“What does it mean to be the first in your family to go to college?”
Our newest class of rising seniors, FG 11, sat in a circle at the Point Bonita YMCA and were prompted with this question. Although the week we spend with our students during the college application retreat involves us breaking down application platforms and demystifying the financial aid process, we draw students to this focus: why college?
The students shared how the dreams of their fathers and mothers run along side them as they journey through high school and apply to college. They spoke on accomplishing goals as a means to represent something more for the communities they come from. They spoke of pride; the four years of long hours, AP classes, racing across the city for internships or sports, and balancing a teenage life to earn the opportunity to apply to college was a badge to be shown. They spoke of knowing how college could acutely change the direction of their future, their careers, their lives.
Though the week continued with students taking part in mock college admissions panels, workshops on choosing a major, requesting letters of recommendation, and continuing to meticulously mold a personal statement, they were never detached from why the journey ahead would be long, difficult, but worth it.