The second week of Nov. marks National First-Generation Celebration week. For Ferris students, the week is filled with events to appreciate, honor and support our first-generation students. But first, do you know if you qualify as one?
According to the National Association of Student Personnel Administration, roughly fifty percent of students are first-generation, however, many are unaware of their status until they start college.
Television and digital media production senior Kelsey Meyers found out she was a first-generation student when she was in high school. She believes that being a first-generation student has helped her in other ways.
“I was starting from scratch with no help,” Meyers said. “It has strengthened me and made me rely on myself more.”
Finance senior Lianna Moodie is the vice president of the First-Generation RSO. Moodie takes pride in using the resources that Ferris provides for first-generation students.
“This RSO has truly enriched my college experience,” Moodie said. “It essentially functions as a support network for first-generation students at Ferris.”
Moodie has always known she was a first-generation student, so she prepared herself to be the first in her family to pursue higher education.
She emphasizes that it’s important to note that the definition of a first-generation student differs depending on the college.
Though the definition can change from college to college, NASPA’s definition of a first-generation student is that “your parents did not complete a four-year college or university degree, regardless of other family member’s level of education.” Ferris uses the same definition to describe what qualifies as a first-generation student.
Mechanical engineering junior Leo Forrestal defines himself as a first-generation student because though his mother graduated with an associate degree, she never used it within her career. Along with this, he claims that neither of his parents has helped him in preparing for or attending a university.
Though this does not align with Ferris’ definition of a first-generation student, Forrestal believes he still had to learn to navigate getting a higher education on his own.
“I don’t know if I could be considered a first-generation student,” Forrestal said. “A lot of people say I’m not but it feels like I am. Some have different and harder struggles that I do, butI get no support from my parents, I’m doing this on my own.”
Moodie feels that there was a “noticeable lack of support” from Ferris for first-generation students. With the growth of the First-Generation RSO, she feels that there’s now a comfortable place for Ferris’ first-generation students to get the help and resources they need.
“I can confidently say that things are changing,” Moodie said. “There are dedicated faculty members and students who are working to enhance the first-generation student experience on campus.”
For more resources and information on being a first-generation student, visit Ferris’ First-Gen.