The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Taliah Carmona, class of 24
My Breakthrough: Life as a Hard of Hearing Student
Taliah Carmona, Guest Writer • December 5, 2023

As the end of my senior year approaches, I’ve reflected on my last four years, which have been nothing but remarkable. I found myself finally...

Jones at a game versus SUNY Fredonia
From First Baskets to Lasting Legacies: My Journey to Le Moyne's Historic D1 Debut
Darrick Jones, Guest Writer • December 5, 2023

The Ted Grant Court at Le Moyne College has become my new proving ground, where the squeak of sneakers and the roar of the crowd serve as the...

A full commuter parking lot on campus, Lot C and CC
Alleviating the Parking Headache at Le Moyne
Corinne Becker, News & Features Editor • December 5, 2023

To say parking is a pain at Le Moyne is an understatement; between closed lots, tickets on windshields, and unauthorized vehicles taking up spots,...

Social Media and Self-Esteem: How to Manage Social Media Use
Mai Al Janabi, Staff Writer • December 1, 2023

Social media usage is often linked to self-esteem issues and mental health concerns, but given the advent of social networking sites, avoiding...

The Launch of the New Gender, Women, and Sexuality Center
Danny Mondelli, Assistant Editor in Chief • December 1, 2023

On October 18th, Le Moyne unveiled its new Gender, Women, and Sexuality Center in Reilly Hall. The event was organized by Dr. Farha Ternikar,...

The First Generation Club Brings in its First Generation of Dolphins

Club Spotlight: First Generation Club

Every student’s experience in college is different; it’s a time when they become more independent, interact with new people and communities, and discover their path. It’s an incredible personal achievement and an important part of the journey of a young adult finding their way. For many students, this journey is intertwined with the journeys of their family histories, their stories, and the dreams of people that came before them. Being a first-generation student is an honor in and of itself, representing power, achievement, and opportunity. This distinct group of students deserves to be highlighted and recognized as each student’s unique life experiences and stories contribute to the diverse community that is developed on this campus. 

This year, the First Generation club will be making its debut; it is catered towards first-generation students but is open to all students. A first generation student is defined as a student who is the first in their immediate family to attend college or a student whose parents did not attend college. This club will be a space for these students to both gain access to resources and opportunities they need to succeed and be a place where students can socialize and share their experiences with other students. 

“First generation” means different things to different people. It’s important not to universalize the experience and understand that each student has unique backgrounds and motivations that go into making them who they are. This community deserves recognition for its diversity and wide range of inspirations, backgrounds, and aspirations. In order to acknowledge these differences, we have asked four students to share what being a first generation student means to them. 

Kiarra Reyes is a sophomore psychology major with a concentration in childhood education. She says that “being a first generation means that I get to make my family proud and show that we are not only limited to where we come from. There is so much to achieve in this world, and I want to show that big dreams are worth having.”

  Brianna Dearstine is a sophomore biology major who adds, “the most meaningful thing about being a first generation is seeing the faces of my parents and grandparents. They are extremely proud of me for taking the next step in my education.” 

Jailyn Castro is a first-year sociology major who shares that “being the first year generation is a meaningful thing for me because I am the role model of my siblings, and I love when I feel like I’m doing something great, so my siblings can see that they can do it too. If I can do it, they can do it too.” 

Alyson Kaltak is a senior Psychology major who explains, “It is a step forward for a generation of families that did not have the opportunities available to pursue this goal before.”

Being the first in your family to attend college comes with excitement and opportunity but can also come with a variety of challenges and obstacles. “It is a lot more difficult for us than we can explain, or perhaps get someone to understand,” Alyson explains. “This is a new path for us, and we may not have the same sort of support or backgrounds to navigate this part of our lives, which can be a little scary at times.” 

Kiarra comments on the shared first generation struggle of navigating financial aid and applying for college: “No one in my family can help me fill out forms like FAFSA or help with registration or help me adjust to college life in general. Mainly because this is not something anyone has ever experienced. Everything is brand new, and it’s an adventure.” 

The added benefit of being near communities and people who can aid with the college application process is a great advabtage that isn’t available to all students. Kiarra describes it as an adventure, though, which marks how these challenges don’t always have to be viewed from a negative perspective. It’s a journey for the students and the families; a new part of their story and that will grow with each generation. 

“I am presented amazing opportunities to explore and embrace a realm my family has not had a chance to, and it has also been difficult, in that I am the first in my family to trailblaze a new direction for my own future,” Alyson says.

However, it is important to remember that these students are not defined by their challenges. Although first generation students encounter unique obstacales and are shaped by a range of various experiences, this does not take away from the dreams or abilities of each student; rather, it highlights their dedication and motivation. 

Jailynn shares, “I wish that people knew that we aren’t any different than those that aren’t first gen. We still can do the same thing as they can do.” Kiarra also adds, “I wish people knew how we are making history as first gen students. College is not something the average person can always achieve, especially being a person of color. In a way, it’s closing the gap that has kept people like me stuck in stigmas created by society.”

This club’s goal is to bring these students together while providing them a space where students can come to have their issues and stories heard; students like Kiarra, Brianna, Alyson, and Jailynn and all the first generation students on campus who have stories to share. 

“I definitely look forward to seeing the group come together and meeting new people who share the same struggle and experience,” Kiarra said. “I definitely would like to see the club be a resource for first gen students, whether that be helping with college forms or just being an outlet for students to de-stress and know they are not alone.”

This club will cater to the students; connecting them to resources they need and ways to make campus life an easier transition for them. Jailynn comments, “I feel so grateful and excited about being part of the First Generation Club because I feel like I can get a lot out of this club, and I can make more connections out of it. I want more resources for scholarships and I also want to see at least meetings or mental checks up. I know a lot of us are stressed or not feeling well because of all the pressure, including me.” As Alyson says, “I think this club is a wonderful highlight on how we are not alone!” 

The dreams in our eyes reflect in the eyes of the families that laid the foundations to provide this opportunity for us. This comes with a weight on the shoulders of the next generation but also the freedom of independence and security. To build and grow each family’s and individual’s stories is an incredible feat. So to each first generation student on this campus, speak up about what you need to succeed and be proud of how far you have come.

If you are interested in joining the club and/or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to co-presidents Nimo Aden ([email protected]) and Navroop Kaur ([email protected]), or advisors Barbara Karper ([email protected]) and Nicole Adams ([email protected]).

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