EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Thursday was National First Generation College Celebration Day - where universities across the U.S. recognized students who are the first in their families to go to college.
The University of Evansville celebrated the national holiday by taking photos of first generation students with a special frame for social media.
UE’s new President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz (petra-skev-ich) who is a first generation student himself, told us that almost 30% of people that go to college are first generation students and at the University of Evansville alone, 25% of the students are first generation.
One of the first generation students celebrating on Thursday was Alexis Jones, a junior studying multimedia communications. She didn’t know there was a day specifically celebrating first generation students and said she was very appreciative when she found out.
“I put in a lot of hard work so sometimes I feel like people don’t see it or people don’t know it. Like I feel a little bit more stressed because I am a first generation college student so it’s like I kind of have to set the bar you know? So I’m hoping that these experiences will someday help me with my future children or nieces and nephews and be like well I was in college and I understand this is hard but better things do come,” Jones said.
Jones said her grandparents and father encouraged her to go to college and she said she is grateful that she did.
She said her support system has made a huge difference as she navigates this uncharted territory. She told us she is even considering getting her masters.
President Pietruszkiewicz said he has been able to use his own experiences as a first generation student to help guide current students at UE. He told us he knows the trials and obstacles first hand.
“How am I gonna fit? Do I really fit in college? Because you don’t really have anything to compare it to right? There’s very few people in your family that you can ask those questions to so it’s a whole different dynamic,” he said.