Reflection Essay

There is a saying that practice makes perfect. This semester challenged this famous quote.  It seems that my high school writing experience was nothing compared to this college course. In some analysis assignments, I struggled to make the transition which made my assignment not completed in my best ability.  It caused me to become frustrated as I usually excel in writing and English coursework. After meeting with Dr. Weaver, I began to structure my writing using her techniques to better organize my research and/or writing. My academic self-assessment in the beginning of the course completed by a fellow classmate describe my academic self as impatient, independent, and hard-working. Throughout this semester, these characteristics did not work in my favor because I found it harder to focus, ask for help, organized and concentrate on my work. I was so impatient that I did not wait for the teacher’s instructions which sometime lead to my misconception of some assignments. These misconceptions lead to low scores on important assignments. I became disappointed and embarrassed because I felt like this was not my best work. I found it harder to focus and retain information due to some heath issues and family issues.

                I can relate this assessment to my favorite reading, which is “Some people are just born writers” by Jill Parrot. It says, “Good writing instruction can only occur if the person believes they can be a good writer.” I believed that everything could be solved through my own will. I began to second guess my will and ability to write a paper properly. This led to me not be as confident when turning an assignment. My academic self can now be described if only basing it off of this class as unorganized, impatient, and insecure. I plan on building on my skills during the summer to prevent this cycle from happening again when I take another English course. One thing I learned of upmost importance is signposting as it flags the most important parts of an argument, signals transitions, and clarify the stakes of an argument. These words and phrases helps my structure my writing in order to make it flow and make it understandable.

In the Major Project 3, I had the pleasure of redoing the assignment which rebuilt my confidence. I had a personal meeting with Mrs. where she explained how to organize my text and include each piece of the prompt in the paper. The one takeaway was the strategy of using a T chart to create 2 causes or reasons and 3 sources of supporting evidence. This honestly was a rough draft which helped me fix my biggest issue was misconception and confusion. I learned that it best to overstate and re explain arguments and explanations of evidence because being vague would lead to the reader to be confused or not being able to connect it with the prompt.

 Also, my writing style was very basic, and I could learn to analyze or further elaborate each detail. The purpose was to break down the article of my choosing which was “Taking My Parent To College” by Crucet. I choose this article because I had a personal infatuation with the hardships first generation students. I found the text inspiring and keep my motivated to complete my revision. This was also a topic that hit close to home because I had family members who were first generation college students. I’ve learned and at times experienced the lack of resources for first generation college student. Therefore, it is so important for me to graduate college because I want to pass on the tradition of going to college as it brings better opportunities. I choose this as my research assignment because of my compassion of the topic. I learned of resources of scholarships, waivers, clubs, organizations, and workshops to help first generation student get the financial, economic, social, and cultural help they may need. Many of the students who need these resources are not aware of how to receive it due to their lack of knowledge and parents lack of experience.

Being a dual enrollment student, I find this to be a learning experience that will give me a edge when I officially enroll into college. I will know how to better operate and organize my schedule when I go to college. This semester I took Precalculus, English 1102, Human communications, and Intro to Human Development. I found this class most challenging because I struggled towards the end with the major projects 3 and 4. I love to complete the IP assignments as I found it a great way to express myself like a journal writing. I loved my teacher as they were patient and gave many resources. I know I need to better build my analysis, use of signposting, structure of writing, and using in text citations. I made a positive connection with Young Ahn who completed my academic self assessment 3 months ago. We both found similarities in our personalities. We helped each other by doing each other’s peer review and giving clarified instructions for some assignments.  This class influenced me to not only focus on advancing my math skills but also further study English strategies and curriculum to make myself a stronger writer. I wish I had a more positive attitude when it came to submitting certain difficult assignment because it could have changed my mindset. I believe my mindset was my setback at times as I struggled to find the motivation to complete a difficult assignment. I did not want to bother or oppose my teacher as I completed assignment pass office hours.

Another tool I will make use of next semester will be office hours and iCollege emailing or collaboration with classmates to gain clarity and revision suggestions. I loved the independent of online learning but the fact everyone is also learning at home became a distraction. I had to help my younger siblings while my parents worked which set my work completion back. My schedule began more chaotic but I am proud of myself for completing every assignment to my best ability. This is partial reason for me not participating in office hours. There was nothing I could do about the situation due to the pandemic requiring online learning. Hopefully, I can pursue online courses without the at home distractions which can lead to more time to truly understand strategies and assignment requirements. I felt like I rushed to complete every assignment.

Helping first Generation Students feel like they belong and provide them with resources to support them throughout college.

