From First Generation College Student To Nurse - page 2

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

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First generation college students often have educational experiences that greatly differ from those of their classmates who come from more educated families. I was one of those students who had been the first in my immediate... Read More


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    Thank you! Very inspiring!!!!
    anotherone and TheCommuter like this.
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    None of my grandparents went to school past 10th grade. Both parents graduated H.S. (Dad by the skin of his teeth). Mom spent a good portion of her working years in a management position that required a BS degree. She was the only one of her team without the BS degree but worked her way into the position with skill and grace under pressure. Dad worked his entire life as a mechanic. I grew in a white picket fence environment and generally had what most other kids had.

    I said I wanted to be a nurse as a very young kid and parents wasted no time pushing me to be college material, although they ultimately only provided lots of emotional support and no money. I have no doubt that they are still my biggest fans and very proud of all I have accoomplished.

    My husband has very average intellegence but hated school and dropped out in 10th grade. He has a fantastic work ethic and has made more dollars/hr than me the entire 20 years I've known him (union operating engineer).

    I am now faced with 2 older teenagers. My daughter is highly driven towards educational success and is currently at a local private university for healthcare administration. Using 50% scholarship + 50% Mom funds. My 17 yrs old son struggles with school due to dyslexia but he knows that I won't accept anything less than a HS diploma and doesn't fight me on this. We did discuss last year tho that he probably is not college material. He is currently in a HS vocational welding program and will have a welding certificate when he graduates. From there he plans to go directly to the NAVY and after that join the local union with his Dad. I suspect when it's all said and done, my son will make more dollars/hr than my daughter despite the educational difference.

    I guess the point of my ramble is life is what you choose to make it and the effort you are willing to put into it. Commuter, I've been reading you posts for some time now and you have a lot to be proud of. Your college education has allowed you to obtain some of your dreams but never forget...it also has a lot to do with the sheer determination and drive you put into the effort.
    TheCommuter and anotherone like this.
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    I am also a first generation college student. 1 of my parents later in life got a ged, the other has some hs. Both of them are smart but had some difficult life circumstances growing up. Working as pre teens etc, no parental support for one of them as a teen. They had pretty good labor jobs and made pretty ok money I suppose . Because I grew up where many children had teen parents, ones who didnt want to work, had really low paying jobs I considered myself really well off but in retrospect was lower middle class. They valued education, my mother especially. My dad was a do whatever you want type parent. I did really well in school so I expected to go to college to get a degree in a field like nursing where jobs were plenty ( where when i was in hs) and well paying. my parents encouraged it ,when prompted, if I majored in a vocational type of field.. They thought I was pretty smart and had a chance of succeeding in becoming a nurse which to them is a big step up income wise. Also they and their friends worked as roofers, construction , cashiers, factories. They knew some of those were mostly only for men or very low paying. The factories were dead. They had friends whose children were nurses and engineers so they knew about gen ed classes and the rigors of school from that Growing up though, I knew alot of kids whose parents discouraged higher education and didnt care about even hs. It is very difficult to overcome that. and not many people can.
    TheCommuter likes this.
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    Also.... my parents didn't know About SATs, college applications, etc. I couldn't count on them for that . I did everything and learned about everything on my own. While in college, I had a pt office job where many employees had hs aged kids. They wound talk about college apps, sats, acts , extra tutoring for that etc. My parents had no clue what a good SAT score was, let alone how and when to register. It is doable for a smart, very motivated teen. But some of their kids definitely had a leg up with their parents proofreading hw , essays, AP class tutoring , reminders about deadlines, etc. These are thing that aren 't available to many and most uneducated people are unaware of. Sometimes I thought/think, "how can people have the same expectations of kids not raised that way". I mean plenty of classmates had parents in jail, drug and alcohol addicts. etc . Sometime I don't think people understand how much of a difference parental involvement can make or do not want to acknowledge it as an advantage. I think I saw a lot classmates do pretty well given their circumstances. I would expect alot more from my own children, simply because I would know more than my parents did, hope I would/will be an involved parent, encourage ap classes, help with hw etc. My parents couldn't really do that.
    TheCommuter likes this.
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    Quote from anotherone
    Also.... my parents didn't know About SATs, college applications, etc. I couldn't count on them for that . I did everything and learned about everything on my own. While in college, I had a pt office job where many employees had hs aged kids. They wound talk about college apps, sats, acts , extra tutoring for that etc. My parents had no clue what a good SAT score was, let alone how and when to register. It is doable for a smart, very motivated teen. But some of their kids definitely had a leg up with their parents proofreading hw , essays, AP class tutoring , reminders about deadlines, etc. These are thing that aren 't available to many and most uneducated people are unaware of. Sometimes I thought/think, "how can people have the same expectations of kids not raised that way". I mean plenty of classmates had parents in jail, drug and alcohol addicts. etc . Sometime I don't think people understand how much of a difference parental involvement can make or do not want to acknowledge it as an advantage. I think I saw a lot classmates do pretty well given their circumstances. I would expect alot more from my own children, simply because I would know more than my parents did, hope I would/will be an involved parent, encourage ap classes, help with hw etc. My parents couldn't really do that.
    My parents both went to college but a long time ago. My dad has no idea how financial aid works and didn't want to help me pay for college. My parents never pushed me to do anything, study in high school, study for the SAT, sign up for it, admissions to college, etc. everything I've done I've done it from my own ideas and drive. I am glad I had my high school counselor that suggested AP and honors classes. I was on my own in those classes too. It's almost the opposite situation (mom a teacher, dad a dentist). I think the only advice/help was from my older sister who is a lawyer and wrote me a letter about what to focus on in college. It was really nice. However, my mom has always been my number one fan. Whatever I chose to do, she was always there supporting me.

