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.
You’ve finally landed that dream internship or received praise from your professor on that project you poured your heart and soul into over the last month when, just as you’re about to celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief, that feeling hits you. You know the one—the feeling that at any minute, someone is going to realize the truth. The truth that you’ve known all along and have just been hoping others wouldn’t find out, that you are aren’t qualified enough, talented enough, experienced enough or whatever enough to deserve the praise or opportunities being showered upon you.
You’ve done everything you’re supposed to. You worked hard in all your classes, embraced challenge after challenge (after challenge…) and consistently sought out opportunities for growth in the form of internships, jobs, and volunteer work. By now, your inbox should be filled with invitations for interviews and hiring managers should be tripping over themselves trying to get you to work for them, right? Well, not exactly.