It’s been about three weeks since my senior year at the University of Rochester has begun. It’s been a great time so far. I’ve been keeping up with my work just fine and things feel more routine than ever, in a good way. So, while I’m being blasted by dozens of emails a week from our career center here at our school regarding graduate school admission tests and requirements, I’ve been thinking about what happens next for us…
As first generation students, many of us may lack much of the social and cultural capital that our other college legacy peers don’t even know they have and will definitely enjoy. I mean…up until last year I didn’t know what the MCAT even meant, and it’s still a bit confusing now. Thankfully i’m not in a pre-med track, or even remotely interested in medical school. But even then, how does being a first generation college student affect an individual beyond the undergraduate years? Are schools doing enough to prepare students like me for a future beyond a bachelor’s degree?
Ultimately, the burden of knowledge seems to fall mostly on the student, which is fair in theory. After all, I do have a career center on campus that I’m sure would’ve gladly explained what the MCAT meant had I walked in there freshman year. So my mom not knowing loads about graduate school or how to approach the LSAT and therefore being unable to tutor me on it is no excuse on my part. However, I really do believe there is still an unspoken and very awkward disconnect between first-gen students and post-undergraduate study/employment. We will be the first to graduate from college in our families, and we will also be the first to learn all about the post-grad world and life. And this is the moment where I really wish I was the second in my family to graduate college, maybe even the third.
With hopes and dreams intact,