First generation students today are faced with academic, financial, and cultural challenges, even as a college education is ever more necessary for career achievement. The purpose of this research project is to not only investigate the challenges of first-generation students, but provide solutions, resources, and policies that protect and support them. In class, we were assigned to read, “Taking My Parents to College” by Jennine Capo Crucet. This author was a first generation student who shared their experience of their freshman of college. This article argument was there was a lack of support and resources for first generation students which can cause some students to quit school, take longer to graduate, or them to work harder than any other student. This was an eye opener to the reality of college experiences with first generation students. My father was a first-generation college student who struggled to stay afloat financially and academically which lead him to take longer to complete his degree. I want to learn more of the challenges of first-generation students and how to provide them with more resources for them to be successful in all aspects meaning financially, academically, and culturally.

Who are first generation students? First generation students can come from families with low incomes or from middle- or higher income families without a college-going tradition. There are different situations that create stops the college-going tradition. At times, some students are under family pressure to enter the work source right after high school. Some students do not know what their option are regarding higher education.  (College Board ) First generation students may miss the “hidden curriculum” of policies, procedures, and processes which can make navigating, belonging, and succeeding a challenge. (Felix )

 With the issue of unemployment rates increases, I believe that decreases or solving the challenges that first-generation students face by giving them support and resources. This can positively affect the economy by providing a higher educated individuals to get the more rigor jobs. This also makes it less likely for one to be low income by providing them with the education and possible connections to get a high paying job. For example, if a first-generation student attends Aurburn University and graduates in finance. Graduating from Auburn makes you apart of their alumni and this creates more opportunities in your career field.  My research paper should not only bring awareness to the challenges of being a first-generation student but give advice, support, and resources to bring financial, social, and academic relief.

Elliot Felix is the founder of the Brightspot strategy who help institutions improve the experience for students, faculty, researchers, employees, travelers, fans, and visitors alike. This article is providing five ways to better support first-generation students and an understanding of the first-generation student’s journeys. He uses statistics from The Center for First-Generation Success and National Center for Education Statistics to find the issues or challenges statistically to find solutions for. Also, he provides key resources as well as five things institutions can do to improve the student journey-based finding from Brightspot’s Student Experience Snapshot. The Snapspot is a online survey that provides a complementary way to understand the first generation student experience holistically and with enough details to inform institutions on how to improve.

“According to NASPA and the National Center for Education Statistics, compared to continuing generation students, first-generation student’s six-year graduation rate is 2.5x lower, their median parental income is 45% lower, their median hours of employment are 1.6x higher, and they are 24% less likely to use academic advising and are 23% less likely to academic support services.” (Felix) The author gives this statistic to make the reader aware of how first-generation students struggle to not support themselves financially but are not provided the academic advisement even if they are low income. These students lack the parental financial support as their parents have a lower income which should make them qualify for financial aid. A lower percentage of first-generation students made use of academic advising services, health services, and academic support services than continuing-generation students. “By focusing on belonging, service navigating, student projects, technology, and facilities, institutions can improve first- gen experience and outcomes like persistence and completion.” (Felix).

In Brightspot snapshot, first-generation students rated their experience significantly less positively than their continuing generation peers when it comes to “belonging to a group I identify with”. An example of creation cohorts and networks that build belonging and community for first generation students are Duke University’s LIFE( Low Income First-Generation Engagement) which creates and provides a community space, resources, and advocacy for students on Duke’s campus who identify as first generation and/ or low income. This helped increased the first-generation graduation rate from 41 percent in 2012 to 62 percent in 2018. (Felix)

 College Board is the nation’s largest college- going organization, helping millions of students navigate the transition from high school to college each year through programs like the SAT, AP, and BigFuture. On their website, there is an article on how to counsel first-generation students about college. This provides strategies on how to win scholarships, find the right colleges for you, organization who offer support, information on how college will be like,and get special help with college applications as they would be foreign to not only you but your family as well. In articles, it says that that first generation students have little exposure to the complex college planning process and have minimal knowledge of what education requirements are need for certain professions. First, this student would want to understand their interests and abilities and connect them to a career and higher education options. One can complete this task but conducting aptitude assessments, self-assessments, self-reflection, speaking to different individuals in different career paths, etc. This is important because this can ensure that the student not only want to pursue higher education but has the self-identity and awareness to seek out scholarships that fit their image of what they want to be. (CollegeBoard)

Also, this can build the student academically pushing them to take classes geared in their wanted major and strengthen their weaknesses. When discussing college options with these students, its is important to look at the different types of colleges to choose the one best suited for you. Encourage the student to visit colleges and take advantage of college fairs and information nights. Students’ preconceptions that they can not afford college can easily get full scholarships, grants and financial aid. Some colleges even seek out first-generation students to provide them with the opportunity to join their college free of charge.

