How To Succeed in College as a Young African American Woman – First Generation College Students

How To Succeed in College as a Young African American Woman – First Generation College Students

November 10, 2019 6 By Stanley Isaacs


Early in the process of personal and doctorate
degree and I’ve done that at a fairly young age. As I think about my experience as an
African American young woman from the inner city of Detroit, I think about my experience
coming to a predominantly white institution while there were welcoming faces, it was a
very interesting transition at times. I felt unwelcome at times. Maybe even… like I was
unprepared to be in certain classes and in certain situations. However that may have taken place for maybe
the first three months but through getting involved, meeting faculty and staff members,
actually putting in a study time that I need at tune for my classes, identifying where
there may have been some areas where I needed some additional help, I was able to process
through. As an African American entering the field
of higher education, I think that there are several things that young women will face.
One of those being competition in the classroom. At times, they might feel like there’s a competition
going on within the classroom and that they need compete with their counterparts, and
I challenge and encourage young African American women to let that competition go and enjoy
the experience for what it is. I encourage young African American women to
dismiss stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is the assumption or the belief that if you
say something or do something within a classroom or within whatever setting that you may help
other people, you may actually fulfill some thoughts that somebody else already had about
you, whether those be positive or negative. I encourage you all to kind of live beyond
that and understand and recognize that you do have the knowledge. Sometimes, you don’t know what to call it
or what it is but that you do have it and it may look very different in different settings.
So I encourage you to let that stereotype threat go. I encourage you to get involved.
Find some organization that you can become involved in, something that you like. Become
a leader. Take on some leadership role within an institution. Unfortunately within the field
of higher education, there are not very many women or people that often look like you. So I encourage you to go out and take on leadership
positions and become a mentor and a leader for somebody else. I encourage African American
young women to identify and mentor someone that they feel like they can go to have a
conversations with. Someone who may have had similar experiences but it doesn’t always
have to be that way. Identify somebody that is willing to help you walk along this journey
and that will help guide you in some of the right directions and that can help get you
to some different places. Educate yourself. That is probably almost
number one on the list. I think it’s very important for African American women to become
educated into think outside of the box. Keep up with current events. Know what’s going
on and dive into as much knowledge and as in depth as possible. And finally, I encourage
African American women to get uncomfortable. I think it’s very important for African American
women in college to get uncomfortable. I know that this is not a very comfortable setting
especially if you come from an inner city or predominantly most high cultural area and
now you go on to a collegiate institution that may not be representative of the city
that you may come from. I encourage you to get uncomfortable, attend
cultural programming events, attend motivational speakers, attend events and activities that
you may not typically participate. I guarantee you as African American women, you will find
something outside of the norm that you will love and that you will enjoy and then may
potentially push you to your career goals and aspirations. African American young ladies
in college, I think that it is very important that you set and make your mark. It is a great deal of young women on college
campuses that I know have the potential to be the next president, to be the next mayors,
to be the next government officials, teachers, civil servants. Take on a multitude of positions
and allow yourself to be and make a mark on this community and within your college settings.