Friday, August 2, 2013

Stumbling into Student Affairs- Ashley McCall

Family means everything to me; it is the unbreakable ties that you can always count on as blood is thicker than water as my dad used to say. Growing up as the oldest of 4 children, I knew I had to set a good example and be a good role model for my younger brothers. I became the designated babysitter when I was 12 and ever since then I knew that I loved taking care of and helping other people.

I knew one day I would grow up and have my own family that I would be responsible for providing for.  To me becoming a grown up included going to college and getting a degree to get a good job that I would be happy with. College wasn’t something either of my parents was familiar with as they never went so I knew that I would have to navigate applying to college on my own. However I didn’t anticipate taking on the financial burden as well but one night my mother burst into tears when I asked  her how much money they had saved for me to go to college and I knew that I was going to have  to find a way to afford college. It was at this moment that I understood the difficulties of being a First Generation College student.

Texas State University was the destination of my choice as they offered me a scholarship on top of financial aid assistance. However I knew 4 years of living expenses, textbooks, and food was going to add up quickly. During my freshman year I became intrigued by the idea of being a Resident Assistant as it covered room and board along with a monthly stipend. I applied and was hired to be a Resident Assistant thinking it was a smart way to alleviate costs, however little did I know what the job would lead me to.

During my three years as a Resident Assistant I fell in love with making connections with students, planning programs and events for residents of the building, and the craziness that was RA Training and Freshmen Move In. I didn’t want it all to end when I graduated.  That is when I found about the field of Student Affairs from my supervisor. I was baffled that I could get a job doing what I loved which was working with and helping college students. Even better yet I was happy to find that Texas State had a master’s program in Student Affairs. My next destination was obvious: apply and get accepted to the program at Texas State.

Recently I have just graduated from the Student Affairs program at Texas State and I am amazed at how much I learned from the coursework, my professors, and my cohort. As I reflect on the two years in the program I realize that a salient part of my identity is being a first gen student as that is what drives my passion to be in this field. I know how scary it was to come to college not knowing what to expect and feeling pressure to succeed and prove that I could do anything. I want to be a resource for students like me and help make the scary unknown transition to college a little easier.

I am excited to obtain my first post-graduate position in the field and start to make a difference in student’s lives. I couldn’t be happier that my status as a first generation student led me here otherwise I am not sure where I would be.

1 comment:

  1. This isn’t the first time that I have heard about the first generation students. Student affairs is a special department that explores the life of students and the newest trends that can make student life easier. I’m gals that more and more graduates decide to join the student affairs , these are the people who have tried and live a student life and now what changes must be done in order to make their life simpler and more entertaining in some ways. I’m sure that students affairs will introduce a new trend of writing aid to all the students and will have the opportunity to type essay online and get better grades that will be the first step towards their academic success.