Tag Archives: university

What Makes Them Tick? (Video)

Part of college is finding what it is that  “makes you tick.”

The video below is an insight of what makes four first-generation students tick. They’re in college not only to pursue a higher education that their parents couldn’t but also to find a career that they will enjoy. I asked each of them what it is that makes them tick about their career path relating to their major. Each described what it is that makes them “tick.”

“See you around.”

For those who do not know, this blog was created as a quarter project for my Intro to Multimedia class. It started as just that, a graded project, but as the quarter passed and more work was done it didn’t feel like just a grade but it felt like a purpose.

I am so glad that I picked this topic because I have learned so much more and gotten to know more about the amazing students who have been featured.

Every interview that I did I was able to have conversations as how I related. It’s not surprising because I am also a first-generation student but it was so interesting to have very similar stories!

The good about blogging has been that it has been easy to share the posts online. It’s also easy to find online. I don’t know how but people from all over the world have visited this blog at some point. It’s been an awesome experience.


I can’t think of anything bad about blogging. I have really enjoyed it and I’m considering one day becoming a professional blogger.

Over the past three months, “First-Generation” has received over 1,000 visitors! It’s been really great to see that people are getting to know how it is to be a first-generation college student.

The post that has gotten the most views has been “It Starts with a Dream.” Which happens to be one of the most interesting posts I have done. Mostly because it was an event that brought together students from different schools and ages. It reminded me of when I was a high school student and aspired to attend college. The Xicano Youth Conference was a great way to inspire young students to also aspire to attend college.

I have had fun doing this blog but unfortunately since I will be starting a new academic quarter with different courses and more responsibilities I won’t be able to put as much time as I do now. During the next few months I will be brainstorming ideas of how to continue this blog and hope that by the fall I will be posting content again. I also hope that students and anyone interested in the topic will find this blog and use it as a resource and maybe even as motivation.

So it’s not a final end just a “see you around!” Remember, don’t miss out on the video coming up this Thursday!

Comments from peers:

“I love reading this blog, the tone is entertaining and easy to follow. The layout is really creative. This blog is an honest look at what it’s like to be a first-generation college student and it’s really helpful” – Cameron Bones

“You blog looks very clean and professional. It’s super insightful for readers who are first-generation and things they should know to help them succeed. I would like more pictures though!” – Hannah Landry

“It is really cool to learn about how first-generation students cope with new situations. As someone who grew up in a family where college was so engrained into my head as something I had to do because my whole family had, it was interesting to read about the college experience from someone that had the opposite experience.” – Kaylee Bingham

Video Preview: What makes them tick?

From left to right: Michelle Lam, Nick Tuong, Yajaira Perdomo and Alejandra Rosa. Photos by Melissa Nunez.
From left to right: Michelle Lam, Nick Tuong, Yajaira Perdomo and Alejandra Rosa. Photos by Melissa Nunez.

First-generation college students are aspiring for a better future by pursuing a higher education. They are in search for a career that they enjoy and makes them tick.

This has led me to work on a project that I will be busy with this week. I will be posting a video next Thursday that will showcase interviews with four first-generation students who have found a major that suits not only their abilities but also their likes. Each describes what it is about their major that makes them tick.

  • Michelle Lam is a first-year computer science major from Sacramento, Ca. She is fascinated by Computer Science because part of it is like math which she is good at. She enjoys translating for a computer.
  • Nick Tuong is a first-year mechanical engineering major from Los Angeles, Ca. He loves that his major requires him to do “everything.”
  • Alejandra Rosa is a first-year political science major from Firebaugh, Ca. She has her eye on running for a specific political position. Being exposed to agriculture her whole life has led her to gain knowledge that she plans on using in her career.
  • Yajaira Perdomo is a first year mechanical engineering major from Los Angeles, Ca. She likes the drafting part of engineering because it lets her create. She wishes to one day make a change.

Aside from the interviews, the video will also showcase the students in action doing what they like to do! Stay tuned!

