Grassroots First Gen Advising Guide

Posted by Josh Farris on February 16, 2021

[Ed note: This guide was written and developed by Josh Farris, a PHENND subscriber and first gen college graduate. Thank you to Josh for sharing his passion with the PHENND community.]

Read the full guide here

If you are the first in your family to attend college (siblings don’t count) or even graduate college, know that you are not alone. College may seem out of reach at times or difficult to complete, especially if your family has limited financial resources, but know that college can be both affordable, accessible and attainable.

My own experience building a better life for myself has been quite tumultuous and requires constant reflection, restriction, and balance. Sometimes I feel it is out of pure strokes of luck that I have been able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers. The truth is that our experiences with poverty and the unknown endows us with a special gift- Resilience. Resilience allows us to wear a smile and keep our heads up when really our hearts feel heavy with fear and anxiety about tomorrow.

Even resilience has its limits. We must find support before we are overwhelmed. I in part created this guide because many times when I did reach out to others for help, I was met with either apathy or indignation. I was often advised to go through what they had in their own time, or learn “the hard way” like they had. Those were often the requirements for receiving help- follow in others footsteps.

Make your own path towards success and happiness. Be who you are and listen to your heart. I use this guide to impart my knowledge and personal lessons so that you and others that are the first or come from a low-income family do not always have to learn ‘the hard way”. We have had enough of that just getting here.

This guide is a culmination of 4 months of work and 9 years of knowledge in this discipline. It is intended to help you navigate your future and know what barriers may lay in your path. The knowledge in this guide reflects both personal lessons I’ve accumulated and quantitative understandings of the common struggles we face due to our background. If you work with students, the resources in this guide may help you serve these students better or connect them with these resources.

I hope that the material in this guide will help you no matter where you are in your journey, whether in high school, college, or beyond. You will always be Bound in only one direction: Upward.

Forever Bound & Beyond

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