LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Friday is “National First-Generation College Student Day” and first-generation students are those who are the first in their family to attend college.
UA Little Rock celebrated those students by sharing their stories with the community.
Staff says first-gen students can sometimes face various issues – everything from financial problems to family’s lack of understanding.
“They want to be supportive but sometimes don’t know how,” says
Zach Smith, a first-year grad student at UALR.
Smith is studying Geology and says the UALR community was the reason why he decided to continue his education at UALR after his first four years.
He says it’s not always easy explaining to family why you can’t come home for the weekend.
“Doing four years of your bachelor’s degree and spending time with your family are two significant things first-generation college students have to figure out how to balance sometimes families don’t understand,” says Smith.
Nearly 40 percent of UA Little Rock students identify as first-generation, which means that their parents or guardians did not graduate from college.
Smith encourages others to go after their passions and to not let anything stand in your way.
“Life’s too short not to take chances,” he says. “It can be scary at first and you will not have all the answers, but finding the people to help you only makes you that much better of a person.”
For more first-generation stories, click here.