First generation college student Annalisa Williams, gives insight as to what it’s like being the first in her family to attend college. Williams currently commutes from her hometown in Bellflower, CA to Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa, CA. She is in her sophomore year, majoring in Liberal Studies with hopes to become an elementary school teacher after graduation.
She talked about her dream of becoming a teacher stating, “Ever since I was five I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, and it has never changed. I’ve looked into other things, but this is where my heart is, and I know that college is going to help me achieve that dream.”
Williams mentioned how being a college student who is living at home has its struggles, “Because I’m at home it can be difficult explaining to my parents why I can’t do certain things because of my college workload, and having to communicate to them that it’s different than high school.”
Williams went on to express how her friends and church community have been a great support when she feels alone in her college journey. She expressed gratitude for the people who have given her advice and have been there to encourage her when things got tough.
First generation college students are the pioneers of their family – Paving the way for the generations to come, acting as models of what hard work can allow you to achieve, even when it may seem impossible.
Annalisa stated where her motivation came from,“My biggest motivation would definitely be my parents… to make them proud and show other first generation students that they can do it, no matter how alone you can feel sometimes.”
Upon being asked to give advice to other first generation college students, Williams quickly shares “Take advantage of the resources around you! Your professors, the library, anything that is available to you.”
She ends with this advice: “Don’t be afraid to tell your parents when it’s getting difficult because they will understand. A lot of times you can feel alone but you are not alone! You have a lot of people who are willing to help you whether that be friends or counselors. Stay motivated even on the hard days and keep your dream in mind and know that you are going to make it.”