By Jacki Cisneros
Each year, we host a Summer Send Off where graduating students for Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera are invited to a luncheon to hear guest speakers share their knowledge and experience as first-generation college students. Parents are also invited so they too can listen and ask questions about college life.
If you’re a rising college freshman and you didn’t get a chance to make it to this event, you missed out on inspiring speeches by two G1DPR alum, Monica Ochoa and Melissa Aguirre, as well as a chance to win raffle prizes like a computer, printer, mini refrigerator, microwave, money and more.
During the luncheon, I also presented my college tips. Whether or not your staying within the area, moving hours or states away, all of these tips will help you to survive your freshman year of college.
Here are my top 5 tips:
- Get involved on campus. Find your niche of people who have common backgrounds or interests. You’re looking for that group of people who will support you. It may take a few attempts to find your group, but don’t give up because once you do, I guarantee they will be your friends for life.
- Visit your professors during their office hours. Introduce yourself and let them know who you are. If you’re struggling, let them know what you need help with. While keeping a good relationship with your professor might not translate to an A, they will see your determination and help you out. They are there for you. Here’s how I look at it: College is expensive and the price we’re paying is for the services the professors are hired to provide, which is educate students. Go in with the mindset that your professors work for you. If you do not understand the curriculum, then they are not doing their job. Challenge them to figure out a way to help you understand. If you change your attitude it’ll power you.
- Get help before it’s too late. If you’re at a C in college you’re closer to a D than you are to a B. Get help ASAP.
- Remember you belong where you are. The admissions office has a process to determine which students would be a great fit for the school. They saw that you belong there and that’s why you were accepted. So even if you feel overwhelmed and doubt your ability to be successful at that college, know that it’s part of the process.
- Finally, Call your parents. Set a day and time – maybe Sunday evening. Your parents may not have a reference point of college and what it is like. Sometimes their source of information is what they see on the news about college campuses and that could make them worry. Update them regularly. Keep them involved with your journey. Share your experiences.
My final message is a heavy one, but one I feel I must put in words: “No” means NO! Be smart about where you go and whom you go with. Never walk alone. Text a friend or roommate to let them know your whereabouts and what time you’ll be back. Victims are all sizes, shapes, colors and gender. Keep yourself safe.
Gilbert and I want to wish the entire incoming college freshman a successful first year of college. Know that we are always here for support or as a resource, so don’t be a stranger.