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Deysi Velador

Deysi Velador2


What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?  Tell us about your story, and what you think has helped you succeed so far at UP?

It was a challenge and it has continued to be a challenge in my life. It was hard going into an environment I didn't know anything about and a culture that is very different from the small town I grew up in. I didn't have the help from my parents to ask about little things that I was curious about going to college. However, they have always been supportive in every other way possible which is all I ever want from them. There are things that I didn't know going to UP but in a way, it also helped me. I had to put myself out there and ask questions and ask for help. Being the first in my family to go to college has been hard but it has pushed me to strive farther than I thought possible. Even now going into my third year there are things I have learned and things I didn't know I understand now BUT there are still many things I have to learn and figure out as an FGEN student.

I came to UP not knowing anyone as most college students do. It was nerve-wracking and I didn't know how I was going to handle a completely new environment. I am from a very traditional Mexican American family and as a young woman I didn't go far from my family often. So now that I was going to college alone it was a big culture shock for me. However, thankfully I was able to push myself and understand that I couldn't do things on my own and that I didn't have to. I asked for help and it was the best decision I could've made. I talked with my professors and they were very understanding and very welcoming.

What does it mean for you to be a part of the FGEN community and to be a FGEN Student Ambassador at UP?

Being a part of the FGEN community has been absolutely amazing. It is such a supportive community filled with hardworking people. In my first year, I was struggling to find a group that understood many of the questions and struggles I was going through. Until I went to my first FGEN meeting and It was the best decision. I met many first-generation students that were struggling in similar ways and were also working hard to figure it out on their own. It makes you feel like your part of such a hard-working group. It also helps you see that although there are many things you can figure out on your own, when your part of such a supportive community, you don't have to because there are people that want to help you on this journey.

To be an FGEN student ambassador is such an honor and I am so excited to meet new FGEN students. It is such a privilege to help answer questions and figure things out with the incoming FGEN students. I am very excited to be helping other students that have the same questions and are going through the same process I went through as a freshman. It's an honor to help them through this amazing journey and next phase of their lives.

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

My advice to first gen student is don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. People here at UP want to help you succeed and make this journey a great experience. There are so many wonderful resources at UP and they are wonderful people at each of these resources that can help you and more importantly are excited to help and make you feel welcomed into the community

Has a mentor played a role in your experience at UP?  How so?

Yes, Mary Jo Commerford, my high school teacher, and Theresa Duda, my nursing 101 professor. Both of these amazing women have helped me throughout my college experience. Mrs. Commerford has been with me, supporting me throughout this entire journey and is one of the biggest reasons I am at UP. She pushes me and encourages me to be the best person I can be. Professor Duda was one of the first professors at UP I spoke with and had an incredible conversation with. She has given me so much advice on classes and general advice going forward in my college career. She is an amazing professor and has helped me work through many of the struggles I have gone through so far in college.

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

In my first semester of college, I got the chance to take part in a freshman class that helped me understand many of the differences between college and high school. It was an incredible resource because it taught me so much about how to study, be prepared for classes, and also where to reach out for help. I was also lucky enough to have Mr. Matt Daily as my professor from the Shepard Academic Resource Center (SARC) which has also been a great resource. The SARC has been a great resource that has helped me figure out how to manage my time and the work I have to do outside of my classes. Another resource that has been very helpful and meaningful is the career center. I was able to go and ask questions that I did not have any idea about and they were very helpful and understanding. They are incredible if you don't know where you should be in your career planning, which I did not, and they help you figure it out and direct you to the people that can help you in specific areas of planning.

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