Should Colleges Provide More Resources for First Generation Student?

By definition, first-generation students are the first in their families to attend college. This means that their parents neither attended college nor received a college degree. In 2010 alone, there were almost 4.5 million first-gen students enrolled in universities across America, and now, there are approximately 11.2 million first-gen students enrolled in college (Schelbe, 2019). Although first-gen students make up more than fifty percent of college students, they are 8.5 times more likely to drop out during their first four years due to the feeling of isolation and a lack of support (Schelbe, 2019). Demonstrating that getting into college is not the only struggle for first gens but staying in is the real challenge. With that being said, should colleges provide more resources to first-gen students apart from scholarships and loans, to help them better succeed? Or are student loans and scholarships enough? Keep in mind the class reading during this course such as “Taking My Parents to College” by Jennine Capo and “I’m Was a Low-Income College Student. College Weren’t the Hard Part” by Anthony Abraham Jack. This topic is important to discuss because first-gen students make up at least half of the population of every given campus yet they are the most at risk of dropping out. This needs to change and it starts here with us.

When first-generation students make the transition from high school to higher education, they are instantly at a disadvantage compared to their peers. For instance, first-gen students have a greater need for money. The author of “Supporting First-Generation Students”, Alecea Standlee, explains in her article that the difficulties of first-gen students are much greater because they work considerable hours to provide money not only for themselves but to support their families. On top of job dedications, first-gen students commonly have significant responsibilities when it comes to their families and remains deeply connected to problems happening at home despite being at college. With this mixture of employment and family commitments, first-generation students are at academic risk before their first month at school. Yet these are not the only challenges that get in the way of first generational success. First gens have neither experience nor exposure to college life, consequently, they have no clue of their new role as a college student and are completely unaware of college norms. For many first-gen students, college becomes an awful guessing game that one hopes to get right in the end. Ultimately, first-gen students need more than scholarships and loans to succeed in college. In reality, they need social support, academic preparation, and connections to adequate resources to make it through the full four years. According to, “First Generation College Students’ Perceptions of an Academic Retention Program”, by Lisa Schelbe, “they (first-gen students) lack familial history or knowledge on which they can draw for support as they move through college” (Schelbe, 2019). In this quote, Arch and Gilman tell their readers that first-gen students don’t have enough knowledge nor support at home about college life. Unlike continuous generation students, first-gen students don’t have the luxury of getting previous information about college from their parents because they’ve never had that experience. Inevitably, first-generation students feel pressured to figure it out on their own which is ultimately detrimental to the student. Thus, first-gen students require social support when making the transition from high school to college.  Since first-gen students have less knowledge about college than their peers, they need extra support from students and administrators. This could come through mentors, seminars, webinars, campus buddies, etc. If colleges can effectively connect first-gen students with mentors that could pour experience, knowledge, and encouragement into them, first-gen students would be more likely to stay and finish college. Fundamentally, first-gen students need to know they are not alone and desire to be surrounded by people that can understand and appreciate their background. By establishing social support structures for them, institutions would be taking a step in the right direction.  

Apart from support, first-gen students would greatly benefit from more preparation when entering college. Based on the information provided by Xan Arch and Isaac Gilman in Designing Services for First-Generation Students, many first generational struggles are rooted from a lack of preparation (Arch, 2019).  Therefore, providing them with as much preparation as possible is a necessary form of action for institutions to take. Universities could do this through preparation programmers, however, “first-generation students are less likely to engage in college groups and organizations “ (Arch, 2019 ). Thus, colleges need curriculum courses (specifically for first-gen students) that teach all the preparation skills one would need through college. Lastly, first-gen students require connections with adequate resources to be confident and comfortable in school. Most of the resources first-gen students need are there but accessing them can be difficult for them since there are so many things competing for their attention. As a result, they need exposure to resources such as counseling services, financial aid offices, and academic advising in the early stages of their college career. This will greatly assist first-gen students when it comes to finding aid on campus. 

Being a first-generation, anything is difficult. They must be brave to face the adversity set before them and strength to rise above the loneliness that surrounds them. The struggles that first-gen students are not light and should never be overlooked. In reality, they don’t have to pursue higher education, at any moment they could quit school, work full time and no one would blame them. However, first-gen students make the decision every day to break the trend of their family members and reach for something bigger. Simply their resilience and dedication is something truly admirable. If one wishes to read more information about first-gen students “Supporting First-Generation Students” by Arelis Benitez was a great article about the ways communities can help when supporting first-gen students. Also, “Online Guide for First-Generation College Students” by Alecea Standlee is an excellent read for first-gen students themselves that want to ensure they are staying relevant on their resources and knowledge.

