Ashley in Fort Myers, FL

Ashley in Fort Myers, FL

I grew up in Fort Myers, FL and am the first to graduate from high school, undergraduate school (go noles!), and will be the first to earn my masters next summer through the University of Tampa.

My first impression of college was overwhelming and exciting. I didn’t know what I was doing or who I was supposed to be, but was happy to be there. I had to work while in school and often felt alone in my endeavor when I did not have parents who were able to be there for academic or financial support.

My biggest piece of advice is to always have confidence in yourself. Do not allow your hardships to separate you from other college students, to make you feel inferior, or bitter. You are accomplishing something that no one else in your family has – be proud!

When you feel like you are falling behind, do not be afraid to seek out help. Reach out to friends, their parents, mentors, other first gen’s, university resources – anyone who is willing to help. You are doing great, be a sponge, and stay focused.