Brienna Haro '23

Brienna HaroMajor: Communication Studies

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

It was hard at first knowing that I chose a University so far away from home, but my family knew that I had been wanting to experience something new and further my education ever since Middle School. If I hadn’t been clear with my family, they wouldn’t have understood why this was so important to me. While I had support from my family, I was always an independent student. Both of my parents worked full time which made me responsible for keeping up with school work and extra curricular activities. Both of my siblings had already started a life of their own which left me without any mentors (besides my peers) to guide me through the ins and outs of schooling. It was especially hard to communicate with my counselors that I wanted to go to an out of state University but I found that my teachers were a lot more helpful at giving advice than they were. My own journalism/ English teacher was the one who had helped me apply to UP and gave me tips on what the course load would look like once I would finally get there. While the road was definitely rocky on my way to being able to further my education, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world because it taught me how to be more independent in the long run.

What does it mean for your personally to be a part of the FGEN community and, specifically, to be a FGEN student ambassador?

I am so grateful for the FGEN community because they were the first ones to truly welcome me into college life. I always say that without the FGEN community I would have been completely lost and afraid my first week of college. It was so nice to already have friendly faces that I could recall from my time at their summer launch program as well as an advisor who I could confide in if I had any questions. Being a first gen student it can feel like a burden sometimes, but my time with this community has taught me that it is an actually an asset. That is one of the main reasons why I chose to apply to be an ambassador and I’m so glad that I did! I can’t wait to help other students who have had the same thoughts so that I can welcome them into an extraordinary community.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

My advice to first gen students facing challenges is to always ask questions and seek out help. If you come to one of the ambassadors or any other FGEN students, I’m sure they would be more than happy to help every step of the way.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

My mentor played a huge role in my experience. My mentor was Devonna Begay and she helped me so much whether it was tips on time management, talking with professors, or getting my first campus job in the field that I was interested in. Seeing how hard she worked while still wanting to help others made me want to become an ambassador myself!

What resources have been significant, meaningful or helpful for you so far during your UP experience?

The resources that have been the most meaningful/ helpful would be all of the gatherings that the FGEN ambassador’s put on which helped me realize that a lot of students were going through the same frustrations I was. It was nice being able to relate to other students instead of feeling overwhelmed. It was a safe place to be able to let everyone know how you were truly doing and letting them know if you needed help or not.