Being first-generation is not an easy experience. The process of applying to college, getting materials for FAFSA, and everything else that needs to be done before attending college without anyone to help you or guide you can be all kinds of stressful. As I was in my senior year in high school, I didn’t want college to be an option. My family had not gone to college and even though I secretly wanted to, I knew I never could if I wanted to have a family.

Even though most families support the idea of their children going to college, it’s also true that there are parents in this world that do not agree with their children being “better” than them by attending college and getting a higher degree. My parents were those people. I snuck in rooms to get copies of the tax return for my FAFSA, I had to find ways to sneak signatures, and I had to endure hours of ridicule and months of being ignored by my parents just because I decided to attend the University of Dayton.

The decision to attend college is the student’s decision. Regardless of how your family may react, you need to do what is best for you. Personally, my family hated my decision so much that when I moved in for my freshman year, I never talked to my family again. However, I built my own and have done the best I can to try and overcome the treatment my family has given me. It’s important that no matter what anyone has to say, your dreams are reached and the steps you need to take to reach them are taken.

No matter what anyone has to say, your want to go to college is attainable. Your family doesn’t have to stop you from your goals. There will always be people there to help you and be there for you no matter what. I know that this seems hard, but I know that without my choice to attend college I wouldn’t have found my new family, and there’s nothing I’m more grateful for than that.