Below is the last article in the three-part series “First Generation Students: Experiences and Advice.” This series highlights first-generation students’ journeys to graduate school, their experiences at Salus, and any advice they have for other first-generation students looking to continue their studies at the graduate level. These students hail from Memphis, California, Puerto Rico, and many other parts of the map. When asked what advice they would give to first-generation students looking to pursue a graduate-level education, the students interviewed responded as follows: 

What advice do you have for other first-generation students looking to continue their education to the graduate level?
  •  I would definitely recommend learning to be the most resourceful you can be. Parents don't know a lot of what's going on, so you have to really be able to find resources yourself. Along with that is finding good mentors and friends to help you out through the process.   
  •  Just work really hard and lean on the people who are there to support you. I know this is really cliché, but trust the process because I didn't think I would make it here and I made it here. Everyone has their doubts, but you can do it if you really put your mind to it.
  • Student Devora Soto shown smiling in front of a window of the Salus library.First, I just would like to take this moment to really show my admiration for anyone that's trying to pursue higher education, especially if you’re a first-generation student. My advice would be just to be fearless. If you're feeling confused or lost, reach out for help. You don't have to do this alone. You really can find the right team of people and crew to support you so that you are able to, you know, become that successful medical professional that you want to be.
  • My advice to first generation students is to keep going. It's difficult. It's challenging. But in the end, once you can look back with your crew and you can say that you did it, it’s so worth it.
  • My advice would be to do your research and find out all the options that are available to you because there are a lot that aren't widely known. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions because the worst that could happen is they say no, which does, unfortunately, happen sometimes. But more often than not, they appreciate that you are putting in the effort and that you're interested, so they help you out.
  • I would say that you should never doubt yourself. It's a long journey and there's going to be so many times when you want to cry and just give up, but it's really worth every tear you shed and all the nights of studying and hard work. If you can dream it, you can believe it, then you can become it, and that’s what I love about this program and what I'm doing.
  • Student Maleiah Carroll shown smiling in well-lit Salus classroom.Go out and network. Get to know your academic advisor, financial aid advisor, and actually go to career fairs or different student organizations. Because I went to career fairs, I was able to land internships and jobs that helped me build my resume, which helped me get into optometry school.
  • If you are a first-generation college student that is looking to pursue a graduate career, I would want you to know that there are so many people out there that are willing to help you and that want to see you succeed.
  • I know it sounds cliché, but don't give up. I had to apply twice to graduate school. I didn't get in the first time, but applied again because I really wanted it. Sometimes it is a little bit of a struggle, but good things come to those who wait and good things come to those who try their hardest. Keep pushing, keep going, and keep trying because you'll eventually get your opportunity.
  • I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, so if you believe you can do it, you will, and if you want it bad enough, you can do anything you put your mind to.
  • Grad level is very different, I think, for immigrants. A lot of my family members were questioning why I needed to go to grad school because I already had a bachelor’s degree and a job. But it's something I knew that I wanted to do after shadowing. So be confident in what you want to do and go and do it.
  • Don't get discouraged and just really pursue it with your whole heart.
  • Keep trying your best, it's hard, but it'll all be worth it in the end.
  • Student Kaylea Ellison show smiling in well-lit Salus classroom.My advice for other first-generation students would be to make sure to seek out and find a mentor. It's very important because then you’ll have somebody that's already in the field that you're interested in to help guide you through the process. I would also suggest doing your research super early.
  • Everybody's path is different and you shouldn't compare yourself to others. If you need help, always reach out.