First Generation College Attendees Experience Campus Life For The First Time


When 16 year old Betty Torres went to the airport to attend her first summer courses at an elite college in New England and in the Midwest, she thought she was ready. But within a few minutes, she started having second thoughts.

"How am I going to do this? I'm a Latina from a humble family; will I fit in? Can I handle the workload? Will I get lost?" These were her thoughts. It may sound like a scene or a plot from a movie or TV episode but it does happen in real life. There are kids who come from families that never had a member go off to college.

When Betty arrived at Brown, and then Notre Dame, she was scared. "I was thrown out there and I made the best of it. I feel good. I see that I can do it." According to PBS she was home sick and lacked the confidence to move. She was an academic top notcher and this trial program to get a taste of college life is a shock for Betty.

Many summer programs aim to build weak academic muscles. The program Betty attended this summer is designed to push her further. She knows she can be and do better like those in the colleges she visited but she is plagued about how she "abandoned" her family and the responsibilities that go with them. She helps take care of her older sister, who has autism. She makes sure her baby sister is dressed and her younger brother gets off to school. Who will do those things when she goes away?

Arianna Robles, the college counselor at Betty's high school says that Betty knows her life and her family's life will get better once she gets a higher education.

For kids like Betty, it is important that they attend programs like these to give them the sensitivity and back bone to seek higher and greater things.

If you need help and want to attend programs like these, reach out to your high school counselor.

To understand what they are going through further, check out the documentary below about first-gen college students:

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