Work Cited: 

Arch, Xan, and Isaac Gilman. “First Principles: Designing Services for First- Generation

           Students.” College &Research Libraries, vol. 80, no. 7, Nov. 2019, pp. 996–1012.


          AN=1395784 8&site=eds-live&scope=site.

“Crlt.” CRLT,

UNC-Chapel Hill RECEIVES National Recognition for Supporting First-Generation Students. 17 Feb. 2020,


Standlee, A. (2019, April 11). Inside higher ed. Retrieved April 29, 2021, from generation-college-students-succeed-opinion

Schelbe, Lisa et al. “First Generation College Students’ Perceptions of an Academic Retention Program.” Journal of the Scholarship of

         Teaching and Learning, vol. 19, no. 5, Dec. 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.14434/josotl.v19i5.24300.


Research Paper: How Has The Pandemic Affected Student Mental Health?

Emma-Leigh Barfield

Professor Weaver

ENGL 1102

27 April 2021


School has always been a challenge whether it is taking a difficult class or learning how to time manage; however, no student is ever prepared to change everything they have ever known about school. When students entered the 2020 school year, the difficulties ahead would change the way they attend school for a while. With this, students began struggling with their mental health while trying to adapt to this different school environment. 

No student or professor expected to live and go to school during a global pandemic. No one was prepared for the way classes would be shifted to online or taking extreme social distancing measures. Many elements were taken into account that affected the mental health of many college students and professors during the pandemic, such as relocation, social distancing, financial issues, personal health, family matters, struggles with online school, the list continues. In a study by the Journal of Psychiatric Research about college students’ mental health, the many factors, especially with relocation, caused students to suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Conrad, Rachel C). With approximately 26 million U.S. college students that faced a change with school during the pandemic, the numbers of mental health struggles skyrocketed. Many college students did not have ways to cope with these struggles and with the transition at their colleges, those students struggled to find help. By not being able to find help, students faced life struggles while also having to live with the stress of the new era of school. According to a study by Erick Baloran, 48.3% of students constantly stress about their classes during lockdown while 62.64% worry about food or their financial status. (Baloran, Erick T). With this information, we can see that some college students did not only struggle with just challenges at school but also life outside of school. Relocations put some college students in financial struggles. With the overwhelming elements that have affected students’ mindsets during the pandemic, the only way we can all get through it is together.

Every student faced some sort of change during the pandemic. Some may have even felt alone like no one understood them; however, this pandemic taught many people that this is not the time to ignore one another, but to help one another, socially distanced. An article by Nina L. Komar and Suniya S. Luther states “Moving forward, it will be more important than ever for all schools to remain highly vigilant about their school community’s mental health and to keep a pulse on the well-being of children as well as adults.” (Komar, Nina L) Schools and communities need to come together and focus on the mental health of students and faculty during this time. Many schools have taken these opportunities that would help improve the mental health of students, such as mental health days or turning school weeks into four days instead of five to let students catch up on work. Komar and Luther also discuss how we need to alter schools and communities by keeping constant communication, prioritizing mental health, giving frequent feedback, and moving forward (Komar, Nina L). Some students, however, might not be in the presence of a community that can do this. There are some things that struggling students can do to ease their mental health. 

With some students not having the support or resources for their mental health, they are left feeling stranded and alone. Some of these students do not know where to start. In the article “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students” stressed out students can take these measures to improve their mental health. First, students need to Embrace Your Vulnerability starting with “be okay with not being okay. You may be facing challenges with your mental health. And that’s okay” (“The Ultimate Guide”). The first step to change is to identify what the problem is and how you need to improve that part of your life. The article then moves on to the second step, adding Self-Dialogue in Your Day-to-Day Life. By changing the way we think and tricking our minds into loving the feeling of change, students can improve their mental health difficulties by telling themselves they need this change to grow. The third step, Cover The Basics, is suggesting to students that their well-being is the most important in their life and to take time for yourself so anything thrown at you can be tackled easily. The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students states “A healthy diet, 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and at least 30 min of moving your body each day will keep your body more prepared to handle whatever comes your way” (“The Ultimate Guide”). Moving on to step four, Reach Out To Your Support Group, whether it is a close friend or an actual support group, the article suggests engaging with these people that want to help you because they might need your help as well. Lastly, Guided Journaling can help improve mindsets and mental health problems. I think guided journaling is very beneficial. Everyone’s minds are constantly filled with the many things we remember throughout the day and sometimes it can become a bit too much. Taking this time to relax and write down the problems or situations in your head so you can see them. I always thought of it as I can not see what it is in my head so when I write it down, I can see it and know how to feel about it. This article, The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students, gives a great five-step guide on little things students and even faculty can do to build up their mental health.

