I am beginning a blog series called “Expectation VS. Reality: First Generation College Student Edition”. Consider this blog in a brief introduction to the series.

Being a first generation college student teaches students more than just what they learn in the classroom. I think a lot of first generation college students are pushed in the direction of college education without preparation. These students are expected to exceed and are shamed for taking more than four years to graduate or for discontinuing their higher education. I believe this is an unfair expectation.

I truly believe education is a profitable investment. College may be over priced, but it gives rise to opportunities that are unavailable to many non-graduates. With that being said, many students are encouraged to spend thousands of dollars without a clear idea of what they are spending excessive amounts of money on. More students should be encouraged to create a career path prior to their entrance. After high school, I was under the impression that when I began college I would be able to take on interesting classes, choose any major I wanted, and after graduation I would make $80,000/year. I did not anticipate the need for work/internship experiences to secure competitive and high-paying  jobs after graduation. I did not realize the importance of networking and utilizing career resources. However, reality set in as each year passed by and, like many other first generation students, I learned to adapt after every reality check.

The beauty is that I am able to learn from my unrealistic expectations and mistakes and help others. So far, I have avoided the same mistakes in my application and selection processes for law school (I made new mistakes instead haha) and I anticipate avoiding the same mistakes throughout my academic years in law school. I was a little late catching on to a lot of the lessons that some first generation college students learn early on. However, some lessons come after graduation. Everyone learns at a different pace and I believe that whatever pace I am moving at is according to God’s plan.

–  Kayla Phillips

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