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Freshmen Innovation Group Blog: The college experience of first-generation students

Follow along with this new FIG blog this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students! 

The College of Liberal Arts welcomes and celebrates first-generation students—the pioneers who are the first in their family to earn an undergraduate degree at a university.  Almost 30% of all liberal arts majors are first generation. 

The Freshman Innovation Group (FIG) is a college-specific program that provides incoming, first-generation freshmen a learning community involving a small network of faculty, advisors, and administrators in partnership with students. This program links two seminar-sized courses that allows sets of 25 students to move together as a cohort through their first year.  

Along with funding provided for course materials, meals with faculty, and academic programming that engages student interests and experiences, FIG students participate in opportunities that build a strong foundation for their academic and social success.

This new FIG blog gives an inside glimpse of what the college experience is actually like for first generation students. Follow along this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students!

Daniela Guzman 

About the Blogger

Daniela Guzman

Howdy! My name is Daniela Guzman and I am a 19- year-old college sophomore studying communication at Texas A&M University. I was born in the United States, but my roots were made in Mexico. Both my parents are from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, and they migrated to this country about 30 years ago. My parents moved to this country to give their family a better, safer life, which meant that they had to give up a lot to accomplish that. They had to leave their family and friends behind, and take a risk to the unknown of the future.

Life before College

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas with a Mexican family of seven (and two dogs). Being raised in a Mexican household meant that the girls had it tougher. We are expected to uphold a certain image so that the rest of the family wouldn’t think we were inadequate. That meant no having boyfriends, no going to friends’ sleepovers, having to clean the house daily, having to learn how to cook at a young age, doing the whole family’s laundry, and bringing home good grades from school so that your parents’ sacrifice of coming to this country wouldn’t go to waste.

I graduated high school with the honor of class valedictorian. When I told my parents about it, they looked at me, clueless. I had to explain to them that it meant that I was graduating as number one in my class, and how receiving this honor scored me a free year of college. Explaining this to them made me realize how terrified I was of going to college because if my parents didn’t even know how the whole high school progress went, how would they understand my college journey?

I broke the news to my parents that I wanted to go to Texas A&M University because I wanted to take a risk. Going away for college is the new thing nowadays, and I wanted to get a little taste of it. My parents of course disapproved, and completely denied and shut down any hopes I had of going away for college, even if it was just an hour and a half away. Thankfully, the rest of my family talked some sense into them, and explained to them that going away for college would be a wonderful experience for me, and that they should support my dreams since I am able to do anything since I was born in a country of freedom. Dealing with my parents was already difficult enough, and I couldn’t imagine how much more difficult college would be as a first generation ignorant girl. 

Olivia Peralez

About the Blogger

Olivia Peralez

HOWDY! My name is Olivia Fatima Peralez. I’m a sophomore sociology major from Robstown, Texas, but more importantly I’m the loudest and proudest member of the fighting Texas Aggie class of 2022. I’m nineteen years old, Hispanic, and absolutely love being an Aggie! While being here at Texas A&M, I’ve met so many new people that I now call my friends. This campus really does hold up to all their traditions and mottos. 

Life Before College

I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and raised in Robstown, Texas. I come from a Hispanic household that normally would not let their kids go to college very far away from them. My whole life I lived in Robstown, and never really traveled anywhere until I moved to college.

In high school, I was very involved in extracurricular activities such as student council, cheerleading, and prom committee, and served as baseball manager, yearbook editor and photographer, and class president. Not only was I busy with the fun stuff, but I also was  juggling my dual credit classes. High school was very interesting but I knew at the beginning of senior year I had a very important choice to make. I was set on staying close to home at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, but after some thinking, I realized that my best bet was to leave the town I grew up in and start fresh. Then my journey began.

After being accepted into Texas A&M University, I slowly began preparing for move-in day. Communicating back and forth with my roommate about what we were going to bring, I was so happy. When the day finally came to leave to college I was ecstatic. From then on, freshman year was full of memories. 

Follow along with the rest of the FIG blog posts here