Many factors were put into the stress on student’s mental health during the pandemic. If we start prioritizing mental health in schools and communities, we can come together in a time of need and help those who need it. Students can even follow some steps to add to their daily routines to improve their mental health for the future. No one planned on student mental health struggles being at a peak while going through a pandemic, but the only way we will get through it is together, socially distanced, of course.


Works Cited


Baloran, Erick T. “Knowledge, Attitudes, Anxiety, and Coping Strategies of Students during COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Loss & Trauma, vol. 25, no. 8, Dec. 2020, pp. 635–642. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15325024.2020.1769300. Accessed 19 April 2021.


Conrad, Rachel C., et al. “College Student Mental Health Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications of Campus Relocation.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 136, Apr. 2021, pp. 117–126. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.01.054. Accessed 19 April 2021.


  “The Ultimate Guide To Mental Health For College Students.” DiveThru, 29 Mar. 2021, Accessed 24 April 2021.

KOMAR, NINA L., and SUNIYA S. LUTHAR. “SEEDS OF RESILIENCE: Insights from School Surveys on Student and Faculty Mental Health during the Pandemic.” Independent School, vol. 80, no. 1, Fall 2020, pp. 62–67. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=146355236&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 19 April 2021.

Research Project: International Students and the Orientation Process

International students

“International students” by UNE Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Orientation is one of the most important resources for a first-year college student. However, in her article, “Taking My Parents to College,” Jennine Capó Crucet argues how college orientation for first-generation students does not fully guide them through their transition period. There is a striking similarity between international and first-generation students regarding college orientation. Due to international students’ presence in the U.S., colleges need to evaluate how the orientation methods provided for these students affect their performance and transition to college.

International students form a significant part of the United States’ student population. In his article, “Challenges of International Students in a University Setting” KiMar D. Gartman states that, between 2011 and 2012, they contributed 21.8 billion dollars to the country’s wealth (1). Additionally, Zi Yan and Patricia Sendall, the writers of the article “First Year Experience: How we can Better Assist First-Year International Students in Higher Education,” mention that 886,052 international students attended United States’ colleges and universities in 2014 (36). Besides their contributions to the country’s economy, these types of students also help improve higher education. According to Gartman, “international students contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into U.S. classrooms, helping prepare American undergraduates for global careers” (“Economic and Social Impact” qtd. in Gartman 1). This quote from the Institute of International Education shows that foreign students nourish American classrooms with their international input. In such an interconnected era, preparedness for global careers is crucial for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Despite the many benefits that international students present for the United States, they still face several challenges during their transition. In his article, Gartman seeks to reveal what those challenges are and how universities could better address them. He expresses that the five major areas where international students struggle are social life, cultural adaptation, language proficiency, academics, and finances (1). Out of those five areas, social life, cultural adaptation, and language proficiency constituted 68% of the students’ concerns (Gartman 3). Since international students do not speak English as their primary language, language proficiency takes place as one of the most significant challenges for them. However, this linguistic struggle leads to social and cultural challenges. Due to their concern/fear/shyness of speaking a secondary language, international students have difficulty socializing with their American peers, leading to cultural misunderstandings and possibly stereotypes. Gartman and other scholars argue that orientation and other activities oriented towards international students are the solutions to these students’ challenges.

Although a better orientation program for international students seems to be the solution for their problems, many universities have not implemented such programs. In her essay, Crucet expresses that “while [her] college had done an excellent job recruiting [her], [she] had no road map for what [she] was supposed to do once [she] made it to campus” (3). Many international students experience the situation portrayed by Crucet’s story. Colleges and universities advertise themselves and attract international students, but they do not fully meet their needs regarding assistance in the transition process. Transitions can be tough, especially when students leave family and friends to move into a completely new environment. Higher education institutions have decided to tackle the struggles that transitions bring with “college orientation.” For this reason, it is crucial to explore the effect (if any) that orientation programs have on international students’ academic performance and transition to college.

As stated before, most U.S. universities do not have special orientation programs directed towards international students. However, some institutions have developed these kinds of programs to assist their students’ needs better. In his article, “Rolling Out the Welcome Mat,” Michael Polito presents the procedures that the Fordham University in New York City implemented to assist their Fall 2012 international students during their transition. Polito discusses how the university created “The Global Transition Program,” which “offered a full week of events designed to help [international] students adapt to anything that might be unfamiliar, from academic expectations to the metropolis in which Fordham sits” (30). This program implemented at Fordham University focused on international students’ cultural and social adaptation, which are two of the biggest challenges for them. The result: fewer students dropped courses in Fall 2012 than any other Fall semesters, and zero international students were identified in an English course above their level (Polito 31). “The Global Transition Program” used by Fordham University proved that a specialized orientation program for international students helps them have a smoother transition and face the different struggles that this presents.

