Zayan (left) and Osei (right) are Business Technology Management majors going into their 4th and 3rd year respectively at Ryerson University. They are also First Generation Ambassadors at the Tri-Mentoring Program, a program in place to support the transition from secondary to post secondary education through Peer-to-Peer Mentoring and the FG Project. It also assists students transition from post secondary into the work force through Career Mentoring. Another initiative of the Tri Mentoring Program is Access TMP, a pilot program set in place to build community for students who identify as having a disability. As a way to engage students’ voice on issues commonly faced by students of all walks of life students in TMP have started a blog which we hope will provide a voice for all students.

What is a First Generation or FG student?

[blockquote source=”Zayan“]If your parents/guardians don’t have any form of post-secondary education in or outside of Canada then you qualify as a FG student.[/blockquote]

[blockquote source=”Osei“]To me, an FG student is the heartbeat to a new generation. They are the leaders in a baton race that enable their successors with the ability to properly navigate themselves in a post secondary world filled with options. They will lead the next generation after them as well. The finish line of course being more successors enrolling in a post secondary education of their choice and ultimately ending up with a diploma or degree.[/blockquote]

Why is that important?

[blockquote source=”Osei“]Gaining a higher level of education and knowledge can only set the stage for you to have many more opportunities that, in the long run, will benefit you and your loved ones. During my time as a post secondary student, I learned that there is a long line of support systems and resources in place to help FG’S in whatever post-oecondary option (PSO) they choose. These range from bursaries to scholarships to tutoring services that help us reduce stress over finances which, hey, lets face it, is probably the main hindrance in our already hectic life LMAO[/blockquote]

[blockquote source=”Zayan“]First of all, it’s important for us to take pride in who we are. Second of all, there are many resources out there that support FG students and the Tri-Mentoring Program is one of them. They have projects present to support students’ transition from their first year of enrolment ’til their graduation. There’s also financial support like bursaries and work-study positions dedicated for FG students.[/blockquote]

What’s positive about being a FG student?          

[blockquote source=”Osei“]I don’t think being an FG makes us lesser or better than anyone else but I do think it puts us down a different road in life and everyone has their own. We have to always to keep in mind not to get angry that others have it easier than we do and to trust and embrace our trials and tribulations in view of the bigger picture………. Paving the way so that our successors know not of our struggle.[/blockquote]

[blockquote source=”Zayan“]At first I questioned why anyone would identify himself or herself as a FG student. Honestly, what’s the point? I mean, all it meant was, my parents had no post secondary education, so I found it discouraging to be a part of. It wasn’t ’til my participation with the Tri-Mentoring Program that I realized the importance and significance being a FG student holds.

First Generation students are game changers. We’re given the chance to change our future and accomplish something our families weren’t necessarily given the opportunity to, and achieve something our ancestors couldn’t do. We have the ability to break the chain and control the outcome and experience of our lives and our children’s that follow.

But with all this pressure and responsibility, the pride and satisfaction of attaining a post-secondary education is what makes this journey worthwhile. It’ll be an accomplishment like no other. All the pain and struggles would finally be worth it. Although I’m still in the process of getting there, I can only imagine as to how much joy and pleasure it would bring to see the smile on my parents’ face. It’s what makes it priceless. That to me, that’s the best part about being a First Generation Student.[/blockquote]


Image: Mariya Morosovska