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Campus Book Discussion (2018): Hillbilly Elegy

Chapter 12

In this chapter Vance talks about applying to Yale and getting in primarily because he is poor.   He provides candid description of the cocktail receptions and banquets at Yale that served as “professional networking and personal matchmaking events.”  He talks about feeling out of place because he was poor, but how that changed over time, mainly because he stopped being ashamed of his background.  He talks about the conflict he feels about moving up in class.   He wrestles with his new class status and loyalty to his hometown. 

First Generation Experiences

A Walk in My Shoes:
What would it be like to be the first to navigate your way through the college experience...alone? In the third installment of the College of Education’s documentary series A Walk in My Shoes, we decided to find out. Over six months, we traveled to the hometowns of five current K-State students and three alumni who are not only the first in their families to graduate from college but are also in education. Their life stories of overcoming challenges, realizing their potential, and giving back are not only inspiring, but instill hope and provide examples for all students.


First-Generation College Students Face Extra Struggles:
How is being a first-generation college student different than a regular student? Members of the DC College Success Foundation explain the unique and often unnoticed challenges.


A Walk in my Shoes: First Generation Helene's Story:
Helene Ngyuen is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who struggled in the classroom. Placed in an ESL program for years, teachers thought she needed remedial help. However, once tested, they realized she was gifted. Nyugen's example has helped her family to pursue higher education and is shaping the lives on future generations.


Guilt is one of the biggest struggles first-generation college students face
In “Guilt Is One of the Biggest Struggles First-Generation Students Face,” Professor Linda Banks-Santilli writes that first-generation students face psychological issues that other students may not face. For example, a first-generation graduate might be perceived as disrupting familiar patterns within the family construct. The student may experience a sense of loss as she may have to abandon customs from her community to learn a new set of rules to fit into academia. Half of first-generation students are from low-income backgrounds and are racial minorities. Many first generation students go to college to create a better life for themselves and their families. At the same time, many may feel that they are abandoning their families and leaving them behind once they pursue a higher education. Many may feel stuck in a “no man’s land” where they no longer feel they genuinely belong to neither home or academia. 

Food for Thought

 What are some challenges you face as a college student?

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