Amarii Smith

Amarii Smith
Professional Title
Assistant Program Director for United Activities Unlimited, Inc.
Year of Graduation

What does being a first-generation college student mean to you?

Being a first-generation college graduate means a lot to me because coming from a family where college was either never finished or never started at all made me all the more determined to be the first to earn a four-year college degree. I’m proud to say that I was the first and that I will not be stopping there. I want to be able to prove to all the family that come after me that this is achievable, no matter the obstacles you are faced with.

What obstacles did you face in this context?

The obstacles I faced on my journey were mostly internal. I often felt like quitting and felt as if I wasn’t good enough and that college wasn’t for me. I didn’t have anyone who had graduated before me to look up to, or someone who experienced this to encourage me to keep going when I felt like giving up. Instead, I set a goal for myself and constantly affirmed that I can and will do this, not just for bragging rights but so that I can be that inspiration for my future family members.

What advice do you have for other first-generation students?

My advice for other first-generation students is not to let the lack of precedent discourage you, but to instead use that as the fuel to motivate you and keep you headstrong in your goal. You are your own biggest fan, and even when you feel like things are too hard, don’t forget to cheer for all you have done to make it to the point you’re at now. Remember that being the first to do anything will not always be easy, but that the outcome will be so very worth it.

Resources for First-Gen Students

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