First in my family to go to college

First Person

Liz Malone, Staff Writer

I am proud to say that I will be the first person in my family to go to college. It was expected of me ever since I was little. Of course, I did want to go, I just did not have any guidance.

My parents were high school sweethearts that attended Bear Creek High School in 1995. My mom and dad hit it off my mom’s sophomore year when my dad was still a freshman. Before my mom’s senior year started, her family had decided to move up to Athena, Oregon because my grandpa had a good job offer there.

Most couples split up when put to the test of long distance, but my parents did not. They stayed together. My dad worked multiple jobs to get tickets to fly up to Oregon. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), my mom got pregnant during one of those trips.

My mom had me in the summer after graduating and ended up moving in with my dad’s parents in Stockton. My dad went to Plaza and worked to graduate a year early. Both of my parents ended up working multiple jobs to pay their family. When I was a year old they were able to move to an apartment in town, and from there on they were able to make a life for themselves.

My parents ended up getting financially stable jobs. They could have gone to college, but they would have lost their positions at their jobs.
Although my parents were able to make good lives for themselves and our family considering their circumstances, they were not much help during high school. Because they could not advise me on what I had to do to get into a good college, it was a learning process for my parents and me.

I had to learn that I would need a perfect GPA and high SAT/ACT scores to get into a prestigious college. My parents aren’t exactly “tiger parents,” so I was kind of late to the game on figuring everything out.

Senior year has been the hardest. It has been a guessing game of when and what to do when. College applications, financial aid and scholarships all take planning and coordination. I could tell my mom felt bad she did not know what to do, but we figured it out. I think the hardest part was figuring out the loans and how to sort all of that out.

Some words of advice for those first gens out there, ask your teachers and friends for help. Get all the help you can get and access all the information you can. Teachers are definitely willing to help because they want you to succeed.

I will be attending UOP in the fall, where I plan to major in mechanical engineering. The best thing out of all of this is that I know how to help out my siblings when they plan to attend college.