Journey as a First-Gen Student
My journey in getting to college was not easy. I applied to seven schools, only got into four. The other three were private schools that were expensive. What motivated me to apply to college was making my parents proud. Both of my parents came from Trinidad and Tobago in the 90s and only have their high school diplomas. I went on a Historically Black College tour in 2012. The information I’ve gained from that tour changed my life. When I realized that going to an HBCU is out of my reach. I made a promise to myself, no matter what I will obtain my bachelor’s and become the first male (in my generation) to get my degree. and on May 24th, 2019 I did it. Applying for college was difficult, navigating the application process, applying for Financial Aid, and writing the essay on my own was difficult. Although my parents couldn’t help as much as they wanted. The stuck by me through it all. When I got accepted into SEOP back in 2013, this was my foot in the door, As my former advocate and now co-worker Ms. Sasha Benjamin told me. This is your opportunity, to make a name for yourself here at Southern” don’t loose it. And that is exactly what I did.
Advice for Other First-Gen Students
My advice to other first-gen students is to network, network, and network. your fellow students in your respective major, professors in and outside of your designated majors, Staff members in various departments around campus. Because you will never know where those connections and relationships you build will help you out during your journey.
Challenges to Overcome
During my undergrad, I struggled academically my first couple of semester. I was barely attending class and partying with my friends three nights a week. It wasn’t until my midterm when I became broke and failing two classes. After that my advocate pulled me and gave me a reality check. After that I’ve changed I began utilizing the Tutoring center (before it became the academic success center). I got more involved with joining West Indian Society ( Now it is called the Caribbean Student Association) and Black Student Union. I got involved with an on campus protest with the acquittal of Officer Dorian Johnson for the 2014 murder of Mike Brown.After that I became a prominent leader of color on campus. I wanted to become the best version of myself. I dedicated my time to fighting inequalities for students of color on campus. The connections with faculty and staff of color on campus such as Dr. Siobhan Carter David, Dr. Brandon Hutchinson Dawn Stanton, Dian Brown-Albert and Shermaine Edmonds became family to me and push me beyond my limits. I tell my students every day that in order for you to succeed you must surround yourself with a village. I never really had a mentor or someone to look up to. Now all i can do is be present and be the best advocate for my students. This job really forced me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to discover who ” Kyle Augustine” is and how I can ensure my legacy here at SCSU.