see them, and them see you daily.
    Study hard, have fun , be careful and take care of yourself. Best of luck for your future.

  5. Dara Lehner

    Congratulations Karen, what a wonderful opportunity you have. The digital age makes it a little easier to venture out on your life’s journey. Be true to yourself and follow your dreams. I, too, after many years, have found myself taking a leap of faith to teach in TX. I will be arriving in TX soon, moving 17 hours away from my family.

    Be proud of all you have accomplish and remember without change there would be no butterflies. Best wishes with your new journey.

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