If you are a first-generation student approaching graduation, then you already know that your unique lived experience will endure when you cross the stage at commencement. You are the first in your family to graduate college and now you will be the first to seek a graduate degree or work in what society considers a “professional” role. Whatever comes next is one more first on an uncharted path. You will blaze this trail just like you did at Clark, with grit, persistence, proactivity, hope, gratitude, and devotion to the folx in your life who offer support. Here are 5 tips from a former first-generation graduate to take with you after graduation.
After some massive blows – the semester’s abrupt end, the cancellation of my summer internship, and the indefinite postponement of study abroad due to the pandemic – there were days when I could barely get out of bed because I just did not have the energy to get any work done. Feeling discouraged was an understatement. But I knew I had to start looking for opportunities again.
I’m sure all of us have been told that networking is super important and one of the most crucial aspects of finding a job. However, as a psychology major, I always thought networking was only needed for students studying business, marketing, or management. I wanted to go to graduate school and get my PhD in psychology, why did I need to reach out to people? What I failed to understand was that networking is about so much more than getting a job in the future, it also gives you access to knowledge from people who already have been through what you’re going through, to insider tips, career advice, and so much more.
One of my favourite movies as a child was Meet the Robinsons, a Disney film about a boy who travels to a place where anything is possible: the future. Now, as a senior in college, I dread thinking of the future and hearing the question What are you doing next year? As much as I try to remember this quote from the movie “keep moving forward”, it’s difficult to even think about doing that, especially when your plans don’t fall through and you have no idea what your next steps should be.