My First-Gen Story

Student on move-in day. Photo by Altmaier, Rachel .

As my first year ends, I look back and appreciate all of the support that has been given to me throughout this year. From stressing out in my AAD Melissa’s office to talking for hours about some event that just happened in Warren’s (the LSP director’s) office, to just having lunch and talking about my first year experience with Anthony (my admissions officer), I could not be more thankful that these people had been there to guide me throughout my first year.

Being a first generation student meant that I came into Stanford without any knowledge of what my first year of college would hold. I actually didn’t even learn how transcripts and GPAs worked until this summer when someone from my study abroad trip explained it to me! Yet, there were a lot of things that I didn’t know coming into college. I didn’t know what I would need for my dorm (a lot of Pinterest took care of that), I didn’t know what resources I had available to me (The Leland Scholars Program helped with that), and I didn’t know how prepared I would be to take on the challenge that was Stanford classes.

My first year was a whirlwind of experiences from my first real “failure” to the first time being completely on my own. Still, it was an amazing experience because I made lots of friends, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I finished SLE, a daunting residential program. There were times when I would doubt myself and my abilities, but when I turned in those 15 page papers, cheered loudly for the football team and even getting like 10 seconds on ESPN when I played in the band, I knew it was worth it. Being a first generation student just meant that I had to be on my toes all the time, and expect the unexpected. I didn’t really have anyone to hold my hand and guide me through every college choice, or decision.

The biggest thing that being a first-generation student taught me is that you need to know how and when to ask for help. You need to know when you aren’t doing as well as you’d like, when this topic is just too difficult, or when you aren’t feeling your best, so that you can seek help. I’m thankful for all of the resources that have been available to me such as my Academic Advising Director, the Leland Scholars Program, and El Centro Chicano y Latino because they have made my transition into college a million times easier. 

Gianna Nino, '18
Gianna Nino

Human Biology with a concentration in youth development and education
Class of 2018