Second Home on Campus

In college, it is nice to find your niche.

First-Generation students who attended Summer Institute were introduced to the Cross Cultural Center’s MultiCultural Center during a tour of Cal Poly’s University Union and since the first week of fall quarter it has been the go-to place. It is their niche. The MCC is a very convenient place to study, socialize, sleep, eat, have meetings and has access to computers and free printing.

Why would anyone want to leave?

Anyone is welcomed! It’s open to all students. It is a comfortable place to meet people and take a break from the hectic college life.

Did I mention there’s a TV?

Check it out.

Growing Up as a First-Generation Student

Growing up as a first-generation student can be difficult. Most grow up in a  low-income household and have to go through situations that can be hard and stressful. Some students have to work from an early age or just simply find someway to help our parents have enough money for necessities. 

I interviewed two current Cal Poly students and one Cal Poly Alumni, now faculty member, and asked them how it was like for them to grow up.

Carla Quinonez moved to the U.S. about six years ago and is now a biomedical engineering major. Maria Arvizu-Rodriguez, worked in the agricultural fields with her parents and is now an academic advisor. Dainy Cruz Cortes grew up at her parents work, a sewing factory, and is now a business major.

Hear how it was like growing up for them.

7 Reasons First-Gen and Low-Income College Students Should Use Alltuition

Applying to a college is one thing and applying for financial aid is another. It is very important for first-generation students and other low-income students to apply for financial aid because it could be the only source of funding they have to pay for college. Just like the college application the Free Application for Student Aid is tedious. Which is why Alltuition is very helpful and can come in handy to go through that application process. Here are 7 reasons why:

Continue reading 7 Reasons First-Gen and Low-Income College Students Should Use Alltuition

First-Generation College Students Support Group

Support Group rules. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
Support Group rules. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Merriam Webster defines a support group as, “a group of people who have similar experiences and concerns and who meet in order to provide emotional help, advice, and encouragement for one another.” Cal Poly’s Counseling Services offers support groups for students with different types of concerns. A support group that is offered to students is the “First-Generation College Students Support Group.”

Continue reading First-Generation College Students Support Group

From My Point of View

Visiting Cal Poly SLO. Photo by Virginia Nunez.
Visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Photo by Virginia Nunez.

If you’ve read the “About” section on this blog you know that I myself am a first-generation and low-income college student.

A goal of mine for this blog is to focus on the experiences of other students on each post but this post will be an exception because as a change I will be talking about my experience. I will touch on several past posts and add how I personally relate to the topic.

Continue reading From My Point of View

Miles Away from Home (Interactive Map)

CA-101 Freeway. Photo by Melissa Nunez.
CA-101 Freeway. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Going away from home for the first time is a big step in life. It takes a good reason to do it. For first-generation students and many other college students that reason is college. Some students choose to stay close and go to college near their home or commute. But others have to travel miles to a new city with new people, places and surroundings. It is saying goodbye to everything they have ever known. But it’s worth it because they are going away to pursue and education.

Continue reading Miles Away from Home (Interactive Map)

Cal Poly Summer Institute

At Avila Beach. Photo by Melissa Nunez.

Going away to college is a big step for anyone. It means shedding out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new surroundings. It hits harder being a first-generation student because our parents are not able to guide us through the process.

First-generation students in the Educational Opportunity Program at Cal Poly are given the opportunity to attend a program called Summer Institute. It usually runs through the end of July to the middle of August. They stay in on-campus apartments, take a General Education course and attend supplemental workshops. The program also includes activities that helps them get familiar with San Luis Obispo. The program is held every summer. This last summer, 89 incoming EOP freshmen got to attend. The 2013 program ran from July 27 – August 20th. This year’s theme was DC superheroes with the motto being “Made of Steel.” The Summer Institute Program Coordinator and Program Assistants are in charge of the program.

“The purpose of Summer Institute is to help out students transition to college,” Jon Diaz, Summer Institute Program Assistant said.

Continue reading Cal Poly Summer Institute