With Fordham University’s example, it would be accurate to conclude that an orientation program directed towards international students helps their transition to college. However, the effect of such a program on their academic achievement must be observed. In their article, Yan and Sendall study a First-Year Experience (FYE) course implemented in a Catholic Liberal Arts college that focuses on international students. The study showed that this orientation course helped the students “learn a lot about college, feel more comfortable communicating with their professors, adjust to American culture and to the American classroom, and to make more friends and understand more about themselves” (Yan & Sendall 39). In general, this specialized program also helped international students have a better transition to the college environment. However, “students reported that they did not feel that the FYE course helped their academic performance directly” (Yan & Sendall 43). In other words, although an orientation program highly benefited international students’ transition, their academic performance was not improved according to this study. Dr. Meltem A. Güvendir conducted a similar study in her article, “The Relation of an International Student Center’s Orientation Training Sessions with International Students’ Achievement and Integration to University.” Overall, Güvendir came to the same conclusions as Yan and Sendall: international students who participated in more specialized orientation sessions were more integrated into the university (Güvendir 852). Nonetheless, as Yan and Sendall concluded in their study, students’ participation in these orientations did not have a noticeable impact on their GPAs (Güvendir 852).

After the previous discussion, it is precise to state that orientation programs play a significant role in international students’ transitions. According to Yan and Sendall’s and Güvendir’s study, these types of orientations do not seem to have a direct effect on the student’s academic performance. However, all the researchers agree that specialized orientation programs help improve international students’ transition and integration to college. Although these orientations do not directly affect the students’ GPAs, they do improve their academic performance as they help lower the dropout rates. Finally, due to the improvement in international students’ integration, these programs may have a positive long-term effect on their academics.


Works Cited

Capó Crucet, Jennine. “Taking My Parents to College”. The New York Times, 2015,

Gartman, KiMar D. “Challenges of International Students in a University Setting.” Journal of Adult Education, vol. 45, no. 2, 2016, pp. 1-7. ProQuest,

Güvendir, Meltem A. “The Relation of an International Student Center’s Orientation Training Sessions with International Students’ Achievement and Integration to University.” Journal of International Students, vol. 8, no. 2, 2018, pp. 843-860. ProQuest,, doi:

Polito, Michael. “Rolling Out the Welcome Mat.” BizEd, vol. 12, no. 3, May 2013, pp. 30–31. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=a9h&AN=87467412&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Yan, Zi, and Patricia Sendall. “First Year Experience: How we can Better Assist First-Year International Students in Higher Education.” Journal of International Students, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016, pp. 35-51. ProQuest,

Research Project: The Struggles of First-Gen College Students

There has long since been immense difficulty for first-generation college students to attend and complete higher education. These students must forgo the application and education process with little to no assistance from family because they are the first person in their family to do so. This issue was discussed in one of the article choices for the SAR assignment, “I’m one of the first in my family to attend college. Here’s how I got there” by Ronnie Estoque.

While the application process is a massive hurdle for these students, completing their education on time is even more difficult. According to EAB, about 66% of regular students are on track to graduate after three years in college. Comparatively, only about 48% of first-generation students are on pace to graduate at the same point in their education. While the difference in these percentages may seem relatively small, they may reveal a difference of tens of thousands of students because of how large the college student population is. We must assist these students in completing the application process suitably and on time.

The number of struggles first-generation college students face is immeasurable and varies from person to person. Nevertheless, there is a multitude of trials that a large portion of these students face. The University of Southern California published an article discussing these struggles. One of the struggles examined is a “lack of knowledge of existing resources” (First-Gen & Common Struggles). Because these students don’t typically have easy access to information like scholarships and the benefits of higher education, they might believe college is unnecessary or unobtainable. The only way to combat this is to provide as much information about higher education as possible to these students. Another common struggle outlined by the USC article is immense self-doubt. Because these students are the first people in their family to attend college, they feel extensive pressure to succeed and quickly become overwhelmed. To combat this, peers and family members can use words of encouragement to show the student they are doing well. Although this may seem insignificant, it can go a long way.

