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Going from high school to college can be a somewhat difficult transition for any student. For most, their parents went through something similar with maybe an older sibling or even went through the transition themselves, however it seems as if first-generation college students are at a disadvantage because there are so many different things that we simple are not aware of or told about. This article is somewhat prepare readers for the challenges that may arise when first starting school as first-gen college students at Kennesaw State!

Cluelessness is OKAY

Clueless. You may struggle with this feeling for weeks before ever realizing that there is no viable cure for it, regardless of the cups of coffee or cans of energy drinks you consume. Before getting embarrassed or upset because you aren’t quite sure how to register for classes (visit OwlExpress under the “My KSU” link) or set up an appointment with your academic advisor (call The Nest), you need to realize that these are things that we have all been through. This is something that you should remind yourself of constantly. You’re not alone in this topsy-turvy world we like to call college.

Something that many first-generation students struggle with is something called impostor syndrome. With impostor syndrome, many students feel as if they are not good enough to actually be in college. They feel that others around them, disregarding age or level of education, are more qualified or simply better than them.

Places to go on campus that really help relieve the stress created by your inexperience are the grass stairs on the side of the Social Science building, the Campus Green located in front of the main entrance to the student center, the library, or the many different benches and swings placed randomly across campus.

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Ask Questions

Contrary to popular belief, asking questions is definitely not frowned upon nor is it ignorant. If you aren’t really sure if a restaurant on campus accepts dining dollars, call and ask. If you don’t understand the prompt for an essay your professor assigned you, email them and ask. Find a group of students that you enjoy being around and learn from them. At Kennesaw State University, they have an amazing learning community for First-Generation Owls. Professor Danelle Dychkoff is one of the many professor who has a passion for helping and working with first-generation college students. There are so many ways to get help on campus and you can learn about some of them by joining the learning community or simply looking online. It may seem silly that to even included this portion into the article, but this is something that many college students struggle with when first beginning college.

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Begin Everything with an Open Mind

No one wants to see you fail. Most of your professors are not mean nor are they in any way similar to how high school teachers portray them to be. Yes, they do give more work. And yes, they do expect you to be responsible enough to complete it on time. But ultimately, they just want you to succeed. They’re not ravenous monsters out to get your money and fail you in their class. It’s just tough love, for your own good.

It is also beneficial to keep in mind that they have lives too. They have families, family emergencies, pet emergencies, etc. They are only human and can only do so much to keep things fair for everyone.

{RateMyProfessor.com is a great way to find professors who are a good fit for you!}

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Stay Organized

It is extremely easy to get scattered after the first month of being in college so staying organized with your assignments, deadlines, and other significant dates is something that cannot be stressed enough. Organization is key to a successful semester. Creating a planner and color coating binders and folders to coordinate with specific subjects is a good place to start!

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Be Proud

You did this. YOU did all the work needed to get where you are today. Being accepted into a college is a big deal. Getting an A on your first college essay is a big deal. Realizing that your accomplishments are something that you should take pride in will help you get through the years and allow you to stay positive about your grades.

Surround yourself with people who you love and care about just as much as they love and care about you. But above all, breathe. You’re already one day closer to graduating than you were yesterday. Don’t lose hope…or HOPE.

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You’ll need and appreciate these things more and more as time goes on. Hooty hoo and good luck!


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Christa Allen

Hello! My name is Christa and I am first year student at Kennesaw State University. Currently I am a Communications major with an interest in Journalism and Media and hope to work for a news network or social network in the future. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, animals, debating, and all genres of music. Originally I am from Northern Georgia, but I moved to Kennesaw, Ga for school. I miss my home terribly, but I am learning so much about who I am, how the world works, and, of course, American politics.


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