First-gen students share their stories and why they chose Baylor
Baylor legacies are no doubt special to our student body — but we’re also honored to have so many first-generation students attend our beloved school, creating brand new lines within the Baylor Family. Today is “First Generation Celebration Day” at Baylor — part of a national recognition of those students who are the first in their families to attend college. (Click here to see how BU is celebrating the day.)
Baylor works hard to ensure first-gen students feel at home on campus and in Waco. Leading the way is the First in Line program, which acts as a support unit on campus, providing scholarships, directed programming, mentoring and a network of faculty and staff to assist first-generation students. Each of the last two years, Baylor has been honored nationally for its commitment to first-gen students.
We spoke with some of Baylor’s first-gen students this week to learn about their experience. Below, they share what being a first-generation college student means to them.
“As a first-gen student, I will be able to change my future and the future of my family through the opportunities I open up. The sacrifices and obstacles my parents and I endured in order to fulfill my goals will be rewarded. When I visited Baylor for the first time, I felt right at home. I fell in love with the campus and the environment created by the students and staff. There was nowhere else I could see myself going to school for the next 4 years.”
Senior; Katy, Texas
“As first-gen, I am a pioneer for my family. It means that there is a deeper level of resilience, grit and work ethic embedded in me. It requires me to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace risk. My family is extremely supportive of me, but in a way that is different than most college students. My parents support me emotionally and are my number one fans; however, they don’t have the experience aspect of it all which can be difficult at times. I chose Baylor because there was such a strong sense of support when I was talking to students, faculty and staff. I could tell there were so many people willing to share their knowledge and resources with me.”
Junior; Nederland, Texas
“Personally, being a first-gen student is about crossing boundaries, taking risks, and experiencing new things. My experience has been characterized by a lot of hard work, determination and perseverance, and I am beyond thankful for every sacrifice that my family has made for me and my future. I hope to make my family proud throughout my academic journey and the rest of my life. I chose Baylor because of its values of faith and community. Since becoming a student, I have been embraced by not only the First in Line community, but also the greater BU community. I have established such wonderful friendships and relationships with peers and even faculty members. I am grateful for those connections, and they have greatly impacted my success here.”
Sophomore; Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“Being a first-gen student is part of my identity. I want to make my family and myself proud. Taking an unfamiliar path is never easy, but I want to be successful and take full advantage of this privilege my parents have made possible for me. It helps that Baylor offers many resources for first-gens to get involved in.”
Senior; Beaumont, Texas
“To me, first-generation means I have the opportunity to achieve my professional and academic goals. I strive to make my family proud by working hard. It is because of their love and support I am able to be here. I ultimately chose Baylor because of the welcoming and helpful community. I’m always so amazed how people will go out of their way to help me succeed.”
Sophomore; San Antonio
“Being a first-generation student means a lot to both me and my family. Although it comes with challenges, it is incredibly rewarding to continue my education and stay motivated to make a difference in the future. When I was deciding on a college, Baylor specifically stuck out to me because of the student body and faculty here. Everyone is very service-oriented and loves to give back, so it has really encouraged me to do the same one day.”
Batool Unar Syed
“I’m reminded my parents worked hard to provide me the opportunity to attend an amazing institution like Baylor. For my family, being first-gen signifies their hard work being put into the future of my family and my kids. I chose Baylor for its high academic standings. I was mostly drawn to Baylor’s strong focus on family, inclusion, and tradition.”
Sophomore; Fort Worth
(Brandon recently took over the Baylor Instagram account to further share his experience as a first-generation student.)
Sic ’em, first-generation students!