Another vital struggle outlined in the article stems from parental hardship. In some instances, parents have a hard time letting their children go. Thus, they will try their hardest to keep their kids close to them, even if it means stifling their dreams of obtaining higher education. One way to combat this is to set boundaries with parents, ensuring that students have primary control over their futures. It is imperative for these parents to “realize that college is a time for self-growth and reflection” (First-Gen & Common Struggles). The final struggle discussed in the article details another struggle parents typically face. Because they must now deal with “changes in family structure, [navigation of] higher education, having trouble locating campus resources, and being involved in [their] child’s education” (First-Gen & Common Struggles), they too can become overwhelmed and feel helpless. The best way to assist parents in this situation is to provide them with a support group capable of assisting throughout the transition. As demonstrated in this article, both students and their parents fight through struggles when entering the realm of higher education for the first time. Luckily, organizations like Bottom Line and the First Generation Foundation are determined to assist first-generation college students and their families.

Looking at this issue through the lens of a former first-generation college student, it becomes even more explicit how prevalent these struggles are. Linda Banks-Santilli, a current associate professor of education, discusses her thoughts on the adversities of first-generation students in her article, “Living a double life.” Like the article by USC, Santilli mentions the hardship within a family that occurs in this situation. What’s interesting is she believes some students “come to develop two different identities – one for home and another for college” (Santilli). She suspects this stems from a disruption in the family dynamic, causing the child to feel alienated and lost. Because they have grown up living with a particular set of standards and way of life, this change brings about a significant “shift in identity” (Santilli) that some students are afraid to show to their family.

According to Santilli, the most lacked resource of first-generation college students is professional mentoring. Because a significant portion of these students come from low-income households, they are forced to work regular jobs and rely on federal aid and scholarships to pay for college instead of taking a professional internship. Furthermore, these students typically fill out their financial aid applications and often struggle due to a lack of knowledge of their family’s financial information. This, coupled with technologically challenged parents, prevents students in need from acquiring scholarships and aid that would enable them to take internships instead of menial jobs.

Possibly an even more significant challenge is that first-generation students typically lack the confidence to come forward and ask for assistance. The stigma of being a first-generation college student creates an environment in which these students’ “background is viewed as a deficit rather than a strength” (Santilli). This environment quickly stifles and suffocates students, pushing them to feel as though they have no support network. Furthermore, these students are typically discriminated against because of their racial and/or ethnic background. Because of these issues, it is understandable why first-generation students are scared to ask for help. Colleges must work harder to create an environment in which these students feel safe and comfortable for them to succeed. Santilli stresses this point in her article, stating that colleges must “redesign their institutional cultures, teaching practices, and academic support services to be more inclusive of first-generation college students” (Santilli). Furthermore, Santilli suggests that administrations hire more former first-generation college students as professors to create a proper support network for incoming first-generation students. It is extremely helpful for these students to have a resource in professors that have experienced the same hardships and succeeded. They are also living proof that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

This issue isn’t new, nor is it going away any time soon. In a society where a college education is becoming commonplace, we must provide all students with equal opportunities and resources to properly obtain an education and succeed in a college environment. Most of these students have poured their hearts into having a successful academic career; it is time for us to show them their work has paid off.


Work Cited

Banks-Santilli, Linda. “Struggles Many First-Generation College Students Face.”, 10 Feb. 2017,

Eab. “7 Fast Facts about Your First Generation Students.” EAB, 15 June 2020,

“First-Gen & Common Struggles > First Generation College Students at USC > USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.” First Generation College Students at USC > USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC Dornsife,

Manasvi Gaddam: Academic Profile

A driven, flexible, and innovative student with determination and passion describes the academic profile of Manasvi Gaddam. Being a high school dual enrollment senior during a pandemic has had it’s challenges for Manasvi, but she is determined to position herself into the lifestyle she desires. 

Born in Illinois, moving to Georgia at the age of 2, attending a private school, charter school, and then 2 public schools, life always moves pretty fast for Manasvi. Between studying, dancing, and a close bond with her family, Manasvi is able to balance a busy schedule and still give her best effort with anything thrown towards her. She started dual enrollment at the beginning of her senior year this year. Starting with a Government class last semester and now an English class this semester, she is set on starting college to take some steps closer to her dream career.

With her ability to adapt fast, achieve many goals, and have different perspectives of situations, she has earned a spot at Georgia Tech for her freshman year of college. As a hands-on learner, Manasvi struggled with being faced with online school during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, through all the struggle and hardships she faced, she still stayed focused on her goals. A source that has helped Manasvi through her online college experience so far is the GSU informational videos that give organization tips, how to communicate with peers and professors, and how to tackle online school. Her first goal was to get into a college, which she achieved. Now, she is ready to tackle college and is ready to grow into the person she was born to be. 

