First Generation Students At The University of Rochester

First Generation Students At The University of Rochester

August 20, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


I’m the first one to receive a master’s
degree in my family I’m the first one to receive a bachelor’s degree in my family
and now I’m doing graduate studies I’m doing my PhD at the Warner school so for
me it’s about setting a trend for my younger siblings something for them to
aspire to and to follow well I have two older brothers one younger sister and
we’re all the year apart I’m raised in a single family household in Houston,
Texas moved around a lot when I was young when she like six or seven
different Elementary School’s two middle schools you know that kind of like
public school system I got a scholarship to go to a private school at the Kincaid
School in Houston Texas and that just gave me a new perspective on life and
that kind of changed changed my life around obviously I went there for four
years I did well I’m glad about that experience and then that brought me to
the UofR. I am actually from the Rochester area I was born and raised here, I actually my story is a little different, I lived only with my
mother and my three younger siblings my father actually lives in another country
he lives in one of the Caribbean islands St. Kitts so it was very different when
it came to you know parent income things like that and one of the big things for
my mother was how are we gonna afford college so she always stressed to me too
you know I needed to do exceptionally well in high school I needed to do my
best to get good grades so that I could get scholarships and grants because
otherwise she felt the need that she was not going to be able to send me I’m from Irvington New Jersey which is a bordering urban City of Newark New
Jersey and I grew up there my entire life with my parents until my dad passed
away when I was a young child and so my sisters and my mom pretty much raised me and I went to a high school in New Jersey, it
wasn’t a very successful high school but had the supporters of teachers and my
parents to help me get through and apply to college went to Rutgers and
majored in psychology and africana studies it wasn’t an easy start for me
my first year was very very tough but following that I was able to get on
track and move through. So I’m from New York City, Manhattan also the Harlem area, I was the first one of my family to go to traditional four-year private
institution, for me to come here it was a change but at the same time it pushed my
mother to continue for her bachelor’s and definitely for my sister to go on to
college my dad loves it and he’s very excited that I’ve succeeded thus far and
continue to do great things so I would say the overall positive impact and I’m
actually happy that I did come to this institution because it was a right fit
for me and for my family for the adjustment for me to transition into
adulthood and find out what I really want to do in life. I was born in New York City then my parents brought me back to China to live there for about
the first five years of my life I returned back here to go through my
education and through the schooling system in the United States and to
support me through those educational years they began a Chinese restaurant
they didn’t know much about applying to colleges after high school so I kind of
had to do that by myself with assistance from my guidance counselors in high
school and everything that was a kind of difficult situation for me but I got
into the University of Rochester so I’m happy about that. I was born in Ithaca New York but I’ve been living in and around like suburbs
of Syracuse New York my whole life I’ve moved a lot into like three different
schools and like a matter of four years but I graduated from a little high
school right outside of Syracuse called Solvay like 120 other kids so I changed
schools a lot but at first I hated it when I was a little kid but so moving
around kind of taught me that I just have to
different types of academics because each school was really different I would
go from a very very well-off neighborhood to a really low income area
and that changed the way everything works so I was really quick learner and
I got I learned that not only was I smart but I needed to learn very quickly. I would say the first step for you is be informed the Internet is there a lot of
the information I found out was me going on the internet and just doing a Google
search what is graduate school what does it take to go to graduate school even
going to undergrad in my undergrad year is a lot of what I found out about
undergrad was a trial and error for me because I was the first to do that but I
saw the Internet and as I moved through my undergraduate career I found a mentor
and my mentor she’s still my mentor now and she and I
have built a relationship over the years and she has guided me so be informed and
find a mentor someone who would guide you and inspire you professionally,
academically, as well as socially. She almost molded me into saying you know, you need to go to graduate school and this is the
reason why you should go to graduate school so find a mentor it’s
imperative. College should be a learning experience rather than obstacles that
you have to pass because when I initially started college I was dreading
each day I was dreading each test that I had to take and I was dreading the
studying for the test and the days leading up to the test
however as I transitioned into embracing the effect about college life and
seeking to expand my knowledge and things that interest me I gradually
just welcomed the knowledge that I would receive. I always say you need to never
expect that somebody’s going to hold your hand and help you through this
path it’s definitely something if you’re really motivated to do it you’re gonna
push out and find information and resources that you need
I also encourage families to never just give up hope these offer their
circumstances I felt that’s kind of what my mom was doing and me pushing and
saying you know what forget it I’m not gonna go down that path I’m not gonna
take the easy way out so to just push no matter what even though for things you
don’t think you’re going to qualify for or you’ll never be able to do it because
your situations do not look at it that way look at it in a positive light and
you know what to say try it there’s nothing stopping you but you so you have
to just go out and try it and you have to go out and fight for things. Don’t be afraid to not like things it’s okay if you don’t like something it’s not the
end of the world if you hate a class it’s all right everyone’s gonna hate a
class if you don’t do well on a test it’s okay don’t be afraid of negative
things or don’t be afraid of just having negative feeling towards something it’s
a process you’re not gonna like everything that’s life but when you find
out that you don’t like these things when you realize that you’d like
something more it’s the best feeling in the world don’t be afraid to ask for
help when you need it or assistance that’s very important I think that we
have to remember that we all work together collectively in order to move
forward and so the importance of seeking out assistance when you need it is is
one of the most important things and it measures of advice that I can give to
any any student go into this experience with an open mind you know don’t be so
close-minded because you’re gonna meet a lot of new people you’re gonna
experience a lot of new things and it’s just going to be a wonderful experience
for you and if you’re so close-minded you won’t be able to reflect back on the
experiences that others have and really pull from that and see how can it apply
to the larger sense of life and then also going and that path I would say
anything you do any skills that you take away from either class or like
extracurricular or should I say co-curricular activities try to see how
it applies to your life and how it might apply on a larger scale think big dream
big you have to have a dream you coming coming to college first to exceed
expectations you have a dream and you have to do whatever you can to chase it
you mean you may not know what you want to do but everybody has a dream a big
dream that nobody would ever understand you have to hold that and you have to do
whatever you can you have to do whatever you can do to get there if that studying
the extra late so you can do better after you graduate then that’s what it
is but in terms of the immediate into you know entering in college I would say
you need to ask for help if you need it and you need to get involved in campus
because you need to make a difference like what do you want to be you know
when when all is said and done when you when your time is up here on this earth
like how do you want to be remembered that’s the question you should ask
yourself every month maybe every week how do you want to be remembered and I
think that that’s gonna help a lot of people because it wasn’t given to me