    I also hope to help my children. Sometimes I was so overwhelmed. It would have been nice to have a little guidance other than my high school counselor. Oh well. I ended up where I wanted so that's all that matters, I guess.
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    Quote from anotherone
    Also.... my parents didn't know About SATs, college applications, etc. I couldn't count on them for that . I did everything and learned about everything on my own.
    Same here. My parents knew nothing about the SAT, ACT, or the application process. I learned about these things from more knowledgeable classmates, teachers, and my guidance counselor.
    Quote from anotherone
    While in college, I had a pt office job where many employees had hs aged kids. They wound talk about college apps, sats, acts , extra tutoring for that etc. My parents had no clue what a good SAT score was, let alone how and when to register.
    When I attended college prep and honors classes in high school, most of my classmates had highly educated professionals as parents: physicians, attorneys, schoolteachers, superintendents, businessmen, etc. These parents were guiding my classmates, making sure they selected a college prep track, providing advice on careers, funding after-school activities, and reading the SAT score reports. On the other hand, my mother and father were hands-off when it came to these things because they did not know about them.
    Quote from anotherone
    It is doable for a smart, very motivated teen. But some of their kids definitely had a leg up with their parents proofreading hw , essays, AP class tutoring , reminders about deadlines, etc. These are thing that aren 't available to many and most uneducated people are unaware of. Sometimes I thought/think, "how can people have the same expectations of kids not raised that way". I mean plenty of classmates had parents in jail, drug and alcohol addicts. etc .
    I totally agree.
    Quote from anotherone
    Sometime I don't think people understand how much of a difference parental involvement can make or do not want to acknowledge it as an advantage. I think I saw a lot classmates do pretty well given their circumstances. I would expect alot more from my own children, simply because I would know more than my parents did, hope I would/will be an involved parent, encourage ap classes, help with hw etc. My parents couldn't really do that.
    Exactly. Some kids start school (and progress through the system) with unseen home advantages, yet policy makers expect all students to perform at the same level. Some people are in denial about the difference that a home environment can make with regards to school performance.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I'm 5 months away from being first generation college student graduate...actually I was first generation high school graduate and first generation to attend any form of higher education.

    My mom did the best that she could. She had no knowledge of anything remotely related to college (financial aid, SAT, etc. She did what she could in terms of helping me, always willing to do whatever it was that I needed). Yet, she was always a driving force for me to do excel and do well. She took a job at a local well known University so that I would have the opportunity to attend that school tuition free. (failing to realize that I still needed to be accepted into that University). And while I loved her for doing that, the University she worked for was not a school I really wanted to attend. But it was either that or nothing. I took that and hated every minute of it. Life circumstances happened and I dropped out.v Aways feeling so guilty that she worked at that thankless job for me.

    I did go back to college years later, slowly completing classes needed for the pre-reqs. Anyway..again life happened and I stopped. It wasn't until I was 37 that I went to LPN school, and although it did not get me a college degree, my mom sat beaming in the audience as I graduated with honors. She continues to be a striving force for me as I get closer and closer to walking across the stage to get my college degree. She is very proud of me and my accomplishments. Always telling me that her children getting an education and graduating college was always her dream for us. My sister did not attend college (never stepped foot in a school other than high school). She's more hands on/trade driven. My mom is also very proud of her, but mom is anxiously awaiting the time that she can watch as her 'child' walks and gets that degree.

    Mom never mentioned wishing she had graduated high school or attend attend college. I asked her one day why didn't she and she said she just never had a desire to do it. She was of the generation that a college education was not really needed in order to live a middle class life.

    My mom is 68 years old now and has seen both her children graduate high school, seen 3 of her 4 grandchildren (the 4th is only in 6th grade now) graduate high school, watches as 2 grandchildren currently attending college and of those 2, one is a few classes from graduating, and soon she will see her child graduate college. My hope is she is able to see one of her grandchildren graduate college as well as seeing me get my BSN.

    Mom has been the cheerleader and preacher to the grandchildren how important an education is. She was even the one who finally pursuaded me to go for the RN to BSN.

    So, while my mom never had the opportunity to go to college and was only slightly able to help navigate the process with me, an education was always something she wanted her girls to have.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Good article! My own parents were Italian Immigrants both raised on subsistence farms by my grandparents who did not even finish grade school due to WWII. My father finished grade school, and my mother finished high school. Both did English classes once they immigrated here. But still, my parents didn't even understand my report card in grade school. It took me a long time to finish college but am glad I did.
    TheCommuter likes this.
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    Quote from Testa Rosa, RN
    Good article! My own parents were Italian Immigrants both raised on subsistence farms by my grandparents who did not even finish grade school due to WWII. My father finished grade school, and my mother finished high school. Both did English classes once they immigrated here. But still, my parents didn't even understand my report card in grade school. It took me a long time to finish college but am glad I did.
    I'm amazed by people like you. It's tough to get through it but you all did it with determination.
    Testa Rosa, RN likes this.
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    Thank you for sharing your story!

    While one of my aunts completed college, my mother and father did not. I don't have a relationship with my mother (left when I was 3) but my father always wanted the best for me. He absolutely wanted me to go to college even though he never completed his college education. He passed away in 2002 but I know he would have been so proud of me when I got my Gen. Ed degree in 2011 and that I will be getting my ASN in May 2013. Also, my grandparents and aunts have been a huge support to me. They definitely see how much I love school and am excited to become a nurse.
    TheCommuter likes this.


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