Being the first in your family to travel a new path isn’t always easy, but it’s an amazing accomplishment for first-generation students. At The Ohio State University at Mansfield, a third are first-generation. That means their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. They are the first in their family to attend a four-year institution.
On Thursday, November 8, over 100 students came to Ovalwood Hall to celebrate being first-generation students.
Each student’s path begins differently but while at Ohio State Mansfield they are offered the best support to lead them through the process. Darla Myers, the coordinator for academic success at Ohio State Mansfield, sees many first-generation students come through her office doors every year.
“I think first-generation students are less likely to have that family support because the family doesn’t know what it is like to be a college student,” Myers explains. “I have a lot of students say their parents put demands on them but don’t understand how hard it is to stay on top of all those demands and their school work. We have great resources on campus for students. We have amazing counselors on campus. Students also have access to Conard Learning Center, advisors, or even disabilities services.”
Averi Cook, a freshman pre-veterinary medicine major, is a first-generation student. Ever since she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be an Ohio State Buckeye. Cook says she grew up with her mother who attended one year of college but dropped out. However, her mother was the one who encouraged her to continue her education after high school.
“It means a great deal to be a first-generation student. In some ways, there is a lot of pressure to finish college. I have heard my entire life how important it is to succeed, so I feel pressure to do my best,” Cook says. “But the faculty and staff at Ohio State Mansfield have helped me immensely. I have several mentors and advisors on campus. They have accommodated me, and it’s amazing. Mansfield is my type of place. I am from a small high school so having this close-knit environment on campus is something I prefer.”
Osiris Mays, a computer science major, grew up half of his life in the inner city of Cleveland until he moved to the suburbs of Shaker Heights. “There was a point in high school where I didn’t really care, and I didn’t even know if I wanted to go to college,” Mays says.
“I feel like being a first generation student is my opportunity to open the gate for those younger than me. I am doing something different, and hopefully, I can be that stepping stone that my younger siblings can look at and see college as a road to success.”
Mays feels there are many resources at Ohio State Mansfield that are helping him succeed. “I feel like I have everything I need here to grow as a student. We have a writing center where people read your paper and critique what you are doing,” Mays says. “There are also places, like a food pantry, where students can go if they are going through challenges.”
As the daughter of a single father, Lisa Wallace, a freshman psychology major, is grateful for the affordability Ohio State Mansfield offers her and her family. “I came from a household where it’s just my dad and me because my mom passed away when I was young. I will be the first person in my family to graduate,” Wallace says proudly.
It’s important for her to have additional help on the campus since she is a first generation student. “The faculty and staff are very helpful. Since it’s a smaller campus, there are so many faculty and staff members that are willing to help you whether it’s their job or not,” she says. “They will also tell you whom you need to go to if you need help.”
“My family is really proud of me for going, and that’s something they always wanted for me since I was little. I guess for me it’s just about making my family proud. I will be proud in return.”
Source, Photo: The Ohio State University at Mansfield