Life has many paths set for Manasvi and with all of these paths presented, she is willing to get into the world as quickly as she can. She will be attending Georgia Tech in the fall and plans to be a computer science major. Along with her life always moving pretty fast, Manasvi is currently taking as many AP classes and dual enrollment classes as possible so she can go through college with a breeze. After graduating college early, Manasvi has many paths she could decide to take. She could go on to law school and become a patent lawyer or continue her path with computer science and dive into machine learning for a master’s in Artificial Intelligence. 

Whatever path Manasvi decides to follow in her future, she will excel and continue to stay driven, flexible, and innovative. With these academic standards she has set for herself, you can plan to see her take on a patent law position, step into the world of computer science, or even a part of an Artificial Intelligence team. You can also plan to see Manasvi travel the world she has dreamed to see and start to have many connections with people outside of her close-knit circle of family and friends. She is comfortable in her close-knit circle, but she is ready to become the person she has set for herself and create her own life experience. The future for Manasvi is bright, with many high standards and a passionate attitude, nothing will hold her back from exceeding her own expectations.


Gaddam, Manasvi. Interview. Conducted by Emma-Leigh Barfield.

GSU Keep Learning: Resources for Learning “What Organizational Strategies Can Help You in Your Online Course?”, February 2021


Caitlyn Eukre Academic Profile

 I wrote this essay based on emails and text interviews about Caitlyn’s academic self. I had questionnaires on her educational background, pathway, and ultimate career goal.
 Caitlyn took an economics class last summer, and this is her first year as a dual enrollment student. Even though she had a hard time in the registration process, she is enjoying her first dual enrollment year. Caitlyn is currently attending 11th grade at Morrow magnet school. She chooses Morrow because the school has an excellent program in a healthcare pathway and AP-oriented classes. She found herself would be unstressed in going to her home school, which is North Clayton, but they didn’t have all the academic resources to help her achieve her goal. That’s the reason she went to a magnet school. Yet, they had a great healthcare program with a clinic. She wanted a rigorous and more competitive academic curriculum, hence her decision to participate in the Morrow magnet program. Her ultimate career goal is emergency room physician with a sub-specialty in cardiology.
 Caitlyn picks three words of her academic self, which are impatient, independent, hard-working. She considers those are the three key factors that will lead her to success and keep her motivated. She told me the first word impatient refers to her personality. She describes herself as “hot-headed” what she meant by that is when there is a conflict, she thinks the best way to solve it is to jump in and take action. When this happens, she does not wait. Instead, she is trying to solve it right away. I can relate it to her 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.” She firmly believes that what happens around her can be solved on her own. This is the reason why she likes online learning. It would seem that online learning is suitable for her because she is making an effort something that she wants to achieve. Lastly, she has been a hard-working student. Not only that, her mother gives her all the advice she needs to find what she wants to be when growing up, helping her pursue her dreams come true, and advising her to make a better choice. Caitlyn’s mother is her mentor, who has three degrees in different fields. It motivates her to get a good grade. Since she was a child, she vaguely wanted to work in the healthcare field, she recently specified it.

 I have seen taking online classes frustrates many students. Caitlyn is not one of them. She prefers taking online courses, and she is doing great. Those who think, “Maybe someday, I’ll go to school and get my degree, but I have to work now do not have time to go to school” How about overcoming all the barriers and going to school now? It is later than you think.


Caitlyn Eukre Academic Self interview 2021
Some people are just born good writers by Jill Parrot

Leyla Ahmic: Academic Profile

Meet Leyla Ahmic! She is a seventeen-year-old dual enrollment student who currently wishes to pursue a degree in Business Administration. Born and raised in Georgia, she has been educated in this state’s elementary and high schools. Although she is majoring in Business Administration, she actually has a passion for music and likes math (I know, right?) and Spanish classes. During her early high school years, she was part of her high school’s IB (International Baccalaureate) program but has now moved on to dual enrollment to take college classes and earn credits while finishing her senior year (Ahmic).

During her last semester of dual enrollment, the article “Taking My Parents to College” has been her favorite reading. Leyla was born in Georgia, but her first language is Bosnian due to her parents, who decided to move from Bosnia to the United States (Ahmic). Jennine Capó Crucet’s parents had no idea how college worked since they had never attended one (Capó Crucet). Because of her Bosnian parents, who do not completely have had a full grasp of how the United States system works, Leyla can relate to the writer’s experience. However, although her parents may not know how some things work, she expresses that her friends have been of great help to her by guiding her and explaining how things are done.

