Posted Monday, November 4, 2019 @ 3:16 PM
Knightro poses with first-generation students at the First Generation Student Resource Expo.
UCF is celebrating First Generation Awareness Week during the week of November 4–8, 2019. The First Generation Program provides first-generation college students with a structured approach to develop meaningful experiences at the university. A first-generation student is defined as any student whose parents or guardians do not have a bachelor’s degree.
Monday’s First Generation Student Resource Expo allowed students to interact with different departments from around campus and learn more about support offered to first-generation students. Sophia, a UCF Senior, is using the Expo as a way to kick start her job search, “I’m about to graduate. I’m trying to get my foot in the door with one of these departments. I want to stay with UCF because of the supportive community.”
First-generation students face a unique set of challenges. Shaika explains, “It’s a lot. Typically, first-generation students, if they are minorities, they come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, impoverished communities, and underfunded schools. You really have to fight systemic racism just to get to this level.” Once a first-generation student enters college, they’re facing unchartered waters. “There’s the problem of not knowing and not having anyone at home to teach you or guide you, so when you get to campus, especially a campus as big as UCF, that’s a challenge in [and of] itself.”
The UCF Multicultural Academic & Support Services (MASS) office strives to maximize student success by assisting multicultural and first-generation college students in their transition to UCF by connecting students with the university community and its partners, to promote academic support services and programs. Sophia says, “The best advice I could give, would be to come into the MASS office. We help a lot of first-generation students and DACA students. And from there, we could refer you to different offices that can help you.” Shaika says, “Definitely check out the MASS office downstairs in the Student Union. Just walk in!”
First Generation Student Awareness Week continues all week with events each day in the Student Union.