First-generation student overcomes hurdles to succeed


Jessica Gulaskey likes a challenge.

“I believe that pushing myself academically is going to make me feel more fulfilled in life,” said Jessica, a senior in biology at Wichita State University.

Jessica, who plans to eventually attend optometry school, is one of thousands of first-generation students at Wichita State. The Wichita native will be taking over the university’s Instagram account on Thursday, Nov. 5, to share her experiences as a first-gen student.

Jessica has had her share of hurdles navigating the ins and outs of campus life.

“I would say the most challenging part has been figuring out financial issues and how life on campus works,” Jessica said.

Getting connected to peers was key to Jessica’s success.

“I’m in the optometry club so I got to meet up with friends at campus activities, and it just made me get more familiar with the campus and the people,” she said. “I also worked at the Shocker Store in the Rhatigan Student Center, and being there helped me know some people and get familiar with the RSC.”

Encouragement from her family has also been a strong motivator for Jessica.

“When I get good grades, they're always very happy and excited and pushing me to continue to keep doing the best I can,” she said.

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