To compensate for her parent’s lack of knowledge about the American system, Leyla has developed organization, responsibility, and diligence. According to her, she likes “to schedule and make sure that everything is done on time.” Thanks to her organization, she has developed an attraction for online classes. She says that this class method allows her to keep on track with her responsibilities and control her own schedule. Organization has also helped her develop responsibility and diligence. Besides having her schedule neat and tidy, she also likes to stick to it to make sure that everything is done correctly. She strives to polish her work (as she declares to be a perfectionist) and tries to do her best. In addition to her interest for online classes, she also expresses content with the number of resources that the university provides for students’ success in this online setting (Ahmic).

Although she likes the resources provided for college students, not everything is perfect at college level. “I find paying for textbooks in college really frustrating; we are already paying a lot of money,” she said as she expressed her frustration with textbook paying at universities. She believes that education should be cheaper and more accessible for students, as many low-income families struggle to afford school for their children (Ahmic).

Despite colleges’ expensiveness, Leyla’s parents do their best to provide her with a good education. She has been pushed and encouraged by her parents to succeed in her schoolwork, which she has been able to do. Her biggest influences are her parents, but she also considers her best friend to influence her academics significantly. They have been together since they were little. To push each other, they compete and strive to get better results in the next assignment. Leyla’s and her best friend’s competitivity has helped shape what she can refer to as her academic self today (Ahmic).

Leyla’s academic self, which has been developed throughout the years, makes her an excellent student. However, she says that she still does not know what to do after college. She loves music and believes to be good at it, but she was fearful of not being successful in that path and decided to study Business Administration (Ahmic). Many students choose not to study what they find most attractive for several reasons: lack of resources, fear of failure, convenience, job market, etc. Without dedicating to music, Leyla already demonstrates to be an outstanding student. I can only imagine the results when she applies her traits to what she loves.



Works Cited

Capó Crucet, Jennine. “Taking My Parents to College.” The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2015,

Ahmic, Leyla. Interview. Conducted by Ezequiel Lorenzo, 1 February 2021.

Kaleb Lynum: Academic Profile

This is a photo of Kaleb.

Through this assignment, I had the opportunity to meet Kaleb, a dual enrollment student at Georgia State University. From kindergarten to eighth grade, he attended a school in California called Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, and from there until now (senior year), he studies at Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy. He describes himself as an average high school student who gets A’s and a few B’s from time to time. However, for me, he did not seem like someone “average” since the discipline and dedication that he demonstrated during our calls showed the opposite. 

For me, a dual enrollment student would not be considered average, and I must admit that I am amazed that 17-year-old Kaleb is already in college and at the same time in high school! As an international student from the Dominican Republic, I did not know what dual enrollment was until I met Kaleb. Although it is common to do this in the United States, this fact about my partner revealed certain things to me about his academic concept. First, Kaleb is already preparing for the next stage of his life, like a saying that goes “he is ready to go.” Second, he does not want to waste his time. He is confident and ready for the next stage of his life: college. This is something he learned and took from his brother, who also did dual enrollment (Lynum).

After that conversation, Kaleb taught me what the colloquial term “senioritis” means. When he told me, “I would describe myself as having senioritis,” I thought that he loved being a senior, but I was wrong. Kaleb expressed that he is ready to be done with high school, which I found utterly ironic because he is literally in college. Even though it might sound a bit contradictory to the aforementioned, Kaleb then mentioned his goals and dreams.

Among his goals and dreams is to get a degree in Biology to later become a doctor. Still, he first gave me impressions of studying something related to sports or business administration (first impressions can surely be misleading). Kaleb comes from a family of doctors. However, his reason for studying medicine is not that he feels pressured to follow the same steps as his family but rather what he clarified, “I just want to help people.” His plans for when he graduates from college include creating his own hospital, something he sees as possible due to his leadership skills (Lynum).

From this talk about dreams and goals, I learned many things that helped me realize that I can learn so much from my classmates. In the interview, Kaleb described himself as having a growth mindset and as being a resourceful student. When I asked him what he does when he feels like he is not good at a subject, he said that he “communicates with his professors, and he goes to YouTube and teaches himself if he needs to.” What Kaleb told me connects to one of Dr. Stephen Chew’s videos, “Beliefs That Make You Fail or Succeed,” where Dr. Chew explained that “academic success is more a matter of hard work than an inborn talent.” Kaleb totally agrees with Dr. Stephen Chew and lives by this concept. When facing a challenge, students should have a similar approach since successfulness does not come from natural talent but from hard work and perseverance.


Lynum, Kaleb. Interview. Conducted by Solanlly Rijo, 30-31 January 2021.

