Sonny Olguin '21

Sonny OlguinMajor: History

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

I knew from a young age that going to college and completing college was imperative. I was told by my grandmother and teachers that college was important and I had to go. Growing up and going through junior high and starting high school, one of my older cousins was the a role model for me to follow. I knew that if she could graduate high school and attend college at Brown University, that I could too. She was the only one who had inspired and motivated me to go to college. Both of my parents did not attend college and didn't provide me the guidance I needed to pursue my goal of attending college. My grandparents, my cousin, and extended family are the people who pushed me to achieve all my goals and accomplishments. I thank all of them as well for helping me achieve my goal of attending college. Because I have parents who didn't attend college and didn't know what I needed to do in order to get there, I’m grateful that I had a loving family and community to help guide me and be a support system for me. Now I am that role model for my younger sister to look up to and help guide her.

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 grateful and blessed that I am a part of a community that understands my struggles and dreams. We all have our unique stories that bring us together and lead us to the same path-- attending and graduating from college. Being a part of the FGEN community is like being a part of an extended family.  Being a FGEN Student Ambassador allows me the opportunity to provide support to other students like me. One way of providing support to new students is by extending welcoming arms and making them feel that they are a part of our family. It will be an honor to assist other students who may be far from their families or who may have experienced some of the struggles I did getting used to being away from my community, family and friends.

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

My advice for a first gen student at UP is to never feel ashamed or scared to ask for help. This is one piece of advice that I share with everyone because I myself had a difficult time asking for help. I know how it is to feel scared to ask for help and I know that once you overcome that feeling and ask for help, many doors will open. Taking a step out of your comfort zone might be the best thing you can do!  Reminding yourself not to stress too much is another piece of advice I would give. Learning how to manage your time can be a challenge but in the long run it decreases the chances of getting overwhelmed or too stressed if you schedule study time and assignment time so you are not trying to get your assignments done at the last minute. Asking for help and managing your time is not easy but I know that when you do, you’ll be glad you did.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

Yes. My mentor who helped me a lot through my first year of college was my philosophy professor, Dr. Santana. I met him before I took his class and we would have discussions about studying skills and different topics. I was introduced to him through Matt Daily. Dr. Santana is a great professor and someone that is easy to talk to. Finding a mentor or having a professor to talk to is a great resource. It is great because they want to help you in whatever way they can and it is nice to have that support.

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

A resource that has been meaningful to me is having friends that can give me support when I run into a challenge. Especially if they are upperclassmen because they offered me advice about things like study skills and choosing classes. Another significant resource I used a lot were my professors’ office hours because it was super helpful to have that one on one time with them where I was able to discuss and get specific advice or guidance on a lesson or class expectation.