Around this time of year we take time and really think about what in our lives we are thankful for. Many people say their family, that they have a roof over their head or food in their stomach, but I think I’m most grateful for having the opportunity to further my education. Yes, I am thankful for those other things too, but with this chance of getting a degree it opens up so many other doors for me. Since I am a first generation college student, I am getting an opportunity that no one else in my family has received. I get to create a better life for myself and I don’t have to struggle as hard as they had. My family has always supported my decision to go to college and they have been a big support system for me. Without them standing by my side throughout this journey, I don’t think I could have made it this far. They know me better than I know myself and they encourage me to continue when I start to feel discouraged and burnt out. For example, I recently had been struggling to pass a critical exam that I needed in order to get into the education program. My family encouraged me to study and when the time for the test came, my mom calmed me down and told me “you got this.” I have also met some great staff on campus, at Trio Student Support Services. I can go to them when I’m having an issue or I need to vent for a minute. They always know the right thing to say to me to make me feel better, and I am very grateful for that.

In addition to my family and the staff, I have also found great support in my peers. They are often struggling or have struggled with things that I am going through. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone who has had the same personal experience. For instance, I recently needed some study tips for my Biological Psychology class which, was a challenge for me. Another student was kind enough to give me some helpful advice that worked for her and she even let me borrow her book for our upcoming exam. I like having a support system outside of my family because its hard sometimes for my family to understand what I’m struggling with. Having a support system you can count on during your college experience is very important because sometimes you need to have an extra push when you’re feeling down or like giving up. They can talk to you about what is bothering you and give you advice or encouraging words. I know that without my support system I wouldn’t be where I am and that’s something to be very grateful for.