It is very important  that students and families know not to pay anyone to help find scholarships, fill out the FAFSA or handle any other aspect of financial aid process.  Students should to informed about what college will be like . They can attend web seminars or youtube videos. Its important for them to know of the support systems on campus to use to their extent and that they are free through their tuition fees. Encourage them to seek out these on campus resources and programs.First generation student from families with low income may qualify for waivers of test fees and college application fees. Students should also apply for research programs for first-generation and other at-risk students such as AVID, CollegeED, Talent Search, Upward Bound, Urban League, and summer bridge programs. This would not only introduce students on how college works, job opportunities, and scholarships, but provide them with more resources to navigate college better. (CollegeBoard)

As a first generation student, Standlee provides advice on her to better first-generation college experience it ensure i runs as smoothly as possible. She uses her mistake and faults to provide multiple solutions to different scenarios. Building a mandatory introduction to college life or first-year experience element into the curriculum is very helpful to first-generation students ” I recommend that they consider the following: provide appropriate support, be transparent in the classroom, teach study skills, organize students into groups, develop personal relationships, engage parents, facilitate connections, fight invisibility, and keep an open mind. “(Standlee) 

In conclusion, first-generation college students can’t rely on advice from college-educated parents about navigating college life. They are usually not familiar with the details of college life, academic resources and social expectations, so they can need guidance( Standlee). Institutions can provide such support in the form of writing centers and tutoring centers, but it is essential to build those into the core curriculum to avoid stigmatizing first-gen students alone. Faculty members and advisers can play a huge role in the lives of all college students. For first-generation students, they may be the most significant connections that they will make when it comes to academic success. These faculty member and advisers can make major opportunities for them in their wanted career field  or even provide internships to improve the likelihood of getting a job straight out of college graduation.  College leaders and faculty members, including those who are first generation themselves, play a role in the development of policies and practices to help them deal with those challenges.


College Board. “First-Generation Students.” Education Professionals, 21 Feb. 2017,

Felix, Elliot. “How to Improve First-Gen Student Experience at Higher Ed Institutions.” Brightspot Strategy, 6 Apr. 2020,,lower%2C%20their%20median%20hours%20of.

Standlee , Alecea. “Inside Higher Ed.” Policies and Practices to Help First-Generation College Students Succeed (Opinion), 2019,

Crucet, J. C.  Taking My Parents to College. The New York Times, 2015, August 22

Young Ahn:Academic Self

          First off, Ms.Ahn describes her academic self as consistent, persistent, and effective. She connected to the assigned reading, “Effective Learning strategy” by Dr.Chew. In the text, it states,” The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day. The total amount of time spent studying will be the same (or less) than one or two marathon library sessions, but you will learn the information more deeply and retain much more for the long term—which will help get you an A on the final.” It helped her come to the realization that she not only gets distracted easily, but it gave her strategies for even one who lacks time and patience. This information helped reconstruct her schedule into one that put all her focus onto each class for a short time every day. This is very helpful as Young is a full-time student and worker who lack time and sleep. This could explain why her academic self is easily distracted because some days she would lack sleep and be physically and mentally exhausted. This generally leads her to be stay long nights not only due to only the work due, but also her lack of concentration. With this being said, she becomes easily frustrated with the amount of time it takes to study for all her classes which I can easily relate with as I am the same way.

            Young is a night owl because of her experience in high school. In high school, Young was under plenty of pressure from her parents to learn how to get along with society structure. After graduation, she did not go directly to college because she simply was unsure of what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She had to halt and think deeply about what her interests were, passion, goals, and aspirations in life. Through her self-discovery, Young first attend to GGC because of their great nursing program. However due to close distance, Young is attending GSU for a year and a half with a Computer Science major. She is still currently taking prerequisites. Young was drawn to this major because she believes that computers play a vital role in everyday life. Her biggest influence is her mother especially through her self-discovery because she was understanding, caring, and devoted to supporting Young in whatever path she chooses. Young used this as motivation to figure out what her path is. This reiterates her academic self as she describes it…persistent and consistent which explains her leadership and hard work qualities. Not only is she a full-time student, she also works 10-hour shifts leaving with little to no time to even relax. By the time she gets home, its dark and she is drained from her day, but she must stay up to complete her work and study. If this doesn’t prove her restlessness and persistence to succeed, then I do not know what does. She is very hot tempered and indecisive, but one thing she is not is a quitter. No matter how hard it is for her to deal with her daily endeavor or what comes her way, she will not quit she persevere and that is one the most important qualities of her academic self. For example, Young struggles with composition probably because her writing style is geared in creative writing. She likes to create a story or narrative that does not exist and use her endless imagination. She finds it weird how she able to only create stories but make deep connections, narratives, and relationships. I call it a unique gift as some individuals struggle to master creative writing as it requires a sense of imagination. This relentlessness helps drive for higher success or broaden the horizon.

       Furthermore, Young Ahn’s academic self is far more extensive than being persistent, consistent, and effective. She is over achiever, master of imagination, hot tempered, impatient, indecisive, restless, and hard working. She may not be perfect, but her goal is clear which is to be the best she can be and never give up on what she believes in. So in conclusion, her academic self can not be defined in merely three words. Her academic self is complex with positive and negative characteristics. Young is working on improving her academic self as she gets more and more exposure especially in education.