Marcela Davila-Cham

High schools will encourage students to take AP courses, the SAT and ACT exams, and to be involved in extracurricular activities to amp up their college applications. However, not all high schools--especially those from low income communities--are provided with sufficient resources to prepare for a student's transition into college. First-generation college students in college from lower socio-economic backgrounds are hindered from understanding how to navigate a higher education institution since they do not have guidance from a parent or guardian. Besides having to worry about academia, these students need to work part-time jobs to support themselves since they cannot rely on their family for money. Nonetheless, while the first-generation students are struggling to figure out how to fit in, they paint this picture of "effortless perfection." These students are ambivalent about their acceptance in the university due to the imposter syndrome invoking feelings of inadequacy in comparison to their classmates, or of not being smart or capable enough like their classmates. Ultimately, I will gather the stories of students who come from different geographical backgrounds and are considered to be of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. I want to understand the resiliency that drives these students to graduate in four years and how universities (UCs and CSUs) can improve their graduation retention rates. Overall, I want students to be comfortable with sharing their experiences of how they took care of their mental health, if they were ever placed on academic probation, or if they took any quarters off school. I will present my research in a zine and I am hoping it will be distributed to provide meaningful information at colleges and high schools so first-generation students do not feel alienated.