THE PACE CHRONICLE

First Generation Social Brings Pace Students and Faculty Together

Students gathering at the First Generation Social. Photo by Christina Bubba

Students gathering at the First Generation Social. Photo by Christina Bubba

Christina Bubba, Feature Writer

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A first generation college student is when a student is from a family in which neither parent went to or graduated from college. The percentage of Pace University Pleasantville  students who fit this criteria is an astounding 40 percent.

Last Wednesday, the Kessel Multi-purpose room was filled with roughly 30 people, half students and half staff, who identify as first generation college-goers. The diverse crowd mingled among high tables from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. laughing, sharing their stories and backgrounds, getting to know each other, and making connections over coffee and snacks.

Dr. Mary Ann Murhpy, director of the Center for Community Action and Research, admits to the hardships students went through as a first generation college students and congratulates them for “taking the first step.”

Many students found this first step a challenge with no one in their family able to help them through the process.

“Not having guidance was difficult,” commuter education major Vilmarie Feliciano said. “Being your own leader is scary… my mom doesn’t know anything about college.”

Despite the difficult process, being the first to go to college can also be exciting. One student was so eager to attend college that she went above and beyond before deciding on Pace. She scheduled meetings with admissions and department heads, figured out financial aid, and stayed overnight and attended classes to see if Pace was a good fit.

“I called it college shopping… I loved it,” sophomore Gabrielle Iannucelli said.

The goal of these socials are to connect first generation students to one another and to faculty who have been through similar experiences.

“Connecting faculty and staff to students [is important] so they have people here to explain the complicated structure that is the college environment,” staff member Katie Hartman said.

It is an accomplishment for many to be the first in a family to earn a college degree.

“I’m excited to get a degree,” senior Chey-Ann Coleman said. “My family are immigrants and the whole point was for me to get a better lifestyle.”

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