Grace Hunter '23

Grace HunterMajor: Nursing

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

Being one of the first in my family to attend college is something that I found to be kind of nerve-wracking. Since my mom never went to college and my dad only went to two years of college, my brother and I didn't really have an idea of what it was like to go to four years of college and graduate. But it has been special to be able to show my parents and other family members around the campus and my dorm, and what classes that I am taking. Even though my brother is a junior at UP, he is in a completely different major than me so I didn't really have a clear idea going into my freshman year what my nursing classes and other classes would be like since there was only so much he could tell be and I would have to experience and figure out things on my own as well. By trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and making sure to take opportunities, I have been able to meet new friends and learn so much more about life. In high school, I also worked really hard to get good grades so that I would be able to get scholarships and financial aid in order for me to even afford to go to college. I always felt motivated in life to be successful in school from a young age so that I would be able to get the opportunity to pursue my passions and interests, and to make sure that I am fully taking advantage of and being grateful for even having the opportunity to attend college and make the education worth it. I want to make my parents and family proud.

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

To be part of the FGEN community and be a FGEN student ambassador means a lot to me personally. Ever since coming to UP, I have always gotten the feeling that being First Gen is something to be proud of and not something you should try to avoid telling people. As an FGEN ambassador, I think I will be able to express to fellow FGEN students that you are supported and capable of doing whatever you set your mind to and what you want to do in your life.

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

The advice that I would give is that you are not alone and there will always be people in the UP community to support you in whatever you are going through. It can get overwhelming at times with the pressures and challenges of being the first in your family to attend college, but you will get through all the hard times and there are people in this community that will be here to listen and talk with you. In the moment when things are really difficult, it can be easy to feel like you should give up, but you will be able to get through it and feel the sense of relief when you have gotten through whatever you were struggling with. Everyone in the UP community wants you to succeed and be the best version of yourself everyday and they will be there to support you every step of the way. And don't be afraid to ask questions!

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

I think there have been many mentors in my life so far, but the ones that stand out would be my parents and a nurse that I worked with when a volunteered at a summer camp for children with special needs. Growing up, my parents showed me what it truly means to work hard even when things get difficult and always do things with your full effort. They have always worked so hard in order to support my brother and I, and have always been the best support system for because they always just said to do the best you can and everything will be okay. The nurse I worked with had such an impact on me because she was the person that I feel like I have always strived to be where everyone felt so welcomed and supported by her. She always seemed to know what the right thing to say was or knew what do when things were stressful at times. She taught me so much about what it means to be good nurse and human being because of how she was always so present with all the people she was caring for. I feel that working with her and that whole experience as a whole really showed me that nursing is what I want to do and what I am passionate about.

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

A resource that has been helpful for me so far during my UP experience is my academic advisor. My academic advisor is someone who I was able to just talk to not just about academics but also about things I was struggling with. She was so willing to listen and asked me what I needed in order to not get overwhelmed or stressed out. I also think my experience with my professors at UP has been very meaningful and significant because you can feel how much they care about their students and want them to do well so they will do whatever they can to help you to get to a place where you can be successful.