Chew, Stephen. “Beliefs That Make You Fail or Succeed,” YouTube, uploaded by Samford University, 16 August 2011, 

Academic Profile: Jada Dunn

Jada Dunn is a smart and ambitious 22-year-old sophomore currently attending Georgia State University. When describing herself academically, Jada is persistent, ambitious, and sometimes anxious. Jada is a native of the peach state, born at Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia. She attended Dunwoody Elementary, Tucker Middle, and Riverwood International Charter School for K-12.

While growing up, Jada was raised in a tight-knit Christian family. She attended Wieuca Road Baptist Church frequently, even becoming a mentor to young children. Outside of the church, Jada spent her days curiously observing the world around her. This curiosity would later inspire Jada to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Initially, choosing a career path wasn’t easy for Jada. She revealed to me, “I honestly did not know what I would even go to college for. I decided to give myself a year after high school to see if I felt the same way. Within that year, I became fascinated with psychology and decided I wanted to be a psychologist.” Jada’s role of mentoring children as a youth further amplified her career goals. She plans on working specifically with children as a pediatric psychologist.

When interviewing Jada, I asked, “Why pediatric psychology and why GSU?” Her response was clear, “I chose my career path because I feel like psychology is something I would strive in. I feel as though I have a gift with people, and this is the right direction for me. I’ve worked with children at Wieuca Baptist Church since I was fourteen. I feel this experience has connected me with children more than adults. I feel it’s very important to teach kids how to deal with their trauma and psychological issues. Among many reasons, I chose GSU because my mother graduated from here. It only made sense for me to attend Georgia State as well.”

With dreams of attending Howard for grad school, Jada is more focused than ever on becoming the best person she can be. Whenever possible, she surrounds herself with inspiring and diligent women. When asked who her biggest influence is, Jada proudly mentioned her aunt, and best friend Tiffany. “My biggest influence is my aunt, as well as Tiffanny because they are both hard-working and driven,” Jada states. “Tiffany is in grad school at Howard University and my aunt is a very successful business-woman. They both are also my mentors.”

For Jada, becoming a pediatric psychologist is her dream career. She is full of compassion and empathy for others. She looks forward to improving the lives of young children and adolescents with psychology in the near future. As summed up in her own words, “I’m excited to be able to have the education and ability to get people through situations that might be holding them back from being a better them.”

Works Cited:

Dunn, Jada. Telephone interview. 5th Feb. 2021


Emma-Leigh Barfield: Academic Profile

This essay describes the academic journey of Emma Leigh-Barfield. Determinant, passionate, and self-aware are the three words to describe Emma’s academic and personal self. After receiving her first camera at just 8 years old Emma discovered a passion for photography and cinematography that lead her to pursue a film degree at Georgia State University. As a 2nd year student, Emma has used the unfortunate circumstance of having to attend school virtually to her favor by pursuing all her various interests. While taking school, Emma juggles school and working at her church, as a wedding cinematographer, and at her family restaurant. By taking only three classes, Emma is able to indulge in various activities ranging from writing short stories to crocheting.

After Emma graduated from high school in May of 2019, she decided to take a break year. During this year she rediscovered her motivation and passion for learning and art. Emma underwent a major transformation from high school to college in both personal and academic aspects where she developed effective work ethics integral to her college successes and experienced a personal self-growth. Emma stressed the importance of organization and its value to her success by claiming that without her break year to learn these strategies she would have surely struggled her first year. Emma’s strategies for organization are linked to the GSU information videos discussing organization strategies that can help for online classes. The videos emphasized the importance of being cognizant of deadlines and additional information from professors similar to what Emma believed was important.

Outside of her academic pursuits, Emma loves art and journalism. She also loves to hike, go kayaking, and travel (before the pandemic of course!). Her favorite places to travels were Amsterdam, Paris, and London where she was enticed by the beauty and culture of the city.

Despite not having the traditional college experience, Emma has created her own unique experience undertaking her several interests in art and photography. Despite the obstacles in meeting people and indulge in a community to grow her experiences, Emma has found her college experience greatly enjoyable as she is left with time to engage in her various passions and determine her future career path.

Emma’s future holds several possibilities from moving to Atlanta and obtain a 4-year degree, getting an internship or job in the film industry, or becoming a photography director. No matter the path Emma’s unique experiences and versatile interests are no doubt going to allow her to exceed all her expectations.


  • Emma-Leigh Barfield, Momodou J et al, Pair interview transcript, February 2021
  • GSU Resources for Learning Remotely  “What Organizational Strategies Can Help You in Your Online Course?”, February 2021