My advice to any first-generation college student is to not let anything (imposter syndrome, environmental or societal influences, people, life circumstances, etc.) deter you from accomplishing any goals you have set for yourself.
Joseph Ballard II
Share Your Story
I am a proud native of Northeast Oklahoma City and the first person in my immediate family to receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Being a first-generation college student is both an honor and title that I am proud to have as my journey has opened doors for members of my family and many others to see college as an opportunity that can be their reality. There were not consistent examples of individuals attending college in my community, better yet at a predominantly white institution, but I wanted to change that, so I chose to attend Oklahoma State University where I received my undergraduate degree in Marketing & Management with a dual minor in Human Resources & Accounting. Due to my amazing undergraduate experience, I found my calling for Higher Education/Student Affairs and attended the University of Oklahoma (yes, the rival school to Oklahoma State University) to get my Master’s in Higher Education with a dual emphasis in Student Affairs and Social Justice. I’ve had the honor for the past 13 years to serve in roles, including my current one here at the University of Michigan as the Statewide Michigan Louis Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP) Director to be in roles that allow me the daily opportunity to pay it forward, mentor, support, empower, and advocate for first-generation and underrepresented students.
Your advice for other First-Gen students
My advice to any first-generation college student is to not let anything (imposter syndrome, environmental or societal influences, people, life circumstances, etc.) deter you from accomplishing any goals you have set for yourself. Trust that you have all it takes and more to graduate from college. Find your community, offices/programs, and resources that will provide you with the support, motivation, wisdom, and encouragement that you desire, want, and need throughout your journey.