A Walk in My Shoes: First Generation College Students Teaser
I was not prepared for the rigor of academics. A man once said, it’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not to be prepared. And, because I didn’t pursue the higher level courses in high school, I wasn’t prepared for college, and when I got to college, I struggled. Graduate from college, that was huge, that was a big goal for me because I was going to be the first. I couldn’t let people down. I was taught that in high school, setting up the bar where you wanted it to be, in the college it was the same thing. When I graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to go to college. I was struggling grade wise, and I wasn’t passionate, and I was sitting and thinking, I’m not passionate about what I’m doing right now. Then when I switched to the College of Education, I absolutely love it, and I think it was the best decision I ever made. I do feel the pressure sometimes, because I’m the first to go to college. Something my mum always tell me about education, this is an opportunity that they never had, especially with the scholarships and grants. People are really surprised when I tell them, I’m first generation because my dad owns several companies, my mum has been able to be a stay at home mum my entire life, they just assumed that my parents were college educated, and I’m just following in their footsteps. I don’t think they realized like all that my parents went through to get to that spot, they weren’t just given it. There probably isn’t any stereotypes in this day and age as far as me being a black guy going to college, but as far as in education, I think I’m reading a lot of stereotypes. I mean, just looking at my physical appearance you might think he might be going into sports or something like that. I’m just a regular guy, and when I come in here, they treat me like a movie star and it’s awesome, I love it. When my brothers and sisters moved here, they were new comers, they knew no English. So when I have my ESL students, and they tell me I have been here for a week, I have been here for a day. It’s like seeing my brothers and sisters walk into the classroom. And so, ESL to me fetches my heart, because I know exactly where they are coming from. I know the struggles. That’s the beauty of this country, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or you look like, how you talk, how you dress. If you want to become something and you want to be something, you can. You know, there is nobody holding you back but yourself.